Influence of the lake Erie overlake boundary layer on deep convective storm evolution

Thomas E. Workoff, David A.R. Kristovich, Neil F. Laird, Robert Laplante, Daniel Leins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence that the overlake boundary layer has on storm intensity and structure is not well understood. To improve scientists' understanding of the evolution of storms crossing Lake Erie, 111 events during 2001-09 were examined using observations from Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D), surface, buoy, and rawinsonde sites. It was found that on average, all storm modes tended to weaken over the lake; however, considerable variability in changes of storm intensity existed, with some storms exhibiting steadystate or increasing intensity in specific environments. Noteworthy changes in the storm maximum reflectivity generally occurred within 60 min after storms crossed the upwind shoreline. Isolated and cluster storm modes exhibited much greater weakening than those storms organized into lines or convective complexes. The atmospheric parameters having the greatest influence on storm intensity over Lake Erie varied by mode. Isolated and cluster storms generally weakened more rapidly with increasingly cold overlake surface air temperatures. Linear and complex systems, on the other hand, tended to exhibit constant or increasing maximum reflectivity with cooler overlake surface air temperatures. It is suggested that strongly stable conditions near the lake surface limit the amount of boundary layer air ingested into storms in these cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1279-1289
Number of pages11
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Boundary layer
  • Convective storms
  • Forecasting
  • Mesoscale forecasting
  • Nowcasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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