Modulation of the diurnal cycle of warm-season precipitation by short-wave troughs

AMS Citation:
Tuttle, J. D., and C. A. Davis, 2013: Modulation of the diurnal cycle of warm-season precipitation by short-wave troughs. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 70, 1710-1726, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-12-0181.1.
Resource Type:article
Title:Modulation of the diurnal cycle of warm-season precipitation by short-wave troughs
Abstract: Traveling deep tropospheric disturbances of wavelengths ~1500 km (short waves) have long been known to play an important role in the initiation and maintenance of warm-season convection. To date, relatively few studies have formally documented the climatology of short waves and their relationship to the diurnal heating cycle, the topography, and the diurnal cycle of precipitation. Those that did had to rely on low-resolution global analyses and often could not track short waves across mountain barriers. In this study, 10 yr of the (32 km) NCEP North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) are used to objectively identify and track short waves in the North American domain. Statistics of short-wave span, duration, phase speed, latitudinal extent, and locations of preferred intensification/decay are presented. Some of the key findings from the climatology include that the lee (windward) of mountain barriers are preferred regions of intensification (decay) and short waves show little evidence of a diurnal cycle and can pass a given point at any time of the day. The second part of the study focuses on the role that short waves play in modulating the diurnal cycle of propagating convection east of the Rocky Mountains. Depending on the timing of short-wave passage, short waves may either significantly enhance the precipitation above the mean or completely disrupt the normal diurnal cycle, causing precipitation to develop at times and locations where it normally does not. While short waves play an important role in modulating the mean precipitation patterns their role is considered to be secondary in nature. The diurnal precipitation signature is prominent even when short waves are not present.
Peer Review:Refereed
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OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7c53mq8
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/JAS-D-12-0181.1
  • John Tuttle - NCAR/UCAR
  • Christopher Davis - NCAR/UCAR
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