82 Convective Adjustment and Recovery Associated with Supercell Thunderstorms During the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX)

Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Broadway Rooms (Hilton Portland )
Robert Trapp, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; and J. M. Woznicki

Deep convective storms are well known to adjust, or stabilize the local environment via adiabatic and diabatic processes. It is hypothesized that supercell thunderstorms should be associated with particularly rapid adjustments, because of their large, intense, and long-lived rotating updrafts and downdrafts.  Such convective adjustments and the subsequent recovery of the local environment were sampled during the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX) field phase, which was conducted 15 May through 15 June 2013 within the Great Plains region of the United States.

MPEX radiosonde observations and complementary numerical model simulations demonstrate that supercell-induced adjustments occur over several minutes and are highly localized.  Indeed, the expected lapse-rate reductions occur only within the immediate vicinity of the moving storm.  Accordingly, there are little to no remnants of the adjustment in the wake of the storm except within the area occupied by the surface cold pool, and where stabilizations are induced adiabatically by gravity-wave disturbances.  The implication is that, above the cold pool and beyond gravity-wave effects, the recovery of the local environment to its pre-convective state has a time scale that is roughly equivalent to that of the convective adjustment.

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