Transition of Large-Scale Environmental Conditions and Characteristics of Four Rainfall Types Observed by S-PolKa During the MJO-1 Active Phase of DYNAMO/CINDY/AMIE

Jeffrey D. Thayer, Deanna A. Hence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Analyses of National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) S-PolKa dual-polarization radar data and ERA5 reanalysis fields indicate gradual changes in convection characteristics and large-scale environmental conditions during a central Indian Ocean Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) event observed by the DYNAMO/CINDY/AMIE field campaigns in late October 2011 (MJO-1). Examination of four rainfall types (isolated convective cores, convective, mixed, and stratiform) reveals a transition of convection characteristics (i.e., areal coverage and depth) between distinct 5-day environmental periods at the beginning and end of this ∼2-week MJO active phase. A shift toward less frequent rainfall covering less of the radar domain for all four rainfall types occurs when large-scale lower-tropospheric dry air advects into the region with the westerly wind burst (WWB). Drier and warmer lower-free-tropospheric conditions associated with the WWB contribute to increased large-scale surface-based convective inhibition (CIN), surface-based convective available potential energy (CAPE), and cloud base heights. A thermodynamic budget analysis indicates reduced surface heat fluxes contribute to the increased surface-based CAPE. Greater CAPE at the end of MJO-1 coincides with deeper 50-dBZ convective echoes, while decreased 10-dBZ depth for all rainfall types corresponds in time with WWB-related dry-air advection. Increased (decreased) reflectivity values in the lower-level vertical reflectivity distribution of convective (stratiform) precipitation indicate increased (decreased) convective (stratiform) intensities when the WWB is present. The opposite depth changes for convective echoes and opposite shifts in convective and stratiform precipitation intensities underscore how the WWB can have differing impacts at different reflectivity thresholds and stages of the deep convection lifecycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021JD036188
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume127
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 27 2022

Keywords

  • DYNAMO
  • Madden-Julian Oscillation
  • dual-polarization radar
  • tropical convection
  • westerly wind burst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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