Search Results

You are looking at 11 - 20 of 27 items for

  • Author or Editor: Timothy J. Lang x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Angela K. Rowe, Steven A. Rutledge, and Timothy J. Lang

Abstract

A major objective of the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) was to quantify microphysical processes within convection occurring near the steep topography of northwestern Mexico. A previous study compared examples of isolated convection using polarimetric radar data and noted a dependence on mixed-phase processes via drop freezing and subsequent riming growth along the coastal plain and western slopes, with an even greater role of melting ice in rainfall production over the highest terrain. Despite the higher frequency of these isolated cells compared to organized convective systems, the latter were responsible for 75% of rainfall. Therefore, this study seeks to evaluate the role of mesoscale organization on microphysical processes and describes the evolution of these systems as a function of topography.

Similar to isolated convection, both warm-rain and ice-based processes played important roles in producing intense rainfall in organized convection. Although similarities existed between cell types, organized convection was typically deeper and contained greater ice mass, which melted and contributed to the development of outflow boundaries. As convection organized along the slopes, these boundaries spread over the lower terrain, converging with diurnally driven upslope flow, thus allowing for the generation of new convection and propagation toward the coast. Once over lower elevations, additional warm-cloud depth contributed to intense rainfall and allowed for continued ice production. This, along with the development of rear inflow in the trailing stratiform region, led to further development of convective outflow, similar to organized systems in the tropics and midlatitudes.

Full access
Kacie E. Hoover, John R. Mecikalski, Timothy J. Lang, Xuanli Li, Tyler J. Castillo, and Themis Chronis

Abstract

Tropical convection during the onset of two Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events, in October and December of 2011, was simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. Observations from the Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) field campaign were assimilated into the WRF Model for an improved simulation of the mesoscale features of tropical convection. The WRF simulations with the assimilation of DYNAMO data produced realistic representations of mesoscale convection related to westerly wind bursts (WWBs) as well as downdraft-induced gust fronts. An end-to-end simulator (E2ES) for the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission was then applied to the WRF dataset, producing simulated CYGNSS near-surface wind speed data. The results indicated that CYGNSS could detect mesoscale wind features such as WWBs and gust fronts even in the presence of simulated heavy precipitation. This study has two primary conclusions as a consequence: 1) satellite simulators could be used to examine a mission’s capabilities for accomplishing secondary tasks and 2) CYGNSS likely will provide benefits to future tropical oceanic field campaigns that should be considered during their planning processes.

Full access
Kamil Mroz, Alessandro Battaglia, Timothy J. Lang, Daniel J. Cecil, Simone Tanelli, and Frederic Tridon

Abstract

By exploiting an abundant number of extreme storms observed simultaneously by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Core Observatory satellite’s suite of sensors and by the ground-based S-band Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) network over the continental United States, proxies for the identification of hail are developed from the GPM Core Observatory satellite observables. The full capabilities of the GPM Core Observatory are tested by analyzing more than 20 observables and adopting the hydrometeor classification on the basis of ground-based polarimetric measurements being truth. The proxies have been tested using the critical success index (CSI) as a verification measure. The hail-detection algorithm that is based on the mean Ku-band reflectivity in the mixed-phase layer performs the best of all considered proxies (CSI of 45%). Outside the dual-frequency precipitation radar swath, the polarization-corrected temperature at 18.7 GHz shows the greatest potential for hail detection among all GPM Microwave Imager channels (CSI of 26% at a threshold value of 261 K). When dual-variable proxies are considered, the combination involving the mixed-phase reflectivity values at both Ku and Ka bands outperforms all of the other proxies, with a CSI of 49%. The best-performing radar–radiometer algorithm is based on the mixed-phase reflectivity at Ku band and on the brightness temperature (TB) at 10.7 GHz (CSI of 46%). When only radiometric data are available, the algorithm that is based on the TBs at 36.6 and 166 GHz is the most efficient, with a CSI of 27.5%.

Full access
Nick K. Beavis, Timothy J. Lang, Steven A. Rutledge, Walter A. Lyons, and Steven A. Cummer

Abstract

The use of both total charge moment change (CMC) and impulse charge moment change (iCMC) magnitudes to assess the potential of a cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning stroke to induce a mesospheric sprite has been well described in the literature, particularly on a case study basis. In this climatological study, large iCMC discharges for thresholds of >100 and >300 C km in both positive and negative polarities are analyzed on a seasonal basis. Also presented are local solar time diurnal distributions in eight different regions covering the lower 48 states as well as the adjacent Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf Stream.

The seasonal maps show the predisposition of large positive iCMCs to dominate across the northern Great Plains, with large negative iCMCs favored in the southeastern United States year-round. During summer, the highest frequency of large positive iCMCs across the upper Midwest aligns closely with the preferred tracks of nocturnal mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). As iCMC values increase above 300 C km, the maximum shifts eastward of the 100 C km maximum in the central plains.

Diurnal distributions in the eight regions support these conclusions, with a nocturnal peak in large iCMC discharges in the northern Great Plains and Great Lakes, an early to midafternoon peak in the Intermountain West and the southeastern United States, and a morning peak in large iCMC discharge activity over the Atlantic Ocean. Large negative iCMCs peak earlier in time than large positive iCMCs, which may be attributed to the growth of large stratiform charge reservoirs following initial convective development.

Full access
Corey G. Amiot, Sayak K. Biswas, Timothy J. Lang, and David I. Duncan

Abstract

Recent upgrades, calibration, and scan-angle bias reductions to the Advanced Microwave Precipitation Radiometer (AMPR) have yielded physically realistic brightness temperatures (Tb) from the Olympic Mountains Experiment and Radar Definition Experiment (OLYMPEX/RADEX) dataset. Measured mixed-polarization Tb were converted to horizontally and vertically polarized Tb via dual-polarization deconvolution, and linear regression equations were developed to retrieve integrated cloud liquid water (CLW), water vapor (WV), and 10-m wind speed (WS) using simulated AMPR Tb and modeled atmospheric profiles. These equations were tested using AMPR Tb collected during four OLYMPEX/RADEX cases; the resulting geophysical values were compared with independent retrieval (1DVAR) results from the same dataset, while WV and WS were also compared with in situ data.

Geophysical calculations using simulated Tb yielded relatively low retrieval and crosstalk errors when compared with modeled profiles; average CLW, WV, and WS root-mean-square deviations (RMSD) were 0.11 mm, 1.28 mm, and 1.11 m s−1, respectively, with median absolute deviations (MedAD) of 2.26 x 10−2 mm, 0.22 mm, and 0.55 m s−1, respectively. When applied to OLYMPEX/RADEX data, the new retrieval equations compared well with 1DVAR; CLW, WV, and WS RMSD were 9.95 × 10−2 mm, 2.00 mm, and 2.35 m s−1, respectively, and MedAD were 2.88 × 10−2 mm, 1.14 mm, and 1.82 m s−1, respectively. WV MedAD between the new equations and dropsondes were 2.10 and 1.80 mm at the time and location of minimum dropsonde altitude, respectively, while WS MedAD were 1.15 and 1.53 m s−1, respectively, further indicating the utility of these equations.

Restricted access
Timothy J. Lang, Steven A. Rutledge, James E. Dye, Martin Venticinque, Pierre Laroche, and Eric Defer

Abstract

Concurrent measurements from the CSU-CHILL multiparameter Doppler radar, the Office National d’Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales VHF lightning interferometer, and the National Lightning Detection Network, obtained during phase A of the Stratosphere–Troposphere Experiments: Radiation, Aerosols, Ozone (STERAO-A) field project, provided a unique dataset with which to study the relationships between convective storm microphysics and associated lightning. Two storms have been examined in detail in this study: 10 and 12 July 1996. Both storms were long lived, existing in some form for over 4 h apiece, and produced very low cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flash rates, in particular negative CG flash rates (generally <1 min−1 and often no CG flashes for periods ranging from 10 to almost 30 min), during all or a portion of their lifetimes while simultaneously producing relatively high intracloud (IC) flash rates (>30 min−1 at peak). For both storms, radar reflectivity intensity and the production of hail were anticorrelated with the production of significant negative cloud-to-ground lightning. These observations are shown to be consistent with an elevated charge hypothesis and suggest a possible way of correlating updraft speed, hail, and storm severity to CG and IC flash rates.

Full access
Timothy J. Lang, Steven A. Rutledge, Brenda Dolan, Paul Krehbiel, William Rison, and Daniel T. Lindsey

Abstract

Pyrocumulus clouds above three Colorado wildfires (Hewlett Gulch, High Park, and Waldo Canyon; all during the summer of 2012) electrified and produced localized intracloud discharges whenever the smoke plumes grew above 10 km MSL (approximately −45°C). Vertical development occurred during periods of rapid wildfire growth, as indicated by the shortwave infrared channel on a geostationary satellite, as well as by incident reports. The lightning discharges were detected by a three-dimensional lightning mapping network. Based on Doppler and polarimetric radar observations, they likely were caused by ice-based electrification processes that did not involve significant amounts of high-density graupel. Plumes that did not feature significant amounts of radar-inferred ice at high altitudes did not produce lightning, which means lightning observations may assist in diagnosing pyrocumulus features that could affect the radiative characteristics and chemical composition of the upper troposphere. The lightning was not detected by the National Lightning Detection Network, implying that pyrocumulus lightning may occur more frequently than past studies (which lacked access to detailed intracloud information) might suggest. Given the known spatial and temporal advantages provided by lightning networks over radar and satellite data, the results also indicate a possible new application for lightning data in monitoring wildfire state.

Full access
Robert Cifelli, Timothy Lang, Steven A. Rutledge, Nick Guy, Edward J. Zipser, Jon Zawislak, and Robert Holzworth

Abstract

The evolution of an African easterly wave is described using ground-based radar and ancillary datasets from three locations in West Africa: Niamey, Niger (continental), Dakar, Senegal (coastal), and Praia, Republic of Cape Verde (oceanic). The data were collected during the combined African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (AMMA) and NASA AMMA (NAMMA) campaigns in August–September 2006.

Two precipitation events originated within the wave circulation and propagated with the wave across West Africa. Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) associated with these events were identified at all three sites ahead of, within, and behind the 700-mb wave trough. An additional propagating event was indentified that originated east of the wave and moved through the wave circulation. The MCS activity associated with this event did not show any appreciable change resulting from its interaction with the wave. The MCS characteristics at each site were different, likely due to a combination of life cycle effects and changes in relative phasing between the propagating systems and the position of low-level convergence and thermodynamic instability associated with the wave. At the ocean and coastal sites, the most intense convection occurred ahead of the wave trough where both high CAPE and low-level convergence were concentrated. At the continental site, convection was relatively weak owing to the fact that the wave dynamics and thermodynamics were not in sync when the systems passed through Niamey. The only apparent effect of the wave on MCS activity at the continental site was to extend the period of precipitation activity during one of the events that passed through coincident with the 700-mb wave trough. Convective organization at the land sites was primarily in the form of squall lines and linear MCSs oriented perpendicular to the low-level shear. The organization at the oceanic site was more complicated, transitioning from linear MCSs to widespread stratiform cloud with embedded convection. The precipitation activity was also much longer lived at the oceanic site due to the wave becoming nearly stationary near the Cape Verdes, providing an environment supportive of deep convection for an extended period.

Full access
Kamil Mroz, Alessandro Battaglia, Timothy J. Lang, Simone Tanelli, and Gian Franco Sacco

Abstract

A statistical analysis of simultaneous observations of more than 800 hailstorms over the continental United States performed by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Dual-Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and the ground-based Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) network has been carried out. Several distinctive features of DPR measurements of hail-bearing columns, potentially exploitable by hydrometeor classification algorithms, are identified. In particular, the height and the strength of the Ka-band reflectivity peak show a strong relationship with the hail shaft area within the instrument field of view (FOV). Signatures of multiple scattering (MS) at the Ka band are observed for a range of rimed particles, including but not exclusively for hail. MS amplifies uncertainty in the effective Ka reflectivity estimate and has a negative impact on the accuracy of dual-frequency rainfall retrievals at the ground. The hydrometeor composition of convective cells presents a large inhomogeneity within the DPR FOV. Strong nonuniform beamfilling (NUBF) introduces large ambiguities in the attenuation correction at Ku and Ka bands, which additionally hamper quantitative retrievals. The effective detection of profiles affected by MS is a very challenging task, since the inhomogeneity within the DPR FOV may result in measurements that look remarkably like MS signatures. The shape of the DPR reflectivity profiles is the result of the complex interplay between the scattering properties of the different hydrometeors, NUBF, and MS effects, which significantly reduces the ability of the DPR system to detect hail at the ground.

Open access
Angela K. Rowe, Steven A. Rutledge, Timothy J. Lang, Paul E. Ciesielski, and Stephen M. Saleeby

Abstract

Radar data from the 2004 North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) enhanced observing period were used to investigate diurnal trends and vertical structure of precipitating features relative to local terrain. Two-dimensional composites of reflectivity and rain rate, created from the two Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN; Mexican Weather Service) C-band Doppler radars and NCAR’s S-band polarimetric Doppler radar (S-Pol), were divided into four elevation groups: over water, 0–1000 m (MSL), 1000–2000 m, and greater than 2000 m. Analysis of precipitation frequency and average rainfall intensity using these composites reveals a strong diurnal trend in precipitation similar to that observed by the NAME Event Rain Gauge Network. Precipitation occurs most frequently during the afternoon over the Sierra Madre Occidental (SMO), with the peak frequency moving over the lower elevations by evening. Also, the precipitation events over the lower elevations are less frequent but of greater intensity (rain rate) than those over the SMO. Precipitation echoes were partitioned into convective and stratiform components to allow for examination of vertical characteristics of convection using data from S-Pol. Analyses of reflectivity profiles and echo-top heights confirm that convection over the lower terrain is more intense and vertically developed than convection over the SMO. Warm-cloud depths, estimated from the Colorado State University–NAME upper-air and surface gridded analyses are, on average, 2 times as deep over the lower terrain as compared with over the SMO. Using a simplified stochastic model for drop growth, it is shown that these differences in warm-cloud depths could possibly explain the observed elevation-dependent trends in precipitation intensity.

Full access