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Updraft and Downdraft Cores in TOGA COARE: Why So Many Buoyant Downdraft Cores?

Updraft and Downdraft Cores in TOGA COARE: Why So Many Buoyant Downdraft Cores? An examination of the properties of updraft and downdraft cores using Electra data from TOGA COARE shows that they have diameters and vertical velocities similar to cores observed over other parts of the tropical and subtropical oceans. As in previous studies, a core is defined as having vertical velocity of the same sign and greater than an absolute value of 1 m s −1 for at least 500 m. A requirement that the core contain either cloud or precipitation throughout is added, but this should not affect the results significantly. Since the Electra was equipped with the Ophir III radiometric temperature sensor, it was also possible to make estimates of core buoyancies. As in TAMEX and EMEX, where core temperatures were estimated using the modified side-looking Barnes radiometer on the NOAA P3s, a significant fraction of both updraft and downdraft cores had apparent virtual temperatures greater than their environments. In fact, the average virtual temperature deviation from the environment for downdraft cores was +0.4 K. Sixteen of the strongest downdraft cores were examined, all of which had positive virtual-temperature deviations, to find the source of this surprising result. It is concluded that the downdraft cores are artificially warm because 100% relative humidity was assumed in calculating virtual temperature. However, reducing core mixing ratios to more physically realistic values does not eliminate warm virtual potential temperature downdraft cores, nor does water loading make all cores negatively buoyant. Thus positively buoyant convective downdrafts do exist, though probably in smaller numbers than previously suggested. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences American Meteorological Society

Updraft and Downdraft Cores in TOGA COARE: Why So Many Buoyant Downdraft Cores?

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0469
DOI
10.1175/1520-0469(1999)056<2232:UADCIT>2.0.CO;2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

An examination of the properties of updraft and downdraft cores using Electra data from TOGA COARE shows that they have diameters and vertical velocities similar to cores observed over other parts of the tropical and subtropical oceans. As in previous studies, a core is defined as having vertical velocity of the same sign and greater than an absolute value of 1 m s −1 for at least 500 m. A requirement that the core contain either cloud or precipitation throughout is added, but this should not affect the results significantly. Since the Electra was equipped with the Ophir III radiometric temperature sensor, it was also possible to make estimates of core buoyancies. As in TAMEX and EMEX, where core temperatures were estimated using the modified side-looking Barnes radiometer on the NOAA P3s, a significant fraction of both updraft and downdraft cores had apparent virtual temperatures greater than their environments. In fact, the average virtual temperature deviation from the environment for downdraft cores was +0.4 K. Sixteen of the strongest downdraft cores were examined, all of which had positive virtual-temperature deviations, to find the source of this surprising result. It is concluded that the downdraft cores are artificially warm because 100% relative humidity was assumed in calculating virtual temperature. However, reducing core mixing ratios to more physically realistic values does not eliminate warm virtual potential temperature downdraft cores, nor does water loading make all cores negatively buoyant. Thus positively buoyant convective downdrafts do exist, though probably in smaller numbers than previously suggested.

Journal

Journal of the Atmospheric SciencesAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Mar 16, 1998

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