J1.6 Visualizing Interactions Between Convective Clouds and Their Environment Using Airborne Lidar and Radar Observations

Tuesday, 8 July 2014: 2:45 PM
Essex Center/South (Westin Copley Place)
Dave Leon, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY; and J. French, S. Lasher-Trapp, and D. Moser

During the recent COPE project the UW King Air research aircraft sampled a field of cumulus growing into a region marked by fine scale aerosol layers as observed by the downward-looking Wyoming Cloud Lidar. These layers allow us to visualize the interaction of convective clouds and their environment in much the same way as smoke in a wind tunnel does. Complementing the WCL observations, vertical-plane velocity fields derived from the Wyoming Cloud Radar Doppler velocities allow motions within cloud to be linked to displacements of the aerosol layers. The observations are striking: hydraulic-jump like features are observed downshear of growing turrets; aerosol layers can be seen being pulled down hundreds of meters into collapsing turrets; and developing turrets can be seen to trigger instabilities in the overlying layers resulting in overturning and turbulence extending at least 1km above the highest cloud tops. The lidar and radar observations from this case are compared to displacements of isentropic surfaces outside cloud modeled using a high-resolution 3-dimensional cloud model.

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