Understanding and Prediction of Convective Transport, Scavenging, and Lightning-Produced Nitrogen Oxides Based on DC3 Thunderstorm Cases

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 4:00 PM
Mary C Barth, Natl Ctr Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, United States, Megan M Bela, University of Colorado, Boulde, Boulder, CO, United States, Kenneth E Pickering, NASA Goddard Space Flight Cent, Greenbelt, MD, United States, Heidi Huntrieser, German Aerospace Center Oberpfaffenhofen, Wessling, Germany, William H Brune, Pennsylvania State University Main Campus, University Park, PA, United States, Christopher A Cantrell, Univ of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States and Steven A Rutledge, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States
The Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) field campaign, which took place in the central U.S. in May and June 2012, provides in situ aircraft measurements of trace gases and aerosols in the inflow and upper troposphere convective outflow regions of different types of deep convection. In this study, we survey the DC3 storms showing evidence of trace gas convective transport, scavenging, and production of nitrogen oxides from lightning by examining vertical profiles of carbon monoxide (a marker of convective transport), volatile organic compounds with a range of solubilities, nitrogen oxides, and soluble trace gases such as nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and sulfur dioxide. These results are placed in context of other field campaigns (e.g. STERAO) to determine how typical the DC3 observations are to other time periods and locations. The measurements also allow us to evaluate the capabilities of chemistry transport models in representing deep convection and chemistry. While convection-resolving simulations give more explicit information on the storm processes affecting the composition of the troposphere, air quality and chemistry climate models rely on convective parameterizations to represent these convective processes. Thus, we analyze results from the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem), which are conducted at 15 km grid spacing requiring a convective parameterization. The capability of WRF-Chem to represent the DC3 storms is evaluated by examining the timing, location, and convective strength using radar and lightning data. By producing profiles similar to those constructed from the measurements, the comparison between model and observations should identify gaps in our understanding of convective processing of different trace gases.