The Statistical Characteristics of Convective Cells in a Monsoon Regime (Darwin, Northern Australia)

May, Peter T.; Ballinger, Andrew
January 2007
Monthly Weather Review;Jan2007, Vol. 135 Issue 1, p82
Academic Journal
A season of operational cell and track data from Darwin, Australia, has been analyzed to explore the statistical characteristics of the convective cell heights. The statistics for the monsoon and break regimes are significantly different with the break season cells being higher for a given reflectivity threshold. The monsoon cells produce more rain, but there are fewer intense cells and there is a much larger contribution from stratiform rain. The monsoon cells are also slightly larger, but shorter lived than the breaks. The shorter lifetime may reflect a more rapid transition to a longer-lived stratiform character. The monsoon regime is shown to be associated with large-scale ascent and higher humidity that may lead to more frequent, but weaker cells. Within regimes, the subset of intense cells generally reach near the tropopause or overshoot. However, there is little evidence in the data for a multimodal distribution of cell heights, except perhaps for the intense monsoon cases. Instead, the picture is a continuous distribution of cell heights with the peak of the distribution shifting to higher values as the distributions are conditioned on higher reflectivity.


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