Summary of Convective Storm Initiation and Evolution during IHOP: Observational and Modeling Perspective
Monthly Weather Review
The data-rich International H 2 O Project (IHOP_2002) experiment is used to study convective storm initiation and subsequent evolution for all days of the experiment. Initiation episodes were almost evenly divided between those triggered along surface-based convergence lines and elevated initiation episodes that showed no associated surface convergence. The elevated episodes occurred mostly at night, and the surfacebased episodes occurred during the afternoon and evening. Surface-based
... face-based initiations were mostly associated with synoptic fronts and gust fronts and less so with drylines and bores. Elevated initiations were frequently associated with observable convergent or confluent features in the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) wind analysis fields between 900 and 600 hPa. The RUC10 3-h forecast of the precipitation initiation episodes were correct 44% of the time, allowing a tolerance of 250 km in space and for the forecast being early by one period. However, the accuracy was closely tied to the scale of the initiation mechanism, being highest for synoptic frontal features and lowest for gust fronts. Gust fronts were a primary feature influencing the evolution of the initiated storms. Almost one-half of the storm complexes associated with initiation episodes did not produce surface gust fronts. Storm systems that did not produce gust fronts most often lived 2-6 h while those that did frequently lived at least 8 h. The largest and longest-lived storm complexes had well-developed intense gust fronts that influenced the propagation of the storm system. The RUC10 was generally not successful in forecasting the evolution and motion of the larger, more intense storm complexes; presumably this was because it did not produce strong gust fronts. Implications for forecasting convective storm initiation and evolution are discussed.