33 A Comparative Analysis of Multi-level Convective Available Potential Energy and Reflectivity for an Elevated Nocturnal Mesoscale Convective System on 9 August 2014

Monday, 3 August 2015
Back Bay Ballroom (Sheraton Boston )
Jessica J. Choate, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; and R. M. Rauber, G. M. McFarquhar, and B. F. Jewett

Although nocturnal convection is frequently observed, the mechanisms that allow nocturnal mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) to persist are still not well understood. On 9 August 2014 at approximately 2000 UTC, a regime of upslope flow owing to a weak shortwave impulse in the lee of the Rocky Mountains spawned a convective complex near the Colorado-Kansas border. Following storm initiation, the system grew upscale into a southeastward-propagating MCS, which became elevated as it continued into the overnight hours, producing numerous gravity waves and severe surface winds along the southern end of the storm. This study investigates the elevation above ground level (AGL) from which air parcels with the greatest convective available potential energy (CAPE) originate and support the development and maintenance of elevated convection. The analysis of this system uses WSR-88D composite reflectivity data, a short term forecast from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, and back trajectories produced by the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model. This paper describes the evolution of the boundary layer as well as the spatial and temporal progression of the altitude of the most unstable (MU) CAPE of air parcels associated with the elevated convection and the connection the source air had with the highest reflectivity produced in the MCS. The change in the source of these parcels over time is examined to understand how the air mass sources and their properties impact the evolution of convection.
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