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Title: Orographically Modified Ice-Phase Precipitation Processes During the Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX)
Abstract Over mountainous terrain, windward enhancement of stratiform precipitation results from a combination of warm-rain and ice-phase processes. In this study, ice-phase precipitation processes are investigated within frontal systems during the Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX). An enhanced layer of radar reflectivity (Z H ) above the melting level bright band (i.e., a secondary Z H maximum) is observed over both the windward slopes of the Olympic Mountains and the upstream ocean, with a higher frequency of occurrence and higher Z H values over the windward slopes indicating an orographic enhancement of ice-phase precipitation processes. Aircraft-based in situ observations are evaluated for the 01-02 and 03 December 2015 orographically-enhanced precipitation events. Above the secondary Z H maximum, the hydrometeors are primarily horizontally oriented dendritic and branched crystals. Within the secondary Z H maximum, there are high concentrations of large (> ~2 mm diameter) dendrites, plates, and aggregates thereof, with a significant degree of riming. In both events, aggregation and riming appear to be enhanced within a turbulent layer near sheared flow at the top of a low-level jet impinging on the terrain and forced to rise above the melting level. Based on windward ground sites at low-, mid-, and high-elevations, secondary Z H maxima periods during all of OLYMPEX are associated with increased rain rates and larger mass-weighted mean drop diameters compared to periods without a secondary Z H maximum. This result suggests that precipitation originating from secondary Z H maxima layers may contribute to enhanced windward precipitation accumulations through the formation of large, dense particles that accelerate fallout.  more » « less
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Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  2. Abstract

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