3.9 Above-Ground Thermodynamic Observations in Convective Storms from Balloon-Borne Probes Acting as Pseudo-Lagrangian Drifters

Monday, 8 January 2018: 4:00 PM
Room 13AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Paul Markowski, Pennsylvania State Univ., Univ. Park, PA; and Y. P. Richardson and S. J. Richardson

Leading theories for processes such as tornadogenesis in convective storms rely on assumptions regarding the thermodynamic properties of the air above the ground within the storm's cold pool, but observations have generally only been available very near the surface along roads via instrumented cars. In the spring of 2017, we used a novel approach to collect important observations above the ground using a balloon-borne system. Two balloons were employed, with one jettisoned at a particular altitude, leaving the remaining balloon and lightweight sonde with a very low fall speed, acting as a pseudo-Lagrangian drifter. The storm-relative winds carried the probe through areas of interest in the storm that have eluded other sampling methods. We will show observations within supercells from this proof-of-concept experiment.
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