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Edward I. Tollerud, Fernando Caracena, Steven E. Koch, Brian D. Jamison, R. Michael Hardesty, Brandi J. McCarty, Christoph Kiemle, Randall S. Collander, Diana L. Bartels, Steven Albers, Brent Shaw, Daniel L. Birkenheuer, and W. Alan Brewer

Abstract

Previous studies of the low-level jet (LLJ) over the central Great Plains of the United States have been unable to determine the role that mesoscale and smaller circulations play in the transport of moisture. To address this issue, two aircraft missions during the International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) were designed to observe closely a well-developed LLJ over the Great Plains (primarily Oklahoma and Kansas) with multiple observation platforms. In addition to standard operational platforms (most important, radiosondes and profilers) to provide the large-scale setting, dropsondes released from the aircraft at 55-km intervals and a pair of onboard lidar instruments—High Resolution Doppler Lidar (HRDL) for wind and differential absorption lidar (DIAL) for moisture—observed the moisture transport in the LLJ at greater resolution. Using these observations, the authors describe the multiscalar structure of the LLJ and then focus attention on the bulk properties and effects of scales of motion by computing moisture fluxes through cross sections that bracket the LLJ. From these computations, the Reynolds averages within the cross sections can be computed. This allow an estimate to be made of the bulk effect of integrated estimates of the contribution of small-scale (mesoscale to convective scale) circulations to the overall transport. The performance of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model in forecasting the intensity and evolution of the LLJ for this case is briefly examined.

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