Moisture Convergence Using Satellite-Derived Wind Fields: A Severe Local Storm Case Study

View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80521
© Get Permissions
Full access

Abstract

Five-minute interval 1 km resolution SMS visible channel data were used to derive low-level wind fields by tracking small cumulus clouds on NASA's Atmospheric and Oceanographic Information Processing System (AOIPS). The satellite-derived wind fields were combined with surface mixing ratios to derive horizontal moisture convergence in the pre-storm environment of 24 April 1975. Storms began developing in an area extending from southwest Oklahoma to eastern Tennessee 2 h subsequent to the time of the derived fields. The maximum moisture convergence was computed to be 2.2 × 10−3 g kg−1 s−1 and areas of low-level convergence of moisture were in general indicative of regions of severe storm genesis. The resultant moisture convergence fields derived from two wind acts 20 min apart were spatially consistent and reflected the mesoscale forcing of ensuing storm development. Results are discussed with regard to possible limitations in quantifying the relationship between low-level flow and satellite-derived cumulus motion in an antecedent storm environment.

Abstract

Five-minute interval 1 km resolution SMS visible channel data were used to derive low-level wind fields by tracking small cumulus clouds on NASA's Atmospheric and Oceanographic Information Processing System (AOIPS). The satellite-derived wind fields were combined with surface mixing ratios to derive horizontal moisture convergence in the pre-storm environment of 24 April 1975. Storms began developing in an area extending from southwest Oklahoma to eastern Tennessee 2 h subsequent to the time of the derived fields. The maximum moisture convergence was computed to be 2.2 × 10−3 g kg−1 s−1 and areas of low-level convergence of moisture were in general indicative of regions of severe storm genesis. The resultant moisture convergence fields derived from two wind acts 20 min apart were spatially consistent and reflected the mesoscale forcing of ensuing storm development. Results are discussed with regard to possible limitations in quantifying the relationship between low-level flow and satellite-derived cumulus motion in an antecedent storm environment.

Save