Aboveground Thermodynamic Observations in Convective Storms from Balloonborne Probes Acting as Pseudo-Lagrangian Drifters

Markowski, Paul M. ; Richardson, Yvette P. ; Richardson, Scott J. ; Petersson, Anders

Année de publication
The severe storms research community lacks reliable, aboveground, thermodynamic observations (e.g., temperature, humidity, and pressure) in convective storms. These missing observations are crucial to understanding the behavior of both supercell storms (e.g., the generation, reorientation, and amplification of vorticity necessary for tornado formation) and larger-scale (mesoscale) convective systems (e.g., storm maintenance and the generation of damaging straight-line winds). This paper describes a novel way to use balloonborne probes to obtain aboveground thermodynamic observations. Each probe is carried by a pair of balloons until one of the balloons is jettisoned; the remaining balloon and probe act as a pseudo-Lagrangian drifter that is drawn through the storm. Preliminary data are presented from a pair of deployments in supercell storms in Oklahoma and Kansas during May 2017. The versatility of the observing system extends beyond severe storms applications into any area of mesoscale meteorology in which a large array of aboveground, in situ thermodynamic observations are needed.

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