9B.3 Predictability and Dynamics of Warm-Core Mesoscale Vortex Formation with the 8 May 2009 “Super Derecho” Event

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 11:00 AM
Conference Center: Tahoma 3 (Washington State Convention Center )
Caleb Grunzke, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; and C. Evans

The predictability and dynamics of the warm-core mesovortex associated with the northern-flank of the 8 May 2009 “Super Derecho” event are examined by coupling the Advanced Research Weather Research Forecasting model with the ensemble adjustment Kalman filter implementation within the Data Assimilation Research Testbed facility.  Cycled analysis started at 1200 UTC 2 May 2009, with observations assimilated every 6 h until 1200 UTC 7 May 2009, at which time a 50-member ensemble of 36 h convection-allowing ensemble forecasts were launched.  The ensemble forecasts all simulated a mesoscale convective system, but only fourteen percent produced a warm-core mesovortex-like feature similar in intensity to the observed mesovortex.

Ensemble sensitivity and composite analyses were conducted to analyze the environmental differences between ensemble members.  A more amplified upstream upper-level trough near the time of observed convection initiation is associated with a stronger simulated mesovortex.  The amplification of the trough results in increases in the magnitudes of the low-level jet and thermal gradient.  Consequently, more moisture is transported poleward into western Kansas, leading to earlier convection initiation in ensemble members with the strongest mesovortices.  A circulation budget is performed on the ensemble members with the strongest (member 10) and weakest (member 5) time-averaged circulations.  The characteristic airstreams of a MCS are more prominent in member 10, which is hypothesized to allow for the convergence of more background cyclonic absolute vorticity and, thus, facilitating the development of a stronger mesovortex.

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