Gravity Waves and GOES IR Data Study of an Isolated Tornadic Storm on 29 May 1977

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  • 1 The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville. AL 35807
  • | 2 NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812
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Abstract

Enhanced convection-initiated gravity waves associated with an isolated tornado in the absence of a squall line are investigated. Ray-tracing computations based on data observed on 29 May 1977 indicated that the wave sources were located in north-central Oklahoma. Comparison with a radar echo map during the time period when the waves were excited showed that the waves were generated by an isolated cloud with enhanced convection. GOES infrared digital data during the time period from wave excitation to tornado touchdown were analyzed. Results showed that the cloud where the gravity waves were excited was characterized by both a very low temperature at the cloud top and a very high expansion rate of the cold cloud-top area. The lead time between the excitation of the gravity waves and the tornado touchdown is discussed in conjunction with the growth rate of the clouds associated with the tornado.

Abstract

Enhanced convection-initiated gravity waves associated with an isolated tornado in the absence of a squall line are investigated. Ray-tracing computations based on data observed on 29 May 1977 indicated that the wave sources were located in north-central Oklahoma. Comparison with a radar echo map during the time period when the waves were excited showed that the waves were generated by an isolated cloud with enhanced convection. GOES infrared digital data during the time period from wave excitation to tornado touchdown were analyzed. Results showed that the cloud where the gravity waves were excited was characterized by both a very low temperature at the cloud top and a very high expansion rate of the cold cloud-top area. The lead time between the excitation of the gravity waves and the tornado touchdown is discussed in conjunction with the growth rate of the clouds associated with the tornado.

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