S49 An Update to the Convective Wind Climatology of Kennedy Space Center / Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Sunday, 6 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Kevin M. Lupo, Plymouth, NH

The convective wind climatology of Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (KSC/CCAFS) documents eighteen years (1995-2012) of warm-season (May-September) convective wind events over a 30 km x 40 km region on and around KSC/CCAFS. This climatology serves to aid in the forecasting of convective winds, which account for a total number of weather warnings at KSC/CCAFS second only to lightning. To refine and quality-control the climatological dataset, this update reviews all previously identified convective periods. Using reflectivity data from the Weather Surveillance Radar in Melbourne, Florida (KMLB), a threshold of ≥40 dBZ within the area of the wind tower network served as a baseline for convective activity. As a result of the review, corrections were made to the start and end times of a number of convective events, and events found to be either non-convective or influenced by synoptic fronts or tropical cyclones were removed, with these updates reducing the number of convective events from 1162 to 1090 for 1995-2011, improving the accuracy and potentially the operational effectiveness of the convective wind statistics.

The statistical dataset developed from the KSC/CCAFS convective wind climatology breaks out the climatological data both by individual convective period and by month and year against wind speeds versus hour, height, direction, and tower of observation. The quality-control review of the climatology does impact the convective wind statistics. The year of the maximum number of convective events, 2009, was reduced from 95 to 86 events. The removal of 36 synoptic or tropical cyclone influenced events also removed a 0900 UTC peak of warning-level convective wind observations in the month of August. Despite statistical revisions, previous research utilizing the convective wind climatology has likely not been invalidated, as the post-revision statistics exhibit characteristics similar to their pre-revision values. These previously created statistical summaries have been used to identify characteristic patterns in the warm season convective wind climatology, such the identification of July as the month in which most convective events occur. Other observations resulting from the statistical summaries include the dominance of southwesterly synoptic flow regimes and wind directions with regards to convective periods, and the display of the diurnal cycle of convective activity. The utilization of a radar climatology has also allowed for the identification and analysis of key variables associated with convective events, such as storm initiation, motion, and strength.

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