Volume 95 (2017) Issue 6 Pages 391-409
A mesoscale convective system (MCS) is organized thunderstorms with connected anvils, which has a significant impact on the global climate. By focusing on MCSs over the Maritime Continent of Indonesia, this study aims to gain a better understanding on the properties of the MCSs over the study area. The “Grab ‘em Tag ‘em Graph ‘em” (GTG) tracking algorithm is applied to hourly Multi-functional Transport Satellite-1R data for two years to observe the distribution of MCSs and the evolution of MCSs along their lifetime. The results of MCS identification by using GTG are combined with CloudSat data products to study the vertical structure of the MCSs at various MCS life stages: developing, mature, and dissipating.
The distribution of MCSs over Indonesia has a seasonal variation and distinct diurnal cycle. The life stages of the observed MCSs are characterized by distinct cloud microphysics at each stage. In the developing stage, the upper level of the MCS raining region shows the presence of precipitating ice particles. As the MCS progresses to the mature stage, the proportion of the raining area becomes small and the intensity of rain is reduced, accompanied by increasing occurrence of small-sized ice particles at the upper level. In the dissipating stage, large hydrometeors no longer exist at the upper part of the raining region. Within the MCS anvils, the dissipating stage shows a more uniform distribution of ice-particle effective radius compared to that shown by the developing and mature stages.
MCS characteristics over the land and ocean differ on the basis of the minimum brightness temperature, the equivalent radius, the maximum rain rate, and the rain fraction that varies along the MCS evolution.