A Mesoscale Study of Sea Breeze Enhanced Summer Thunderstorms in the Florida Panhandle
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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The pre-convective environments of summer thunderstorms over the Florida panhandle have been investigated using ground based and remotely sensed data. One kilometer half-hourly Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite GOES imagery centered over the Florida panhandle was recorded on a near daily basis on a high quality video recorder. Upper air data at 1200 UTC also were archived for the Florida panhandle. The data were collected during the summers of 1990 and 1991. During the research period, a total of 115 days has both usable satellite imagery and upper air data. Days were classified as disturbed or non-disturbed using the imagery. The non-disturbed days were further categorized as having strong, weak, or no convection. Composite sounding profiles of various meteorological parameters were constructed for each category of the non-disturbed days. Various stability indices were also calculated each day. The best thermodynamic parameters for forecasting north Florida convection included mid-tropospheric moisture particularly 700 to 500 mb and low level instability. The best stability index for predicting convective development was the Surface based Lifted Index SLI. Wind direction also was related to the degree of convective activity in the Florida panhandle. The strong convection days tended to have low level wind flow from more of a southerly and westerly direction. The driest days were more likely to have low level winds with northerly and easterly components.