Radar reflectivity as a proxy for convective mass transport Academic Article uri icon


  • More observations of vertical mass transport in deep convection are needed to improve dynamical understanding of detrainment processes and for verification of transport models. A methodology for using radar reflectivity as a direct observation of vertical transport of mass from the boundary layer to the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere is investigated, and the level of maximum detrainment (LMD) is proposed. The case investigated is the 26 January 1999 squall line from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission LargeScale BiosphereAtmosphere field campaign. Echo top heights and dualDoppler derived divergence profiles are used to define the mass detrainment range. Over 10% of anvil echo tops occurred above the soundingderived level of neutral buoyancy of 15.4 km during the mature stage of the storm, and convective tops reached above 18 km. Anvil ice water content, with a simple correction for ice fall speed, is found to be a good proxy for both the LMD, which for the storm analyzed is 11.25 km, and for the detrainment range of 6 to 17 km. More cases need to be analyzed to confirm the strength of this methodology, but the case study presented shows a strong correlation between anvil properties determined from radar reflectivity and the mass detrainment profile. Thus, radar reflectivity can be used as an indicator of the LMD to test model convective and transport parameterizations.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Mullendore, G. L., Homann, A. J., Bevers, K., & Schumacher, C.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Mullendore, GL||Homann, AJ||Bevers, K||Schumacher, C

publication date

  • August 2009