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Title: Terrain-Enhanced Precipitation Processes Above the Melting Layer: Results From OLYMPEX

Abstract

Here, the enhancement of precipitation processes aloft over complex terrain is documented using reflectivity data from an S–band scanning radar (NPOL) that was deployed on the west coast of Washington State during the Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX). From November 2015 through mid–January 2016, NPOL obtained high–resolution data within sectors over the ocean and over the windward slopes of the Olympic Mountains. Contoured Frequency by Altitude Diagrams of radar reflectivity highlight a higher frequency of occurrence of larger reflectivities for all heights between 2 and 8 km over land compared to ocean, with the largest difference in the 4– to 6–km range indicating a robust signature of enhancement aloft over the windward slopes. This enhancement pattern is found to some degree under all environmental conditions considered but is especially pronounced during periods of high vapor transport, high melting level height, southwest low–level winds, and neutral stability. These conditions are generally associated with warm sectors of midlatitude cyclones and atmospheric rivers. Past studies have postulated that a secondary enhancement in reflectivity aloft was an intrinsic part of atmospheric river type systems. However, these results show that further significant enhancement of this signature occurs as deep moist–neutral, high water vapor content flow ismore » lifted when it encounters a mountain range. Reflectivity data from the dual–precipitation radar aboard the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite also documents this reflectivity increase aloft over the Olympic Mountains compared to the adjacent ocean, showing the potential for Global Precipitation Measurement to provide reliable estimates of precipitation structure over remote mountainous regions.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [3]
  1. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  3. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States); The Narwhal Group, Bellevue, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1483421
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830; 80NSSC17K0279; NNX16AD75G; NNX16AK05G; AGS-1657251; AGS-1503155
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 123; Journal Issue: 21; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; orographic enhancement of precipitation; radar reflectivity; midlatitude cyclones; observations; precipitation processes

Citation Formats

McMurdie, L. A., Rowe, A. K., Houze, Jr., R. A., Brodzik, S. R., Zagrodnik, J. P., and Schuldt, T. M.. Terrain-Enhanced Precipitation Processes Above the Melting Layer: Results From OLYMPEX. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2018JD029161.
McMurdie, L. A., Rowe, A. K., Houze, Jr., R. A., Brodzik, S. R., Zagrodnik, J. P., & Schuldt, T. M.. Terrain-Enhanced Precipitation Processes Above the Melting Layer: Results From OLYMPEX. United States. doi:10.1029/2018JD029161.
McMurdie, L. A., Rowe, A. K., Houze, Jr., R. A., Brodzik, S. R., Zagrodnik, J. P., and Schuldt, T. M.. Thu . "Terrain-Enhanced Precipitation Processes Above the Melting Layer: Results From OLYMPEX". United States. doi:10.1029/2018JD029161. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1483421.
@article{osti_1483421,
title = {Terrain-Enhanced Precipitation Processes Above the Melting Layer: Results From OLYMPEX},
author = {McMurdie, L. A. and Rowe, A. K. and Houze, Jr., R. A. and Brodzik, S. R. and Zagrodnik, J. P. and Schuldt, T. M.},
abstractNote = {Here, the enhancement of precipitation processes aloft over complex terrain is documented using reflectivity data from an S–band scanning radar (NPOL) that was deployed on the west coast of Washington State during the Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX). From November 2015 through mid–January 2016, NPOL obtained high–resolution data within sectors over the ocean and over the windward slopes of the Olympic Mountains. Contoured Frequency by Altitude Diagrams of radar reflectivity highlight a higher frequency of occurrence of larger reflectivities for all heights between 2 and 8 km over land compared to ocean, with the largest difference in the 4– to 6–km range indicating a robust signature of enhancement aloft over the windward slopes. This enhancement pattern is found to some degree under all environmental conditions considered but is especially pronounced during periods of high vapor transport, high melting level height, southwest low–level winds, and neutral stability. These conditions are generally associated with warm sectors of midlatitude cyclones and atmospheric rivers. Past studies have postulated that a secondary enhancement in reflectivity aloft was an intrinsic part of atmospheric river type systems. However, these results show that further significant enhancement of this signature occurs as deep moist–neutral, high water vapor content flow is lifted when it encounters a mountain range. Reflectivity data from the dual–precipitation radar aboard the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite also documents this reflectivity increase aloft over the Olympic Mountains compared to the adjacent ocean, showing the potential for Global Precipitation Measurement to provide reliable estimates of precipitation structure over remote mountainous regions.},
doi = {10.1029/2018JD029161},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres},
issn = {2169-897X},
number = 21,
volume = 123,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {10}
}

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