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CIVE 591 Fall 2017

Abstract Homework
Ming Sun
September 27, 2017

Urban Aerosol Impacts on Downwind Convective Storms

Susan C. van der Heever and William R. Cotton

This study investigated the impacts of urban enhanced aerosol concentrations on convective storm
development and precipitation over and downwind of St. Louis, Missouri. Numerous hypotheses
have been proposed in previous studies to explain the effect of urban regions on convection and
precipitation, but the nature of the dominant urban forcing is still not understood well. The
numerical experiments were performed in this study using Reginal Atmospheric Modeling System
(RAMS) for simulation, which incorporates both aerosol concentration and the land use category,
thus allowing for a comparison of the relative importance of these influences. The aerosol
concentration is varied by adding an urban source term to high and low rural background values.
The dynamic effect of the urban area is assessed by replacing the urban elements with values
consistent with cropland. The results indicate that urban land use has a greater impact that does
the presence of high background and urban enhanced aerosol amounts on convective development
downwind of an urban region. Once convection is initiated, urban-enhanced aerosols can have
significant effect on the dynamics, microphysics, and precipitation produced by the storms. In
lower background aerosol concentrations, with the dynamics effects included, the presence of the
urban aerosol becomes more important in the eventual storm development. The differences
between the simulations with urban aerosols included and without urban enhancement are much
greater than in the higher background case. Urban enhanced aerosols have numerous effects on the
microphysics and dynamics of the downwind convective storms. However, without the forcing
due to the presence of the urban area, the development of convective storms downwind is
significantly reduced. The interaction of microphysics and dynamics is especially important for
the development of the deep convection that leads to cloud electrification and lightning.