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S. E. Reynolds and M. Brook

Abstract

The time of onset of the initial electrification in a thunderstorm cell has been correlated with the appearance of the initial radar (3 cm) precipitation-echo. The results show that precipitation is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the onset of thunderstorm electrification. The presence of radar-detectable precipitation does not lead to thunderstorm electrification, unless the precipitation echo evidences rapid vertical development. When this condition is fulfilled, the appearance of the initial electrification is almost coincident with the appearance of the initial radar precipitation-echo. On days when no precipitation echoes were present, no electric fields significantly different from the fair-weather positive fields were observed, although the clouds noted ranged from small fair-weather cumulus to clouds of considerable depth and active convection.

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C. E. P. BROOKS

Abstract

No Abstract Available.

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William E. Shenk and Edward M. Brooks

Abstract

Over 50 cases of TIROS-viewed cloud vortices associated with extratropical cyclones over North America, Europe and Asia between April 1962 and November 1963 were examined to determine what meteorological information could be derived from the satellite pictures. Radiosonde stations were grouped in five principal classes according to their time-adjusted positions with reference to the vortex center and the major cloud bands. Meteorological parameters were statistically related to the age of the vortex, season, and geographical location as Well as to the principal sounding class for the position of the station.

The thermal results indicated that the means of the dew-point depression for each principal class were significantly different from the overall mean of the sample, according to the analysis of variance test. Relative tropopause heights were estimated from the means and variances of the vertical temperature differences. These results will be of value as input parameters for numerical prediction over data-silent areas.

The wind results showed that the wind directions within 333 km ahead of the major cloud band aids averaged 16° clockwise from the nearest band orientation, and behind the bands, 25° clockwise. The mean vertical wind shears within the major cloud bands and in the dry zones behind the bands were about 60° and 20°, respectively, clockwise from the band orientation. Most of the cloud bands were characterized by a speed convergence of the normal components and by a cyclonic shear and vorticity of the parallel components of the mean winds on the two sides of the bands.

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K. D. Williams and M. E. Brooks

Abstract

The Met Office unified forecast–climate model is used to compare the properties of simulated climatological cloud regimes with those produced in short-range forecasts initialized from operational analyses. The regimes are defined as principal clusters of joint cloud-top pressure–optical depth histograms. In general, the cloud regime properties are found to be similar at all forecast times, including the climatological mean. This suggests that weaknesses in the representation of fast local processes are responsible for errors in the simulation of the cloud regimes. The increased horizontal resolution of the model used for numerical weather prediction generally has little impact on the cloud regimes, although the simulation of tropical shallow cumulus is improved, while the relative frequency of tropical deep convection and cirrus compare less favorably with observations. Analysis of the initial temperature tendency profiles for each cloud regime indicates that some of the initial temperature tendency, which leads to a systematic bias in the model climatology, is associated with a particular cloud regime.

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Roger M. Wakimoto and Brooks E. Martner

Abstract

An integrated analysis of photographic and Doppler radar observations of a tornadic storm during the Convection Initiation and Downburst Experiment (CINDE) is presented. High-resolution single-Doppler radar measurements are combined with cloud photogrammetry to reveal the detailed structural relationship of the hook echo and the misocyclone with visual features of the tornado. Vertical cross sections of dual-Doppler winds in the plane of the photographs were also examined to determine the complex motions within and surrounding the vortex. The tornado was found to be within a weak-echo hole of the hook echo. The hole progressed upward above cloud base as the tornado matured. An annulus of higher reflectivity that formed a book echo is hypothesized to have been composed of sparse but large raindrops. The airflow fields suggest that vortex breakdown and axial downdrafts were present near the ground at early stages shortly after the tornado became visible. Later, axial upward flow dominated at all levels until the collapse of the vortex.

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Nathan M. Hitchens and Harold E. Brooks

Abstract

The Storm Prediction Center issues four categorical convective outlooks with lead times as long as 48 h, the so-called day 3 outlook issued at 1200 UTC, and as short as 6 h, the day 1 outlook issued at 0600 UTC. Additionally, there are four outlooks issued during the 24-h target period (which begins at 1200 UTC on day 1) that serve as updates to the last outlook issued prior to the target period. These outlooks, issued daily, are evaluated over a relatively long period of record, 1999–2011, using standard verification measures to assess accuracy; practically perfect forecasts are used to assess skill. Results show a continual increase in the skill of all outlooks during the study period, and increases in the frequency at which these outlooks are skillful on an annual basis.

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Nathan M. Hitchens and Harold E. Brooks

Abstract

Among the Storm Prediction Center’s (SPC) probabilistic convective outlook products are forecasts specifically targeted at significant severe weather: tornadoes that produce EF2 or greater damage, wind gusts of at least 75 mi h−1, and hail with diameters of 2 in. or greater. During the period of 2005–15, for outlooks issued beginning on day 3 and through the final update to the day 1 forecast, the accuracy and skill of these significant severe outlooks are evaluated. To achieve this, criteria for the identification of significant severe weather events were developed, with a focus on determining days for which outlooks were not issued, but should have been based on the goals of the product. Results show that significant tornadoes and hail are generally well identified by outlooks, but significant wind events are underforecast. There exist differences between verification measures when calculating them based on 1) only those days for which outlooks were issued and 2) days with outlooks or missed events; specifically, there were improvements in the frequency of daily skillful forecasts when disregarding missed events. With the greatest number of missed events associated with significant wind events, forecasts for this hazard are identified as an area of future focus for the SPC.

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Nathan M. Hitchens and Harold E. Brooks

Abstract

The Storm Prediction Center has issued daily convective outlooks since the mid-1950s. This paper represents an initial effort to examine the quality of these forecasts. Convective outlooks are plotted on a latitude–longitude grid with 80-km grid spacing and evaluated using storm reports to calculate verification measures including the probability of detection, frequency of hits, and critical success index. Results show distinct improvements in forecast performance over the duration of the study period, some of which can be attributed to apparent changes in forecasting philosophies.

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C. E. P. BROOKS and WINNIFRED QUINNELL

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No Abstract Available.

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Nathan M. Hitchens, Harold E. Brooks, and Michael P. Kay

Abstract

A method for determining baselines of skill for the purpose of the verification of rare-event forecasts is described and examples are presented to illustrate the sensitivity to parameter choices. These “practically perfect” forecasts are designed to resemble a forecast that is consistent with that which a forecaster would make given perfect knowledge of the events beforehand. The Storm Prediction Center’s convective outlook slight risk areas are evaluated over the period from 1973 to 2011 using practically perfect forecasts to define the maximum values of the critical success index that a forecaster could reasonably achieve given the constraints of the forecast, as well as the minimum values of the critical success index that are considered the baseline for skillful forecasts. Based on these upper and lower bounds, the relative skill of convective outlook areas shows little to no skill until the mid-1990s, after which this value increases steadily. The annual frequency of skillful daily forecasts continues to increase from the beginning of the period of study, and the annual cycle shows maxima of the frequency of skillful daily forecasts occurring in May and June.

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