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  • Author or Editor: B. L. Cheong x
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D. Bodine
P. L. Heinselman
B. L. Cheong
R. D. Palmer
, and
D. Michaud


A case study illustrating the impact of moisture variability on convection initiation in a synoptically active environment without strong moisture gradients is presented. The preconvective environment on 30 April 2007 nearly satisfied the three conditions for convection initiation: moisture, instability, and a low-level lifting mechanism. However, a sounding analysis showed that a low-level inversion layer and high LFC would prevent convection initiation because the convective updraft velocities required to overcome the convective inhibition (CIN) were much higher than updraft velocities typically observed in convergence zones. Radar refractivity retrievals from the Twin Lakes, Oklahoma (KTLX), Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) showed a moisture pool contributing up to a 2°C increase in dewpoint temperature where the initial storm-scale convergence was observed. The analysis of the storm-relative wind field revealed that the developing storm ingested the higher moisture associated with the moisture pool. Sounding analyses showed that the moisture pool reduced or nearly eliminated CIN, lowered the LFC by about 500 m, and increased CAPE by 2.5 times. Thus, these small-scale moisture changes increased the likelihood of convection initiation within the moisture pool by creating a more favorable thermodynamic environment. The results suggest that refractivity data could improve convection initiation forecasts by assessing moisture variability at finer scales than the current observation network.

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