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Roy M. Rasmussen and Andrew J. Heymsfield

Abstract

A detailed model of the melting, shedding, and wet growth of spherical graupel and hail is presented. This model is based upon recent experimental studies by Rasmussen et al. and Lesins et al. The model is presented in the form of five easy-to-use tables. Important quantities considered were the heat transfer. terminal velocity behavior, and shedding of liquid water.

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Julie M. Thériault, Nicolas R. Leroux, and Roy M. Rasmussen

Abstract

Accurate snowfall measurement is challenging because it depends on the precipitation gauge used, meteorological conditions, and the precipitation microphysics. Upstream of weighing gauges, the flow field is disturbed by the gauge and any shielding used usually creates an updraft, which deflects solid precipitation from falling in the gauge, resulting in significant undercatch. Wind shields are often used with weighing gauges to reduce this updraft, and transfer functions are required to adjust the snowfall measurements to consider gauge undercatch. Using these functions reduces the bias in precipitation measurement but not the root-mean-square error (RMSE). In this study, the accuracy of the Hotplate precipitation gauge was compared to standard unshielded and shielded weighing gauges collected during the WMO Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment program. The analysis performed in this study shows that the Hotplate precipitation gauge bias after wind correction is near zero and similar to wind corrected weighing gauges. The RMSE of the Hotplate precipitation gauge measurements is lower than weighing gauges (with or without an Alter shield) for wind speeds up to 5 m s−1, the wind speed limit at which sufficient data were available. This study shows that the Hotplate precipitation gauge measurement has a low bias and RMSE due to its aerodynamic shape, making its performance mostly independent of the type of solid precipitation.

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Douglas A. Wesley, Roy M. Rasmussen, and Ben C. Bernstein

Abstract

The Longmont anticyclone, a region of low-level anticyclonic turning and convergence during episodes of northerly winds along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, is documented for a snow event that occurred during the Winter Icing and Storms Project. The complex terrain in this region, especially the barrier to the west and the sloping Cheyenne Ridge to the north, is critical for the formation of this mesoscale feature. Upward motions related to this persistent convergent region downstream of the Cheyenne Ridge can strongly influence local snowfall distributions. The particular event studied in this manuscript was weakly forced on the synoptic scale. Through close examination of Doppler radar, special sounding and surface mesonetwork data, the effects of the Longmont anticyclone on snowfall were determined. The results of the analyses suggest that the convergence triggered convective snowbands in a region of delayed postfrontal cold advection at low levels. A series of mesoscale model simulations predicted the behavior of low-level northerly flow along the Front Range and demonstrated the role of the terrain during the development of the Longmont anticyclone. The results of these simulations were compared to the case study results.

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Kyoko Ikeda, Edward A. Brandes, and Roy M. Rasmussen

Abstract

An unusual multiple freezing-level event observed with polarimetric radar during the second phase of the Improvement of Microphysical Parameterization through Observational Verification Experiments (IMPROVE-2) field program is described. The event occurred on 28 November 2001 when a warm front moved over the Oregon Cascade Mountains. As the front approached, an elevated melting layer formed above a preexisting melting layer near ground. Continued warming of the lower atmosphere eventually dissipated the lower melting layer.

The polarimetric measurements are used to estimate the height of the freezing levels, document their evolution, and deduce hydrometeor habits. The measurements indicate that when the two freezing levels were first observed melting was incomplete in the upper melting layer and characteristics of particles that passed through the two melting layers were similar. As warming progressed, the character of particles entering the lower melting layer changed, possibly becoming ice pellets or frozen drops. Eventually, the refreezing of particles ended and only rain occurred below the elevated melting layer.

The Doppler radial winds showed a well-defined wind maximum apparently associated with a “warm conveyor belt.” The jet intensified and descended through the elevated melting layer with time. However, the increase in wind speed did not appear connected with melting or result in precipitation enhancement.

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Piotr K. Smolarkiewicz, Roy M. Rasmussen, and Terry L. Clark

Abstract

This study focuses on basic island scale forcing mechanisms for the formation and evolution of a band cloud typically present upwind of the island of Hawaii. By means of numerical experiments and verification of our results against observations and laboratory experiments reported in the literature, we show that the band cloud is a complex three-dimensional phenomenon which is inseparable from the airflow around the island. In particular, we demonstrate that the event needs to be analyzed in terms of the basic fluid dynamics of strongly stratified flow past a three-dimensional obstacle. The band cloud is found to arise primarily from the dynamic interaction of the trade winds with the island. The upwind surface flow forms a separation line with an associated stagnation point. A low-level convergence zone forms along this line, resulting in an updraft line. If the updrafts are strong enough, a band cloud forms. Formation and characteristics of such a system are mostly controlled by the environmental stability and strength of the trade wind. A simple criterion for the occurrence of a strong band cloud is offered in terms of the height of the island, trade-wind speed, environmental stability, and the lifted condensation and/or free convection level.

A series of controlled experiments addresses questions on the role of the thermal forcing in the formation and evolution of the band cloud. In particular, we show that the band cloud is not primarily related to the diurnal cycle (as was anticipated in the literature), but that the diurnal effects are relatively weak modulations of the primary effects of a strongly fluid flow past the island.

The possibility of vortex shedding in the lee of the island and its implications for the band cloud are also discussed.

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George D. Modica, Scot T. Heckman, and Roy M. Rasmussen

Abstract

A hydrostatic regional prediction model is modified to permit the existence of both liquid and ice hydrometeors within the same grid volume. The modified model includes an efficient ice-water saturation adjustment and a simple procedure to create or remove cloud water or ice. The objective was to determine whether such a model could provide deterministic forecasts of aircraft icing conditions in the 6–36-h period. The model was used to simulate an orographically forced icing event (the Valentine's Day storm of 12–14 February 1990) that occurred during the 1990 phase of the Winter Icing and Storms Project (WISP-90). Output from a 24-h nested-grid integration of the model was compared to observations taken during WISP-90. The model produced a thin (∼1-2 km deep) supercooled liquid water (SLW) cloud that was in good agreement with observations in terms of initiation, duration, liquid water content, and location. Results of the simulation also suggest that slantwise ascent can be an important component in the production of SLW.

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Kyoko Ikeda, Roy M. Rasmussen, Edward Brandes, and Frank McDonough

Abstract

This study describes a freezing drizzle detection algorithm based on the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) measured radar reflectivity. Although radar returns from freezing drizzle and light snow are similar—<5 dBZ and spatially uniform—freezing drizzle can be identified using feature parameters computed from radar reflectivity, such as local and global standard deviations and reflectivity texture weighted with a fuzzy-logic scheme. Algorithm results agree well with surface precipitation reports. The proposed algorithm can serve as one component of automated decision-support schemes for icing hazard detection and/or hydrometeor identification.

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Jaclyn M. Ritzman, Terry Deshler, Kyoko Ikeda, and Roy Rasmussen

Abstract

Annual precipitation increases of 10% or more are often quoted for the impact of winter orographic cloud seeding; however, establishing the basis for such values is problematic for two reasons. First, the impact of glaciogenic seeding of candidate orographic storms has not been firmly established. Second, not all winter precipitation is produced by candidate “seedable” storms. Addressing the first question motivated the Wyoming state legislature to fund a multiyear, crossover, randomized cloud-seeding experiment in southeastern Wyoming to quantify the impact of glaciogenic seeding of wintertime orographic clouds. The crossover design requires two barriers, one randomly selected for seeding, for comparisons of seeded and nonseeded precipitation under relatively homogeneous atmospheric conditions. Addressing the second question motivated the work here. The seeding criteria—700-hPa temperatures ≤−8°C, 700-hPa winds between 210° and 315°, and the presence of supercooled liquid water—were applied to eight winters to determine the percent of winter precipitation that may fall under the seeding criteria. Since no observational datasets provide precipitation and all of the atmospheric variables required for this study, a regional climate model dynamical downscaling of historical data over 8 years was used. The accuracy of the model was tested against several measurements, and the small model biases were removed. On average, ~26% of the time between 15 November and 15 April atmospheric conditions were seedable over the barriers in southeastern Wyoming. These seedable conditions were accompanied by precipitation ~12%–14% of the time, indicating that ~27%–30% of the winter precipitation resulted from seedable clouds.

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Julie M. Thériault, Roy Rasmussen, Kyoko Ikeda, and Scott Landolt

Abstract

Accurate snowfall measurements are critical for a wide variety of research fields, including snowpack monitoring, climate variability, and hydrological applications. It has been recognized that systematic errors in snowfall measurements are often observed as a result of the gauge geometry and the weather conditions. The goal of this study is to understand better the scatter in the snowfall precipitation rate measured by a gauge. To address this issue, field observations and numerical simulations were carried out. First, a theoretical study using finite-element modeling was used to simulate the flow around the gauge. The snowflake trajectories were investigated using a Lagrangian model, and the derived flow field was used to compute a theoretical collection efficiency for different types of snowflakes. Second, field observations were undertaken to determine how different types, shapes, and sizes of snowflakes are collected inside a Geonor, Inc., precipitation gauge. The results show that the collection efficiency is influenced by the type of snowflakes as well as by their size distribution. Different types of snowflakes, which fall at different terminal velocities, interact differently with the airflow around the gauge. Fast-falling snowflakes are more efficiently collected by the gauge than slow-falling ones. The correction factor used to correct the data for the wind speed is improved by adding a parameter for each type of snowflake. The results show that accurate measure of snow depends on the wind speed as well as the type of snowflake observed during a snowstorm.

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Matteo Colli, Luca G. Lanza, Roy Rasmussen, and Julie M. Thériault

Abstract

The use of windshields to reduce the impact of wind on snow measurements is common. This paper investigates the catching performance of shielded and unshielded gauges using numerical simulations. In Part II, the role of the windshield and gauge aerodynamics, as well as the varying flow field due to the turbulence generated by the shield–gauge configuration, in reducing the catch efficiency is investigated. This builds on the computational fluid dynamics results obtained in Part I, where the airflow patterns in the proximity of an unshielded and single Alter shielded Geonor T-200B gauge are obtained using both time-independent [Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS)] and time-dependent [large-eddy simulation (LES)] approaches. A Lagrangian trajectory model is used to track different types of snowflakes (wet and dry snow) and to assess the variation of the resulting gauge catching performance with the wind speed. The collection efficiency obtained with the LES approach is generally lower than the one obtained with the RANS approach. This is because of the impact of the LES-resolved turbulence above the gauge orifice rim. The comparison between the collection efficiency values obtained in case of shielded and unshielded gauge validates the choice of installing a single Alter shield in a windy environment. However, time-dependent simulations show that the propagating turbulent structures produced by the aerodynamic response of the upwind single Alter blades have an impact on the collection efficiency. Comparison with field observations provides the validation background for the model results.

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