3 years ago

The response of a simulated mesoscale convective system to increased aerosol pollution: Part II: Derecho characteristics and intensity in response to increased pollution

Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCS) are important contributors to rainfall as well as producers of severe weather such as hail, tornados, and straight-line wind events known as derechos. In this study, different aerosol concentrations and their effects on a derecho event are examined by simulating a case study, the 8 May 2009 “Super-Derecho”, using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), a cloud-resolving model with sophisticated aerosol and cloud microphysics. Three simulations were conducted that differed in the initial aerosol concentrations, spatial distribution and chemical composition as derived from output of GEOS-Chem, a 3D chemical transport model. In order to understand the impact of changes in aerosol concentrations on the derecho characteristics, the dynamical processes that produced the strong surface wind were determined by performing back-trajectory analysis during two periods of the simulated storm: the development and the onset of dissipation. A time dependent and non-monotonic trend was found between the intensity of the derecho and the increased aerosol concentrations that served as cloud condensation nuclei. During the formation period of the MCS, the non-monotonic trend was attributed to the microphysical impact of aerosol loading on the intensity of the cold pool; that is, the impact of aerosols on both the melting and evaporation rates of hydrometeors. The subsequent intensity changes within the cold pool modified the balance between the horizontal vorticity generated by the cold pool and that of the environment, thereby impacting the orientation of the convective updraft at the leading line. This, in turn, altered the primary flow that contributed to the formation of the derecho-strength surface winds. The simulation with no anthropogenic aerosols exhibited the strongest cold pool and the primary flow was associated with a descending rear inflow jet that produced the derecho winds over a larger region. The simulation with the highest amount of anthropogenic aerosols featured a stronger mesovortex and the derecho winds were primarily due to stronger convective downbursts. As the simulated storm matured, the changes in the derecho winds were found to be associated with the strength of the mesovortex at the gust front. During the period when the simulated storm began to dissipate, the non-monotonic trend in derecho intensity was associated with a non-monotonic response in mesovortex strength to increased aerosol concentrations. A moderate increase in aerosol concentrations led to the formation of a weaker mesovortex while a greater increase in aerosol concentration led to the formation of a stronger mesovortex. The formation of a stronger mesovortex was found to increase the contribution of the derecho winds following a convective downburst associated with an “up-down” downdraft trajectory.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0169809517300042

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.