Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 16 items for

  • Author or Editor: Evan A. Kalina x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Evan A. Kalina
,
Katja Friedrich
,
Hugh Morrison
, and
George H. Bryan

Abstract

Idealized supercell thunderstorms are simulated with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model at 15 cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations (100–10 000 cm−3) using four environmental soundings with different low-level relative humidity (RH) and vertical wind shear values. The Morrison microphysics scheme is used with explicit prediction of cloud droplet number concentration and a variable shape parameter for the raindrop size distribution (results from simulations with a fixed shape parameter are also presented). Changes in the microphysical process rates with CCN concentration are negligible beyond CCN ≈ 3000 cm−3. Changes in cold pool characteristics with CCN concentration are nonmonotonic and highly dependent on the environmental conditions. In moist conditions with moderate vertical wind shear, the cold pool area is nearly constant with respect to CCN concentration, while the area is reduced by 84% and 22% in the soundings with dry RH and large vertical wind shear, respectively. With the exception of the dry RH sounding, domain-averaged precipitation peaks between 500 and 5000 cm−3, after which it remains constant or slowly decreases. For the dry RH sounding, the domain-averaged precipitation monotonically decreases with CCN concentration. Accumulated precipitation is enhanced (by up to 25 mm) in the most polluted cases near the updrafts, except for the dry RH sounding. The different responses for moist and dry soundings are mostly due to increased (decreased) low-level latent cooling from melting hail (evaporating rain) with increasing CCN concentration in the moist soundings. This compensating effect does not exist when the low-level RH is dry.

Full access
Katja Friedrich
,
Evan A. Kalina
,
Joshua Aikins
,
David Gochis
, and
Roy Rasmussen

Abstract

Radar and disdrometer observations collected during the 2013 Great Colorado Flood are used to diagnose the spatial and vertical structure of clouds and precipitation during episodes of intense rainfall. The analysis focuses on 30 h of intense rainfall in the vicinity of Boulder, Colorado, during 2200–0400 UTC 11–13 September. The strongest rainfall occurred along lower parts of the Colorado Front Range at >1.6 km MSL and on the northern side of the Palmer Divide. The vertical structure of clouds and horizontal distribution of rainfall are strongly linked to upslope flow and low-level forcing, which resulted in surface convergence. During times of weak forcing, shallow convection produced rain at and below the melting layer through collision–coalescence and, to a lesser extent, riming. A mesoscale circulation interacting with the local terrain produced convective rainfall with high cloud tops that favored ice crystal production. During moderate forcing with cloud tops slightly exceeding the 0°C level, both cold- and warm-phase microphysical processes dominated. Less rain with weaker rainfall rates was observed over the higher-elevation stations compared to the lower-elevation stations across the foothills.

Full access
Robinson Wallace
,
Katja Friedrich
,
Evan A. Kalina
, and
Paul Schlatter

Abstract

Thunderstorms that produce surface hail accumulations, sometimes as large as 60 cm in depth, have significantly affected the residents of the Front Range and High Plains of Colorado and Wyoming by creating hazardous road conditions and endangering lives and property. To date, surface hail accumulation is not part of a routine forecasting or monitoring system. Extensive coordinated hail accumulation reports and operational products designed to identify deep hail accumulating storms in real time are lacking. Kalina et al. used dual-polarization WSR-88D radar observations to calculate hail depth and hail accumulations but never validated the algorithm. This study shows how 20 quality-controlled hail depth reports from the hail depth database built by the Colorado Hail Accumulation from Thunderstorms (CHAT) project are being used to validate the Kalina et al. radar-based hail accumulation algorithm for operational application. The validated algorithm shows increased correlations between radar-derived and reported accumulations for hail depth reports not included in the validation. Furthermore, increases in computational efficiency have allowed the improved algorithm to be used operationally. With an improved hail accumulation algorithm, thunderstorms that produce hail accumulations are more frequently detected than previously reported.

Full access
Robinson Wallace
,
Katja Friedrich
,
Wiebke Deierling
,
Evan A. Kalina
, and
Paul Schlatter

Abstract

Thunderstorms that produce hail accumulations at the surface can impact residents by obstructing roadways, closing airports, and causing localized flooding from hail-clogged drainages. These storms have recently gained an increased interest within the scientific community. However, differences that are observable in real time between these storms and storms that produce nonimpactful hail accumulations have yet to be documented. Similarly, the characteristics within a single storm that are useful to quantify or predict hail accumulations are not fully understood. This study uses lightning and dual-polarization radar data to characterize hail accumulations from three storms that occurred on the same day along the Colorado–Wyoming Front Range. Each storm’s characteristics are verified against radar-derived hail accumulation maps and in situ observations. The storms differed in maximum accumulation, either producing 22 cm, 7 cm, or no accumulation. The magnitude of surface hail accumulations is found to be dependent on a combination of in-cloud hail production, storm translation speed, and hailstone melting. The optimal combination for substantial hail accumulations is enhanced in-cloud hail production, slow storm speed, and limited hailstone melting. However, during periods of similar in-cloud hail production, lesser accumulations are derived when storm speed and/or hailstone melting, identified by radar presentation, is sufficiently large. These results will aid forecasters in identifying when hail accumulations are occurring in real time.

Free access
Joseph J. Cione
,
Evan A. Kalina
,
Jun A. Zhang
, and
Eric W. Uhlhorn

Abstract

Recent enhancements to the tropical cyclone-buoy database (TCBD) have incorporated data from the Extended Best Track (EBT) and the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) archive for tropical cyclones between 1975 and 2007. This information is used to analyze the relationships between large-scale atmospheric parameters, radial and shear-relative air–sea structure, and intensity change in strengthening and weakening hurricanes. Observations from this research illustrate that the direction of the large-scale vertical wind shear at mid- to low levels can impact atmospheric moisture conditions found near the surface. Drier low-level environments were associated with northerly shear conditions. In a separate analysis comparing strengthening and weakening hurricanes, drier surface conditions were also found for the intensifying sample. Since SST conditions were similar for both groups of storms, it is likely that the atmosphere was primarily responsible for modifying the near-surface thermodynamic environment (and ultimately surface moisture flux conditions) for this particular analysis.

Full access
Joshua B. Wadler
,
Joseph J. Cione
,
Jun A. Zhang
,
Evan A. Kalina
, and
John Kaplan

Abstract

The relationship between deep-layer environmental wind shear direction and tropical cyclone (TC) boundary layer thermodynamic structures is explored in multiple independent databases. Analyses derived from the tropical cyclone buoy database (TCBD) show that when TCs experience northerly component shear, the 10-m equivalent potential temperature θe tends to be more symmetric than when shear has a southerly component. The primary asymmetry in θe in TCs experiencing southerly component shear is radially outward from 2 times the radius of maximum wind speed, with the left-of-shear quadrants having lower θe by 4–6 K than the right-of-shear quadrants. As with the TCBD, an asymmetric distribution of 10-m θe for TCs experiencing southerly component shear and a symmetric distribution of 10-m θe for TCs experiencing northerly component shear was found using composite observations from dropsondes. These analyses show that differences in the degree of symmetry near the sea surface extend through the depth of the boundary layer. Additionally, mean dropsonde profiles illustrate that TCs experiencing northerly component shear are more potentially unstable between 500- and 1000-m altitude, signaling a more favorable environment for the development of surface-based convection in rainband regions. Analyses from the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) database show that subsequent strengthening for TCs in the Atlantic Ocean basin preferentially occurs in northerly component deep-layer environmental wind shear environments whereas subsequent weakening preferentially occurs in southerly component wind shear environments, which further illustrates that the asymmetric distribution of boundary layer thermodynamics is unfavorable for TC intensification. These differences emphasize the impact of deep-layer wind shear direction on TC intensity changes that likely result from the superposition of large-scale advection with the shear-relative asymmetries in TC structure.

Significance Statement

This research investigates how the direction of the winds surrounding the storm impacts the strength of a tropical cyclone. Analyses from this study illustrate that when the winds come from the south the atmospheric boundary layer has a cool and dry side along with a warm and moist side. When the large-scale winds come from the north, temperature and moisture conditions are more uniform throughout the boundary layer. Consequently, results from tropical cyclone climatology show that winds observed to come from the north favor subsequent intensification. These relationships illustrate that tropical cyclone structure and intensity are directly influenced by their surrounding environments and that knowledge of the wind environment could help to improve future forecasts of tropical cyclone intensity change.

Full access
Evan A. Kalina
,
Katja Friedrich
,
Scott M. Ellis
, and
Donald W. Burgess

Abstract

Microphysical data from thunderstorms are sparse, yet they are essential to validate microphysical schemes in numerical models. Mobile, dual-polarization, X-band radars are capable of providing a wealth of data that include radar reflectivity, drop shape, and hydrometeor type. However, X-band radars suffer from beam attenuation in heavy rainfall and hail, which can be partially corrected with attenuation correction schemes. In this research, the authors compare surface disdrometer observations to results from a differential phase-based attenuation correction scheme. This scheme is applied to data recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) X-band dual-polarized (NOXP) mobile radar, which was deployed during the second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2). Results are presented from five supercell thunderstorms and one squall line (183 min of data). The median disagreement (radar–disdrometer) in attenuation-corrected reflectivity Z and differential reflectivity Z DR is just 1.0 and 0.19 dB, respectively. However, two data subsets reveal much larger discrepancies in Z (Z DR): 5.8 (1.6) dB in a hailstorm and −13 (−0.61) dB when the radar signal quality index (SQI) is less than 0.8. The discrepancies are much smaller when disdrometer and S-band Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) Z are compared, with differences of −1.5 dB (hailstorm) and −0.66 dB (NOXP SQI < 0.8). A comparison of the hydrometeor type retrieved from disdrometer and NOXP radar data is also presented, in which the same class is assigned 63% of the time.

Full access
Katja Friedrich
,
Evan A. Kalina
,
Forrest J. Masters
, and
Carlos R. Lopez

Abstract

When studying the influence of microphysics on the near-surface buoyancy tendency in convective thunderstorms, in situ measurements of microphysics near the surface are essential and those are currently not provided by most weather radars. In this study, the deployment of mobile microphysical probes in convective thunderstorms during the second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2) is examined. Microphysical probes consist of an optical Ott Particle Size and Velocity (PARSIVEL) disdrometer that measures particle size and fall velocity distributions and a surface observation station that measures wind, temperature, and humidity. The mobile probe deployment allows for targeted observations within various areas of the storm and coordinated observations with ground-based mobile radars. Quality control schemes necessary for providing reliable observations in severe environments with strong winds and high rainfall rates and particle discrimination schemes for distinguishing between hail, rain, and graupel are discussed. It is demonstrated how raindrop-size distributions for selected cases can be applied to study size-sorting and microphysical processes. The study revealed that the raindrop-size distribution changes rapidly in time and space in convective thunderstorms. Graupel, hailstones, and large raindrops were primarily observed close to the updraft region of thunderstorms in the forward- and rear-flank downdrafts and in the reflectivity hook appendage. Close to the updraft, large raindrops were usually accompanied by an increase in small-sized raindrops, which mainly occurred when the wind speed and standard deviation of the wind speed increased. This increase in small drops could be an indicator of raindrop breakup.

Full access
Jun A. Zhang
,
Joseph J. Cione
,
Evan A. Kalina
,
Eric W. Uhlhorn
,
Terry Hock
, and
Jeffrey A. Smith

Abstract

This study highlights infrared sensor technology incorporated into the global positioning system (GPS) dropsonde platforms to obtain sea surface temperature (SST) measurements. This modified sonde (IRsonde) is used to improve understanding of air–sea interaction in tropical cyclones (TCs). As part of the Sandy Supplemental Program, IRsondes were constructed and then deployed during the 2014 hurricane season. Comparisons between SSTs measured by collocated IRsondes and ocean expendables show good agreement, especially in regions with no rain contamination. Surface fluxes were estimated using measurements from the IRsondes and AXBTs via a bulk method that requires measurements of SST and near-surface (10 m) wind speed, temperature, and humidity. The evolution of surface fluxes and their role in the intensification and weakening of Hurricane Edouard (2014) are discussed in the context of boundary layer recovery. The study’s result emphasizes the important role of surface flux–induced boundary layer recovery in regulating the low-level thermodynamic structure that is tied to the asymmetry of convection and TC intensity change.

Full access
Katja Friedrich
,
Evan A. Kalina
,
Joshua Aikins
,
Matthias Steiner
,
David Gochis
,
Paul A. Kucera
,
Kyoko Ikeda
, and
Juanzhen Sun

Abstract

Drop size distributions observed by four Particle Size Velocity (PARSIVEL) disdrometers during the 2013 Great Colorado Flood are used to diagnose rain characteristics during intensive rainfall episodes. The analysis focuses on 30 h of intense rainfall in the vicinity of Boulder, Colorado, from 2200 UTC 11 September to 0400 UTC 13 September 2013. Rainfall rates R, median volume diameters D 0, reflectivity Z, drop size distributions (DSDs), and gamma DSD parameters were derived and compared between the foothills and adjacent plains locations. Rainfall throughout the entire event was characterized by a large number of small- to medium-sized raindrops (diameters smaller than 1.5 mm) resulting in small values of Z (<40 dBZ), differential reflectivity Z dr (<1.3 dB), specific differential phase K dp (<1° km−1), and D 0 (<1 mm). In addition, high liquid water content was present throughout the entire event. Raindrops observed in the plains were generally larger than those in the foothills. DSDs observed in the foothills were characterized by a large concentration of small-sized drops (d < 1 mm). Heavy rainfall rates with slightly larger drops were observed during the first intense rainfall episode (0000–0800 UTC 12 September) and were associated with areas of enhanced low-level convergence and vertical velocity according to the wind fields derived from the Variational Doppler Radar Analysis System. The disdrometer-derived ZR relationships reflect how unusual the DSDs were during the 2013 Great Colorado Flood. As a result, ZR relations commonly used by the operational NEXRAD strongly underestimated rainfall rates by up to 43%.

Full access