Flanking Line Dynamics and Their Relation to Supercell Structure and Evolution
The goal of this research is to further understanding of the role the flanking line plays with regards to the life-cycle of the supercell thunderstorm. The flanking line is the line of towering cumulus clouds (to the west of the main supercell updraft in the images at right) which form along the leading edge of the cold pool/gust front (cold pool enclosed by blue isosurface). Much of the numerical research into the dynamical behavior of isolated supercell thunderstorms has focused on the main updraft/downdrafts and on the tornadic region of the storm. Exploration of flanking line behavior has remained predominately an observational exercise. However, understanding of flanking line dynamics can be important to the understanding of the overall evolution and structure of supercells. Further, exploration of low-level vorticities that continually develop near the main supercell updraft and then move down the flanking line away from this updraft will be investigated. Additionally, we will seek a better understanding of differences in overall storm structure due to the presense of inversions and/or shallow moist layers.
Project MembersLeigh Orf - Research Lead
Robert Wilhelmson - PI