Articles | Volume 12, issue 24
Research article
17 Dec 2012
Research article |  | 17 Dec 2012

Dynamical characteristics of ice supersaturated regions

K. Gierens and S. Brinkop

Abstract. The typical distributions of dynamical fields within ice supersaturated regions are investigated. The dynamical fields divergence, relative vorticity, and vertical velocity are analysed statistically in two ways, namely using the unconditioned data and data conditioned on the presence of ice supersaturation. Two geographical regions are considered, namely Europe (250 hPa level) and the tropical belt from 30° S to 30° N on two pressure levels (200 and 150 hPa). The study is based on forecast data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts for four months covering the four seasons, June, September, December 2011 and March 2012. We find that histograms (frequency distributions) and low order moments of the dynamical fields differ substantially and statistically significantly inside and outside of ice supersaturated regions. As expected, upward and divergent flow favours ice supersaturation. But we find also that ice supersaturation is mostly located in anti-cyclonic flow. The latter result is probably due to the structure of warm/moist and cold/dry air streams in synoptic disturbances in mid-latitudes, but probably merely coincidental in the tropical belt.

Final-revised paper