The main components of STEPS include (1) precipitation process studies, (2) storm electrification studies, and (3) hydrometeor identification studies, in High Plains convective storms. The main focus is on severe storms producing predominantly positive cloud-to-ground lightning, but there is interest in these processes in all convective storms, with an aim towards improving the understanding of the interrelationships between precipitation processes and electrification in this spectrum of storms. The STEPS field season ran from 22 May through 9 July, 2000, during which almost two dozen field coordinated observing operations were conducted in northeastern Colorado and northwestern Kansas. Observations were obtained using multiple Doppler and multiparameter radars, a lightning discharge mapping system, instrumented aircraft and balloons, and a mobile mesonet comprised of instrumented cars, all in conjunction with standard operational observations by the National Weather Service and the National Lightning Detection Network.
The only aircraft involved in STEPS was the armored T-28, operated by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Summarized here are the observations obtained during more than a dozen research flights in support of the STEPS field program.
The microphysical and electrical observations from T-28 instrumentation and polarimetric radar data are used to study the physical relationships between precipitation development and electrification and to compare between hydrometeor classification derived from the polarimetric radar data and the T-28 measurements.
|Date||Time (UTC)||Flight |