US Climate Variability and Predictability Program

GPS Meteorological Networks for Process-Oriented Studies of Tropical Deep Convection

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
University of Washington
Session IV: Initiatives to improve observational coverage of the ocean, land, and atmosphere
The meteorology and climate of the Intra American Seas and continental Americas are dominated by atmospheric convection, which presents a rather challenging range of spatial and temporal scales to capture with present-day observational platforms. Models are notoriously poor in representing the shallow-to-deep convection transition and upscale convective organization. In the Tropics, lack of all-weather, high spatial and temporal resolution network impedes progress. New GPS meteorological networks in the IAS region can help.

In this presentation, we discuss results from GPS meteorological studies for a tropical continental regime (central Amazon), a tropical sea-breeze regime (northern Brazil) and the elevated zones of the North American Monsoon (NAM). Specifically, we report on (1) a robust, GPS-derived, shallow-to-deep convective transition timescale (Adams et al. 2013), (2) measures of propagation speed and intensity of sea-breeeze convective lines (Adams et al. in press), and (3) the diurnal cycle water vapor and convective activity in extremely complex topography. We present these results to demonstrate the usefulness of GPS Mesoscale meteorology networks for providing observationally derived target relationships/metrics models must be able to replicate where convection is parameterized or explicitly resolved.

Given the radical increase in GPS meteorological infrastructure in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico within the last few years (COCOnet and TlalocNet), interactions between large-scale water vapor variability and convective activity both on intraseasonal and longer-term timescales can now be addressed. Following the lead of the above-mentioned Amazon and NAM GPS networks, creation of GPS mesoscale networks anchored to COCOnet sites in Central America and Caribbean islands can provide a unique opportunity to explore the interactions between land and ocean-based convective activity.

This presentation addresses three of the targeted outcomes. (1) Develop targeted metrics, (2) Coupled ocean-land-atmosphere processes in the region (3) Recommend actions on improving the observational network, and forging international collaborations.
Presentation file