5.3 Using Satellite Observations to Assess Environmental Variability in Proximity to Supercells and Their Likelihood for Tornadogenesis

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 11:00 AM
Room 19AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Brian H. Kahn, JPL, La Cañada Flintridge, CA; and P. M. Kalmus, S. W. Freeman, and S. van den Heever

Supercell thunderstorms are often deadly causing high damaging winds, flooding rain, large hail, and occasionally tornadoes of various intensities and lifetimes. We will summarize recent efforts to quantify the environmental variability in proximity to supercells with Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) temperature and water vapor mixing ratio soundings. We will discuss soundings and derived convective indices in proximity to severe weather events, specifically tornadoes. Using the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) severe weather event archive, we have calculated back trajectories with the Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model (HYSPLIT) that is driven by North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM) meteorology to reproduce proximity soundings drawing from granule swaths of AIRS soundings. Bar and whisker plots of CAPE, CIN, EL, LFC, and LCL show differences between weak and strong tornadoes, large hail, and severe wind reports that are consistent with the previous literature using proximity radiosondes. These observations are used to drive idealized supercell simulations using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) that has successfully simulated a near-surface tornado-like vortex. This investigation demonstrates a natural synergy between idealized numerical simulation experiments and satellite proximity observations of the supercell environment. The RAMS experiments are discussed in the companion abstract by S. Freeman et al. titled “Thermodynamic Environmental Conditions Leading to Tornadogenesis“.
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