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  • Author or Editor: David Solomon x
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David L. Solomon
Kenneth P. Bowman
, and
Cameron R. Homeyer


A new method that combines radar reflectivities from individual Next Generation Weather Radars (NEXRAD) into a three-dimensional composite with high horizontal and vertical resolution is used to estimate storm-top altitudes for the continental United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Echo-top altitudes are compared with the altitude of the lapse-rate tropopause calculated from the ERA-Interim reanalysis and radiosondes. To sample the diurnal and annual cycles, tropopause-penetrating convection is analyzed at 3-h intervals throughout 2004. Overshooting convection is most common in the north-central part of the United States (the high plains). There is a pronounced seasonal cycle; the majority of overshooting systems occur during the warm season (March–August). There is also a strong diurnal cycle, with maximum overshooting occurring near 0000 UTC. The overshooting volume decreases rapidly with height above the tropopause. Radiosonde observations are used to evaluate the quality of the reanalysis tropopause altitudes and the dependence of overshooting depth on environmental characteristics. The radar–radiosonde comparison reveals that overshooting is deeper in double-tropopause environments and increases as the stability of the lower stratosphere decreases.

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