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The West African Squall Line Observed on 23 June 1981 during COPT 81: Mesoscale Structure and Transports

J. P. ChalonDirection de la Métérologie Nationale (EERM/CNRM), Toulouse, France

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G. JaubertDirection de la Métérologie Nationale (EERM/CNRM), Toulouse, France

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J. P. LaforeDirection de la Métérologie Nationale (EERM/CNRM), Toulouse, France

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F. RouxCentre de Recherches en Physique de l'Environnement terrestre et Planétaire (CNET/CNRS), Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

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Abstract

Durirg the night of 23/24 June 1981, new Korhogo, Ivory Coast, a squall line passed over the instrumented area of the COPT 81 experiment. Observations were obtained with a dual-Doppler radar system, a sounding station and 22 automatic meteorological surface stations. Data from these instruments and from satellite pictures were analyzed to depict the kinematic and thermodynamic structure of the squall line. Composite analysis techniques were used to obtain a vertical cross section of the reflectivity structure and of the wind field relative to the line. The redistributions of air, moisture and thermodynamic energy by the convection wet calculated through averaged two-dimensional wind fields from a dual-Doppler radar system. The method also allowed the evaluation of the exchanges that were occurring between the convective and the stratiform regions.

This squall line had many similarities with tropical squall lines previously described by others. The leading convective part, composed of intense updrafts and downdrafts, and the trailing part, containing weak mesoscale updraft and downdraft, were separated by a reflectivity trough. A notable feature of this line was the presence of a leading anvil induced by intense easterly environmental winds in the upper troposphere. Observations of the evolution of the system at different scales indicated that the mesoalpha-scale (following the classification of Orlanski) and the mosobeta-scale patterns combined to allow the system to have optimum conditions for maximum strength and a maximum lifetime.

A rear-to-front flow was found at midlevels in the stratiform region. The flow sloped downward to the surface and took on the characteristics of a density current in the forward half of the squall lice. Entering the convective region, this flow was supplied with cold air by the convective downdrafts and played an important role in forcing upward the less dense monsoon flow entering at the leading edge.

Calculations of mass, moisture and energy transports showed the importance of the transfers between the convective and the stratiform regions. Particularly large quantities of condensate and energy were transferred from the convective region toward the anvils and made important contributions to the precipitation budget in the stratiform region, while large quantities of water vapor and latent heat energy were transferred from the stratiform region toward the convective region through the rear-to-front flow. Diabatic heating resulting from condensation in the convective region was also evaluated.

Abstract

Durirg the night of 23/24 June 1981, new Korhogo, Ivory Coast, a squall line passed over the instrumented area of the COPT 81 experiment. Observations were obtained with a dual-Doppler radar system, a sounding station and 22 automatic meteorological surface stations. Data from these instruments and from satellite pictures were analyzed to depict the kinematic and thermodynamic structure of the squall line. Composite analysis techniques were used to obtain a vertical cross section of the reflectivity structure and of the wind field relative to the line. The redistributions of air, moisture and thermodynamic energy by the convection wet calculated through averaged two-dimensional wind fields from a dual-Doppler radar system. The method also allowed the evaluation of the exchanges that were occurring between the convective and the stratiform regions.

This squall line had many similarities with tropical squall lines previously described by others. The leading convective part, composed of intense updrafts and downdrafts, and the trailing part, containing weak mesoscale updraft and downdraft, were separated by a reflectivity trough. A notable feature of this line was the presence of a leading anvil induced by intense easterly environmental winds in the upper troposphere. Observations of the evolution of the system at different scales indicated that the mesoalpha-scale (following the classification of Orlanski) and the mosobeta-scale patterns combined to allow the system to have optimum conditions for maximum strength and a maximum lifetime.

A rear-to-front flow was found at midlevels in the stratiform region. The flow sloped downward to the surface and took on the characteristics of a density current in the forward half of the squall lice. Entering the convective region, this flow was supplied with cold air by the convective downdrafts and played an important role in forcing upward the less dense monsoon flow entering at the leading edge.

Calculations of mass, moisture and energy transports showed the importance of the transfers between the convective and the stratiform regions. Particularly large quantities of condensate and energy were transferred from the convective region toward the anvils and made important contributions to the precipitation budget in the stratiform region, while large quantities of water vapor and latent heat energy were transferred from the stratiform region toward the convective region through the rear-to-front flow. Diabatic heating resulting from condensation in the convective region was also evaluated.

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