227 Severe Thunderstorm Life Cycles in the Northeast U.S

Thursday, 31 August 2017
Zurich DEFG (Swissotel Chicago)
Matthew Wunsch, Stony Brook Univ., Stony Brook, NY; and M. M. French

Satellite and WSR-88D radar data from 2012 – 2016 are used to investigate the life cycles of tornado-producing and hail-producing severe storms in the Northeast U.S. (NEUS). Radar analyses of each case, in combination with Storm Data reports, are used to identify the time and location of tornado formation and dissipation. Convective initiation (CI) and dissipation of the severe storms of interest are identified using a 35 dBZ radar threshold. Analysis of satellite data is planned to estimate the time and location of pre-CI cumulus development and progression. Combining storm reports, and radar and satellite data ostensibly provide a more complete and accurate picture of storm life cycles and their important transition periods than these types of data individually.

The goal of this project is to use the observed severe weather events in the NEUS to determine if there are preferred areas where, and times within the life cycle when: (i) pre-CI cumulus development is favored, (ii) storms become severe, (iii) severe weather ceases, and (iv) severe storms dissipate. A subsequent objective to this research is to better understand the role of terrain as well as the land/marine interface on severe convection in the NEUS. Challenges include the ability to use pre-GOES-16 (GOES-R) data to identify accurately cumulus clouds associated with specific storms.

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