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Band Formation in a New England Winter Storm

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  • 1 Center for Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139
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Abstract

This case study addresses mechanisms of band formation in a New England winter storm. The structure of the bands and their environment are documented with synoptic observations, radar data, and analyses of instrumented aircraft flights through the bands. We postulate that processes on three scales are responsible for the bands observed, that the bands are probably a manifestation of mesoscale symmetric instability, and that potential energy for the instability is generated by synoptic scale differential lapse rate advection and converted to kinetic energy by symmetric overturning. Frontogenetical forcing results in an intermediate or subsynoptic scale region of ascent which brings the atmosphere to saturation and initiates the release of potential energy.

Abstract

This case study addresses mechanisms of band formation in a New England winter storm. The structure of the bands and their environment are documented with synoptic observations, radar data, and analyses of instrumented aircraft flights through the bands. We postulate that processes on three scales are responsible for the bands observed, that the bands are probably a manifestation of mesoscale symmetric instability, and that potential energy for the instability is generated by synoptic scale differential lapse rate advection and converted to kinetic energy by symmetric overturning. Frontogenetical forcing results in an intermediate or subsynoptic scale region of ascent which brings the atmosphere to saturation and initiates the release of potential energy.

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