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Archetypal TRMM Radar Profiles Identified Through Cluster AnalysisIt is widely held that identifiable 'convective regimes' exist in nature, although precise definitions of these are elusive. Examples include land / Ocean distinctions, break / monsoon beahvior, seasonal differences in the Amazon (SON vs DJF), etc. These regimes are often described by differences in the realized local convective spectra, and measured by various metrics of convective intensity, depth, areal coverage and rainfall amount. Objective regime identification may be valuable in several ways: regimes may serve as natural 'branch points' in satellite retrieval algorithms or data assimilation efforts; one example might be objective identification of regions that 'should' share a similar 2-R relationship. Similarly, objectively defined regimes may provide guidance on optimal siting of ground validation efforts. Objectively defined regimes could also serve as natural (rather than arbitrary geographic) domain 'controls' in studies of convective response to environmental forcing. Quantification of convective vertical structure has traditionally involved parametric study of prescribed quantities thought to be important to convective dynamics: maximum radar reflectivity, cloud top height, 30-35 dBZ echo top height, rain rate, etc. Individually, these parameters are somewhat deficient as their interpretation is often nonunique (the same metric value may signify different physics in different storm realizations). Individual metrics also fail to capture the coherence and interrelationships between vertical levels available in full 3-D radar datasets. An alternative approach is discovery of natural partitions of vertical structure in a globally representative dataset, or 'archetypal' reflectivity profiles. In this study, this is accomplished through cluster analysis of a very large sample (0[107) of TRMM-PR reflectivity columns. Once achieved, the rainconditional and unconditional 'mix' of archetypal profile types in a given location and/or season provides a description of the local convective spectrum which retains vertical structure information. A further cluster analysis of these 'mixes' can identify recurrent convective spectra. These are a first step towards objective identification of convective regimes, and towards answering the question: 'What are the most convectively similar locations in the world?'
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Boccippio, Dennis J. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Meeting Information
31st Conference on Radar Meteorology(Seattle, WA)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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