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Orographic Convection and Precipitation in the Tropics: Wind Speed Control and Aerosol Interactions

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December 3, 2015
Alison D. Nugent

Abstract

The Dominica Experiment (DOMEX) took place in the eastern Caribbean in the spring of 2011 with 21 research flights of the University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) aircraft. The goal was an improved understanding of the physics of convective orographic precipitation in the tropics. The UWKA measured upstream and downstream airflow properties as well as the convective clouds and precipitation over the island of Dominica. This flight data along with an idealized numerical model have been used to understand the role of the ambient upstream wind speed in controlling the transition from thermally to mechanically forced moist orographic convection. When the convection is thermally driven, DOMEX observations show clear evidence of aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions; the aerosol-aware Thompson microphysics scheme in WRF is used to investigate.