92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012
A Temporal Analysis of Severe Storm Reports and GOES Satellite-Measured Microphysical Properties of Severe Convection
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Caitlin J. Hart, CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and J. Sieglaff

Outbreaks of severe convection in the United States cause major economic and personal losses every year due to flooding, high winds, hail, and tornadoes. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imager provides a unique dataset for studying temporal trends of cloud-top microphysical retrievals through the full thunderstorm lifetime. The GOES data used in this study has high temporal resolution (5-15 minute) and spatial resolution of 4km at nadir. The goal of this research is to analyze the temporal changes of cloud properties during the mature phase of severe thunderstorms. Specifically we will assess if there are signatures within the temporal trends of the cloud properties to offer lead-time of surface severe weather reports and/or eventual storm weakening and decay.

A manual analysis was performed to create ‘cloud objects' for severe thunderstorms in each GOES imager scan for 14 convective days, including 60 severe thunderstorms. (A severe thunderstorm in this case, requires at least one surface severe weather report.) A cloud object in this study is defined as a contiguous group of satellite pixels belonging to a developing/mature severe thunderstorm. The cloud objects are assigned unique, consistent IDs allowing for each storm to be tracked through space and time. The cloud objects are used as input into a UW-CIMSS developed framework to calculate temporal trends of various microphysical parameters such as cloud top phase, cloud particle effective radius, and cloud visible cloud optical depth for each severe thunderstorm. Ongoing work is determining what satellite-derived signatures exist that may offer increased lead-time to surface severe weather reports and/or weakening/decay of severe thunderstorms. This poster will present preliminary results.

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