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Mesoscale Circulation Growth Under Conditions of Weak Inertial Instability


The hypothesis that inertial instability plays a role in the upscale development of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) is explored by sampling environments that supported the growth of MCSs in the Preliminary Regional Experiment for STORM (Stormscale Operational and Research Meteorology) (PRE-STORM) network with high quality special soundings. Secondary circulations that occurred in the presence of inertial instabilities were analyzed and documented using rawinsonde data with high spatial and temporal resolution from the PRE-STORM field program. Additional examples of MCS environments were examined using data from the Mesoscale Analysis and Prediction System. Results show strong divergence and cross-stream accelerations occurred at upper-tropospheric levels where inertial instabilities were present. These accelerations were not uniform over the domain but were focused in the regions of instability. Also, the analyses of these data showed that regions of inertial instability may be more commonplace than is typically assumed. The Regional Atmospheric Modeling System was used to increase the understanding of the basic processes and secondary circulations that enhance MCS growth in inertially unstable environments. Model results indicate that the strength of the divergent outflow was strongly linked to the degree of inertial stability in the local environment. The results also showed a strong dependence on the magnitude of the Coriolis parameter. Finally, experiments using varying degrees of vertical stability indicated that there was also significant sensitivity to this parameter.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Accepted On
April 29, 1997
Fiscal Year
Publication Name
Monthly Weather Review
Published On
April 29, 1997
Publisher Name
Amer Meteorological Soc
Print Volume
Print Number
Submitted On
April 09, 1996


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