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Daniel T. Dawson II
Edward R. Mansell
Youngsun Jung
Louis J. Wicker
Matthew R. Kumjian
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Ming Xue


The low levels of supercell forward flanks commonly exhibit distinct differential reflectivity (Z DR) signatures, including the low-Z DR hail signature and the high-Z DR “arc.” The Z DR arc has been previously associated with size sorting of raindrops in the presence of vertical wind shear; here this model is extended to include size sorting of hail. Idealized simulations of a supercell storm observed by the Norman, Oklahoma (KOUN), polarimetric radar on 1 June 2008 are performed using a multimoment bulk microphysics scheme, in which size sorting is allowed or disallowed for hydrometeor species. Several velocity–diameter relationships for the hail fall speed are considered, as well as fixed or variable bulk densities that span the graupel-to-hail spectrum. A T-matrix-based emulator is used to derive polarimetric fields from the hydrometeor state variables.

Size sorting of hail is found to have a dominant impact on Z DR and can result in a Z DR arc from melting hail even when size sorting is disallowed in the rain field. The low-Z DR hail core only appears when size sorting is allowed for hail. The mean storm-relative wind in a deep layer is found to align closely with the gradient in mean mass diameter of both rain and hail, with a slight shift toward the storm-relative mean wind below the melting level in the case of rain. The best comparison with the observed 1 June 2008 supercell is obtained when both rain and hail are allowed to sort, and the bulk density and associated fall-speed curve for hail are predicted by the model microphysics.

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