On the Relationship of Cold Pool and Bulk Shear Magnitudes on Upscale Convective Growth in the Great Plains of the United States

Hiris, Zachary A.
Gallus, William
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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Upscale convective growth remains a poorly understood aspect of convective evolution, and numerical weather prediction models struggle to accurately depict convective morphology. To better understand some physical mechanisms encouraging upscale growth, 30 warm-season convective events from 2016 over the United States Great Plains were simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to identify differences in upscale growth and non-upscale growth environments. Also, Bryan Cloud Model (CM1) sensitivity tests were completed using different thermodynamic environments and wind profiles to examine the impact on upscale growth. The WRF simulations indicated that cold pools are significantly stronger in cases that produce upscale convective growth within the first few hours following convective initiation compared to those without upscale growth. Conversely, vertical wind shear magnitude has no statistically significant relationship with either MCS or non-MCS events. This is further supported by the CM1 simulations, in which tests using the WRF MCS sounding developed a large convective system in all tests performed, including one which used the non-MCS kinematic profile. Likewise, the CM1 simulations of the non-upscale growth event did not produce an MCS, even when using the MCS kinematic profile. Overall, these results suggest that the near-storm and pre-convective thermodynamic environment may play a larger role than kinematics in determining upscale growth potential in the Great Plains.
This article is published as Hiris, Zachary A., and William A. Gallus. "On the Relationship of Cold Pool and Bulk Shear Magnitudes on Upscale Convective Growth in the Great Plains of the United States." Atmosphere 12, no. 8 (2021): 1019. DOI: 10.3390/atmos12081019. Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted."