Ten Year Analysis of Tropopause-Overshooting Convection Using GridRad Data Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Convection that penetrates the tropopause (overshooting convection) rapidly transports air from the lower troposphere to the lower stratosphere, potentially mixing air between the two layers. This exchange of air can have a substantial impact on the composition, radiation, and chemistry of the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). In order to improve our understanding of the role convection plays in the transport of trace gases across the tropopause, this study presents a 10year analysis of overshooting convection for the eastern two thirds of the contiguous United Statesfor March through August of 2004 to 2013 based on radar observations. Echo top altitudes are estimated at hourly intervals using high-resolution, three-dimensional, gridded, radar reflectivity fields created by merging observations from available radars in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) network. Overshooting convection is identified by comparing echo top altitudes with tropopause altitudes derived from the ERA-Interim reanalysis. It is found that overshooting convection is most common in the central United States, with a weak secondary maximum along the southeast coast. The maximum number of overshooting events occur consistently between 2200 and 0200 UTC. Most overshooting events occur in May, June, and July when convection is deepest and the tropopause altitude is relatively low. Approximately 45% of the analyzed overshooting events (those with echo tops at least 1km above the tropopause) have echo tops extending above the 380K level into the stratospheric overworld.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 11.93

author list (cited authors)

  • Cooney, J. W., Bowman, K. P., Homeyer, C. R., & Fenske, T. M.

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • Cooney, John W||Bowman, Kenneth P||Homeyer, Cameron R||Fenske, Tyler M

publication date

  • January 1, 2018 11:11 AM