Diurnal cycle of convection during the CAIPEEX 2011 experiment
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The diurnal cycle of convective storm events is investigated in the study with the help of C-band radar reflectivity data during the Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX 2011) in combination with other ground-based observations. A threshold reflectivity of 25 dBZ is used to identify the initiation of storms. Observations from collocated sensors such as a microwave radiometer profiler, water vapor measurement from eddy covariance system, and wind lidar measurements are used to investigate the characteristic features and diurnal cycle of convectively initiated storms from 21st September to 5th November 2011. The maximum reflectivity follows a normal distribution with a mean value of 40 dBZ. The cloud depth over the domain varied between 5 and 15 km corresponding to a range of reflectivity of 30–50 dBZ values. In the diurnal cycle, double maximum in the precipitation flux is noted—one during the afternoon hours associated with the diurnal heating and the other in the nocturnal periods. The nocturnal precipitation maximum is attributed to initiation of several single-cell storms (of congestus type) with a duration that is larger than the storms initiated during the daytime. The convective available potential energy (CAPE) showed a diurnal variation and was directly linked with the surface level water vapor content. The high CAPE favored single storms with a reflectivity >40 dBZ and higher echo top heights. In the evening or late night hours, a nocturnal low-level jet present over the location together with the reduced stability above the cloud base favored enhancement of low-level moisture, CAPE, and further initiation of new convection. The study illustrated how collocated observations could be used to study storm initiation and associated thermodynamic features.
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