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Open AccessArticle

Analysis of Possible Triggering Mechanisms of Severe Thunderstorms in the Tropical Central Andes of Peru, Mantaro Valley

Geophysical Institute of Perú, Calle Badajoz 169 Urb. Mayorazgo IV Etapa, Ate, Lima 15012, Peru
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Atmosphere 2019, 10(6), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10060301
Received: 10 May 2019 / Revised: 24 May 2019 / Accepted: 27 May 2019 / Published: 1 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Mesoscale Weather Analysis and Prediction)
The aim of the present study is to analyze the triggering mechanisms of three thunderstorms (TSs) associated with severe rainfall, hail and lightening in the tropical central Andes of Peru, specifically above the Huancayo observatory (12.04 S, 75.32 W, 3313 m a.s.l.) located in the Mantaro valley during the spring-summer season (2015–2016). For this purpose, we used a set of in-situ pluviometric observations, satellite remote sensing data, the Compact Meteorological Ka-Band Cloud Radar (MIRA-35C), the Boundary Layer Tropospheric Radar and downscaling model simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model (resolutions: 18 km, 6 km and 2 km), and the Advance Regional Prediction System (ARPS) (resolution: 0.5 km) models in order to analyze the dynamic of the atmosphere in the synoptic, meso and local scales processes that control the occurrence of the three TS events. The results show that at synoptic scale, the TSs are characterized by the southern displacement of the South-east Pacific Subtropical Anticyclone up to latitudes higher than 35 S, by the weakening and south-eastern displacement of the Bolivian high–North east low system and by the intrusion of westerly winds along the west side of the central Andes at upper and medium levels of the atmosphere. At meso-scale, apparently, two important moisture fluxes from opposite directions are filtered through the passes along the Andes: one from the north-west and the other from the south-east directions converge and trigger the deep convection into the Mantaro valley. These moisture fluxes are generated by the intrusion of the sea-breeze from the Pacific ocean along the west of the Andes coupling with upper and middle westerly winds and by the thermally induced moisture fluxes coming from the South American low level jet at the east side of the Andes. At the local scale, there is a low-level conditional instability in the previous hours as well as during the occurrence of the TSs above the Huancayo observatory. In addition, the simulation results indicated the possibility of generation of inertial gravity waves in the Amazon basin, associated with geostrophic adjustment which transports energy and moisture into the central Andes plateau and consequently intensifies the thunderstorms above the Mantaro valley. View Full-Text
Keywords: thunderstorms; hailstorms; sea-breeze circulations; central andes; inertia gravity waves; model simulations thunderstorms; hailstorms; sea-breeze circulations; central andes; inertia gravity waves; model simulations
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J.L., F.R.; A.S., M.-A.; S., K.; D., M.-C.; E., V.-P.; Y., S.-V. Analysis of Possible Triggering Mechanisms of Severe Thunderstorms in the Tropical Central Andes of Peru, Mantaro Valley. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 301.

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