Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 9717-9769, 2012
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/12/9717/2012/
doi:10.5194/acpd-12-9717-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Detailed flow, hydrometeor and lightning characteristics of an isolated thunderstorm during COPS
K. Schmidt1, M. Hagen1, H. Höller1, E. Richard2, and H. Volkert1
1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
2Laboratoire d'Aérologie, CNRS and Université de Toulouse III, Toulouse, France

Abstract. The three-hour life-cycle of the isolated thunderstorm on 15 July 2007 during the Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study (COPS) is documented in detail, with a special emphasis on the rapid development and mature phases. Remote sensing techniques as 5-min rapid scans from geostationary satellites, combined velocity retrievals from up to four Doppler-radars, the polarimetric determination of hydrometeors and spatio-temporal occurrences of lightning strokes are employed to arrive at a synoptic quantification of the physical parameters of this, during the COPS period, rare event.

Inner cloud flow fields are available from radar multiple Doppler analyses, gridded on a 500 m-mesh, at four consecutive times separated by 15 min-intervals (14:35, 14:50, 15:05, 15:20; all times are in UTC). They contain horizontal winds of around 15 m s−1 and updrafts exceeding 5 m s−1, the latter collocated with lightning strokes. Reflectivity and polarimetric data indicate the existence of hail at the 2 km level around 14:40. Furthermore, polarimetric and Doppler radar variables indicate intense hydrometeor variability and cloud dynamics corresponding to an enhanced variance of the retrieved 3-D wind fields. Profiles of flow and hydrometeor statistics over the entire cloud volume provide reference data for high-resolution, episode-type numerical weather prediction runs in research mode.

The study embarks from two multi-channel time-lapse movie-loops from geostationary satellite imagery (as Supplement), which provide an intuitive distinction of six phases making up the entire life-cycle of the thunderstorm. It concludes with a triple image-loop, juxtaposing a close-up of the cloud motion as seen by Meteosat, simulated brightness temperature (as a proxy for clouds seen by the infrared satellite channel), and a perspective view on the model generated system of cloud cells. By employing the motion-geared human visual system, such multiple image loops provide a high, and as yet hardly utilised potential for a well-grounded specification of further sensitivity experiments in the modelling community.


Citation: Schmidt, K., Hagen, M., Höller, H., Richard, E., and Volkert, H.: Detailed flow, hydrometeor and lightning characteristics of an isolated thunderstorm during COPS, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 12, 9717-9769, doi:10.5194/acpd-12-9717-2012, 2012.
 
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