The finescale structure and dynamics of cumulus, evolving from shallow to deep convection, and the accompanying changes in the environment and boundary layer over mountainous terrain were the subjects of a field campaign in July-August 2006. Few measurements exist of the transport of boundary layer air into the deep troposphere by the orographic toroidal circulation and orographic convection. The campaign was conducted over the Santa Catalina Mountains in southern Arizona, a natural laboratory to study convection, given the spatially and temporally regular development of cumulus driven by elevated heating and convergent boundary layer flow. Cumuli and their environment were sampled via coordinated observations from the surface, radiosonde balloons, and aircraft, along with airborne radar data and stereophotogrammetry from two angles. The collected dataset is expected to yield new insights in the boundary layer processes leading to orographic convection, in the cumulus-induced transport of boundary layer air into the troposphere, and in fundamental cumulus dynamics. This article summarizes the motivations, objectives, experimental strategies, preliminary findings, and the potential research paths stirred by the project.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science