6.4 The numerical simulation of infrasound generated by convective storms

Tuesday, 18 August 2009: 8:45 AM
The Canyons (Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel)
David A. Schecter, NorthWest Research Associates, Redmond, WA; and M. E. Nicholls

Recent observations suggest that a developing tornado has a detectable signature in the infrasound of a severe weather system [A.J. Bedard Jr., Mon. Weather Rev., 133, 241 (2005)]. In order to reliably distinguish the vortex signal from extraneous noise, it is essential to advance current understanding of the various mechanisms that produce infrasound in atmospheric convection. In the absence of detailed observations, numerical modeling may be the best method of investigation. Here, we consider the feasibility of using a special version of the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) that is customized to simulate aeroacoustics. Comparison to analytical results demonstrates that the customized model adequately generates the infrasound of tornado-like vortices, and of basic diabatic cloud processes. Sensitivity to the microphysics parameterization is briefly addressed. Provisional simulations suggest that a moderate-to-strong tornado can adiabatically generate infrasound of much greater intensity than the infrasound of a generic hail-producing thunderstorm, in the 0.1-3 Hz frequency range [D.A. Schecter et al., J. Atmos. Sci., 65, 685 (2008)]. More detailed numerical studies are underway to verify this conclusion, and to further understand the production of infrasound in a broad spectrum of convective systems, ranging from non-precipitating cumuli to tornadic thunderstorms.
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