Turbulence associated with transverse banding

July 16th, 2020 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.38 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

As a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) over Kansas and Oklahoma decayed during the morning hours of 16 July 2020, GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Near-Infrared “Cirrus” (1.38 µm) images (above) depicted widespread transverse banding — tendrils of cirrus clouds oriented perpendicular to the upper-tropospheric wind flow — along the northern periphery of the MCS. An AIRMET was issued for that region (advising of moderate turbulence between 30,000 and 43,000 feet), and there were numerous Pilot Reports (PIREPs) of light to moderate turbulence in the general vicinity of these transverse banding features.

A GOES-16 Turbulence Probability product (below) did show scattered pockets of 25-35% probability in the transverse banding region. However, this product is designed to diagnose turbulence potential in the vicinity of features such as fronts and fields of convection.

GOES-16 Turbulence Probability product, with plots of PIREPs and AIRMETs [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Turbulence Probability product, with plots of PIREPs and AIRMETs [click to play animation | MP4]

Such transverse banding cloud features are frequently observed around the periphery of decaying MCSs (for example, June 2018 and July 2016) and in the vicinity of strong upper-tropospheric jet streaks (for example, February 2020 and March 2016).

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