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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 8 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 2785-2806, 2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 04 Aug 2017

Research article | 04 Aug 2017

Vertical air motion retrievals in deep convective clouds using the ARM scanning radar network in Oklahoma during MC3E

Kirk W. North1, Mariko Oue2, Pavlos Kollias2,3, Scott E. Giangrande3, Scott M. Collis4, and Corey K. Potvin5,6 Kirk W. North et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  • 2School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA
  • 3Environmental and Climate Sciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA
  • 4Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL, USA
  • 5Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, and School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA
  • 6NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK, USA

Abstract. The US Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program's Southern Great Plains (SGP) site includes a heterogeneous distributed scanning Doppler radar network suitable for collecting coordinated Doppler velocity measurements in deep convective clouds. The surrounding National Weather Service (NWS) Next Generation Weather Surveillance Radar 1988 Doppler (NEXRAD WSR-88D) further supplements this network. Radar velocity measurements are assimilated in a three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) algorithm that retrieves horizontal and vertical air motions over a large analysis domain (100km × 100km) at storm-scale resolutions (250m). For the first time, direct evaluation of retrieved vertical air velocities with those from collocated 915 MHz radar wind profilers is performed. Mean absolute and root-mean-square differences between the two sources are of the order of 1 and 2ms−1, respectively, and time–height correlations are of the order of 0.5. An empirical sensitivity analysis is done to determine a range of 3DVAR constraint weights that adequately satisfy the velocity observations and anelastic mass continuity. It is shown that the vertical velocity spread over this range is of the order of 1ms−1. The 3DVAR retrievals are also compared to those obtained from an iterative upwards integration technique. The results suggest that the 3DVAR technique provides a robust, stable solution for cases in which integration techniques have difficulty satisfying velocity observations and mass continuity simultaneously.

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Vertical air motion retrievals from 3DVAR multiple distributed scanning Doppler radars are compared against collocated profiling radars and retrieved from an upward iteration integration iterative technique to characterize their veracity. The retrieved vertical air motions are generally within 1–2 m s−1 of agreement with profiling radars and better solution than the upward integration technique, and therefore can be used as a means to improve parameterizations in numerical models moving forward.
Vertical air motion retrievals from 3DVAR multiple distributed scanning Doppler radars are...