4B.2 Stratiform rain versus anvil cloud

Tuesday, 7 August 2007: 8:45 AM
Meeting Room 2 (Cairns Convention Center)
Courtney Schumacher, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

The terms used to describe the horizontally extensive clouds and precipitation produced by active convection have undergone continual evolution (and debate). To be strict in definition, if such a region is raining it is nimbostratus cumlonimbogenitus, if it is not raining it is cirrostratus cumlonimbogenitus. The former term is commonly referred to as a stratiform rain region, but is also called precipitating anvil, stratiform anvil, or simply anvil. The latter term is commonly referred to as anvil, but is also called cirrus anvil (or anvil cirrus), overhanging anvil, or stratiform anvil. It is obvious that there is somewhat of an overlap between terms and the confusion is deepened when taking into account the less horizontally extensive cirrus spissatus cumulonimbogenitus (dense cirrus) or incus (anvil cloud or thunderhead) also associated with deep convection. This talk will use the TRMM Precipitation Radar data to highlight important differences between the stratiform rain regions and non-precipitating anvil regions observable by the spaceborne radar in terms of occurrence, reflectivity structures, and diabatic heating with an eventual goal of refining the terms we use to describe these cloud and precipitation regions.
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