An Observational Study of a Mesoscale Area of Convection under Weak Synoptic-Scale Forcing

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  • 1 University of Oklahoma, School of Meteorology, Norman, OK 73019
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Abstract

This is a case study of a mesoscale area of convection which began at night over western Kansas on 2 September 1982 and lasted until the afternoon of 3 September. Evidence from analyses of surface, upper-air, radar, and satellite observations suggests that the thunderstorms probably formed in response to the lifting of an elevated layer of conditional instability. The lifting can be attributed qualitatively to quasi-geostrophic ascending motion resulting from a shallow layer of warm advection near 60 kPa. Two possible sources of moisture were midlevel moisture which had been advected around an upstream ridge and a localized area of turbulent transport of water vapor from below. The convective event could not have been forecast with synoptic-scale, mandatory-level analyses alone; it was difficult to explain even with detailed analyses at other levels.

Abstract

This is a case study of a mesoscale area of convection which began at night over western Kansas on 2 September 1982 and lasted until the afternoon of 3 September. Evidence from analyses of surface, upper-air, radar, and satellite observations suggests that the thunderstorms probably formed in response to the lifting of an elevated layer of conditional instability. The lifting can be attributed qualitatively to quasi-geostrophic ascending motion resulting from a shallow layer of warm advection near 60 kPa. Two possible sources of moisture were midlevel moisture which had been advected around an upstream ridge and a localized area of turbulent transport of water vapor from below. The convective event could not have been forecast with synoptic-scale, mandatory-level analyses alone; it was difficult to explain even with detailed analyses at other levels.

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