Fine-scale observations of surface boundaries utilizing mobile mesonets



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Texas Tech University


Over the past decade, technological advances have permitted observations of the atmosphere in fresh and innovative ways. Observational platforms have been created and improved allowing atmospheric sampling, both remotely and via in situ data collection. Information gained from new platforms has aided the meteorological community to better understand an abundance of atmospheric thermodynamic, kinematic, and dynamic issues. Recently, a growing emphasis has been placed on investigation of the fine-scale structure of meteorological phenomena such as hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, drylines, and other boundaries. To provide the required resolution these investigations demand, a mobile observing platform, dubbed the mobile mesonet, was designed specifically for the sampling of small-scale features. The mobile platform was originally employed in the study of tornadoes and severe local storms. However, applications since have expanded to include a profusion of atmospheric surface features.

This thesis presents a case study, exceptional in that it incorporates mobile mesonet observations. Included are the investigations of a low-level baroclinic zone interaction with Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The presentation of data and analyses also serve to illustrate the unparalleled capabilities and versatility of the mobile mesonet in resolving surface features in scales heretofore indistmguishable in atmospheric research.



Boundary layer (Meteorology), Hurricane Floyd