Structural Characteristics of Convective Systems over South America Related to Cold-Frontal Incursions

Siqueira, Jose Ricardo; Rossow, William B.; Machado, Luiz Augusto Toledo; Pearl, Cindy
May 2005
Monthly Weather Review;May2005, Vol. 133 Issue 5, p1045
Academic Journal
International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP DX) and microwave sensor data collected by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) are used to identify and describe structural characteristics of convective systems (CSs) over continental South America (SA) related to cold-frontal incursions in a 3-yr period. An austral wet-season climatology for CS events of the three most important types of front–tropical convection interaction is built by applying latitude–time diagrams and a cloud-tracking method to DX data. Type 1 is characterized by the penetration of a cold front over subtropical SA that interacts with convection and moves with it into lower tropical latitudes. Type 2 refers to Amazon convection and its enhancement in a quasi-stationary northwest–southeast-oriented band extending from the Amazon to subtropical SA along with the passage of a cold front in the subtropics and characterizes the synoptic formation of the South Atlantic convergence zone. A quasi-stationary cold front over subtropical SA that has only weak interaction with tropical convection corresponds to type 3. Results show that the three types of front–tropical convection interaction strongly modulate deep convection over SA, producing mesoscale CSs with significant fractions of deep convective clouds and rain at their mature phase. Type 2 CSs (type 1 CSs) are constituted of larger deep convective cloud fractions with weaker (stronger) vertical development compared to type 1 CSs (type 3 CSs) in the Tropics (subtropics), resulting in larger rain fractions and less (more) presence of convective rain. Type 1 CSs have larger fractions of deep convective clouds and rain but with weaker vertical development in the subtropics than in the Tropics, showing that cold fronts organize convection more in area in the subtropics, but more in vertical extent in the Tropics. Life cycle variations of CS cloud and rain properties show tropical CSs with a more intense initial development and similar structural differences between the CS types and those found at their mature phase.


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