3.3 Evolution of Mesoscale Convective System Organization Structure and Convective Line Propagation

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 2:00 PM
Room 6A (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Kristen Lani Rasmussen, Colorado State Univ, Fort Collins, CO; and D. Bodine

This study examines organizational changes and periods of rapid forward propagation in an MCS on 6 July 2015 in South Dakota. The MCS case was the focus of a Plains Elevated Convection At Night (PECAN) IOP. Data from the Sioux Falls WSR-88D radar and a high-resolution WRF simulation are analyzed to examine two periods of rapid forward propagation (or surges) and organizational changes. During the first surge (Surge A), the northern portion of the convective line propagates eastward faster than the southern portion, and the northern portion of the leading line transitions from a single convective core to a multicellular structure as it merges with convection initiation. Radar reflectivity factor (Z) and graupel concentrations decrease above the melting layer, while at lower altitudes Z increases. The MCS cold pool also intensifies and deepens beneath an expanded region of high rain water content and subsaturated air. Throughout Surge A, a mesoscale circulation with strong rear-to-front near-surface flow and front-to-rear middle level flow is also evident. By the end of Surge A, the leading edge of the MCS cold pool is beneath developing convection initiation ahead of the original convective line while the original convective updraft weakened and moved rearward. This MCS evolution is similar to discrete propagation events discussed in past studies, except with new convection developing along an intersecting convective band. During Surge B, the MCS transitions from a multicellular structure to a single, intense updraft. Smaller microphysical and thermodynamic changes are observed within the MCS during Surge B compared to Surge A, and the mesoscale circulation continues to develop.
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