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Yanina García Skabar and Matilde Nicolini

Abstract

This paper aims at generating a set of enriched analyses by assimilating the data collected during the South American Low-Level Jet Experiment (SALLJEX) in southeastern South America during the summer season 2002/03. The analyses are generated with the Brazilian Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (BRAMS) using all available observations and achieving 20-km horizontal resolution and 3-h temporal resolution. This paper describes the methods used to generate and evaluate the analyses. The results indicate that the method is appropriate because data assimilation provides an improved fit between analyses and observations. In addition, enriched analyses show a better representation of mesoscale structure in case studies. This satisfactory evaluation allows one to use the set of analyses to perform case studies at higher resolution than is currently available, with the certainty that these analyses reproduce the atmospheric conditions better than those that do not assimilate data.

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Celeste Saulo, Juan Ruiz, and Yanina García Skabar

Abstract

Previous studies suggest that the enhanced meridional extent of some South American low-level jet events (known as Chaco jets) is a consequence of a positive feedback between the low-level wind and strong convection that is usually observed at their exit region. To assess how this interaction takes place, a Chaco low-level jet event observed between 18 and 19 December 2002 (i.e., during the South America Low-Level Jet Experiment) and the associated mesoscale convective system that evolved at its exit region have been selected to perform numerical experiments where diabatic heating effects associated with phase changes can be quantified. This case study has also been used to analyze the diurnal oscillations related to planetary boundary layer (PBL) mechanisms in order to describe whether the observed evolution of the low-level wind can be explained either by PBL-related forcing or by the interaction with convection. The sensitivity experiments confirm that there is a positive feedback at low levels between convection and the northerly wind flow that becomes accelerated and also aids in the identification of a strong coupling between organized convection and the upper-level circulation, resulting in an increase of the upper-level jet strength downstream of the simulated precipitation area. A conceptual model of how these systems (i.e., convection, low- and upper-level jets) mutually interact is proposed, which differs from coupling mechanisms documented for the Great Plains low-level jet.

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Paloma Borque, Paola Salio, Matilde Nicolini, and Yanina García Skabar

Abstract

The present work focuses on the study of the environmental conditions preceding the development of a group of subtropical mesoscale convective systems over central and northern Argentina on 6–7 February 2003 during the South American Low Level Jet Experiment. This period was characterized by an extreme northerly low-level flow along the eastern Andes foothills [South American low-level jet (SALLJ)]. The entire studied episode was dominated by the presence of a very unstable air mass over northern Argentina and a frontal zone near 40°S. The SALLJ generated an important destabilization of the atmosphere due to the strong humidity and differential temperature advection. Orography provided an extra lifting motion to the configuration of the regional wind field, which was efficient in forcing the initiation of convection. Once convection developed, it moved and regenerated in regions where the convective instability was horizontally homogeneous and stronger.

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Henrique Fuchs Bueno Repinaldo, Matilde Nicolini, and Yanina García Skabar

Abstract

The focus of this study is the characterization of the diurnal cycle of low-level wind and divergence field (under two different synoptic situations observed during the South American Low-Level Jet Experiment) within the South American domain encompassed between 20° and 35°S east of the Andes, using Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR). The objective is to highlight the existence of a spatial variation of these quantities and differences in the strength of their diurnal cycle between the two synoptic situations. Inertial oscillations and thermally driven circulations as well as convection-related contributions to mesoscale convergence and their implications for deep convection initiation/maintenance are addressed in each selected subregion. Prevalence of synoptic-scale forcing over the diurnally forced circulations, or vice versa, is also analyzed. Both mesoscale wind diurnal cycle and related divergence fields are sensitive to varying synoptic conditions and display regional variability. Thermal circulations related to topographical features superpose on the diurnal inertial oscillation that, while present in the whole domain, dominates the central plain subregions. The most evident diurnal cycle in the divergence field is restricted to sloped areas just to the east of the Andes and the Sierras de Córdoba where the mesoscale component of the divergence field is responsible for modulating the total divergence. CFSR provides a broad perspective of low-level circulation over southeastern South America (SESA) during the specific 15-day period. Results from this study might stimulate future research on a relationship between low-level circulation and the initiation of convection in SESA using CFSR to perform high-resolution simulations.

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Gimena Casaretto, Maria Eugenia Dillon, Paola Salio, Yanina García Skabar, Stephen W. Nesbitt, Russ S. Schumacher, Carlos Marcelo García, and Carlos Catalini

Abstract

Sierras de Córdoba (Argentina) is characterized by the occurrence of extreme precipitation events during the austral warm season. Heavy precipitation in the region has a large societal impact, causing flash floods. This motivates the forecast performance evaluation of 24-h accumulated precipitation and vertical profiles of atmospheric variables from different numerical weather prediction (NWP) models with the final aim of helping water management in the region. The NWP models evaluated include the Global Forecast System (GFS), which parameterizes convection, and convection-permitting simulations of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model configured by three institutions: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC), Colorado State University (CSU), and National Meteorological Service of Argentina (SMN). These models were verified with daily accumulated precipitation data from rain gauges and soundings during the RELAMPAGO-CACTI field campaign. Generally all configurations of the higher-resolution WRFs outperformed the lower-resolution GFS based on multiple metrics. Among the convection-permitting WRF Models, results varied with respect to rainfall threshold and forecast lead time, but the WRFUIUC mostly performed the best. However, elevation-dependent biases existed among the models that may impact the use of the data for different applications. There is a dry (moist) bias in lower (upper) pressure levels which is most pronounced in the GFS. For Córdoba an overestimation of the northern flow forecasted by the NWP configurations at lower levels was encountered. These results show the importance of convection-permitting forecasts in this region, which should be complementary to the coarser-resolution global model forecasts to help various users and decision-makers.

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María E. Dillon, Yanina García Skabar, Juan Ruiz, Eugenia Kalnay, Estela A. Collini, Pablo Echevarría, Marcos Saucedo, Takemasa Miyoshi, and Masaru Kunii

Abstract

Improving the initial conditions of short-range numerical weather prediction (NWP) models is one of the main goals of the meteorological community. Development of data assimilation and ensemble forecast systems is essential in any national weather service (NWS). In this sense, the local ensemble transform Kalman filter (LETKF) is a methodology that can satisfy both requirements in an efficient manner. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model coupled with the LETKF, developed at the University of Maryland, College Park, have been implemented experimentally at the NWS of Argentina [Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN)], but at a somewhat lower resolution (40 km) than the operational Global Forecast System (GFS) at that time (27 km). The purpose of this work is not to show that the system presented herein is better than the higher-resolution GFS, but that its performance is reasonably comparable, and to provide the basis for a continued improved development of an independent regional data assimilation and forecasting system. The WRF-LETKF system is tested during the spring of 2012, using the prepared or quality controlled data in Binary Universal Form for Representation of Meteorological Data (PREPBUFR) observations from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and lateral boundary conditions from the GFS. To assess the effect of model error, a single-model LETKF system (LETKF-single) is compared with a multischeme implementation (LETKF-multi), which uses different boundary layer and cumulus convection schemes for the generation of the ensemble of forecasts. The performance of both experiments during the test period shows that the LETKF-multi usually outperforms the LETKF-single, evidencing the advantages of the use of the multischeme approach. Both data assimilation systems are slightly worse than the GFS in terms of the synoptic environment representation, as could be expected given their lower resolution. Results from a case study of a strong convective system suggest that the LETKF-multi improves the location of the most intense area of precipitation with respect to the LETKF-single, although both systems show an underestimation of the total accumulated precipitation. These preliminary results encourage continuing the development of an operational data assimilation system based on WRF-LETKF at the SMN.

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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.

Full access