High Plains Regional Climate Center
Date of this Version
JOURNAL OF APPLIED METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY, VOLUME 53, pp. 1506-1524
The artificially created region around the ‘‘Land between the Lakes’’ (LBL) in Kentucky represents unique land use and land cover (LULC) heterogeneities. Over a distance of 100 km, the LULC comprises artificially created open water bodies (i.e., two parallel large run-on-river dams separated by the LBL), mountainous terrain, forest cover, and extensive agricultural land. Such heterogeneities increase (decrease) moisture supply and sensible heat, resulting in a differential air mass boundary that helps to initiate (inhibit) convection. Hence, the LBL can potentially modify precipitation formation. Historical anecdotes reveal a tendency for storms to dissipate or reintensify near the LBL. The specific scientific question pursued in this study is therefore the following: Has the unique development of two parallel run-on-river reservoirs and the surrounding LULC heterogeneity modified storm patterns in the region? Ten storm events during the growing season were selected. Two additional events, observed by the newly established high-resolution Kentucky Mesonet network, were also considered. Radar reflectivity images were visually inspected to understand the evolution of convective cells that originated or were modified near the LBL. The Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT)Model was used to determine nearsurface trajectories that led to the selected events. The spatial synoptic classification and merged Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) IR images were analyzed to determine the prevailing synoptic conditions on the event dates. Six storm events showed a pattern wherein the convective cells lost strength as it passed over the LBL in a northeasterly direction. In two events, Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) reflectivity imagery revealed enhancement of convection as the storm passed over the LBL toward the Mississippi valley. Further dissection of the storm morphology suggested that the thermodynamic environment may have played an important role for the eight events wheremodification of precipitation near LBL has been clearly observed.
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