AbstractThe influence of surface conditions in the form of changing surface temperatures on fully developed mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) is investigated using a cloud-system-resolving setup of the Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic (ICON) model (1-km grid spacing). The simulated MCSs take the form of squall lines with trailing stratiform precipitation. After the squall lines have reached a quasi-steady state, secondary convection is triggered ahead of the squall line, resulting in an increase of squall-line propagation speed, also known as discrete propagation. The higher propagation speed is then maintained for the remainder of the simulations because secondary convection ahead of the squall line acts to reduce the environmental wind shear over the depth of the squall line’s cold pool. The surface conditions have only a marginal effect on the squall lines themselves. This is so because the surface fluxes cannot significantly affect the cold pool, which is continuously replenished by midtropospheric air. The midtroposphere remains similar given the use of identical initial profiles. The only effect of the surface fluxes consists in an earlier acceleration of the squall line due to earlier initiation of secondary convection with higher surface temperature. Finally, a conceptual model to estimate the change in surface temperature needed to achieve a change in onset time of prefrontal secondary convection and the associated discrete propagation events given the environmental conditions is presented.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jul 13, 2017
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