Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Atmospheric Science

Committee Chair

John R. Mecikalski

Committee Member

Eugene W. McCaul Jr.

Committee Member

Lawrence D. Carey

Committee Member

Kevin Knupp

Committee Member

Cameron R. Homeyer


Atmospheric circulation., Convection (Meteorology), Geostationary satellites., Dynamic meteorology., Severe storms--Forecasting.


Super Rapid Scan (SRS) Operations for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) R-series using GOES–14 have made experimentation with 1–min time step imagery possible prior to operational implementation of GOES–16 and beyond. With the vast improvement to temporal resolution, turbulence, outflow, and even rotation is now apparent over severe deep convection (DC). While the SRS imagery has been available since 2012, no attempt has yet been made to quantify and research these apparent flows. This dissertation explores techniques to develop an objective SRS flow-field derivation system to quantify apparent cloud-top horizontal divergence (CTD) and vertical vorticity (CTV) over DC. The relationship of CTD to DC updraft strength and severity is explored, as are the causes of apparent rotation signals over some supercell storms. A mesoscale atmospheric motion vector (mAMV) program is run on SRS data and multiple objective analysis schemes are used to produce flow fields over several DC case studies. These case studies were sampled by ground-based Doppler radar systems and very-high frequency total-lightning mapping arrays. Idealized DC simulations are also performed to compare apparent flow fields to physical flow fields. It is found that supercells have larger derived CTD than non-supercells, and in some cases, persistent adjacent CTV maxima and minima downstream of the primary updraft (termed the “CTV Couplet”) consistent with idealized physical flow-fields that originate from tilting and stretching downstream of the primary updraft (above 10 km). Objectively identified overshooting tops associated with DC and severe weather reports have stronger CTD than those without. The relationship between CTD and total lightning flash rate is non-linear, likely because CTD only reflects changes of the locally tallest (and typically strongest) updrafts. Variation in cloud-top height caused by features over DC such as the above-anvil cirrus plume can modify flows observed within this system, however they are not enough alone to create the rotation and divergence signals witnessed. The new capabilities explored here were only possible with ≤ 1¬–min scan rate imagery and offer new flow observation techniques to infer updraft strength and rotation of DC outside of regions covered with extensive radar networks.



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