The vertical cloud structure of three landfalling polar lows as observed during the COMBLE campaign



Geerts, Bart — Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming

Area of research

Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Vertical Structures

Journal Reference

Lackner C, B Geerts, Y Wang, T Juliano, L Xue, B Kosović, and D Turner. 2023. "Insights into the relation between vertical cloud structure and dynamics of three polar lows: Observations from COMBLE." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 149(756), 10.1002/qj.4543.


The vertical structure of three polar lows is described using profiling
radar, lidar, and passive remote sensors deployed at a coastal
site in northern Norway. These polar lows were observed by chance as they made landfall over the first ARM Mobile Facility while it was deployed in the Cold-Air Outbreaks in the Marine Boundary Layer Experiment (COMBLE) during 2019-2020.


This is the first detailed description of the vertical cloud structure of polar lows.


The polar lows differ in synoptic origin and shear structure, but all three lows have stratiform precipitation bands, marked by little cloud liquid
water, and rather high surface precipitation rate. The vertical drafts and turbulence in these stratiform clouds are generally weak. All three lows also have convective clouds, which have stronger vertical drafts, stronger turbulence, and pockets of high liquid water content.