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M. A. Shapiro, Tamara Hampel, Doris Rotzoll, and F. Mosher

Abstract

Measurements from the NOAA Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) 300 m tower, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Sabreliner aircraft, and the NOAA GOES-5 satellite, give evidence for the cross-front scale collapse of nonprecipitating surface cold-frontal zones to horizontal distances of ∼1 km or less. The leading edges of these frosts possess the characteristic structure of density current flows: an elevated hydraulic head followed by a turbulent wake. Vertical motions at the frontal heads exceed 5 m s−1 at 300 m (AGL). The ascent at the frontal head may act as a (∼1 km-scale) triggering mechanism for the release of potential instability and the formation of intense squall-line mesoconvection.

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Paul J. Neiman, M. A. Shapiro, R. Michael Hardesty, B. Boba Stankov, Rhidian T. Lawrence, Robert J. Zamora, and Tamara Hampel

Abstract

The NOAA/WPL pulsed coherent Doppler lidar was used during the Texas Frontal Experiment in 1985 to study mesoscale preconvective atmospheric conditions. On 22 April 1985, the Doppler lidar, in conjunction with serial rawinsonde ascents and National Weather Service rawinsonde ascents, observed atmospheric features such as middle-tropospheric frontal and vertical wind shear layers and the planetary boundary layer. The lidar showed unique evidence of the downward transport of strong winds from an elevated vertical speed shear (frontal) layer into the planetary boundary layer. The lidar provided further evidence of atmospheric processes such as clear-air turbulence within frontal layers, and dry convection turbulence within the superadiabatic planetary boundary layer. As a result, high-technology remote sensing instruments such as the Doppler lidar show considerable promise for future studies of small-scale weather systems in a nonprecipitating atmosphere.

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