Characteristics of a Subtropical Squall Line Determined from TAMEX Dual-Doppler Data. Part II: Dynamic and Thermodynamic Structures and Momentum Budgets

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  • 1 Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri
  • | 2 Institute of Atmospheric Physics, National Central University, Chung-Li, Taiwan, R.O.C.
  • | 3 Department of Mathematics, Parks College of Saint Louis University, Cahokia, Illinois
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Abstract

A thermodynamic retrieval method was used to study the dynamical and thermodynamical structure of a subtropical squall line, which occurred on 17 May 1987 over the Taiwan Straits. Three-dimensional wind fields were derived from the dual-Doppler data based on the methodology presented in Part I of this paper. Subsequently, fields of perturbation pressure and temperature were retrieved from the detailed wind field using the three momentum equations.

Results show that the overall structural features of this subtropical squall line are similar to those of a tropical squall line. The orientation of the squall line is almost in a north–south direction. In the lowest layer, the gust front is located to the immediate east of the main convective updrafts. High pressure occurs behind the gust front with low pressure to its east. A buoyancy-induced low pressure area lies beneath the convective updraft corresponding to the ascending warm environmental air. In the middle and upper layers, high pressure forms on the upshear side with low pressure on the downshear at the leading edge. The orientation of horizontal pressure gradients is approximately in the direction of the average shear vector in the domain. The retrieved temperature field agrees well with the updraft–downdraft structure. The convective updrafts are warmed by the release of latent heat by condensation. Conversely, cooling prevails in the convective downdrafts due, in part, to evaporation. Precipitation loading further decreases buoyancy of the downdraft air in the high reflectivity areas. To the rear of the main (old) cells the rear-to-front air is negatively buoyant resulting in a sloping downdraft. As the cool descending midtropospheric air approaches the surface, it spreads out to form a cold outflow behind the gust front. Part of the descending air moves forward, colliding with the advancing environmental warm air at the leading edge to form new cells ahead of the old cells. The interplay between a cell's cold surface outflow and the low-level shear within the system contributes to the maintenance of the subtropical squall line. The momentum budget calculation shows that the horizontal and vertical flux convergences/divergences of horizontal momentum by the mean and eddy motions are the major contributor to maintain the mean momentum.

Abstract

A thermodynamic retrieval method was used to study the dynamical and thermodynamical structure of a subtropical squall line, which occurred on 17 May 1987 over the Taiwan Straits. Three-dimensional wind fields were derived from the dual-Doppler data based on the methodology presented in Part I of this paper. Subsequently, fields of perturbation pressure and temperature were retrieved from the detailed wind field using the three momentum equations.

Results show that the overall structural features of this subtropical squall line are similar to those of a tropical squall line. The orientation of the squall line is almost in a north–south direction. In the lowest layer, the gust front is located to the immediate east of the main convective updrafts. High pressure occurs behind the gust front with low pressure to its east. A buoyancy-induced low pressure area lies beneath the convective updraft corresponding to the ascending warm environmental air. In the middle and upper layers, high pressure forms on the upshear side with low pressure on the downshear at the leading edge. The orientation of horizontal pressure gradients is approximately in the direction of the average shear vector in the domain. The retrieved temperature field agrees well with the updraft–downdraft structure. The convective updrafts are warmed by the release of latent heat by condensation. Conversely, cooling prevails in the convective downdrafts due, in part, to evaporation. Precipitation loading further decreases buoyancy of the downdraft air in the high reflectivity areas. To the rear of the main (old) cells the rear-to-front air is negatively buoyant resulting in a sloping downdraft. As the cool descending midtropospheric air approaches the surface, it spreads out to form a cold outflow behind the gust front. Part of the descending air moves forward, colliding with the advancing environmental warm air at the leading edge to form new cells ahead of the old cells. The interplay between a cell's cold surface outflow and the low-level shear within the system contributes to the maintenance of the subtropical squall line. The momentum budget calculation shows that the horizontal and vertical flux convergences/divergences of horizontal momentum by the mean and eddy motions are the major contributor to maintain the mean momentum.

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