Vertical structure of tropical mesoscale convective systems: observations using VHF radar and cloud resolving model simulations

Abhilash, S.; Mohankumar, K.; Das, S.; Kumar, K.
December 2010
Meteorology & Atmospheric Physics;Dec2010, Vol. 109 Issue 3/4, p73
Academic Journal
This study examines the time-height variation and structure of a tropical mesoscale convective system (TMCS). Convection experiments using VHF (53 MHz) radar aimed at improving the understanding of the vertical structure of TMCS occurred over Gadanki (13.5°N, 79.2°E), India during 21-22 June 2000 has been selected for the study. The time-height variations of reflectivity and vertical velocity exhibits four distinct patterns and have been used to classify four subjectively identified types of echoes; viz., formative, mature, transition zone and stratiform regions associated with TMCS. Average vertical velocity profiles were distinctive for each region. The mean vertical motion is upward at all levels in the troposphere during the formative phase. The vertical motion in the mature region is downward in the lower troposphere and upward in the middle and upper troposphere. The maximum upward motion is found in the middle troposphere and secondary maxima near the tropopause level. The transition zone is characterized by strong downdraft in the lower troposphere with local pockets of updrafts in the middle and upper troposphere. The magnitude of the mean vertical motion is considerably reduced in the stratiform region and is downward in the lower troposphere and upward in the upper troposphere. Time-height variation of reflectivity has been analyzed separately for each region. The observed diminished echo zone and tropopause break/weakening during the mature phase and two enhanced reflectivity zone in the stratiform region is also observed. A Cloud System Resolving Model (CSRM) simulation of the same event has been carried out. The CSRM simulations were able to capture the structure of the storm and are consistent with the observations. The model output in conjunction with observations has been used to validate the hypothesis.


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