Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It Rained, As Predicted.

It turned out that popcorn style convection that formed near the Addu Atoll amounted to nothing yesterday. Very quickly the cells formed anvils, the lower half of the clouds disappeared, and then a period of light rain from the remnant cloud tops occurred for a while, then petered out. We’ll get back to today’s weather shortly to see whether it followed the predicted two-day cycle.

First though, some bad news occurred at the end of the day yesterday. The Ka-radar band on the S-Polka radar used to detect clouds that are not heavily precipitating went kaput. It operated well for the first few weeks of the experiment, and then malfunctioned yesterday. It is still unknown what is wrong with the instrument and whether or not it can be fixed, but we are keeping our fingers crossed. You can see an NCAR radar technician working on the transmitter for the radar. Eventually, a crane came removed part of the instrument.

True to form, today was a very wet day with a large mesoscale convective complex over us, and we are still in this 2-day cycle of rainy day, dry day, rainy day, dry day, and so on. Jackson (graduate student from Monash) and I visited the Department of Energy’s AMIE site at the Gan airport that was described in a previous email by Daehyun. Sally McFarlane is showing us the total sky imager in this picture that is able to measure the fraction of sky covered by cloud. The technology consists of a convex mirror and a camera and is completely automated, replacing similar estimates made by weather observers. As you can see, the entire sky is overcast, and at this moment a light rain was falling. Most of the day stayed like this.

Jackson also got the opportunity to launch a balloon. Here he is being taught the correct technique for a balloon launch by a Maldivian meteorologist.

Precipitation really seems to be getting organized in the north Indian Ocean between the equator and 10 degrees north latitude. In particular, the pattern of winds and precipitation is looking more and more like a new MJO event is forming (to this scientist at least. There is still some debate in the DYNAMO community about this). I hope to blog on his in the next couple of days before my departure on Saturday.

However, look at what I am missing back in Fort Collins, Colorado. About 9 inches of snow, broken trees, and lower 20s for lows. I should try to enjoy the next couple of days while I can.

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