Environmental controls on the simulated diurnal cycle of warm-season precipitation in the Continental United States

AMS Citation:
Trier, S. B., C. A. Davis, and D. Ahijevych, 2010: Environmental controls on the simulated diurnal cycle of warm-season precipitation in the Continental United States. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 67, 1066-1090, doi:10.1175/2009JAS3247.1.
Date:2010-04-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Environmental controls on the simulated diurnal cycle of warm-season precipitation in the Continental United States
Abstract: The diurnal cycle of warm-season precipitation in the Rocky Mountains and adjacent Great Plains of the United States is examined using a numerical modeling framework designed to isolate the role of terrain-influenced diurnally varying flows within a quasi-stationary longwave pattern common to active periods of midsummer convection. Simulations are initialized using monthly averaged conditions and contain lateral boundary conditions that vary only with the diurnal cycle. Together these attributes mitigate effects of transient weather disturbances originating upstream of the model domain. After a spinup period, the final 7 days of the 10-day model integration are analyzed and compared with observations. Results indicate that many salient features of the monthly precipitation climatology are reproduced by the model. These include a stationary afternoon precipitation frequency maximum over the Rocky Mountains followed overnight by an eastward-progressing zone of maximum precipitation frequencies confined to a narrow latitudinal corridor in the Great Plains. The similarity to observations despite the monthly averaged initial and lateral boundary conditions suggests that although progressive weather disturbances (e.g., mobile cold fronts and midtropospheric short waves) that originate outside of the region may help enhance and focus precipitation in individual cases, they are not crucial to the general location and diurnal cycle of midsummer precipitation. The roles of persistent daily features such as the nocturnal low-level jet and the thermally induced mountain–plains vertical circulation on both convection and a mesoscale water budget of the central Great Plains (where the heaviest rain occurs) are discussed.
Subject(s):Summer/warm season, Convective parameterization, Convection, Diurnal cycle, Model evaluation/performance, Regional effects, Jet, Precipitation
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2010 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 USC, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the Society's permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form on servers, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statements, requires written permission or license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policies, available from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or amspubs@ametsoc.org. Permission to place a copy of this work on this server has been provided by the AMS. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the published work.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d79p3234
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/2009JAS3247.1
Author(s):
  • Stanley Trier - NCAR/UCAR
  • Christopher Davis - NCAR/UCAR
  • David Ahijevych - NCAR/UCAR
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