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Matthew T. Wingo and Daniel J. Cecil

Abstract

The response of the precipitation field for tropical cyclones in relation to the surrounding environmental vertical wind shear has been investigated using ∼20 000 snapshots of passive-microwave satellite rain rates. Composites of mean rain rates, 95th percentile rain rates, and rain coverage were constructed to compare how the spatial distribution of the precipitation was organized under varying environmental shear. Results indicated that precipitation is displaced downshear and to the left (right for Southern Hemisphere) of the shear vector. The amplitude of this displacement increases with stronger shear. The majority of the asymmetry found in the mean rain rates is accounted for by the asymmetry in the occurrence of heavy rain. Although rain is common in all quadrants of the sheared tropical cyclones, heavy rain (≥8 mm h−1 at the ∼25-km scale) is comparatively rare in the upshear-right quadrant. It is shown that the effect that shear has on the rain field is nearly instantaneous. Strong westerly shear formed slightly more asymmetric patterns than strong easterly shear.

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Ali Tokay, Walter A. Petersen, Patrick Gatlin, and Matthew Wingo

Abstract

An impact-type Joss–Waldvogel disdrometer (JWD), a two-dimensional video disdrometer (2DVD), and a laser optical OTT Particle Size and Velocity (PARSIVEL) disdrometer (PD) were used to measure the raindrop size distribution (DSD) over a 6-month period in Huntsville, Alabama. Comparisons indicate event rain totals for all three disdrometers that were in reasonable agreement with a reference rain gauge. In a relative sense, hourly composite DSDs revealed that the JWD was more sensitive to small drops (<1 mm), while the PD appeared to severely underestimate small drops less than 0.76 mm in diameter. The JWD and 2DVD measured comparable number concentrations of midsize drops (1–3 mm) and large drops (3–5 mm), while the PD tended to measure relatively higher drop concentrations at sizes larger than 2.44 mm in diameter. This concentration disparity tended to occur when hourly rain rates and drop counts exceeded 2.5 mm h−1 and 400 min−1, respectively. Based on interactions with the PD manufacturer, the partially inhomogeneous laser beam is considered the cause of the PD drop count overestimation. PD drop fall speeds followed the expected terminal fall speed relationship quite well, while the 2DVD occasionally measured slower drops for diameters larger than 2.4 mm, coinciding with events where wind speeds were greater than 4 m s−1. The underestimation of small drops by the PD had a pronounced effect on the intercept and shape of parameters of gamma-fitted DSDs, while the overestimation of midsize and larger drops resulted in higher mean values for PD integral rain parameters.

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Patrick N. Gatlin, Merhala Thurai, V. N. Bringi, Walter Petersen, David Wolff, Ali Tokay, Lawrence Carey, and Matthew Wingo

Abstract

A dataset containing 9637 h of two-dimensional video disdrometer observations consisting of more than 240 million raindrops measured at diverse climatological locations was compiled to help characterize underlying drop size distribution (DSD) assumptions that are essential to make precise retrievals of rainfall using remote sensing platforms. This study concentrates on the tail of the DSD, which largely impacts rainfall retrieval algorithms that utilize radar reflectivity. The maximum raindrop diameter was a median factor of 1.8 larger than the mass-weighted mean diameter and increased with rainfall rate. Only 0.4% of the 1-min DSD spectra were found to contain large raindrops exceeding 5 mm in diameter. Large raindrops were most abundant at the tropical locations, especially in Puerto Rico, and were largely concentrated during the spring, especially at subtropical locations. Giant raindrops exceeding 8 mm in diameter occurred at tropical, subtropical, and high-latitude continental locations. The greatest numbers of giant raindrops were found in the subtropical locations, with the largest being a 9.7-mm raindrop that occurred in northern Oklahoma during the passage of a hail-producing thunderstorm. These results suggest large raindrops are more likely to fall from clouds that contain hail, especially those raindrops exceeding 8 mm in diameter.

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Timothy J. Lang, Eldo E. Ávila, Richard J. Blakeslee, Jeff Burchfield, Matthew Wingo, Phillip M. Bitzer, Lawrence D. Carey, Wiebke Deierling, Steven J. Goodman, Bruno Lisboa Medina, Gregory Melo, and Rodolfo G. Pereyra

Abstract

During November 2018–April 2019, an 11-station very high frequency (VHF) Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) was deployed to Córdoba Province, Argentina. The purpose of the LMA was validation of the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), but the deployment was coordinated with two field campaigns. The LMA observed 2.9 million flashes (≥ five sources) during 163 days, and level-1 (VHF locations), level-2 (flashes classified), and level-3 (gridded products) datasets have been made public. The network’s performance allows scientifically useful analysis within 100 km when at least seven stations were active. Careful analysis beyond 100 km is also possible. The LMA dataset includes many examples of intense storms with extremely high flash rates (>1 s−1), electrical discharges in overshooting tops (OTs), as well as anomalously charged thunderstorms with low-altitude lightning. The modal flash altitude was 10 km, but many flashes occurred at very high altitude (15–20 km). There were also anomalous and stratiform flashes near 5–7 km in altitude. Most flashes were small (<50 km2 area). Comparisons with GLM on 14 and 20 December 2018 indicated that GLM most successfully detected larger flashes (i.e., more than 100 VHF sources), with detection efficiency (DE) up to 90%. However, GLM DE was reduced for flashes that were smaller or that occurred lower in the cloud (e.g., near 6-km altitude). GLM DE also was reduced during a period of OT electrical discharges. Overall, GLM DE was a strong function of thunderstorm evolution and the dominant characteristics of the lightning it produced.

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