A 10-year warm-season climatology of horizontal convective rolls and cellular convection in Central Oklahoma

John R. Banghoff, Jacob D. Sorber, David J. Stensrud, George S. Young, Matthew R. Kumjian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Horizontal convective rolls (HCRs) and cellular convection (cells) are frequently observed within the planetary boundary layer. Yet understanding of the evolution, seasonal variation, and characteristics of such boundary layer phenomena is limited as previous studies used observations from field experiments or satellites. As a result, little is known about the mean climatology and monthly variation of HCRs and cells. Polarimetric WSR-88D radar observations are used to develop a 10-yr April-September climatology in central Oklahoma including HCR and cell occurrence, duration, and aspect ratios as well as HCR orientation angles and wavelengths. Results indicate that HCRs or cells occur on over 92% of days without precipitation during the warm season. HCRs or cells typically form in midmorning and may persist throughout the day or transition between modes before dissipating around sunset. HCRs generally persist for 1-6 h with typical wavelengths of 2-10 km and most aspect ratios between 1 and 7. Rolls are often oriented within 108 of the mean boundary layer wind but can be as much as 308 off this direction. Mean HCR aspect ratios in this study remain constant during the afternoon, but decrease early in the day and increase late in the day, diverging from previous overland HCR studies. Cells generally persist for 2-6 h with aspect ratios of 1-6. These results should facilitate future studies on convection initiation, formation mechanisms of boundary layer organization, and model parameterization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-42
Number of pages22
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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