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Casey D. Burleyson, Zhe Feng, Samson M. Hagos, Jerome Fast, Luiz A. T. Machado, and Scot T. Martin

Abstract

The isolation of the Amazon rain forest makes it challenging to observe precipitation forming there, but it also creates a natural laboratory to study anthropogenic impacts on clouds and precipitation in an otherwise pristine environment. Observations were collected upwind and downwind of Manaus, Brazil, during the “Observations and Modeling of the Green Ocean Amazon 2014–2015” experiment (GoAmazon2014/5). Besides aircraft, most of the observations were point measurements made in a spatially heterogeneous environment, making it hard to distinguish anthropogenic signals from naturally occurring spatial variability. In this study, 15 years of satellite data are used to examine the spatial and temporal variability of deep convection around the GoAmazon2014/5 sites using cold cloud tops (infrared brightness temperatures colder than 240 K) as a proxy for deep convection. During the rainy season, convection associated with the inland propagation of the previous day’s sea-breeze front is in phase with the diurnal cycle of deep convection near Manaus but is out of phase a few hundred kilometers to the east and west. Convergence between the river breezes and the easterly trade winds generates afternoon convection up to 10% more frequently (on average ~4 mm day−1 more intense rainfall) at the GoAmazon2014/5 sites east of the Negro River (T0e, T0t/k, and T1) relative to the T3 site, which was located west of the river. In general, the annual and diurnal cycles of precipitation during 2014 were similar to climatological values that are based on satellite data from 2000 to 2013.

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