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  1. Abstract

    Taiwan regularly receives extreme rainfall due to seasonal mei-yu fronts that are modified by Taiwan’s complex topography. One such case occurred between 1 and 3 June 2017 when a mei-yu front contributed to flooding and landslides from over 600 mm of rainfall in 12 h near the Taipei basin, and over 1500 mm of rainfall in 2 days near the Central Mountain Range (CMR). This mei-yu event is simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model with halved terrain as a sensitivity test to investigate the orographic mechanisms that modify the intensity, duration, and location of extreme rainfall. The reduction in WRF terrain height produced a decrease in rainfall duration and accumulation in northern Taiwan and a decrease in rainfall duration, intensity, and accumulation over the CMR. The reductions in northern Taiwan are linked to a weaker orographic barrier jet resulting from a lowered terrain height. The reductions in rainfall intensity and duration over the CMR are partially explained by a lack of orographic enhancements to mei-yu frontal convergence near the terrain. A prominent feature missing with the reduced terrain is a redirection of postfrontal westerly winds attributed to orographic deformation, i.e., the redirection of flow due to upstream topography. Orographically deforming winds converge with prefrontal flow to maintain the mei-yu front. In both regions, the decrease in mei-yu front propagation speed is linked to increased rainfall duration. These orographic features will be further explored using observations captured during the 2022 Prediction of Rainfall Extremes Campaign in the Pacific (PRECIP) field campaign.

    Significance Statement

    This study examines the impact of terrain on rainfall intensity, duration, and location. A mei-yu front, an East Asian weather front known for producing heavy, long-lasting rainfall, was simulated for an extreme rain event in Taiwan with mountain heights halved as a sensitivity test. Reducing terrain decreased rainfall duration in northern and central Taiwan. Decreases in rainfall duration for both regions is attributed to increased mei-yu front propagation speed. This increase in northern Taiwan is attributed to a weakened barrier jet, a low-level jet induced by flow blocked by the steep mountains of Taiwan. A unique finding of this work is a change in winds north of the front controlling movement of the front near the mountains in central Taiwan.

     
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  2. Abstract

    This study documents the spatial and temporal distribution of the South American low-level jet (SALLJ) and quantifies its impact on the convective environment using a 6.5-month convection-permitting simulation during the Remote Sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/Microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations and Clouds, Aerosols, and Complex Terrain Interactions (RELAMPAGO-CACTI) campaigns. Overall, the simulation reproduces the observed SALLJ characteristics in central Argentina near the Sierras de Córdoba (SDC), a focal point for terrain-focused upscale growth. SALLJs most frequently occur in the summer with maxima to the northwest and east of the SDC and minima over the higher terrain. The shallower SALLJs (<1750 m) have a strong overnight skew, while the elevated jets are more equally spread throughout the day. SALLJ periods often have higher amounts of low-level moisture and instability compared to non-SALLJ periods, with these impacts increasing over time when the SALLJ is present and decreasing afterward. The SALLJ may enhance low-level wind shear magnitudes (particularly when accounting for the jet height); however, enhancement is somewhat limited due to the presence of speed shear in most situations. SALLJ periods are associated with low-level directional shear favorable for organized convection and an orientation of cloud-layer wind shear parallel to the terrain, which could favor upscale growth. A case study is shown in which the SALLJ influenced both the magnitude and direction of wind shear concurrent with convective upscale growth near the SDC. This study highlights the complex relationship between the SALLJ and its impacts during periods of widespread convection.

    Significance Statement

    Areas of enhanced low-level winds, or low-level jets, likely promote favorable conditions for upscale growth, the processes by which storms grow larger. Central Argentina is an ideal place to study the influence of low-level jets on upscale growth as storms often stay connected to the Sierras de Córdoba Mountain range, growing over a relatively small area. This study uses model data to describe the distribution and impact of the South American low-level jet on the storm environment. The South American low-level jet is frequently found near the Sierras de Córdoba, and moisture and convective instability increase when it is present. However, the jet’s impact on other conditions important for upscale growth, such as vertical wind shear, is not as straightforward.

     
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  3. Abstract The Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) campaign produced unparalleled observations of the South American low-level jet (SALLJ) in central Argentina with high temporal observations located in the path of the jet and upstream of rapidly growing convection. The vertical and temporal structure of the jet is characterized using 3-hourly soundings launched at two fixed sites near the Sierras de Córdoba (SDC), along with high-resolution reanalysis data. Objective SALLJ identification criteria are applied to each sounding to determine the presence, timing, and vertical characteristics of the jet. The observations largely confirm prior results showing that SALLJs most frequently come from the north, occur overnight, and peak in the low levels, though SALLJs notably peaked higher near the end of longer-duration events during RELAMPAGO. This study categorizes SALLJs into shorter-duration events with jet cores peaking overnight in the low levels and longer 5–6-day events with elevated jets near the end of the period that lack a clear diurnal cycle. Evidence of both boundary layer processes and large-scale forcing were observed during shorter-duration events, whereas synoptic forcing dominated the longer 5–6-day events. The highest amounts of moisture and larger convective coverage east of the SDC occurred near the end of the 5–6-day SALLJ events. Significance Statement The South American low-level jet (SALLJ) is an area of enhanced northerly winds that likely contributes to long-lived, widespread thunderstorms in Southeastern South America (SESA). This study uses observations from a recent SESA field project to improve understanding of the variability of the SALLJ and the underlying processes. We related jet occurrence to upper-level environmental patterns and differences in the progression speed of those patterns to varying durations of the jet. Longer-duration jets were more elevated, transported moisture southward from the Amazon, and coincided with the most widespread storms. These findings enable future research to study the role of the SALLJ in the life cycle of storms in detail, leading to improved storm prediction in SESA. 
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  4. Córdoba Province in Argentina is a global hotspot for deep hail-producing storms. Previous studies of hail formation and detection largely relied on satellite snapshots or modeling studies, but lacked hail validation, relying instead on proxy metrics. To address this limitation, this study used hail collected in the mountainous Córdoba region in collaboration with the citizen science program “Cosecheros de Granizo 2018–2020” including from a record-breaking hail event and from the 2018–2019 RELAMPAGO field campaign. Three cases including a MCS and two supercells, which have verified hail in different environment locations relative to the Sierras de Córdoba, were analyzed for multi-spectral signatures in GOES-16 satellite data. Brightness temperatures decreased over time after convective initiation, reaching values cooler than the tropopause with variations around those values of different magnitudes. Overall, all cases exhibited a slight weakening of the updraft and strong presence of smaller ice crystal sizes just prior to the hail report, especially for the larger hailstones. The results demonstrate promise in using satellite proxies for hail detection in multiple environments for different storm modes. The long-term goal is to better understand hail-producing storms and unique challenges of forecasting hail in this region. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    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. 
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  6. Abstract The scientific community has expressed interest in the potential of phased array radars (PARs) to observe the atmosphere with finer spatial and temporal scales. Although convergence has occurred between the meteorological and engineering communities, the need exists to increase access of PAR to meteorologists. Here, we facilitate these interdisciplinary efforts in the field of ground-based PARs for atmospheric studies. We cover high-level technical concepts and terminology for PARs as applied to studies of the atmosphere. A historical perspective is provided as context along with an overview of PAR system architectures, technical challenges, and opportunities. Envisioned scan strategies are summarized because they are distinct from traditional mechanically scanned radars and are the most advantageous for high-resolution studies of the atmosphere. Open access to PAR data is emphasized as a mechanism to educate the future generation of atmospheric scientists. Finally, a vision for the future of operational networks, research facilities, and expansion into complementary radar wavelengths is provided. 
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  7. 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. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    Subtropical South America (SSA) east of the Andes Mountains is a global hotspot for mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). Wide convective cores (WCCs) are typically embedded within mature MCSs, contribute over 40% of SSA’s warm-season rainfall, and are often associated with severe weather. Prior analysis of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) data identified WCCs in SSA and associated synoptic conditions during austral summer. As WCCs also occur during the austral spring, this study uses the 16-yr TRMM PR and ERA5 datasets to compare anomalies in environmental conditions between austral spring (SON) and summer (DJF) for the largest and smallest WCCs in SSA. During both seasons, large WCCs are associated with an anomalous midlevel trough that slowly crosses the Andes Mountains and a northerly South American low-level jet (SALLJ) over SSA, though the SON trough and SALLJ anomalies are stronger and located farther northeastward than in DJF. A synoptic pattern evolution resembling large WCC environments is illustrated through a multiday case during the RELAMPAGO field campaign (10–13 November 2018). Unique high-temporal-resolution soundings showed strong midlevel vertical wind shear associated with this event, induced by the juxtaposition of the northerly SALLJ and southerly near-surface flow. It is hypothesized that the Andes help create a quasi-stationary trough–ridge pattern such that favorable synoptic conditions for deep convection persist for multiple days. For the smallest WCCs, anomalously weaker synoptic-scale forcing was present compared to the largest events, especially for DJF, pointing to future work exploring MCS formation under weaker synoptic conditions. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Subtropical South America (SSA) east of the Andes Mountains is a global hotspot for mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). Wide convective cores (WCCs) are typically embedded within mature MCSs, contribute over 40% of SSA’s warm-season rainfall, and are often associated with severe weather. Prior analysis of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Precipitation Radar (PR) data identified WCCs in SSA and associated synoptic conditions during austral summer. As WCCs also occur during the austral spring, this study uses the 16-year TRMM PR dataset and ERA5 reanalysis to compare anomalies in environmental conditions between austral spring (SON) and summer (DJF) for the largest and smallest WCCs in SSA. During both seasons, large WCCs are associated with an anomalous mid-level trough that slowly crosses the Andes Mountains and a northerly South American low-level jet (SALLJ) over SSA, though the SON trough and SALLJ anomalies are stronger and located farther northeastward than in DJF. A synoptic pattern evolution resembling large WCC environments is illustrated through a multi-day case during the RELAMPAGO field campaign (10-13 November 2018). Unique high-temporal resolution soundings showed strong mid-level vertical wind shear associated with this event, induced by the juxtaposition of the northerly SALLJ and southerly near-surface flow. It is hypothesized that the Andes help create a quasi-stationary trough/ridge pattern such that favorable synoptic conditions for deep convection persist for multiple days. For the smallest WCCs, anomalously weaker synoptic-scale forcing was present compared to the largest events, especially for DJF, pointing to future work exploring MCS formation under weaker synoptic conditions. 
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  10. null (Ed.)
    Abstract This article provides an overview of the Advanced Study Institute: Field Studies of Convection in Argentina (ASI-FSCA) program, a 3-week dynamic and collaborative hands-on experience that allowed 16 highly motivated and diverse graduate students from the U.S. to participate in the 2018-19 Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO) field campaign. This program is unique as it represents the first effort to integrate an intensive Advanced Study Institute with a field campaign in atmospheric science. ASI-FSCA activities and successful program outcomes for five key elements are described: (1) Intensive field research with field campaign instrumentation platforms; (2) Recruitment of diverse graduate students who would not otherwise have opportunities to participate in intensive field research; (3) Tailored curriculum focused on scientific understanding of cloud and mesoscale processes and professional/academic development topics; (4) Outreach to local K-12 schools and the general public; and (5) Building a collaborative international research network to promote weather and climate research. These five elements served to increase motivation and improve confidence and self-efficacy of students to participate in scientific research and field work with goals of increasing retention and a sense of belonging in STEM graduate programs and advancing the careers of students from underrepresented groups as evidenced by a formal program evaluation effort. Given the success of the ASI-FSCA program, our team strongly recommends considering this model for expanding the opportunities for a broader and more diverse student community to participate in dynamic and intensive field work in atmospheric science. 
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