3A.6 Examining Precipitation and Radiative Impacts of Convection in the Tropical Atlantic

Monday, 7 January 2019: 3:15 PM
North 121BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Juliet A. Pilewskie, Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI; and T. L'Ecuyer

Convection plays a critical role in both weather and climate, producing heavy rain and exerting strong radiative effects from the associated extensive anvils and residual cirrus clouds. Improving convective parameterizations is, therefore, necessary for both improving precipitation forecasts and representing convective cloud feedbacks in the climate system. As a step toward this goal, this study, examines the annual cycle of convective activity over the tropical Atlantic using merged geostationary and CloudSat datasets that, together, enable relationships between the spatial distribution and vertical structure of convection to be quantified. The relative areas of convective cores determined by CloudSat and associated anvils defined based on cold cloud top temperatures from infrared imagery are found to correlate well to surface precipitation intensity and cloud radiative effects, each of which impact local atmospheric dynamics. These relationships are further observed to evolve over the convective lifecycle. The dependence of this measure of energy and water cycle coupling in convective clouds on environmental conditions and other proxies for convective intensity such as the center of gravity calculated from CloudSat W-band reflectivity data will be explored.
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