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Title: Environments of Long-Lived Mesoscale Convective Systems Over the Central United States in Convection Permitting Climate Simulations

Abstract

Continental-scale convection-permitting simulations of the warm seasons of 2011 and 2012 reproduce realistic structure and frequency distribution of lifetime and event mean precipitation of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) over the central United States. In this work, analysis is performed to determine the environmental conditions conducive to generating the longest-lived MCSs and their subsequent interactions. The simulations show that MCSs systematically form over the Great Plains ahead of a trough in the westerlies in combination with an enhanced low-level jet from the Gulf of Mexico. These environmental properties at the time of storm initiation are most prominent for the MCSs that persist for the longest times. Systems reaching 9 h or more in lifetime exhibit feedback to the environment conditions through diabatic heating in the MCS stratiform regions. As a result, the parent synoptic-scale wave is strengthened as a divergent perturbation develops over the MCS at high levels, while a cyclonic circulation perturbation develops in the midlevels of the trough, where the vertical gradient of heating in the MCS region is maximized. The quasi-balanced mesoscale vortex helps to maintain the MCS over a long period of time by feeding dry, cool air into the environment at the rear of the MCSmore » region, so that the MCS can draw in air that increases the evaporative cooling that helps maintain the MCS. At lower levels the south-southeasterly jet of warm moist air from the Gulf is enhanced in the presence of the synoptic-scale wave. That moisture supply is essential to the continued redevelopment of the MCS.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Atmospheric Science and Global Change Div. (ASGC)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Atmospheric Science and Global Change Div. (ASGC); Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) (SC-21)
OSTI Identifier:
1417445
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1415050
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-125741
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X; KP1703010
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830; AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 24; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-897X
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; mesoscale convective systems; large‐scale environment; long‐lived MCS; convection permitting modeling; MCS‐circulation interactions; central United States

Citation Formats

Yang, Qing, Houze, Jr., Robert A., Leung, L. Ruby, and Feng, Zhe. Environments of Long-Lived Mesoscale Convective Systems Over the Central United States in Convection Permitting Climate Simulations. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017JD027033.
Yang, Qing, Houze, Jr., Robert A., Leung, L. Ruby, & Feng, Zhe. Environments of Long-Lived Mesoscale Convective Systems Over the Central United States in Convection Permitting Climate Simulations. United States. doi:10.1002/2017JD027033.
Yang, Qing, Houze, Jr., Robert A., Leung, L. Ruby, and Feng, Zhe. Thu . "Environments of Long-Lived Mesoscale Convective Systems Over the Central United States in Convection Permitting Climate Simulations". United States. doi:10.1002/2017JD027033. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1417445.
@article{osti_1417445,
title = {Environments of Long-Lived Mesoscale Convective Systems Over the Central United States in Convection Permitting Climate Simulations},
author = {Yang, Qing and Houze, Jr., Robert A. and Leung, L. Ruby and Feng, Zhe},
abstractNote = {Continental-scale convection-permitting simulations of the warm seasons of 2011 and 2012 reproduce realistic structure and frequency distribution of lifetime and event mean precipitation of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) over the central United States. In this work, analysis is performed to determine the environmental conditions conducive to generating the longest-lived MCSs and their subsequent interactions. The simulations show that MCSs systematically form over the Great Plains ahead of a trough in the westerlies in combination with an enhanced low-level jet from the Gulf of Mexico. These environmental properties at the time of storm initiation are most prominent for the MCSs that persist for the longest times. Systems reaching 9 h or more in lifetime exhibit feedback to the environment conditions through diabatic heating in the MCS stratiform regions. As a result, the parent synoptic-scale wave is strengthened as a divergent perturbation develops over the MCS at high levels, while a cyclonic circulation perturbation develops in the midlevels of the trough, where the vertical gradient of heating in the MCS region is maximized. The quasi-balanced mesoscale vortex helps to maintain the MCS over a long period of time by feeding dry, cool air into the environment at the rear of the MCS region, so that the MCS can draw in air that increases the evaporative cooling that helps maintain the MCS. At lower levels the south-southeasterly jet of warm moist air from the Gulf is enhanced in the presence of the synoptic-scale wave. That moisture supply is essential to the continued redevelopment of the MCS.},
doi = {10.1002/2017JD027033},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres},
number = 24,
volume = 122,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {12}
}

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