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Wavelet scale analysis of mesoscale convective systems for detecting deep convection from infrared imagery

Klein, Cornelia; Belušić, Danijel; Taylor, Christopher M.. 2018 Wavelet scale analysis of mesoscale convective systems for detecting deep convection from infrared imagery. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123 (6). 3035-3050. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JD027432

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Abstract/Summary

Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) are frequently associated with rainfall extremes and are expected to further intensify under global warming. However, despite the significant impact of such extreme events, the dominant processes favoring their occurrence are still under debate. Meteosat geostationary satellites provide unique long‐term subhourly records of cloud top temperatures, allowing to track changes in MCS structures that could be linked to rainfall intensification. Focusing on West Africa, we show that Meteosat cloud top temperatures are a useful proxy for rainfall intensities, as derived from snapshots from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission 2A25 product: MCSs larger than 15,000 km2 at a temperature threshold of −40°C are found to produce 91% of all extreme rainfall occurrences in the study region, with 80% of the storms producing extreme rain when their minimum temperature drops below −80°C. Furthermore, we present a new method based on 2‐D continuous wavelet transform to explore the relationship between cloud top temperature and rainfall intensity for subcloud features at different length scales. The method shows great potential for separating convective and stratiform cloud parts when combining information on temperature and scale, improving the common approach of using a temperature threshold only. We find that below −80°C, every fifth pixel is associated with deep convection. This frequency is doubled when looking at subcloud features smaller than 35 km. Scale analysis of subcloud features can thus help to better exploit cloud top temperature data sets, which provide much more spatiotemporal detail of MCS characteristics than available rainfall data sets alone.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JD027432
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2169-897X
Additional Keywords: cloud top temperature, extreme rain, deep convection, mesoscale convective system, scale decomposition, wavelets
NORA Subject Terms: Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 06 Apr 2018 09:59 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/519761

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