Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS March Meeting 2021
Monday–Friday, March 15–19, 2021; Virtual; Time Zone: Central Daylight Time, USA
Session R15: Rare Events, Tipping Points, and Abrupt Changes in the Climate System
8:00 AM–11:00 AM,
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Sponsoring Unit: GPC
Chair: Mary Silber, University of Chicago
Abstract: R15.00009 : Feedbacks between the worst storms on Earth and lower stratospheric water vapor
10:24 AM–11:00 AM
The most severe midlatitude supercell thunderstorms typically feature an Above-Anvil Cirrus Plume (AACP), which is a wake of ice and water vapor downstream of overshooting deep convection, several kilometers above the main anvil shield. The AACP is uniquely capable of lofting water high above the tropopause. Using high-resolution large eddy simulations, we show that the AACP is formed by the development of a hydraulic jump at the tropopause, which occurs under specific atmospheric conditions. Immediately upon the jump onset, the simulated water vapor injection rate into the stratospheric overworld increases from less than 1 ton/s to greater than 7 ton/s, accompanied by horizontal windspeeds that top 110 m/s. The presence of a small-scale, dynamical threshold past which only some storms become very effective local hydrators of the lower stratosphere suggests a blind spot in large-scale climate models unable to resolve this behavior. The feedback on the environmental conditions for future storms due to a humidified lower stratosphere is an exciting area of future research.
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