Influence of Topography on Supercell Thunderstorms

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Samuel Thomas Waldusky, Northland College, Ashland, WI; and L. P. Van Roekel

Supercell thunderstorms generally struggle to thrive in mountainous regions. However, this does not mean that they cannot occur there. This project will be looking at how topography of a land surface influences these supercell thunderstorms via the environmental wind shear and low level stability using the Weather Researching and Forecasting (WRF) model. With the data from idealized test cases, we can uncover what effect an underlying mountain can have on the thunderstorm. The slope, elevation, and angle of orientation of the topography of the surrounding area, all are factors in thunderstorm longevity over uneven terrain. We have found that the angle of incidence, slope, and elevation affect a supercell's lifespan.