Convectively induced stabilizations and subsequent recovery with supercell thunderstorms during the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX)

Robert J. Trapp, Joseph M. Woznickia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The adiabatic and diabatic processes inherent to midlatitude deep convective storms are well known to modify the atmospheric temperature, moisture, and winds especially within horizontal scales equivalent to a Rossby radius of deformation. Such modifications, or "feedbacks," induced by supercell thunderstorms were a particular focus of the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX), owing to the unique supercell dynamics and associated supercell intensity and longevity. During the MPEX field phase, which was conducted 15 May-15 June 2013 within the Great Plains region of the United States, radiosonde observations collected in immediate supercell wakes exhibited temperature lapse rates that were qualitatively and quantitatively similar to preconvective lapse rates above the boundary layer. Complementary idealized model simulations were used to confirm that there was little residual effect of the supercell in the wake of the moving storm except within the area occupied by the surface cold pool, and where stabilizations were induced adiabatically by transient gravity wave disturbances. The persistency of the (i) cold pool, and its inhibition to surface-based convection, depended on the evolving cold pool strength and environmental winds; and (ii) gravity wave effects depended on the Doppler-shifted phase speed relative to the moving storm. Otherwise, recovery of the wake environment to its preconvective state occurred approximately over a time scale defined by the updraft length scale and horizontal advective velocity scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1754
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume145
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Keywords

  • Cloud resolving models
  • Convective storms
  • Convective-scale processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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