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Binbin Zhou
and
Brad S. Ferrier

Abstract

A vertical distribution formulation of liquid water content (LWC) for steady radiation fog was obtained and examined through the singular perturbation method. The asymptotic LWC distribution is a consequential balance among cooling, droplet gravitational settling, and turbulence in the liquid water budget of radiation fog. The cooling produces liquid water, which is depleted by turbulence near the surface. The influence of turbulence on the liquid water budget decreases with height and is more significant for shallow fogs than for deep fogs. The depth of the region of surface-induced turbulence can be characterized with a fog boundary layer (FBL). The behavior of the FBL bears some resemblance to the surface mixing layer in radiation fog. The characteristic depth of the FBL is thinner for weaker turbulence and stronger cooling, whereas if turbulence intensity increases or cooling rate decreases then the FBL will develop from the ground. The asymptotic formulation also reveals a critical turbulent exchange coefficient for radiation fog that defines the upper bound of turbulence intensity that a steady fog can withstand. The deeper a fog is, the stronger a turbulence intensity it can endure. The persistence condition for a steady fog can be parameterized by either the critical turbulent exchange coefficient or the characteristic depth of the FBL. If the turbulence intensity inside a fog is smaller than the turbulence threshold, the fog persists, whereas if the turbulence intensity exceeds the turbulence threshold or the characteristic depth of the FBL dominates the entire fog bank then the balance will be destroyed, leading to dissipation of the existing fog. The asymptotic formulation has a first-order approximation with respect to turbulence intensity. Verifications with numerical solutions and an observed fog event showed that it is more accurate for weak turbulence than for strong turbulence and that the computed LWC generally agrees with the observed LWC in magnitude.

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J. Marshall Shepherd
,
Brad S. Ferrier
, and
Peter S. Ray

Abstract

Central Florida is the ideal test laboratory for studying convergence zone–induced convection. The region regularly experiences sea-breeze fronts and rainfall-induced outflow boundaries. The focus of this study is convection associated with the commonly occurring convergence zone established by the interaction of the sea-breeze front and an outflow boundary. Previous studies have investigated mechanisms primarily affecting storm initiation by such convergence zones. Few have focused on rainfall morphology, yet these storms contribute a significant amount of precipitation to the annual rainfall budget. Low-level convergence and midtropospheric moisture have been shown to be correlated with rainfall amounts in Florida. Using 2D and 3D numerical simulations, the roles of low-level convergence and midtropospheric moisture in rainfall evolution are examined.

The results indicate that area- and time-averaged, vertical moisture flux (VMF) at the sea-breeze front–outflow convergence zone is directly and linearly proportional to initial condensation rates. A similar relationship exists between VMF and initial rainfall. The VMF, which encompasses depth and magnitude of convergence, is better correlated to initial rainfall production than surface moisture convergence. This extends early observational studies that linked rainfall in Florida to surface moisture convergence. The amount and distribution of midtropospheric moisture affects how much rainfall associated with secondary cells develop. Rainfall amount and efficiency varied significantly over an observable range of relative humidities in the 850–500-mb layer even though rainfall evolution was similar during the initial or “first cell” period. Rainfall variability was attributed to drier midtropospheric environments inhibiting secondary cell development through entrainment effects. Observationally, a 850–500-mb moisture structure exhibits wider variability than lower-level moisture, which is virtually always present in Florida. A likely consequence of the variability in 850–500-mb moisture is a stronger statistical correlation to rainfall as noted in previous observational studies.

The VMF at convergence zones is critical in determining rainfall in the initial stage of development but plays a decreasing role in rainfall evolution as the system matures. The midtropospheric moisture (e.g., environment) plays an increasing role in rainfall evolution as the system matures. This suggests the need to improve measurements of depth and magnitude of convergence and midtropospheric moisture distribution. It also highlights that the influence of the environment needs to be better represented in convective parameterizations of larger-scale models to account for entrainment effects.

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Christopher Lucas
,
Edward J. Zipser
, and
Brad S. Ferrier

Abstract

Two-dimensional experiments using the Goddard Cumulus Ensemble model are performed in order to examine the influence of environmental profiles of wind and humidity on the dynamical and microphysical structure of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) over the tropical oceans. The initial environments used in this study are derived from the results of a cluster analysis of the TOGA COARE sounding data. The model data are analyzed with methods and measurements similar to those used in observational studies.

Experiments to test the sensitivity of MCSs to the thermodynamic profile focus on the role of humidity in the free troposphere. In the experiments, a constant amount of relative humidity is added to every level above the boundary layer. As humidity is increased, model storms transition from weak, unsteady systems with little precipitation to strong, upshear-tilted systems with copious rainfall. This behavior is hypothesized to be the result of the entrainment of environmental air into the updraft cores.

Experiments to test the sensitivity of MCSs to the kinematic profile focus on the amount of vertical wind shear in the midlevels, between approximately 2 and 10 km. Five kinematic profiles are used. The dynamical and microphysical characteristics of the runs changed dramatically in different shear environments. Shear in the midlevels affects the convective systems by altering the perturbation pressure field. Stronger shear results in a broader and deeper mesolow below the updraft and a more intense dynamic high above the leading edge.

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Jamie K. Wolff
,
Brad S. Ferrier
, and
Clifford F. Mass
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Jeffrey B. Halverson
,
Brad S. Ferrier
,
Thomas M. Rickenbach
,
Joanne Simpson
, and
Wei-Kuo Tao

Abstract

An active day during the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) Intensive Observation Period (IOP) is examined in which nine convective systems evolved and moved eastward across the region of shipboard radar coverage in the Intensive Flux Array (IFA) within westerly wind burst conditions. The detailed genesis, morphology, and interactions between these cloud systems are documented from a radar and satellite perspective. One of these systems was a large and complex elliptical cluster, among the largest observed during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere COARE. Multiple, parallel deep convective lines spaced 20–30 km apart and embedded within this system were initially oriented from north-northwest to south-southeast, oblique to the storm motion. Furthermore, the lines underwent counterclockwise realignment as the system moved eastward. The influence of strong lower-tropospheric directional and speed shear on these convective system properties is examined in the context of a dynamic, large-scale near-equatorial trough/transequatorial flow regime. A daily analysis of flow conditions during the 119-day IOP revealed that this type of synoptic regime was present in the IFA at least 40% of the time.

Radar-derived rainfall statistics are examined throughout the life cycles of each individual convective system. Spatial mapping of accumulated rainfall reveals long, linear swaths produced by the most intense cells embedded within convective lines. The evolution of rainfall properties includes an increase in the stratiform rainfall fraction and areal coverage in later generations of systems, with a peak in total rainfall production after local midnight. These trends can be explained by anvil cloud interactions originating within the sequence of closely spaced disturbances, including the effects of both enhanced midtropospheric moisture and also strong reversing (easterly) shear. The issue of boundary layer recovery between the frequent, intense convective systems on this day is also examined.

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Walter A. Petersen
,
Robert C. Cifelli
,
Steven A. Rutledge
,
Brad S. Ferrier
, and
Bradley F. Smull

Shipborne Doppler radar operations were conducted over the western Pacific warm pool during TOGA COARE using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NOAA TOGA C-band Doppler radars. Occasionally the ships carrying these radars were brought to within 50 km of each other to conduct coordinated dual-Doppler scanning. The dual-Doppler operations were considered a test of the logistical and engineering constraints associated with establishing a seagoing dual-Doppler configuration. A very successful dual-Doppler data collection period took place on 9 February 1993 when an oceanic squall line developed, intensified, and propagated through the shipborne dual-Doppler lobes. Later on the same day, NOAA P-3 aircraft sampled a more intense squall line located approximately 400 km to the southeast of the shipborne operations. This study provides an overview of the shipborne dual-Doppler operations, followed by a comparison of the kinematic and precipitation structures of the convective systems sampled by the ships and aircraft. Special emphasis is placed on interpretation of the results relative to the electrical characteristics of each system.

Soundings taken in the vicinity of the ship and aircraft cases exhibited similar thermodynamic instability and shear. Yet Doppler radar analyses suggest that the aircraft case exhibited a larger degree of low-level forcing, stronger updrafts, more precipitation mass in the mixed-phase region of the clouds, and a relatively higher degree of electrification as evidenced by lightning observations. Conversely, convection in the ship case, while producing maximum cloud-top heights of 16 km, was associated with relatively weaker low-level forcing, weaker vertical development above the −5°C level, moderate electric fields at the surface, and little detectable lightning. Differences in the kinematic and precipitation structures were further manifested in composite vertical profiles of mean convective precipitation and vertical motion. When considered relative to the electrical properties of the two systems, the results provide further circumstantial evidence to support previously hypothesized vertical velocity and radar reflectivity thresholds that must be exceeded in the 0° to −20°C regions of tropical cumulonimbi prior to the occurrence of lightning.

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David A. Short
,
Paul A. Kucera
,
Brad S. Ferrier
,
John C. Gerlach
,
Steven A. Rutiedge
, and
Otto W. Thiele

Radar rainfall measurements over the equatorial western Pacific warm pool were collected by two shipboard Doppler radars as part of the Tropical Oceans Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment during the intensive observing period (November 1992–February 1993). A comprehensive dataset of gridded rainfall fields, convective/stratiform identification maps, and vertical structure products has been produced, covering an area approximately 400 km (E–W) by 300 km (N–S) within the Intensive Flux Array (IFA), centered near 2°S, 156°E. The radar rainfall product, which was used as validation for the Third Algorithm Intercomparison Project of the Global Precipitation Climatology Project, indicates an overall average of 4.8 mm day−1; however, correction for range dependence increases the total to 5.4 mm day−1. Rainfall patterns varied considerably during the experiment with isolated convection dominating periods of light winds, while squall lines and organized mesoscale systems were abundant during two westerly wind bursts. An area-average rainfall of 9.9 mm day−1 was observed during the active 2-week period at the end of December, while 0.4 mm day−1 was observed during the quiescent week of 2–8 February. The eastern portion of the IFA received the most rainfall with localized maxima exceeding 16 mm day−1 for the most active 3-week period. Comparison of daily radar rainfall totals with those observed by an optical rain gauge (ORG) on the 2°S, 156°E buoy shows ORG totals to be systematically higher, by a factor of 2.5. The discrepancy results from a higher average rainfall rate, when raining, as reported by the buoy ORG. However, rainfall rate statistics from the ORGs on the research vessel Xiang Yang Hong #5 and from its radar are in excellent agreement under the following conditions: 1) the ship is drifting, and 2) the radar data are in the near vicinity of the ship (3–7 km).

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Adam J. Clark
,
Israel L. Jirak
,
Scott R. Dembek
,
Gerry J. Creager
,
Fanyou Kong
,
Kevin W. Thomas
,
Kent H. Knopfmeier
,
Burkely T. Gallo
,
Christopher J. Melick
,
Ming Xue
,
Keith A. Brewster
,
Youngsun Jung
,
Aaron Kennedy
,
Xiquan Dong
,
Joshua Markel
,
Matthew Gilmore
,
Glen S. Romine
,
Kathryn R. Fossell
,
Ryan A. Sobash
,
Jacob R. Carley
,
Brad S. Ferrier
,
Matthew Pyle
,
Curtis R. Alexander
,
Steven J. Weiss
,
John S. Kain
,
Louis J. Wicker
,
Gregory Thompson
,
Rebecca D. Adams-Selin
, and
David A. Imy

Abstract

One primary goal of annual Spring Forecasting Experiments (SFEs), which are coorganized by NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory and Storm Prediction Center and conducted in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hazardous Weather Testbed, is documenting performance characteristics of experimental, convection-allowing modeling systems (CAMs). Since 2007, the number of CAMs (including CAM ensembles) examined in the SFEs has increased dramatically, peaking at six different CAM ensembles in 2015. Meanwhile, major advances have been made in creating, importing, processing, verifying, and developing tools for analyzing and visualizing these large and complex datasets. However, progress toward identifying optimal CAM ensemble configurations has been inhibited because the different CAM systems have been independently designed, making it difficult to attribute differences in performance characteristics. Thus, for the 2016 SFE, a much more coordinated effort among many collaborators was made by agreeing on a set of model specifications (e.g., model version, grid spacing, domain size, and physics) so that the simulations contributed by each collaborator could be combined to form one large, carefully designed ensemble known as the Community Leveraged Unified Ensemble (CLUE). The 2016 CLUE was composed of 65 members contributed by five research institutions and represents an unprecedented effort to enable an evidence-driven decision process to help guide NOAA’s operational modeling efforts. Eight unique experiments were designed within the CLUE framework to examine issues directly relevant to the design of NOAA’s future operational CAM-based ensembles. This article will highlight the CLUE design and present results from one of the experiments examining the impact of single versus multicore CAM ensemble configurations.

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