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Holly M. Mallinson
and
Sonia G. Lasher-Trapp

Abstract

Downdrafts extending from convective clouds can produce cold pools that propagate outward, sometimes initiating new convection along their leading edges. Models operating at scales requiring convective parameterizations usually lack representation of this detail, and thus fail to predict this convective regeneration and longer episodes of convective activity. Developing such parameterizations requires an improved understanding of the physical drivers of cold pools, and detailed studies of the roles of all the contributing microphysical processes have been lacking. This study utilizes a set of 12 simulations conducted within a single convective environment, but with variability in the microphysical fields produced by varying parameters influencing warm-rain or ice processes. Time-integrated microphysical budgets quantify the contribution of each hydrometeor type to the total latent cooling occurring in the downdrafts that form and sustain the cold pool. The timing of the onset of the cold pool is earlier in cases with a stronger warm rain process, but both graupel and rain were equally as likely to be the dominant hydrometeor in the downdraft first forming the cold pool. Graupel sublimation is the dominant term in sustaining the cold pool in all simulations, but the evaporation of rain has the strongest correlation to the cold pool expansion rate, depth, and intensity. Reconciling the current results with past studies elucidates the importance of considering: graupel sublimation, the latent cooling only in downdrafts contributing to the cold pool, and latent cooling in those downdrafts at altitudes that may be significantly higher than the melting level.

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Tobias I. D. Ross
and
Sonia Lasher-Trapp

Abstract

Cold pools produced by deep convection can initiate new convection, and their representation in larger-scale weather and climate models could improve prediction of the extent and timing of upscale growth. Cold pools originate from latent cooling from precipitation changing phase, but little attention has been paid to microphysical influences on cold pool characteristics, particularly CCN effects. Datasets obtained from the CACTI and RELAMPAGO field campaigns, along with idealized numerical modeling, are utilized to investigate the hypothesis that convective storms forming in higher CCN environments generate their first surface rainfall later, delaying cold pool initiation. Aircraft observations of CCN and shallow convection on nine days do suggest a CCN effect. Those ingesting more CCN contained fewer drizzle drops, although a decreased cloud depth with increasing CCN was also likely a limiting factor. In three of those cases that later developed into deep convection, the timing of cold pool onset was not ubiquitously delayed in environments with more CCN. Idealized numerical simulations suggest that an ordinary thunderstorm can experience small delays in cold pool onset with increasing CCN due to changes in graupel production, but CCN effects on the cold pool from a supercell thunderstorm can easily be overpowered by its unique dynamics. A strong inverse relationship between cold pool strength, expansion rate, and depth with increasing CCN is suggested by the results of the ordinary thunderstorm simulation. Further consideration of CCN appears warranted for future cold pool parameterization development, but other environmental factors affecting storm morphology and precipitation cannot be ignored.

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Paloma Borque
,
Stephen W. Nesbitt
,
Robert J. Trapp
,
Sonia Lasher-Trapp
, and
Mariko Oue

Abstract

Convectively generated cold pools are important to the Earth system as they exert strong controls on deep convective-storm initiation, intensity, and life cycle. Despite their importance, efforts to introduce such cold pool controls into weather and climate models lack guidance and/or physical constraints from cold pool observations. This work presents a detailed, purely observational analysis of a cold pool event that took place on 23–24 May 2011 in north-central Oklahoma. The characteristics of the cold pool, and the spatiotemporal evolution of the hydrometeors and dynamics in the proximity of the cold pool, are studied with high-resolution observations. The unprecedented dataset used in this work to study cold pool characteristics includes an enhanced network of surface weather stations, a high-temporal-frequency sounding array, and the NEXRAD and Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains radar networks. The potential use of NEXRAD surveillance scans to estimate height and propagation speed of the leading edge of the cold pool (LECP) is presented in this work. Manual identification and tracking of the LECP from NEXRAD imagery shows a spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the LECP properties. Surprisingly, over its detected life cycle, the LECP speed remains almost constant, even though the strength of the cold pool diminishes in time and its height varies. Radar analysis shows that pulses of graupel and hail within downdrafts in the convective system generating the cold pool appeared to be related to temporary increases in the LECP height.

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