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Xin Xu, Ming Xue, and Yuan Wang


A derecho-producing bow-echo event over the central United States on 8 May 2009 is analyzed based on radar observations and a successful real-data WRF simulation at 0.8-km grid spacing. Emphasis is placed on documenting the existence, evolution, and characteristics of low-level mesovortices (MVs) that form along the leading edge of the bowing system. The genesis of near-surface high winds within the system is also investigated.

Significant MVs are detected from the radar radial velocity using a linear least squares derivatives (LLSD) method, and from the model simulation based on calculated vorticity. Both the observed and simulated bow-echo MVs predominantly form north of the bow apex. MVs that develop on the southern bow tend to be weaker and shorter-lived than their northern counterparts. Vortex mergers occur between MVs during their forward movement, which causes redevelopment of some MVs in the decaying stage of the bow echo. MVs located at (or near) the bow apex are found to persist for a notably longer lifetime than the other MVs. Moreover, the model results show that these bow-apex MVs are accompanied with damaging straight-line winds near the surface. These high winds are mainly caused by the descent of the rear-inflow jet at the bow apex, but the MV-induced vortical flow also has a considerable contribution. The locally enhanced descent of the rear-inflow jet near the mesovortex is forced primarily by the dynamically induced downward vertical pressure gradient force while the buoyancy force only plays a minor role there.

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Yu-Chieng Liou, Po-Chien Yang, and Wen-Yuan Wang


A new thermodynamic retrieval scheme is developed by which one can use the wind fields synthesized from multiple-Doppler radars to derive the three-dimensional thermodynamic fields over complex terrain. A cost function consisting of momentum equations and a simplified thermodynamic equation is formulated. By categorizing the analysis domain into flow and terrain regions, the variational technique is applied to minimize this cost function only within the flow region, leading to the solutions for the three-dimensional pressure and temperature perturbations immediately over terrain. Using idealized datasets generated by a numerical model, an experiment is first conducted to assess the accuracy of the proposed algorithm. The retrieval scheme is then applied to a real case that occurred during the 2008 Southwestern Monsoon Experiment (SoWMEX) conducted in Taiwan. The retrieved thermodynamic fields, verified by radiosonde data, reveal the structure of a prefrontal squall line as it approaches a mountain. The retrieved three-dimensional high-resolution pressure and temperature along with the wind fields not only allow us to better understand the thermodynamic and kinematic structure of a heavy rainfall system, but can also be assimilated into a numerical model to improve the forecast.

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