Doppler Radar Observations of Horizontal Shearing Instability in Quasi-Linear Convective Systems
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Doppler Radar Observations of Horizontal Shearing Instability in Quasi-Linear Convective Systems

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  • Journal Title:
    Monthly Weather Review
  • NOAA Program & Office:
  • Description:
    Dual-Doppler radar observations of two cold-season, wave-propagating quasi-linear convective systems (QLCS), which evolved in high-shear, low-CAPE (HSLC) environments, are analyzed to determine the role that horizontal shearing instability (HSI) plays in the formation of mesovortices. One QLCS occurred on 4 January 2015 and produced two mesovortices within the dual-Doppler region, one of which was associated with an EF-1 tornado with a pathlength of 10 km. The second QLCS occurred on 28 November 2016 and did not produce any mesovortices. Storm characteristics such as the low-level wind speed and wind shift angle are investigated. Rayleigh and Fjørtoft instability criteria, which are required but insufficient for HSI, are also examined. The Rayleigh and Fjørtoft instability criteria are satisfied for the 4 January 2015 QLCS and the 28 November 2016 QLCS, highlighting one of the issues of the “required, but insufficient” characteristic of the criteria. Analysis of the wind shift angle and wind speed agree with previous studies that pronounced wind shifts close to 90° and strong wind speeds were conducive to the formation of mesovortices, while weak wind shift angles and weaker wind speeds were not. It was found that for the 4 January 2015 case, HSI was the likely formation mechanism of the vortices as other features associated with preexisting mesovortexgenesis theories were not observed.
  • Source:
    Mon. Wea. Rev. (2019) 147 (4): 1297–1318.
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