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

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 9:15 AM
Gust Front Vs. Non-Gust Front Thunderstorms: An Investigation Into Storm Characteristics and Environmental Conditions
Room 239 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Theresa A. Aguilar, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Rapid City, SD; and R. Roberts, T. M. Weckwerth, D. Kliche, and P. Smith

The development and propagation of a gust front is shown to be an integral part of a thunderstorm's life cycle in conceptual models and schematics. This outflow boundary has the potential to initiate new storms as well as inhibit or enhance existing storms. However, not every thunderstorm produces a gust front, and the reasons are not well understood. This deficit in knowledge leads to a lack of criteria for forecasting which storms will produce gust fronts that may generate new storms. Therefore, it is important to understand why some storms produce gust fronts and others do not. This study examined a few ordinary thunderstorms during the 2002 International H2O Project (IHOP). The objective was to determine if gust front (GF) and non-gust front (NGF) storms exhibit differences in terms of storm characteristics and environmental conditions. The S-band Dual Polarization (S-Pol) Doppler radar provided measurements of reflectivity (Z) in addition to polarimetric fields, such as differential reflectivity (Zdr) and specific differential phase (Kdp), to describe each storm's characteristics (microphysics). Standard parameters that characterized the environment were derived from soundings at different sites within S-Pol's range. Preliminary analyses indicate some similarities and differences between GF and NGF storms more in storm characteristics (e.g., growth rate of Z, descent of 0 Zdr contour, strong gradient change in Kdp) than in environment (e.g., nearly similar profiles). However, more storms need to be investigated to substantiate these preliminary findings, which can help improve our understanding of GF production and forecasting.

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