Development and Characteristics of Free Convection in the Clear Air as Seen by Radar and Aircraft

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  • 1 Applied Physics Laboratory, Hopkins University, Silver Spring, Md. 20910
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Abstract

Observations of the development of a convective field in clear air were made simultaneously using radar and an instrumented aircraft. The growth of the field as seen by the radar was compared with the characteristics of the temperature and humidity measurements made by aircraft at various times and locations within the convective depth. Probability distributions of the temperature and mixing ratio fluctuations exhibit distinct, identifiable characteristics for different regions within the field. The altitude of the aircraft measurement, referenced to the maximum altitude of the convective field at the time of the measurement, was found to be a usable parameter in the comparison of aircraft data and in the characterization of convective field growth. Using the relative height parameter, it was found that the area covered by convective cells (modified air) varies linearly with height in the upper reaches of the convective field. The characteristics of individual cells as seen by the radar and as deduced from the aircraft measurements are also discussed.

Abstract

Observations of the development of a convective field in clear air were made simultaneously using radar and an instrumented aircraft. The growth of the field as seen by the radar was compared with the characteristics of the temperature and humidity measurements made by aircraft at various times and locations within the convective depth. Probability distributions of the temperature and mixing ratio fluctuations exhibit distinct, identifiable characteristics for different regions within the field. The altitude of the aircraft measurement, referenced to the maximum altitude of the convective field at the time of the measurement, was found to be a usable parameter in the comparison of aircraft data and in the characterization of convective field growth. Using the relative height parameter, it was found that the area covered by convective cells (modified air) varies linearly with height in the upper reaches of the convective field. The characteristics of individual cells as seen by the radar and as deduced from the aircraft measurements are also discussed.

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