1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
2Laboratoire d'Aérologie, CNRS and Université de Toulouse III, Toulouse, France
Received: 02 Mar 2012 – Discussion started: 16 Apr 2012
Abstract. The three-hour life-cycle of the isolated thunderstorm on 15 July 2007 during the Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study (COPS) is documented in detail, with a special emphasis on the rapid development and mature phases. Remote sensing techniques as 5-min rapid scans from geostationary satellites, combined velocity retrievals from up to four Doppler-radars, the polarimetric determination of hydrometeors and spatio-temporal occurrences of lightning strokes are employed to arrive at a quantification of the physical parameters of this, during the COPS period, singular event.
Revised: 05 Jul 2012 – Accepted: 13 Jul 2012 – Published: 01 Aug 2012
Inner cloud flow fields are available from radar multiple Doppler analyses at four consecutive times separated by 15 min-intervals. They contain horizontal winds of around 15 m s−1 and updrafts exceeding 5 m s−1, the latter collocated with lightning strokes. Reflectivity and polarimetric data indicate the existence of hail at the 2 km level around 14:40. Furthermore, polarimetric and Doppler radar variables indicate intense hydrometeor variability and turbulence corresponding to an enhanced variance of the retrieved 3-D wind fields. Profiles of flow and hydrometeor statistics over the entire cloud volume provide reference data for high-resolution numerical weather prediction runs in research mode.
The study embarks from two movie-loops of geostationary satellite imagery (as Supplement), which provide an intuitive distinction of six phases making up the entire life-cycle of the thunderstorm. It concludes with a triple-image loop, juxtaposing a close-up of the cloud motion as seen by Meteosat, simulated brightness temperature (as a proxy for clouds seen by the infrared satellite channel), and a perspective view on the model generated system of cloud cells. The simulation suggests that several updrafts fed from a low level convergence line eventually removed the convective inhibition and set deep convection in motion. A shear line in the radial velocity relative to the Feldberg radar site shows good agreement beween observation and simulation, whereas the onset location of deep convection exhibits a horizontal discrepancy of 15 km. A quantitative schematic of the isolated thunderstorm synthesizes all retrieved characteristics.
Schmidt, K., Hagen, M., Höller, H., Richard, E., and Volkert, H.: Detailed flow, hydrometeor and lightning characteristics of an isolated thunderstorm during COPS, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6679-6698, doi:10.5194/acp-12-6679-2012, 2012.