Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Complex terrain or orography is well known to have a large impact on cloud formation and precipitation distribution. The amount of precipitation that falls on the leeward slope of a mountain barrier or on the windward slope can play a major role in the hydrological cycle. As such, several studies have determined that upstream static stability, cross-mountain top wind speed, moisture transport and aerosol concentrations are important factors that control precipitation distribution. However, further research is needed to analyze the microphysical characteristics across a mountain barrier as meteorological conditions vary. During the winter of 2011, an airborne study, the Colorado Airborne Mixed-Phase Cloud Study (CAMPS), and a ground-based field campaign, the Storm Peak Lab Cloud Property Validation Experiment (STORMVEX), occurred simultaneously in the Park Range of the Colorado Rockies. The CAMPS study utilized the University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) to provide airborne cloud microphysical and meteorological data on 29 flights totaling 98 flight hours over the Park Range from December 15, 2010 to February 28, 2011. The UWKA was equipped with instruments that measured both cloud droplet and ice crystal concentrations and size distributions, liquid water content, total water content (vapor, liquid, and ice), and 3-dimensional wind speed and direction. The Wyoming Cloud Radar and Lidar were also on board during the campaign. These measurements are used to characterize cloud structure and vertical velocities. STORMVEX provided cloud microphysical properties and aerosol characteristics at Storm Peak Laboratory (SPL) located on the west summit of Mt. Werner at 3220m MSL. A Balloon Borne Sounding System (BBSS) was located at the base of Mt. Werner in Steamboat Springs, CO. The BBSS and observations from SPL are used to determine static stability and cloud base properties at elevations lower than the UWKA was able to sample in situ. This study will characterize cloud structure and microphysical properties upwind and downwind of the mountain crest, and examine the impact of dynamics and aerosol concentrations on the distribution of cloud microphysical properties.
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