Alongfront Variability of Precipitation Associated with a Midlatitude Frontal Zone: TRMM Observations and MM5 Simulation

Mei Han; Braun, Scott A.; Persson, P. Ola G.; Jian-Wen Bao
March 2009
Monthly Weather Review;Mar2009, Vol. 137 Issue 3, p1008
Academic Journal
On 19 February 2001, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite observed complex alongfront variability in the precipitation structure of an intense cold-frontal rainband. The TRMM Microwave Imager brightness temperatures suggested that, compared to the northern and southern ends of the rainband, a greater amount of precipitation ice was concentrated in the middle portion of the rainband where the front bowed out. A model simulation conducted using the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (PSU–NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5) is examined to explain the distribution of precipitation associated with the cold-frontal rainband. The simulation reveals that the enhanced precipitation ice production and the implied mean ascent along the central part of the front were associated with a synergistic interaction between a low-level front and an upper-level front associated with an intrusion of high-PV stratospheric air. The low-level front contributed to an intense bow-shaped narrow cold-frontal rainband (NCFR). The upper-level front was dynamically active only along the central to northern portion of the NCFR, where the upper-level PV advection and Q-vector convergence were most prominent. The enhanced mean ascent associated with the upper-level front contributed to a wide cold-frontal rainband (WCFR) that trailed or overlapped with the NCFR along its central to northern segments. Because of the combination of the forcing from both lower- and upper-level fronts, the ascent was deepest and most intense along the central portion of the front. Thus, a large concentration of precipitation ice, attributed to both the NCFR and WCFR, was produced.


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