Joint Poster Session JP1.5 A radiosonde system for the University of Missouri: An informal study of a decaying thunderstorm near Columbia, Missouri

Monday, 1 June 2009
Grand Ballroom Center (DoubleTree Hotel & EMC - Downtown, Omaha)
Cody Lee Fritz, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; and P. S. Market, N. I. Fox, S. Skibinski, and A. R. Lupo

Handout (395.3 kB)

Recently, the University of Missouri purchased a mobile radiosonde weather balloon system from International Met Systems. Currently, only one WFO (SGF) launches balloons twice a day in Missouri, although there are several stations surrounding the state. Historically, balloons were launched from the Columbia Regional Airport and our station identifier was KCBI. After the purchase of this system and subsequent training, two test launches were done during the afternoon of 24 September, 2008. During that afternoon, thunderstorms developed to the north of Columbia and moved in a south, southeasterly direction. This convection was sparked by a pre-frontal trough across the NW sector of MO in advance of a cold front. A surface analysis illustrates that there was a ridge of high pressure to the east with moderate warm south southeasterly flow. Furthermore, additional forcing is suggested by difluent flow aloft at the base of an existing mid/upper level trough moving eastward across the northern plain states. Values of CAPE values were around 1000J/KG for the morning hours with higher values to the east. During the afternoon (1945 UTC), a balloon was launched prior to the arrival of a line of thunderstorms. This sounding demonstrated that there was sufficient CAPE available for thunderstorm development. A second launch was done starting at 2137 UTC as the thunderstorm was moving in. An analysis of RADAR data indicated that the thunderstorm had clearly deteriorated. The sounding showed that as convection moved in to the region, and the atmospheric stability had adjusted toward moist neutral reducing the CAPE and other indicies. Finally, the faculty at the University of Missouri has discussed this acquisition with personnel at surrounding WFOs, and our newly acquired system may provide helpful information during special launches.
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