25th Conference on Severe Local Storms


Synoptic composites of tornadic and non-tornadic severe weather outbreaks

Andrew Edward Mercer, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS; and C. M. Shafer, C. A. Doswell III, M. B. Richman, and L. M. Leslie

Outbreaks of severe weather affect millions of individuals nation-wide each year, occasionally resulting in catastrophic damage and fatalities. As such, a detailed understanding of the synoptic environments that drive these outbreaks is essential to help improve prediction of these dangerous events. The scope of this project is to obtain synoptic composites of tornadic and non-tornadic severe weather outbreaks in order to determine the unique synoptic characteristics of each. The synoptic composites have been formulated directly from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis dataset, which reside on a 2.5 latitude-longitude grid. A T-mode principal component analysis of 50 tornadic and 50 non-tornadic outbreaks was conducted on five fundamental meteorological variables: temperature, relative humidity, u and v wind speed, and geopotential height, at all 17 vertical levels available in the reanalysis. The resulting 3-dimensional composites were used to initialize the WRF model in order to determine if the simulations would produce the expected outbreak of severe weather. Previous classification work was used to determine the outbreak type that the WRF was producing. Overall, results were excellent, as clear synoptic differences in each outbreak type were noted. The tornado outbreak composites were characterized by a deeper height trough, stronger thermal advection, and deeper surface low pressure. Additionally, the WRF simulations of the composites were generally classified correctly by the classification algorithm.

Poster Session 2, Severe Weather Climatology Posters
Monday, 11 October 2010, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM, Grand Mesa Ballroom ABC

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