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Using COMBLE observations to characterize boundary-layer convective precipitation in Arctic cold air outbreaks

Active Dates 9/1/2022-5/31/2024
Program Area Atmospheric System Research
Project Description
Using COMBLE observations to characterize boundary-layer convective precipitation in Arctic cold air outbreaks
Yonggang Wang, State University of New York at Oswego (Principal Investigator)

The Arctic is warming at a rate faster than the rest of the Earth, and faster than predicted by climate models. One of the most intense air mass transformations on the Earth occurs when cold airmasses over the Arctic ice flow southward over North Atlantic open water in so-called Cold Air Outbreaks (CAOs). The cold-air outbreak cloud regime results from the interactions between surface fluxes, boundary-layer circulations, turbulence, clouds, and precipitation, as well as radiative processes. However, these interactions are poorly understood. A better understanding of these interactions is needed because cold-air outbreak  convection confined to the boundary layer represents a significant challenge to numerical weather prediction and climate models. This proposal focuses on shallow precipitation systems that form in the Arctic cold air outbreaks, which is referred to as boundary-layer convective precipitation.

The primary objective of this proposed study is to use the DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) data from the Cold-air Outbreaks in the Marine Boundary Layer Experiment (COMBLE) to document the vertical structure of boundary-layer convective precipitation systems in terms of cloud and precipitation properties.

We will conduct the retrieval of vertical air velocity and hydrometeor fall speed profiles for two intense cold-air outbreak episodes in COMBLE and compare the retrieved vertical air motion against Doppler Lidar vertical air motion in overlapping regions below cloud. A case study will be presented and composite analyses will be conducted to characterize the boundary-layer convective precipitation in the Arctic cold air outbreaks.

We will also comprehensively describe the diversity of cold air outbreak clouds and precipitation for all cold-air outbreak cases in COMBLE, and develop functional relationships between cloud depth, cloud top temperature, liquid water path, vertical velocity, riming fraction, precipitation rate, and wind speed.

This pilot project will also allow the Principal Investigator to use the ARM user facilities in his teaching and research with undergraduate students. Our finding will be integrated into two undergraduate classes at State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego. By virtue of a senior-level research course within SUNY Oswego Department of Atmospheric and Geosciences, undergraduate students will also have exposure to data analysis and application of the scientific method. In addition, our data will be used by undergraduate students who take an Independent Study course at SUNY Oswego.
Award Recipient(s)
  • State University of New York Oswego (PI: Wang, Yonggang)