86 Incorporating Dual-Polarization Signatures into the Tornado Warning Process for Supercells: ZDR/KDP Separation and Size Sorting Signals

Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Stowe & Atrium rooms (Stoweflake Mountain Resort )
M. L. Jurewicz Sr., NOAA/NWS, State College, PA; and C. M. Gitro, M. R. Kumjian, and M. M. French

Previous field studies investigated the possibility of utilizing certain dual-polarization radar fields (ZDR and KDP) to help discriminate between tornadic and non-tornadic storms. The main strategy was to infer trends in storm-scale shear by evaluating the character of preferential drop size sorting. Later research demonstrated, via idealized numerical simulations, that hydrometeor size sorting is not fundamental to wind shear, but rather to the storm-relative flow itself. However, it was also noted that particularly in supercell environments, storm-relative flow (using the degree of drop size sorting as a proxy) and lower tropospheric storm-relative helicity (SRH) are likely well correlated. As such, in supercell environments, it is hypothesized that patterns of ZDR and KDP can identify important trends in storm-relative flow and SRH, thereby helping to diagnose a storm’s tornadic potential.
In an attempt to leverage study results and test hypotheses outlined above, a number of tornadic and non-tornadic supercell cases were evaluated. While previous field studies were conducted in specific geographical regions of the United States, this study has looked at a broad array of cases east of the Rocky Mountains, in an effort to find a unified, geographically independent approach to using dual-polarization radar fields for better discrimination between tornadic and non-tornadic storms. Applicable findings center on separation characteristics between ZDR areal maxima in the ZDR arc region and KDP areal maxima within the KDP foot.
Initial attempts, as well as future projections, to incorporate study results into National Weather Service (NWS) warning operations will also be discussed.
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