3 Analysis of Surface Thermodynamic Characteristics within the Rear-Flank Downdraft of the Wichita, Kansas, Tornadic Supercell of 14 April 2012

Monday, 5 November 2012
Symphony III and Foyer (Loews Vanderbilt Hotel)
Kyle Yaffe, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL; and A. Gordon and J. Frame
Manuscript (897.5 kB)

Handout (1.4 MB)

On 14 April 2012, a tornadic supercell passed just southeast of Wichita, Kansas. This supercell moved over the automated surface observing stations (ASOS) at McConnell Air Force Base (KIAB), Wichita Midcontinent Airport (KICT), and Colonel Jabara Airport (KAAO). As the supercell and tornado passed nearly overhead, these stations recorded several special observations, with temporal resolution as fine as one minute at KIAB, providing a rare opportunity to assess the thermodynamic properties and fine-scale variability within the outflow of a tornadic supercell with conventional surface weather observations. An analysis of these data reveals a virtual potential temperature deficit of only about 2 K near the hook echo of the supercell, although deficits exceeding 5 K were present farther into the core of the storm. This analysis also detected a slight equivalent potential temperature surplus near the hook echo, and deficits in excess of 8 K in the core of the storm. The lack of appreciable equivalent or virtual potential temperature deficits near the hook echo and significant tornado is consistent with current conceptual and dynamical models of supercell tornadogenesis. This analysis will be expanded to include low-level winds and pressures. These data will then be plotted atop WSR-88D imagery to reveal a more complete picture of the low-level thermodynamic structure of this tornadic supercell.

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