89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Sunday, 11 January 2009
Does southeast Texas need an additional upper-air station?
Phoenix Convention Center
Amanda Fanning, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; and B. Haines, J. Stachnik, and C. Schumacher
Previous studies have documented the sensitivity of deep convective storms to local perturbations in wind shear and the thermodynamic environment. Explicit prediction of these storms becomes increasingly more difficult in data-sparse regions, including southeast Texas, where the nearest routine upper-air station may be located over 250 km away.

Two weeks of upper-air data were collected from special soundings released from College Station, Texas during spring 2008. Multiple convective events were observed during the data collection period, with local soundings sampling the downstream environments later ingested by these storms. Soundings for both an observed supercell and linear mesoscale convective system are presented and compared to surrounding upper-air observations to evaluate the degree of environmental variability across this region.

Idealized simulations of the storms are performed using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Comparisons are made for simulations initialized with local soundings and those using routine National Weather Service observations, highlighting differences in storm structure and intensity as a result of local variations in the thermodynamic and wind profile. Simulations are also compared with radar data collected by the S-band Aggie Doppler Radar (ADRAD). Insight into how representative the proximity soundings are to the local environment will be presented, and preliminary recommendations regarding the addition of a permanent upper-air station in southeast Texas will be made.

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