Determine Convective Initiation


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Determine Convective Initiation

  • Determine Convective Initiation

  • patterns PHI CWA and nearby region

  • Movement, Intensity and Coverage

  • Use online database to assist in enhanced operational forecasting of thunderstorm initiation, coverage, and severity in real-time

  • Establish operational archive and forecast database

  • http://hurri.kean.edu/~keancast/thunder/thunder.html



Study Period: 2000 – 2010

  • Study Period: 2000 – 2010

    • 10 Summer Seasons: June, July & August (one test season)
  • Mapped daily radar every 3 hours between 12 UTC and 00 UTC

    • Recorded cell/area radar intensities of 30 & 50 dBz
  • Classification of each day and identify initiation locations/patterns

    • 500mb flow, surface synoptic pattern, and combinations of the two


Preferred locations of initiation from archive

  • Preferred locations of initiation from archive

  • Empirical probabilities of occurrence developed

  • Critical threshold values and field patterns associated with activity

  • Discern an “E” from “C” or “Null” day with greater confidence



Determine 500 mb flow type (e.g., West flow cases)

  • Determine 500 mb flow type (e.g., West flow cases)



Determine Surface Feature (e.g., Cold Front)

  • Determine Surface Feature (e.g., Cold Front)



Using a combination (500mb+Surface Feature)

  • Using a combination (500mb+Surface Feature)

    • e.g., West flow and Cold Front




Lightning Data







Storm Total Precipitation (STP)

  • Storm Total Precipitation (STP)

    • Consider the first (12-18z) and second (18-00z) halves of the day
    • See progression/development of cells after initiation locations
  • Mapped values from website products

    • 0.1 inch signifies “likely” precipitation related to day’s convection
    • 1.0+ inches suggest thunderstorm with heavy rainfall and intensity/severity
  • Composites of Coverage/Intensity







Use high resolution GIS-based grid with 1-km grid of study region with details of the forecast region and locations

  • Use high resolution GIS-based grid with 1-km grid of study region with details of the forecast region and locations

    • Relate specific physiographic features in the area to the preferred locations of convective initiation and its severity
    • GIS grid calculations focus on land use and land cover, elevation, distance to coast, and slope and can be related to model output
    • Risk assessment and management; warning specificity & public information statements; visualizations in time and space
    • Automation and animation for response planning/preparation




Comprehensive Prediction of Convective Initiation

  • Comprehensive Prediction of Convective Initiation

    • We know: Who, What, Where, How, When, & Why of initiation
    • We can: Distinguish Coverage and Intensity/Severity
    • Now Provide: Operational Products with Online Archive
    • Now Identify: Operational Conceptual Model & Cause/Effect
  • Next: Refine, Enhance, Automate (GIS-based radar data)

  • Future steps: GIS-grid assisted forecasting

  • Future purposes: Risk assessment and management




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