The three-dimensional morphology of simulated and observed convective storms over southern England
Stein, T. H. M., Hogan, R. J., Hanley, K. E., Nicol, J. C., Lean, H. W., Plant, R. S., Clark, P. A. and Halliwell, C. E. (2014) The three-dimensional morphology of simulated and observed convective storms over southern England. Monthly Weather Review, 142 (9). pp. 3264-3283. ISSN 1520-0493
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-13-00372.1
A set of high-resolution radar observations of convective storms has been collected to evaluate such storms in the UK Met Office Unified Model during the DYMECS project (Dynamical and Microphysical Evolution of Convective Storms). The 3-GHz Chilbolton Advanced Meteorological Radar was set up with a scan-scheduling algorithm to automatically track convective storms identified in real-time from the operational rainfall radar network. More than 1,000 storm observations gathered over fifteen days in 2011 and 2012 are used to evaluate the model under various synoptic conditions supporting convection. In terms of the detailed three-dimensional morphology, storms in the 1500-m grid-length simulations are shown to produce horizontal structures a factor 1.5–2 wider compared to radar observations. A set of nested model runs at grid lengths down to 100m show that the models converge in terms of storm width, but the storm structures in the simulations with the smallest grid lengths are too narrow and too intense compared to the radar observations. The modelled storms were surrounded by a region of drizzle without ice reflectivities above 0 dBZ aloft, which was related to the dominance of ice crystals and was improved by allowing only aggregates as an ice particle habit. Simulations with graupel outperformed the standard configuration for heavy-rain profiles, but the storm structures were a factor 2 too wide and the convective cores 2 km too deep.