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Jose Ricardo Siqueira and Luiz Augusto Toledo Machado

Abstract

Cold cloud-top fractions derived from International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project images and latitude– time diagrams are used to study the interaction of frontal systems with tropical convection over South America (SA). An 11-yr climatology for three frequent types of frontal system–tropical convection interaction is built, and the associated day-to-day convection variability is described using satellite images, complex principal components, and wavelet transforms. Type 1 is frequent throughout the year, especially in austral summer, and is characterized by the penetration of a cold front in subtropical SA that interacts with tropical convection and moves with it into lower tropical latitudes. Type 2 is also more frequent in austral summer and is characterized by Amazon convection and enhancement of a quasi-stationary northwest–southeast-oriented band of convection extending from the Amazon basin to subtropical SA along the passage of a cold front in the subtropics. When the type 2 pattern remains longer than 4 days over SA, it often characterizes the South Atlantic convergence zone. Type 3, which is more frequent in austral winter, is represented by a quasi-stationary cold front in subtropical SA and midlatitudes without significant interaction with tropical convection. Predominant day-to-day fluctuation time scales of convection associated with the three types were identified, ranging from 5 to 7 days in the Tropics (types 1 and 2) and subtropics (type 3). By evaluating circulation patterns over SA using National Centers for Environmental Prediction analysis at 850 and 200 hPa, the northeastward propagation of a transient cyclonic vortex organized by a cold front in southeast SA and Amazon moisture flows is the main feature of the type 1 pattern at low levels. A cyclonic vortex similar to the one in type 1 but quasi-stationary in the subtropics is remarkable for the type 2 pattern, while upper-level cyclonic vortices in northeast Brazil and the existence of a subtropical jet seem to contribute to the blocking configuration of cold fronts in subtropical SA that characterizes the type 3 pattern.

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Daniel Alejandro Vila, Luiz Augusto Toledo Machado, Henri Laurent, and Inés Velasco

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to develop and validate an algorithm for tracking and forecasting radiative and morphological characteristics of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) through their entire life cycles using geostationary satellite thermal channel information (10.8 μm). The main features of this system are the following: 1) a cloud cluster detection method based on a threshold temperature (235 K), 2) a tracking technique based on MCS overlapping areas in successive images, and 3) a forecast module based on the evolution of each particular MCS in previous steps. This feature is based on the MCS’s possible displacement (considering the center of the mass position of the cloud cluster in previous time steps) and its size evolution. Statistical information about MCS evolution during the Wet Season Atmospheric Mesoscale Campaign (WETAMC) of the Large-Scale Biosphere–Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) was used to obtain area expansion mean rates for different MCSs according to their lifetime durations. This nowcasting tool was applied to evaluate the MCS displacement and size evolution over the Del Plata basin in South America up to 120 min with 30-min intervals. The Forecast and Tracking the Evolution of Cloud Clusters (ForTraCC) technique’s performance was evaluated based on the difference between the forecasted and observed images. This evaluation shows good agreement between the observed and forecast size and minimum temperature for shorter forecast lead times, but tends to underestimate MCS size (and overestimate the minimum temperature) for larger forecast lead times.

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Jose Ricardo Siqueira, William B. Rossow, Luiz Augusto Toledo Machado, and Cindy Pearl

Abstract

International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP DX) and microwave sensor data collected by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) are used to identify and describe structural characteristics of convective systems (CSs) over continental South America (SA) related to cold-frontal incursions in a 3-yr period. An austral wet-season climatology for CS events of the three most important types of front–tropical convection interaction is built by applying latitude–time diagrams and a cloud-tracking method to DX data. Type 1 is characterized by the penetration of a cold front over subtropical SA that interacts with convection and moves with it into lower tropical latitudes. Type 2 refers to Amazon convection and its enhancement in a quasi-stationary northwest–southeast-oriented band extending from the Amazon to subtropical SA along with the passage of a cold front in the subtropics and characterizes the synoptic formation of the South Atlantic convergence zone. A quasi-stationary cold front over subtropical SA that has only weak interaction with tropical convection corresponds to type 3.

Results show that the three types of front–tropical convection interaction strongly modulate deep convection over SA, producing mesoscale CSs with significant fractions of deep convective clouds and rain at their mature phase. Type 2 CSs (type 1 CSs) are constituted of larger deep convective cloud fractions with weaker (stronger) vertical development compared to type 1 CSs (type 3 CSs) in the Tropics (subtropics), resulting in larger rain fractions and less (more) presence of convective rain. Type 1 CSs have larger fractions of deep convective clouds and rain but with weaker vertical development in the subtropics than in the Tropics, showing that cold fronts organize convection more in area in the subtropics, but more in vertical extent in the Tropics. Life cycle variations of CS cloud and rain properties show tropical CSs with a more intense initial development and similar structural differences between the CS types and those found at their mature phase.

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Marcelo Chamecki, Livia S. Freire, Nelson L. Dias, Bicheng Chen, Cléo Quaresma Dias-Junior, Luiz Augusto Toledo Machado, Matthias Sörgel, Anywhere Tsokankunku, and Alessandro C. de Araújo

Abstract

Observational data from two field campaigns in the Amazon forest were used to study the vertical structure of turbulence above the forest. The analysis was performed using the reduced turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) budget and its associated two-dimensional phase space. Results revealed the existence of two regions within the roughness sublayer in which the TKE budget cannot be explained by the canonical flat-terrain TKE budgets in the canopy roughness sublayer or in the lower portion of the convective ABL. Data analysis also suggested that deviations from horizontal homogeneity have a large contribution to the TKE budget. Results from LES of a model canopy over idealized topography presented similar features, leading to the conclusion that flow distortions caused by topography are responsible for the observed features in the TKE budget. These results support the conclusion that the boundary layer above the Amazon forest is strongly impacted by the gentle topography underneath.

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Stephen W. Nesbitt, Paola V. Salio, Eldo Ávila, Phillip Bitzer, Lawrence Carey, V. Chandrasekar, Wiebke Deierling, Francina Dominguez, Maria Eugenia Dillon, C. Marcelo Garcia, David Gochis, Steven Goodman, Deanna A. Hence, Karen A. Kosiba, Matthew R. Kumjian, Timothy Lang, Lorena Medina Luna, James Marquis, Robert Marshall, Lynn A. McMurdie, Ernani de Lima Nascimento, Kristen L. Rasmussen, Rita Roberts, Angela K. Rowe, Juan José Ruiz, Eliah F.M.T. São Sabbas, A. Celeste Saulo, Russ S. Schumacher, Yanina Garcia Skabar, Luiz Augusto Toledo Machado, Robert J. Trapp, Adam C. Varble, James Wilson, Joshua Wurman, Edward J. Zipser, Ivan Arias, Hernán Bechis, and Maxwell A. Grover

Abstract

This article provides an overview of the experimental design, execution, education and public outreach, data collection, and initial scientific results from the Remote Sensing of Electrification, Lightning, and Mesoscale/Microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) field campaign. RELAMPAGO was a major field campaign conducted in the Córdoba and Mendoza provinces in Argentina and western Rio Grande do Sul State in Brazil in 2018–19 that involved more than 200 scientists and students from the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. This campaign was motivated by the physical processes and societal impacts of deep convection that frequently initiates in this region, often along the complex terrain of the Sierras de Córdoba and Andes, and often grows rapidly upscale into dangerous storms that impact society. Observed storms during the experiment produced copious hail, intense flash flooding, extreme lightning flash rates, and other unusual lightning phenomena, but few tornadoes. The five distinct scientific foci of RELAMPAGO—convection initiation, severe weather, upscale growth, hydrometeorology, and lightning and electrification—are described, as are the deployment strategies to observe physical processes relevant to these foci. The campaign’s international cooperation, forecasting efforts, and mission planning strategies enabled a successful data collection effort. In addition, the legacy of RELAMPAGO in South America, including extensive multinational education, public outreach, and social media data gathering associated with the campaign, is summarized.

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Stephen W. Nesbitt, Paola V. Salio, Eldo Ávila, Phillip Bitzer, Lawrence Carey, V. Chandrasekar, Wiebke Deierling, Francina Dominguez, Maria Eugenia Dillon, C. Marcelo Garcia, David Gochis, Steven Goodman, Deanna A. Hence, Karen A. Kosiba, Matthew R. Kumjian, Timothy Lang, Lorena Medina Luna, James Marquis, Robert Marshall, Lynn A. McMurdie, Ernani Lima Nascimento, Kristen L. Rasmussen, Rita Roberts, Angela K. Rowe, Juan José Ruiz, Eliah F.M.T. São Sabbas, A. Celeste Saulo, Russ S. Schumacher, Yanina Garcia Skabar, Luiz Augusto Toledo Machado, Robert J. Trapp, Adam Varble, James Wilson, Joshua Wurman, Edward J. Zipser, Ivan Arias, Hernán Bechis, and Maxwell A. Grover

Abstract

This article provides an overview of the experimental design, execution, education and public outreach, data collection, and initial scientific results from the Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) field campaign. RELAMPAGO was a major field campaign conducted in Córdoba and Mendoza provinces in Argentina, and western Rio Grande do Sul State in Brazil in 2018-2019 that involved more than 200 scientists and students from the US, Argentina, and Brazil. This campaign was motivated by the physical processes and societal impacts of deep convection that frequently initiates in this region, often along the complex terrain of the Sierras de Córdoba and Andes, and often grows rapidly upscale into dangerous storms that impact society. Observed storms during the experiment produced copious hail, intense flash flooding, extreme lightning flash rates and other unusual lightning phenomena, but few tornadoes. The 5 distinct scientific foci of RELAMPAGO: convection initiation, severe weather, upscale growth, hydrometeorology, and lightning and electrification are described, as are the deployment strategies to observe physical processes relevant to these foci. The campaign’s international cooperation, forecasting efforts, and mission planning strategies enabled a successful data collection effort. In addition, the legacy of RELAMPAGO in South America, including extensive multi-national education, public outreach, and social media data-gathering associated with the campaign, is summarized.

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