18.4 Numerical simulations of the dryline and surrounding boundary layer on 22 May 2002 during IHOP

Friday, 31 October 2008: 8:45 AM
North & Center Ballroom (Hilton DeSoto)
Michael S. Buban, CIMMS/Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman; and C. L. Ziegler and Y. P. Richardson

On the afternoon and evening of 22 May 2002, high-resolution data of the dryline and surrounding boundary layer (BL) were collected in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles as part of the International H2O Project. Using over-determined multiple Doppler radar syntheses in concert with an innovative Lagrangian analysis technique, the 3-D kinematic and thermodynamic structure of the dryline and surrounding BL have been obtained over nearly a 2-hour period. A past study utilizing these analysis tools has delineated the 22 May dryline as a strong gradient of water vapor mixing ratio embedded in a zone of multi-Doppler radar-derived convergence. Misocyclones are observed to propagate from south to north along the dryline. The BL on both sides of the dryline exhibits complicated structures such as horizontal convective rolls, transverse rolls, and open convective cells.

In the present study, the time-varying radar and Lagrangian analyses have been used as initial and time-dependent lateral inflow boundary conditions to run high-resolution simulations of the dryline and BL. Simulations are conducted with the COllaborative Model for Multiscale Atmospheric Simulation (COMMAS), a 3-dimensional non-hydrostatic community cloud model which includes both short- and long-wave radiation, a force-restore surface physics parameterization, and a cloud microphysics parameterization. The simulations reproduce a nearly north-south oriented dryline with horizontal moisture and temperature gradients similar to observed values, as well as misocyclones, horizontal convective rolls, transverse rolls, and open convective cells. These simulated BL features are similar to analogous structures manifested in the observations and the Lagrangian analyses, although the modeled features are typically of higher spatial and temporal resolutions and may have larger amplitudes than the equivalent observed features. The simulated BL features are internally consistent with the model dynamics, with the high spatial and temporal resolution potentially permitting a better understanding of their evolution processes.

A feature of special interest are the misocyclones which develop and propagate northward along the dryline. Apparently forced in the simulations via longer wavelength undulations in the momentum and thermodynamic fields that are introduced at the lateral inflow boundaries, these perturbations collapse in scale and amplify into intense misovortices as they move downstream. The misocyclones act to modulate the moisture fields along the dryline, bringing larger moisture values westward ahead of and drier air eastward behind the misocyclone relative to its motion. The vertical motion within the deeper moist layer north of the misocyclone enhances simulated cumulus formation along and north of the axis of rotation.

The model simulations are compared to observations to qualitatively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Lagrangian analyses. Aspects of the dryline circulation and other BL features are discussed along with their potential role in the convection initiation process.

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