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Rodger A. Brown

Abstract

Composite profiles of thermodynamic and kinematic variables are prepared to represent the characteristics of the environment within which a particular atmospheric phenomenon occurs. During the averaging process, it is desirable to retain the dominant features and associated gradients found in the individual profiles so that representative values of quantities such as flux parameters, energy budgets, convective available potential energy, and various stability indices can be computed from the composite profiles. The conventional compositing approach, where averages are computed at common heights, reduces or even smooths out a significant feature when the height and vertical extent of the feature differ from one individual profile to the next.

To retain a desirable feature in the composite profile, it is necessary to compute averages at the heights where the feature occurs and to compute the average height of the feature itself. As an example of the capabilities of this scaling or feature-preserving approach, the technique was applied to a set of 33 hodographs from supercell thunderstorm environments as documented in the literature. The feature-preserving technique retained realistic wind-shear values, including a midlatitude minimum-shear layer that disappeared when the conventional compositing technique was used.

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Rodger A. Brown

Abstract

A technique is described whereby an investigator can obtain a more representative peak velocity for a tornadic vortex signature (TVS) than can be obtained by using the extreme measured Doppler velocities associated with the signature. This technique, which is based on theoretical curves derived by scanning a simulated radar through Rankine combined vortices, is applied to WSR-88D Doppler velocity data collected in the Garden City, Kansas, tornado of 16 May 1995. The technique produces peak TVS velocities that are more consistent in time and height than those computed directly from the extreme measured values.

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Rodger A. Brown

Abstract

No abstract available.

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Rodger A. Brown

Abstract

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Rodger A. Brown

Abstract

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a supercell thunderstorm is the presence of a rotating updraft. During the past 30 years, various hypotheses have been proposed to explain the initiation and maintenance of rotation. However, attempts to verify the initiation process have been frustrated by the lack of multiple-Doppler radar measurements at the time that the first rotating updraft appears. Discussed in this paper are dual-Doppler radar measurements that successfully captured the initiation and evolution of rotation in the Agawam, Oklahoma, storm of 6 June 1979, which occurred during the storm-scale phase of the Severe Environmental Storms and Mesoscale Experiment (SESAME). The process leading to updraft rotation appears to follow that proposed in 1968 by Fujita and Grandoso, whereby a middle-altitude vorticity couplet formed on the downwind flanks of a strong nonrotating updraft, with cyclonic vertical vorticity on the right-forward flank and anticyclonic vertical vorticity on the left-forward flank. With low-altitude flow approaching the storm from the right, a new updraft developed on the rightward-propagating gust front located along the right edge of the storm beneath the cyclonic vorticity region. The growing updraft acquired cyclonic rotation at middle altitudes by entraining and stretching the ambient vertical vorticity. Subsequent right-flank updrafts in the Agawam storm appear to have developed middle-altitude rotation in the same manner. Based on observations made within the Agawam storm and its immediate environment, the conventional hypothesis that employs low-altitude vertical shear of the horizontal wind as the vorticity source did not likely play a significant role in establishing updraft rotation.

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RODGER A. BROWN

Abstract

No Abstract Available.

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Rodger A. Brown
and
Rebecca J. Meitín

Abstract

During the late afternoon and early evening of 27 June 1989. Three splitting thunderstorms formed over Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the southern portion of the North Dakota Thunderstorm Project area. The first two storms are the subject of this study. The entire life cycles of both storms were documented using a single ground-based Doppler radar. Radar reflectivity signatures of updraft summits and Doppler velocity signatures of divergence near storm top were used to deduce updraft evolution within the storms. Dual-Doppler radar observations from a ground-based radar and an airborne Doppler radar provided fragmentary documentation of the storms’ life cycles.

The splitting storms on that day were unusual in two distinct ways: (a) the left members of the splitting storms were the dominant and longer-lasting ones, and (b) none of the deduced updrafts were collocated with centers of vorticity signatures that would have indicated updraft rotation. Both of the left-moving storms had 10 sequential primary updrafts, whereas their right-hand counterparts had 3 or 4 primary updrafts. Initial formation of the right-flank updrafts lagged behind the initial formation of the left-flank updrafts by 40–70 min. All the individual updraft summits moved in the general direction of the mean wind. Sequential updraft development on the left and right flanks of the storms suggested that expanding gust fronts provided the propagational component of storm motion.

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Vincent T. Wood
and
Rodger A. Brown

Abstract

Simulated WSR-88D (Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler) radar data were used to investigate the effects of discrete azimuthal sampling on Doppler velocity signatures of modeled mesocyclones and tornadoes at various ranges from the radar and for various random positions of the radar beam with respect to the vortices. Results show that the random position of the beam can change the magnitudes and locations of peak Doppler velocity values. The important implication presented in this study is that short-term variations in tornado and far-range mesocyclone intensity observed by a WSR-88D radar may be due to evolution or due to the chance positions of the radar beam relative to the vortex’s maximum rotational velocities or due to some combination of both.

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Rodger A. Brown
and
Vincent T. Wood

Abstract

Simulations were conducted to investigate the detection of the Doppler velocity tornado signature (TS) and tornadic vortex signature (TVS) when a tornado is located at the center of the parent mesocyclone. Whether the signature is a TS or TVS depends on whether the tornado’s core diameter is greater than or less than the radar’s effective beamwidth, respectively. The investigation included three radar effective beamwidths, two mesocyclones, and six different-sized tornadoes, each of which had 10 different maximum tangential velocities assigned to it to represent a variety of strengths. The concentric tornadoes and mesocyclones were positioned 10–150 km from the radar. The results indicate that 1) azimuthal shear at the center of the mesocyclone increases as the associated tornado gains strength before a TS or TVS appears, 2) smaller tornadoes need to be much stronger than larger tornadoes at a given range for a signature to appear within the mesocyclone, and 3) when the tornado diameter is wider than about one-quarter of the mesocyclone diameter, the TS or TVS associated with a given mesocyclone appears when the tornado has attained about the same strength regardless of range.

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Vincent T. Wood
and
Rodger A. Brown

Abstract

A tornadic vortex signature (TVS) is a degraded Doppler velocity signature that occurs when the tangential velocity core region of a tornado is smaller than the effective beamwidth of a sampling Doppler radar. Early Doppler radar simulations, which used a uniform reflectivity distribution across an idealized Rankine vortex, showed that the extreme Doppler velocity peaks of a TVS profile are separated by approximately one beamwidth. The simulations also indicated that neither the size nor the strength of the tornado is recoverable from a TVS. The current study was undertaken to investigate how the TVS might change if vortices having more realistic tangential velocity profiles were considered. The one-celled (axial updraft only) Burgers–Rott vortex model and the two-celled (annular updraft with axial downdraft) Sullivan vortex model were selected. Results of the simulations show that the TVS peaks still are separated by approximately one beamwidth—signifying that the TVS not only is unaffected by the size or strength of a tornado but also is unaffected by whether the tornado structure consists of one or two cells.

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