The predictability of sea-breeze generated thunderstorms

R. A. PIELKE, A. SONG, P. J. MICHAELS, W. A. LYONS, R. W. ARRITT

Abstract

Geostationary satellite and radar analyses clearly illustrate preferential regions of thunderstorm occurrences over south Florida. A synoptic analysis of the associated weather patterns suggests that a moister lower and middle troposphere is conducive to a greater percentage of coverage by these storms. The observed patterning of deep convection can be explained to a large extent by regions of enhanced mesoscale horizontal boundary layer convergence and resultant accumulation of lower tropospheric moisture. This convergence is enhanced in south Florida by the favorable curvature of the coastline (Pieike, 1984, pg. 458). A mesoscale model provides an effective tool to simulate the oberved patterns as a function of synoptic wind and thermodynamic structure. In general, mesoscale atmospheric flow influences the preexisting synoptic environment so as to provide preferential areas of thunderstorm activity. Using a combination of radar, satellite, synoptic observations, and mesoscale modeling tools, effective predictions of the percent coverage, and spatial and temporal distribution of thunderstorms in the sea breeze environment anywhere in the world appears possible.

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