skip to main content


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Kumjian, Matthew R."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract The national upgrade of the operational weather radar network to include polarimetric capabilities has lead to numerous studies focusing on polarimetric radar signatures commonly observed in supercells. One such signature is the horizontal separation of regions of enhanced differential reflectivity ( Z DR ) and specific differential phase ( K DP ) values due to hydrometeor size sorting. Recent observational studies have shown that the orientation of this separation tends to be more perpendicular to storm motion in supercells that produce tornadoes. Although this finding has potential operational utility, the physical relationship between this observed radar signature and tornadic potential is not known. This study uses an ensemble of supercell simulations initialized with tornadic and nontornadic environments to investigate this connection. The tendency for tornadic supercells to have a more perpendicular separation orientation was reproduced, although to a lesser degree. This difference in orientation angles was caused by stronger rearward storm-relative flow in the nontornadic supercells, leading to a rearward shift of precipitation and, therefore, the enhanced K DP region within the supercell. Further, this resulted in an unfavorable rearward shift of the negative buoyancy region, which led to an order of magnitude less baroclinic generation of circulation in the nontornadic simulations compared to tornadic simulations. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 31, 2024
  2. Abstract The discovery of a polarimetric radar signature indicative of hydrometeor refreezing has shown promise in its utility to identify periods of ice pellet production. Uniquely characterized well below the melting layer by locally enhanced values of differential reflectivity ( Z DR ) within a layer of decreasing radar reflectivity factor at horizontal polarization ( Z H ), the signature has been documented in cases where hydrometeors were completely melted prior to refreezing. However, polarimetric radar features associated with the refreezing of partially melted hydrometeors have not been examined as rigorously in either an observational or microphysical modeling framework. Here, polarimetric radar data—including vertically pointing Doppler spectral data from the Ka-band Scanning Polarimetric Radar (KASPR)—are analyzed for an ice pellets and rain mixture event where the ice pellets formed via the refreezing of partially melted hydrometeors. Observations show that no such distinct localized Z DR enhancement is present, and that values instead decrease directly beneath enhanced values associated with melting. A simplified, explicit bin microphysical model is then developed to simulate the refreezing of partially melted hydrometeors, and coupled to a polarimetric radar forward operator to examine the impacts of such refreezing on simulated radar variables. Simulated vertical profiles of polarimetric radar variables and Doppler spectra have similar features to observations, and confirm that a Z DR enhancement is not produced. This suggests the possibility of two distinct polarimetric features of hydrometeor refreezing: ones associated with refreezing of completely melted hydrometeors, and those associated with refreezing of partially melted hydrometeors. Significance Statement There exist two pathways for the formation of ice pellets: refreezing of fully melted hydrometeors, and refreezing of partially melted hydrometeors. A polarimetric radar signature indicative of fully melted hydrometeor refreezing has been extensively documented in the past, yet no study has documented the refreezing of partially melted hydrometeors. Here, observations and idealized modeling simulations are presented to show different polarimetric radar features associated with partially melted hydrometeor refreezing. The distinction in polarimetric features may be beneficial to identifying layers of supercooled liquid drops within transitional winter storms. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Supercell storms are commonly responsible for severe hail, which is the costliest severe storm hazard in the United States and elsewhere. Radar observations of such storms are common and have been leveraged to estimate hail size and severe hail occurrence. However, many established relationships between radar-observed storm characteristics and severe hail occurrence have been found using data from few storms and in isolation from other radar metrics. This study leverages a 10-yr record of polarimetric Doppler radar observations in the United States to evaluate and compare radar observations of thousands of severe hail–producing supercells based on their maximum hail size. In agreement with prior studies, it is found that increasing hail size relates to increasing volume of high (≥50 dBZ) radar reflectivity, increasing midaltitude mesocyclone rotation (azimuthal shear), increasing storm-top divergence, and decreased differential reflectivity and copolar correlation coefficient at low levels (mostly below the environmental 0°C level). New insights include increasing vertical alignment of the storm mesocyclone with increasing hail size and a Doppler velocity spectrum width minimum aloft near storm center that increases in area with increasing hail size and is argued to indicate increasing updraft width. To complement the extensive radar analysis, near-storm environments from reanalyses are compared and indicate that the greatest environmental differences exist in the middle troposphere (within the hail growth region), especially the wind speed perpendicular to storm motion. Recommendations are given for future improvements to radar-based hail-size estimation.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract. The layered structures inside hailstones provide a direct indication of their shape and properties at various stages during growth. Given the myriadof different trajectories that can exist, and the sensitivity of rime deposit type to environmental conditions, it must be expected that manydifferent perturbations of hailstone properties occur within a single hailstorm; however, some commonalities are likely in the shared early stagesof growth, for hailstones of similar size (especially those that grow along similar trajectories) and final growth near the melting level. Itremains challenging to extract this information from a large sample of hailstones because of the time required to prepare cross sections andaccurately measure individual layers. To reduce the labour and potential errors introduced by manual analysis of hailstones, an automated method formeasuring layers from cross section photographs is introduced and applied to a set of hailstones collected in Melbourne, Australia. This work ismotivated by new hail growth simulation tools that model the growth of layers within individual hailstones, for which accurate measurements ofobserved hailstone cross sections can be applied as validation. A first look at this new type of evaluation for hail growth simulations isdemonstrated.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract During the early morning hours of 5 November 2018, a mature mesoscale convective system (MCS) propagated discretely over the second-most populous province of Argentina, Córdoba Province, during the Remote Sensing of Electrification, Lightning, and Mesoscale/Microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations–Cloud, Aerosol, and Complex Terrain Interactions (RELAMPAGO–CACTI) joint field campaigns. Storm behavior was modified by the Sierras de Córdoba, a north–south-oriented regional mountain chain located in the western side of the province. Here, we present observational evidence of the discrete propagation event and the impact of the mountains on the associated physical processes. As the mature MCS moved northeastward and approached the windward side of the mountains, isolated convective cells developed downstream in the mountain lee, 20–50 km ahead of the main convective line. Cells were initiated by an undular bore, which formed as the MCS cold pool moved over the mountain ridge and perturbed the leeside nocturnal, low-level stable layer. The field of isolated cells organized into a new MCS, which continued to move northeastward, while the parent storm decayed as it traversed the mountains. Only the southern portion of the storm propagated discretely, due to variability in mountain height along the chain. In the north, taller mountain peaks prevented the MCS cold pool from moving over the terrain and perturbing the stable layer. Consequently, no bore was generated, and no discrete propagation occurred in this region. To the south, the MCS cold pool was able to traverse the lower-relief mountains, and the discrete propagation was successful. 
    more » « less
  6. Abstract Hailstorms pose a significant socioeconomic risk, necessitating detailed assessments of how the hail threat changes throughout their lifetimes. Hail production involves the favorable juxtaposition of ingredients, but how storm evolution affects these ingredients is unknown, limiting understanding of how hail production evolves. Unfortunately, neither surface hail reports nor radar-based swath estimates have adequate resolution or details needed to assess evolving hail production. Instead, we use a novel approach of coupling a detailed hail trajectory model to idealized convective storm simulations to better understand storm evolution’s influence on hail production. Hail production varies substantially throughout storms’ mature phases: maximum sizes vary by a factor of two, and the concentration of severe hail more than fivefold during 45-60-min periods. This variability arises from changes in updraft properties, which come from (i) changes in low-level convergence, and (ii) internal storm dynamics, including anticyclonic vortex shedding/storm splitting, and the response of the updraft’s airflow and supercooled liquid water content to these events. Hodograph shape strongly affects such behaviors. Straighter hodographs lead to more prolific hail production through wider updrafts and weaker mesocyclones, and a periodicity in hail size metrics associated with anticyclonic vortex shedding and/or storm splitting. In contrast, a curved hodograph (favorable for tornadoes) led to a storm with a stronger but more compact updraft, which occasionally produced giant (10-cm) hail, but that was a less-prolific severe hail producer overall. Unless storms are adequately sampled throughout their lifecycles, snapshots from ground reports will insufficiently resolve the true nature of hail production. 
    more » « less
  7. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Storms that produce gargantuan hail (defined here as ≥ 6 inches or 15 cm in maximum dimension), although seemingly rare, can cause extensive damage to property and infrastructure, and cause injury or even death to humans and animals. Currently, we are limited in our ability to accurately predict gargantuan hail and detect gargantuan hail on radar. In this study, we analyze the environments and radar characteristics of gargantuan hail-producing storms to define the parameter space of environments in which gargantuan hail occurs, and compare environmental parameters and radar signatures in these storms to storms producing other sizes of hail. We find that traditionally used environmental parameters used for severe storms prediction, such as most unstable convective available potential energy (MUCAPE) and 0–6 km vertical wind shear, display considerable overlap between gargantuan hail-producing storm environments and those that produce smaller hail. There is a slight tendency for larger MUCAPE values for gargantuan hail cases, however. Additionally, gargantuan hail-producing storms seem to have larger low-level storm-relative winds and larger updraft widths than those storms producing smaller hail, implying updrafts less diluted by entrainment and perhaps maximizing the liquid water content available for hail growth. Moreover, radar reflectivity or products derived from it are not different from cases of smaller hail sizes. However, inferred mesocyclonic rotational velocities within the hail growth region of storms that produce gargantuan hail are significantly stronger than the rotational velocities found for smaller hail categories. 
    more » « less
  8. Abstract Phased array radars (PARs) are a promising observing technology, at the cusp of being available to the broader meteorological community. PARs offer near-instantaneous sampling of the atmosphere with flexible beam forming, multifunctionality, and low operational and maintenance costs and without mechanical inertia limitations. These PAR features are transformative compared to those offered by our current reflector-based meteorological radars. The integration of PARs into meteorological research has the potential to revolutionize the way we observe the atmosphere. The rate of adoption of PARs in research will depend on many factors, including (i) the need to continue educating the scientific community on the full technical capabilities and trade-offs of PARs through an engaging dialogue with the science and engineering communities and (ii) the need to communicate the breadth of scientific bottlenecks that PARs can overcome in atmospheric measurements and the new research avenues that are now possible using PARs in concert with other measurement systems. The former is the subject of a companion article that focuses on PAR technology while the latter is the objective here. 
    more » « less
  9. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Typical environmental conditions associated with horizontal convective rolls (HCRs) and cellular convection have been known for over 50 years. Yet our ability to predict whether HCRs, cellular convection, or no discernable organized (null) circulation will occur within a well-mixed convective boundary layer based upon easily observed environmental variables has been limited. Herein, a large database of 50 cases each of HCR, cellular convection, and null events is created that includes observations of mean boundary layer wind and wind shear, boundary layer depth; surface observations of wind, temperature, and relative humidity; and estimates of surface sensible heat flux. Results from a multiclass linear discriminant analysis applied to these data indicate that environmental conditions can be useful in predicting whether HCRs, cellular convection, or no circulation occurs, with the analysis identifying the correct circulation type on 72% of the case days. This result is slightly better than using a mean convective boundary layer (CBL) wind speed of 6 m s −1 to discriminate between HCRs and cells. However, the mean CBL wind speed has no ability to further separate out cases with no CBL circulation. The key environmental variables suggested by the discriminant analysis are mean sensible heat flux, friction velocity, and the Obukhov length. 
    more » « less
  10. Abstract

    Lasting updrafts are necessary to produce severe hail; conventional wisdom suggests that extremely large hailstones require updrafts of commensurate strength. Because updraft strength is largely controlled by convective available potential energy (CAPE), one would expect environments with larger CAPE to be conducive to storms producing larger hail. By systematically varying CAPE in a horizontally homogeneous initial environment, we simulate hail production in high-shear, high-instability supercell storms using Cloud Model 1 and a detailed 3D hail growth trajectory model. Our results suggest that CAPE modulates the updraft’s strength, width, and horizontal wind field, as well as the liquid water content along hailstones’ trajectories, all of which have a significant impact on final hail sizes. In particular, hail sizes are maximized for intermediate CAPE values in the range we examined. Results show a non-monotonic relationship between the hailstones’ residence time and CAPE due to changes to the updraft wind field. The ratio of updraft area to southerly wind speed within the updraft serves as a proxy for residence time. Storms in environments with large CAPE may produce smaller hail because the in-updraft horizontal wind speeds become too great, and hailstones are prematurely ejected out of the optimal growth region. Liquid water content (LWC) along favorable hailstone pathways also exhibits peak values for intermediate CAPE values, owing to the horizontal displacement across the midlevel updraft of moist inflow air from differing source levels. In other words, larger CAPE does not equal larger hail, and storm-structural nuances must be examined.

     
    more » « less