On the afternoon and evening of 22 May 2002, high-resolution observations of the boundary layer (BL) and a dryline were obtained in the eastern Oklahoma and Texas panhandles during the International H2O Project. Using overdetermined multiple-Doppler radar syntheses in concert with a Lagrangian analysis of water vapor and temperature fields, the 3D kinematic and thermodynamic structure of the dryline and surrounding BL have been analyzed over a nearly 2-h period. The dryline is resolved as a strong (2-4 g kg-1 km-1) gradient of water vapor mixing ratio that resides in a nearly north-south-oriented zone of convergence. Maintained through frontogenesis, the dryline is also located within a gradient of virtual potential temperature, which induces a persistent, solenoidally forced secondary circulation. Initially quasi-stationary, the dryline retrogrades to the west during early evening and displays complicated substructures including small wavelike perturbations that travel from south to north at nearly the speed of the mean BL flow. A second, minor dryline has similar characteristics to the first, but has weaker gradients and circulations. The BL adjacent to the dryline exhibits complicated structures, consisting of combinations of open cells, horizontal convective rolls, and transverse rolls. Strong convergence and vertical motion at the dryline act to lift moisture, and high-based cumulus clouds are observed in the analysis domain. Although the top of the analysis domain is below the lifted condensation level height, vertical extrapolation of the moisture fields generally agrees with cloud locations. Mesoscale vortices that move along the dryline induce a transient eastward dryline motion due to the eastward advection of dry air following misocyclone passage. Refractivity-based moisture and differential reflectivity analyses are used to help interpret the Lagrangian analyses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science