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Inicio  /  Atmósfera  /  Vol: 26 Núm: 4 Par: 0 (2013)  /  Artículo
ARTÍCULO
TITULO

THE PROPERTIES OF CONVECTIVE STORMS IN CENTRAL MEXICO: A RADAR AND LIGHTNING APPROACH

Sadiel Novo    
Graciela B. Raga    

Resumen

Radar data from Cerro Catedral (a peak close to Mexico City) were used to investigate the properties of convective storms over central Mexico, a region with complex orography. The spatial distribution shows a preference for storms to form and move to the west of radar, over a narrow band of high terrain. However, the storms with the higher volumes and echo-top heights tend to be located southwestward over lower terrain. Each radar feature was matched with the number of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning produced inside it, as retrieved from the World Wide Lightning Location Network dataset. The storms in which lightning was detected, with an average of more than six lightning bolts, clearly outperform in size and intensity the group of storms in which lightning was not detected, and tend to lie over lower terrain. The sample of over 98 000 identified cells was divided into four elevation groups to look for elevation trends in the mean properties, as reported for other Mexican regions. While the number of storms per unit area increases with terrain height, the average values for properties related to both size (area, volume, echo-top height) and intensity (maximum reflectivity, number of CG bolts, height of maximum reflectivity, maximum height of 30 dBZ echo) decrease. These results could be related to the possible shallower warm-cloud depths over the higher elevations. The diurnal cycles of convection and lightning north of the radar show a nearly typical continental regime of precipitation in that zone, with maxima at 18:00 LT in both variables. However, south of the radar, a maximum in lightning activity occurs during late night and early morning, which is linked with the deeper nocturnal convection over the lower terrain in that zone.