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  • Author or Editor: Dusan Zrnic x
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Robert Rabin
and
Dusan Zrnic

Abstract

The VAD technique is applied to unevenly spaced data obtained with two nearby Doppler weather radars in the optically clear atmosphere. Assuming that the power of higher order harmonies can be neglected, a least-squares fit method obtains the zeroth and first harmonies. The VAD results are compared with a detailed dual Doppler-radar analysis of a nearby area. The divergence found by both methods is explained in terms of the synoptic weather situation. The value of single Doppler weather radar is demonstrated in determining subsynoptic vertical winds in clear air. Inherent errors are briefly discussed.

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Alexander V. Ryzhkov
and
Dusan S. Zrnić

Abstract

The authors contrast rainfall in two Oklahoma squall lines: one with deep convection occurred in the spring and the other with shallower convection in the winter. Both passed over a micronetwork of densely spaced rain gauges and were observed with the National Severe Storm Laboratory's polarimetric weather radar. Polarimetric measurements reveal differences in storm structure that in turn imply that microphysical processes caused the drop size distributions to be quite distinct for the two events. In the winter squall line the conventional R(Z) algorithm for estimating rainfall fails badly, whereas in the summer squall line it performs well. The method based on specific differential phase measurements, however, yields a very good match between radar-derived areal precipitation amount and rain depth obtained from the micronetwork of densely located rain gauges for both events.

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Richard Fulton
,
Dusan S. Zrnić
, and
Richard J. Doviak

Abstract

This paper describes the characteristics and evolving nature of a vigorous thunderstorm density current very early in the morning of 9 May 1981 in Oklahoma. Because the ambient lower atmosphere was stratified, interesting interactions between the outflow current and the ambient environment resulted. The leading portion of the current was modulated by at least three gravity wavelike perturbations of horizontal spacing 12 km which initially coexisted with it. However, as the current evolved, it initiated an undular borelike disturbance which propagated ahead into the stable boundary layer, carrying cold outflow air in large amplitude rolls. Eventually the wave family left the decelerating outflow air in its wake. This borelike disturbance resembles the Australian “morning glory” phenomenon and appears to represent an early stage in the development of a solitary wave family.

The observations resemble other reported morning glories and solitary waves as well their laboratory and numerically simulated counterparts. Comparisons are discussed. This case study is unique not only because it combines Doppler radar, tall tower, and surface mesonet observations, but especially because the period of observation captures the disturbance in its formative stage when it is still very near the density current.

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David M. Schultz
,
Katharine M. Kanak
,
Jerry M. Straka
,
Robert J. Trapp
,
Brent A. Gordon
,
Dusan S. Zrnić
,
George H. Bryan
,
Adam J. Durant
,
Timothy J. Garrett
,
Petra M. Klein
, and
Douglas K. Lilly

Abstract

Mammatus clouds are an intriguing enigma of atmospheric fluid dynamics and cloud physics. Most commonly observed on the underside of cumulonimbus anvils, mammatus also occur on the underside of cirrus, cirrocumulus, altocumulus, altostratus, and stratocumulus, as well as in contrails from jet aircraft and pyrocumulus ash clouds from volcanic eruptions. Despite their aesthetic appearance, mammatus have been the subject of few quantitative research studies. Observations of mammatus have been obtained largely through serendipitous opportunities with a single observing system (e.g., aircraft penetrations, visual observations, lidar, radar) or tangential observations from field programs with other objectives. Theories describing mammatus remain untested, as adequate measurements for validation do not exist because of the small distance scales and short time scales of mammatus. Modeling studies of mammatus are virtually nonexistent. As a result, relatively little is known about the environment, formation mechanisms, properties, microphysics, and dynamics of mammatus.

This paper presents a review of mammatus clouds that addresses these mysteries. Previous observations of mammatus and proposed formation mechanisms are discussed. These hypothesized mechanisms are anvil subsidence, subcloud evaporation/sublimation, melting, hydrometeor fallout, cloud-base detrainment instability, radiative effects, gravity waves, Kelvin–Helmholtz instability, Rayleigh–Taylor instability, and Rayleigh–Bénard-like convection. Other issues addressed in this paper include whether mammatus are composed of ice or liquid water hydrometeors, why mammatus are smooth, what controls the temporal and spatial scales and organization of individual mammatus lobes, and what are the properties of volcanic ash clouds that produce mammatus? The similarities and differences between mammatus, virga, stalactites, and reticular clouds are also discussed. Finally, because much still remains to be learned, research opportunities are described for using mammatus as a window into the microphysical, turbulent, and dynamical processes occurring on the underside of clouds.

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