Session 5.5 Highlights from the Texas Tech Ka-band Mobile Doppler Radar and StickNet Data Collection During VORTEX2

Monday, 11 October 2010: 8:30 PM
Grand Mesa Ballroom F (Hyatt Regency Tech Center)
Christopher C. Weiss, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX; and D. Dowell

Presentation PDF (2.5 MB)

Texas Tech University is responsible for two major observational platforms in VORTEX2. The first of these platforms is dubbed “StickNet”, an array of 24 in situ observation suites mounted on rugged engineering tripods. The primary aim of StickNet is to make measurements of thermodynamic and kinematic state variables across the expanse of targeted supercell thunderstorms. In most cases, a broad coarse (~6 km spacing) array was deployed covering a swath of ~30 km from the leftmost edge of the precipitation core to ~10 km right of the primary low-level mesocyclone. Embedded within this coarse array was a finer array (swath ~5 km, probe spacing ~1 km) that was responsible for resolving horizontal gradients near the updraft region. Many VORTEX2 objectives will be satisfied by the StickNet data collected, including the verification of cold pools produced by storm-scale numerical models and the identification of regions of horizontal baroclinic vorticity generation for trajectories entering the low-level mesocyclone.

One Texas Tech Ka-band (TTUKa) mobile Doppler radar was unveiled for the 2009 field phase, followed by an additional identical platform for the 2010 season. Primary objectives for these radars included: identification of pre-tornadic horizontal and vertical vorticity along storm-scale boundaries (e.g., rear flank gust front), resolution of tornado and sub-tornado scale structure in the horizontal and vertical, the quantification of boundary-layer and corner flow near the surface of tornadoes and, through VAD techniques, the assessment of low-level wind shear in the inflow region of tornadic and non-tornadic supercell thunderstorms.

All told, there were a total of 650 StickNet probe drops over the course of both field seasons, and approximately 150 deployments of the TTUKa radars. Highlights of each of these campaigns will be presented including key cases where developing (7 June 2010, Mitchell, NE; 13 June 2010, Booker, TX) and mature tornadoes (5 June 2009; Lagrange, WY; 10 May 2010, Seminole, OK) were present in the StickNet arrays. Similarly, cases of quality StickNet / TTUKa radar overlap (e.g., 18 May 2010, Dumas, TX) will be mentioned, as well as instances where the TTUKa radars were able to make measurements of tornado-scale vortices (e.g., 5 June 2009, Lagrange, WY; 25 May 2010, Tribune, KS; 13 June 2010, Booker, TX).

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