Analysis of Radar-Derived Cloud Reflectivity from a Low Pressure System in June over Boulder, Colorado

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
William Ray Evonosky, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; and J. Layne and R. V. Martes

Understanding and interpreting Doppler radar data is one of the fundamentals of meteorology and is key to predicting severe weather. This study uses Doppler radar to characterize the distribution of hydrometeors in a convective cell and understand the evolution of the cell over time. Radar data were collected using the Doppler on Wheels (DOW 7) in Boulder, CO, on June 18, 2014, between 22:15 and 22:30 UTC while a low pressure system was moving through. Using SOLOII software to analyze the radar data, a convective cell was selected and its reflectivity and position evaluated from variable radar beam elevation angles in one-degree increments. Maximum and average reflectivity values were identified using histograms representing the entirety of the cell at each radar beam elevation angle. Though the greatest reflectivity was observed in the lower radar beam elevation angles (4.5-5.5 degrees), a general observed trend in our data revealed a decrease in reflectivity with increasing beam angle. This indicates that most of the hydrometeors were present towards the base of the cloud and thinned towards the ceiling. Additional data will be analyzed and presented including wind velocity information which will shed light on how the cell evolved over time. The velocity data will be used to verify original reflectivity and position data, which suggested that the cell's velocity moved asymmetrically with increasing elevation.