Determining the best method for estimating the observed level of maximum detrainment based on radar reflectivity

Nicholas D. Carletta, Gretchen L. Mullendore, Mariusz Starzec, Baike Xi, Zhe Feng, Xiquan Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Convective mass transport is the transport of mass from near the surface up to the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) by a deep convective updraft. This transport can alter the chemical makeup and water vapor balance of the UTLS, which affects cloud formation and the radiative properties of the atmosphere. It is, therefore, important to understand the exact altitudes at which mass is detrained from convection. The purpose of this study was to improve upon previously published methodologies for estimating the level of maximum detrainment (LMD) within convection using data from a single ground-based radar. Four methods were used to identify theLMDand validated against dual-Doppler-derived vertical mass divergence fields for six cases with a variety of storm types. The best method for locating the LMD was determined to be the method that used a reflectivity texture technique to determine convective cores and a multilayer echo identification to determine anvil locations. Although an improvement over previously published methods, the new methodology still produced unreliable results in certain regimes. The methodology worked best when applied to mature updrafts, as the anvil needs time to grow to a detectable size. Thus, radar reflectivity is found to be valuable in estimating the LMD, but storm maturity must also be considered for best results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2915-2926
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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