6.3 Understanding Processes and Improving Predictions of Hydrometeorological Extremes in Subtropical South America: Proyecto RELAMPAGO-CACTI

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 2:00 PM
Room 18B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Stephen W. Nesbitt, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL; and P. Salio, R. J. Trapp, R. D. Roberts, A. C. Varble, F. Dominguez, L. A. T. Machado, and C. Saulo

Subtropical South America is host to many types of weather and climate hazards. The convective systems that initiate near and apart from the complex terrain of the Andes and Sierras de Córdoba are by many measures the most intense in the world, producing hazards such as damaging winds, hail, tornadoes, extreme and unusual lightning behavior, and flash and riverine flooding. These systems are modulated by interannual, intraseasonal, and synoptic drivers, however multi-scale models suffer from extreme biases in precipitation and its extremes, low level temperature and humidity due to their poor representation of organized convection and representation of convection near complex terrain, which hampers predictive skill of relevant processes across all timescales.

To address these cross-cutting issues, we have proposed a large, multi-agency international field campaign called RELAMPAGO-CACTI, which will address key gaps in physical process understanding in the production of convective storms in this region. RELAMPAGO (Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations) will be a 24-month hydrological-meteorological field campaign funded by NSF/NASA/NOAA/MinCyT/FAPESP, with an intensive observing period 1 Nov – 15 Dec 2018 in the near the Sierrasde Córdoba (SDC), the Andes foothills near Mendoza, and the region near São Borja, Brazil. A complementary funded 7-month DOE field campaign called Clouds, Aerosols, and Complex Terrain Interactions (CACTI), which will focus on detailed observations of cloud and aerosol lifecycle near the SDC while an intensive observing period featuring aircraft observations will match RELAMPAGO’s.

While collecting the observations will enhance knowledge of the processes acting to modulate extremes in the region, a coordinated modeling effort will aim to evaluate coupled weather, climate, and hydrologic models using RELAMPAGO-CACTI observations. In addition, partnerships with the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN) of Argentina and Brazil’s Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos (CPTEC), as well as related international and local societal impacts projects such as the World Meteorological Organization’s High-Impact Weather project will enable improved end-to-end impacts predictions in this vulnerable region. This presentation will outline the science goals of RELAMPAGO as it relates to current understanding of hydrometeorological extremes.

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