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R. A. Black
and
J. Hallett

Abstract

Observations of the type and distribution 0°C isotherm in three Atlantic hurricanes are presented. Supercooled drops, graupel, columns and aggregated snowflakes were observed. The supercooled drops were found only in convective updrafts stronger than 5 m s−1, but not all updrafts > 5 m s−1 contained appreciable liquid. Graupel was found in all updrafts at temperatures < −2°C, and small columns were sometimes found in downdrafts. Nonconvective rainbands contained 15–30 L−1 of snow composed of columns and what appeared to be large aggregates. Other stratiform regions contained 1–15 L−1 of medium and large aggregates; columns were occasionally found there also but only within about 15 km of convection. Hurricane convection is almost completely glaciated at the −5°C level. It is suggested that the ice particles observed at 6.0 km inside the convection result primarily from downward mixing on both sides of the eyewall updraft of ice formed in the convective areas at higher, colder levels. The ice in the stratiform areas is believed to have fallen from the high-level (6.km and higher) eyewall outflow.

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D. Yap
,
T. A. Black
, and
T. R. Oke

Abstract

A yaw sphere-thermometer assembly, to measure sensible heat flux density by the eddy correlation method, was built following the design of Tanner and Thurtell. Wind tunnel experiments indicate that the sphere constant should be 1.57, which is significantly less than the theoretical value of 2.25. The effects of tilt indicate that heat fluxes may be in error by 5% per degree of tilt In unstable conditions and up to 11% per degree in stable conditions. Field comparisons of the heat fluxes measured by the yaw sphere-thermometer system and a Bowen ratio apparatus produced satisfactory agreement.

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V. N. Bringi
,
K. Knupp
,
A. Detwiler
,
L. Liu
,
I. J. Caylor
, and
R. A. Black

Abstract

The relationships among kinematic, microphysical, and electric field properties within a multicell Florida thunderstorm are investigated using observations from three Doppler radars (one with multiple wavelength and polarization diversity capabilities), four instrumented penetrating aircraft, a surface-based electric field mill network, and other observation facilities. The storm was convectively active for about 1 h and at least five primary cells developed within the storm during this time, one of which went through three consecutive development cycles. The updrafts in this storm were 2–4 km wide, exhibited bubble-like evolution, and had lifetimes of 10–20 min. The maximum updraft determined by the multiple Doppler analysis was about 20 m s−1. A differential reflectivity (Z DR) “column,” indicating regions containing millimeter-size raindrops, extending above the freezing level, was associated with each cell during its developing stages. This column reached altitudes exceeding 6 km (−8°C) in the stronger updrafts. As the Z DR columns reached maximum altitude, a “cap” of enhanced linear depolarization ratio (LDR) and enhanced 3-cm wavelength attenuation (A 3) formed, overlapping the upper regions of the Z DR column. These parameters indicate rapid development of mixed-phase conditions initiated by freezing of supercooled raindrops.

Lightning was observed only in the central and strongest convective cell. Electric fields exceeding 10 kV m−1 were noted during aircraft penetrations in this as well as several other cells that did not produce lightning. Fields exceeding 1 kV m−1 were noted by the instrumented aircraft at midcloud levels within a few minutes of development of mixed-phase conditions at these levels or aloft. The first intracloud lightning was detected by the surface field mill network within 5 min of development of mixed-phase conditions aloft in the first cycle of development in the central cell, and the first cloud-to-ground event was noted within 9 min of this development. Lightning continued through two additional cycles of updraft growth in this central region and diminished as the convection subsided after about 30 min. Aircraft-measured electric fields and lightning retrievals from the surface field meter network are consistent with a tendency for negative charge to accumulate above the 6.5 km(−12°C) level within regions of radar reflectivity maxima and for positive charge to accumulate in the anvil region well above 9 km (−30°C).

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Jun A. Zhang
,
William M. Drennan
,
Peter G. Black
, and
Jeffrey R. French

Abstract

As part of the Coupled Boundary Layers Air–Sea Transfer (CBLAST)-Hurricane program, flights were conducted to directly measure turbulent fluxes and turbulence properties in the high-wind boundary layer of hurricanes between the outer rainbands. For the first time, vertical profiles of normalized momentum fluxes, sensible heat and humidity fluxes, and variances of three-dimensional wind velocities and specific humidity are presented for the hurricane boundary layer with surface wind speeds ranging from 20 to 30 m s−1. The turbulent kinetic energy budget is estimated, indicating that the shear production and dissipation are the major source and sink terms, respectively. The imbalance in the turbulent kinetic energy budget indicates that the unmeasured terms, such as horizontal advection, may be important in hurricane boundary layer structure and dynamics. Finally, the thermodynamic boundary layer height, estimated based on the virtual potential temperature profiles, is roughly half of the boundary layer height estimated from the momentum flux profiles. The latter height where momentum and humidity fluxes tend to vanish is close to that of the inflow layer and also of the maximum in the tangential velocity profiles.

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Jeffrey R. French
,
William M. Drennan
,
Jun A. Zhang
, and
Peter G. Black

Abstract

An important outcome from the ONR-sponsored Coupled Boundary Layer Air–Sea Transfer (CBLAST) Hurricane Program is the first-ever direct measurements of momentum flux from within hurricane boundary layers. In 2003, a specially instrumented NOAA P3 aircraft obtained measurements suitable for computing surface wind stress and ultimately estimating drag coefficients in regions with surface wind between 18 and 30 m s−1. Analyses of data are presented from 48 flux legs flown within 400 m of the surface in two storms. Results suggest a roll-off in the drag coefficient at higher wind speeds, in qualitative agreement with laboratory and modeling studies and inferences of drag coefficients using a log-profile method. However, the amount of roll-off and the wind speed at which the roll-off occurs remains uncertain, underscoring the need for additional measurements.

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William M. Drennan
,
Jun A. Zhang
,
Jeffrey R. French
,
Cyril McCormick
, and
Peter G. Black

Abstract

As part of the recent ONR-sponsored Coupled Boundary Layer Air–Sea Transfer (CBLAST) Departmental Research Initiative, an aircraft was instrumented to carry out direct turbulent flux measurements in the high wind boundary layer of a hurricane. During the 2003 field season flux measurements were made during Hurricanes Fabian and Isabel. Here the first direct measurements of latent heat fluxes measured in the hurricane boundary layer are reported. The previous wind speed range for humidity fluxes and Dalton numbers has been extended by over 50%. Up to 30 m s−1, the highest 10-m winds measured, the Dalton number is not significantly different from the Humidity Exchange over the Sea (HEXOS) result, with no evidence of an increase with wind speed.

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Jeffrey A. Nystuen
,
John R. Proni
,
Peter G. Black
, and
John C. Wilkerson

Abstract

Automatic rain gauge systems are required to collect rainfall data at remote locations, especially oceanic sites where logistics prevent regular visits. Rainfall data from six different types of automatic rain gauge systems have been collected for a set of summertime subtropical rain events and for a set of wintertime rain events at Miami, Florida. The rain gauge systems include three types of collection gauges: weighing, capacitance, and tipping bucket; two gauges that inherently measure rainfall rate: optical scintillation and underwater acoustical inversion; and one gauge that detects individual raindrops: the disdrometer. All of these measurement techniques perform well; that is, they produce rainfall estimates that are highly correlated to one another. However, each method has limitations. The collection gauges are affected by flow irregularities between the catchment basin and the measurement chambers. This affects the accuracy of rainfall-rate measurements from these instruments, especially at low rainfall rates. In the case of the capacitance gauge, errors in 1-min rainfall rates can exceed +10 mm h−1. The rainfall rate gauges showed more scatter than the collection gauges for rainfall rates over 5 mm h−1, and the scatter was relatively independent of rainfall rate. Changes in drop size distribution within an event could not be used to explain the scatter observed in the optical rain gauge data. The acoustical inversion method can be used to measure the drop size distribution, allowing rainfall classification and estimation of other rain parameters—for example, reflectivity or liquid water content—in addition to rainfall rate. The acoustical inversion method has the advantage of an extremely large catchment area, resulting in very high time resolution. The disdrometer showed a large scatter relative to the other rain gauge systems for low rainfall rates. This is consistent with the small catchment area for the disdrometer system.

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H. E. Willoughby
,
D. P. Jorgensen
,
R. A. Black
, and
S. L. Rosenthal

Between 1962 and 1983, research in hurricane modification centered on an ambitious experimental program, Project STORMFURY. The proposed modification technique involved artificial stimulation of convection outside the eye wall through seeding with silver iodide. The artificially invigorated convection, it was argued, would compete with the convection in the original eye wall, lead to reformation of the eye wall at larger radius, and thus produce a decrease in the maximum wind.

Since a hurricane's destructive potential increases rapidly as its maximum wind becomes stronger, a reduction as small as 10% would have been worthwhile. Modification was attempted in four hurricanes on eight different days. On four of these days, the winds decreased by between 10 and 30%. The lack of response on the other days was interpreted to be the result of faulty execution of the experiment or poorly selected subjects.

These promising results have, however, come into question because recent observations of unmodified hurricanes indicate: 1) that cloud seeding has little prospect of success because hurricanes contain too much natural ice and too little supercooled water, and 2) that the positive results inferred from the seeding experiments in the 1960s probably stemmed from inability to discriminate between the expected effect of human intervention and the natural behavior of hurricanes.

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Elizabeth R. Sanabia
,
Bradford S. Barrett
,
Peter G. Black
,
Sue Chen
, and
James A. Cummings

Abstract

Thousands of aircraft observations of upper-ocean thermal structures have been obtained during hurricane and typhoon research field experiments in recent decades. The results from these experiments suggest a strong correlation between upper-ocean thermal variability and tropical cyclone (TC) intensity change. In response to these results, during the Office of the Federal Coordinator of Meteorology (OFCM) 2011 Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference (IHC), the Working Group for Hurricane and Winter Storms Operations and Research (WG/HWSOR) approved a 3-yr project to demonstrate the usefulness of airborne expendable bathythermographs (AXBTs) in an operational setting. The goal of this project was to initialize and validate coupled TC forecast models and was extended to improve input to statistical intensity forecast models. During the first season of the demonstration project, 109 AXBTs were deployed between 28 July and 28 August 2011. Successes included AXBT deployment from WC-130J aircraft during operational reconnaissance missions tasked by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), real-time onboard and postflight data processing, real-time data transmission to U.S. Navy and NOAA hurricane numerical prediction centers, and near-real-time assimilation of upper-ocean temperature observations into the Naval Research Laboratory Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System-Tropical Cyclones (COAMPS-TC) forecast model. Initial results showed 1) increased model accuracy in upper-ocean temperatures, 2) minor improvements in TC track forecasts, and 3) minor improvements in TC intensity forecasts in both coupled dynamical and statistical models [COAMPS-TC and the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS), respectively].

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John A. Knox
,
Jared A. Rackley
,
Alan W. Black
,
Vittorio A. Gensini
,
Michael Butler
,
Corey Dunn
,
Taylor Gallo
,
Melyssa R. Hunter
,
Lauren Lindsey
,
Minh Phan
,
Robert Scroggs
, and
Synne Brustad

Using publicly available information gleaned from over 1700 found-and-returned objects on the “Pictures and Documents found after the 27 April 2011 Tornadoes” Facebook page, the authors have created a database of 934 objects lofted by at least 15 different tornadoes during the 27 April 2011 Super Outbreak in the southeast United States. Analysis of the takeoff and landing points of these objects using GIS and high-resolution numerical trajectory modeling techniques extends previous work on this subject that used less specific information for much smaller sets of tracked tornado debris. It was found that objects traveled as far as 353 km, exceeding the previous record for the longest documented tornado debris trajectory. While the majority of debris trajectories were 10° to the left of the average tornado track vector, the longest trajectories exhibited a previously undocumented tendency toward the right of the average tornado track vector. Based on results from a high-resolution trajectory model, a relationship between this tendency and the altitude of lofting of debris is hypothesized, with the debris reaching the highest altitudes taking the rightmost trajectories. The paper concludes with a discussion of the pros and cons of using social media information for meteorological research.

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