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Publication Date
1 March 2021

Urbanization-Induced Land and Aerosol Impacts on Storm Propagation and Hail Characteristics



Changes in land surface and aerosol characteristics from urbanization can affect dynamic and microphysical properties of severe storms, thus affecting hazardous weather events resulting from these storms such as hail and tornadoes. We examine the joint and individual effects of urban land and anthropogenic aerosols of Kansas City on a severe convective storm observed during the 2015 Plains Elevated Convection At Night (PECAN) field campaign, focusing on storm evolution, convective intensity, and hail characteristics. The simulations are carried out at the cloud-resolving scale (1 km) using a version of WRF-Chem in which the spectral-bin microphysics (SBM) is coupled with the Model for Simulating Aerosol Interactions and Chemistry (MOSAIC). It is found that the urban land effect of Kansas City initiated a much stronger convective cell and the storm got further intensified when interacting with stronger turbulence induced by the urban land. The urban land effect also changed the storm path by diverting the storm toward the city, mainly resulting from enhanced urban land-induced convergence in the urban area and around the urban-rural boundaries. The joint effect of urban land and anthropogenic aerosols enhances occurrences of both severe hail and significant severe hail by 20% by enhancing hail formation and growth from riming. Overall the urban land effect on convective intensity and hail is relatively larger than the anthropogenic aerosol effect, but the joint effect is more notable than either of the individual effects, emphasizing the importance of considering both effects in evaluating urbanization effects.
“Urbanization-Induced Land And Aerosol Impacts On Storm Propagation And Hail Characteristics”. 2021. Journal Of The Atmospheric Sciences 78: 925-947. doi:10.1175/jas-d-20-0106.1.
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