Publication details

Proximity soundings of severe and non-severe thunderstorms in Central Europe



Year of publication 2015
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Monthly Weather Review
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Atmosphere sciences, meteorology
Keywords Physical Meteorology and Climatology; CAPE; Convective storms; Hail; Storm environments; Observational techniques and algorithms; Radiosonde observations
Description The environments of severe and non-severe thunderstorms were analysed using 16 421 proximity soundings from December 2007 to December 2013 taken at 32 Central European stations. The soundings were assigned severity categories for the hazards hail, wind, tornado and rain. For each of the soundings, parameters were calculated representing the instability, vertical wind profile and moisture of the environment. The probability of the various hazards as a function of CAPE and 0-6 km bulk shear (DLS) is quite different for each of the hazards. Large hail is most likely for high CAPE and high DLS, a regime that also supports severe wind events. A second severe wind regime exists for low CAPE and very high DLS. These events are mostly cold season events. Storms with significant tornadoes occur with much higher DLS than storms with weak or no tornadoes, but with similar CAPE. 0-1 km bulk shear (LLS) does not discriminate better than DLS between weak and significant tornadoes. Heavy rain events occur across a wide range of DLS, but with CAPE above the median for non-severe thunderstorms and are most likely when both absolute humidity in the boundary layer and relative humidity in the low- to mid-troposphere are high. LCL height does not discriminate well between the intensity categories of tornadoes, but higher LCL heights were associated with higher probability of severe hail. Storm relative helicity shows similar results to DLS, but with more overlap among intensity categories.
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