Session 4.2 An assessment of convective system structure, cold pool properties, and environmental shear using observations from BAMEX

Tuesday, 5 October 2004: 8:30 AM
George H. Bryan, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and D. A. Ahijevych, C. A. Davis, M. L. Weisman, and R. Przybylinski

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Several idealized numerical modeling studies have found a relationship between the structure of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) and a nondimensional parameter relating cold pool strength to environmental wind shear. There has been no comprehensive study to evaluate this relationship in observed MCSs. One main reason has been the lack of soundings in and near MCSs. At least two soundings are needed for the analysis: one in the undisturbed environment, and one in the system's cold pool. The operational rawinsonde network has insufficient spacing and launch rate for this purpose.

The Bow Echo and MCV Experiment (BAMEX) was designed partly to address this observational void. During BAMEX, about 700 soundings were obtained using research platforms. Almost all soundings were within or near MCSs, or within mesoscale vortices generated by MCSs. Thus, the sounding data collected during BAMEX provide a unique opportunity to assess dynamical theories drawn from idealized modeling studies.

We are using the BAMEX sounding dataset to assess cold pool characteristics in comparison to environmental shear. Our presentation will focus on whether or not the observational evidence supports the theory that system structure is correlated with cold pool strength and environmental shear.

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