Convective storm initiation project
10 Mar 2011



Convective Storm Initiation Project


Chilbolton Observatory's role in the Convective Storm Initiation Project (CSIP)

Convective storm recorded by CAMRa June 2005

CSIP (Convective Storm Initiation Project) was a three month campaign in the summer of 2005 to carry out research to improve prediction of severe storms and flooding. Chilbolton Observatory was the focus of this major scientific project. There were eighteen intensive operation periods, and this has resulted in an excellent and unique data set on the initiation of convective storms in the UK.

Recent instances in which serious floods have occurred as a result of sudden intense rainfall have stimulated new interest in improving the ability of weather forecast models to predict the time and location of thunder storms. The aim of CSIP is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms leading to such storms. The CSIP project is a collaboration between a number of NERC funded UK university groups, the Met Office, and IMK-Karlsruhe.

The Chilbolton Facility for Atmospheric and Radio Research (CFARR) had a key role in this project:

  • It was the focus of CSIP measurement activities

  • Essential measurements were made with the radars and lidars based at the site

  • It accommodated a number of important visitor instruments and their operators during the three months of the campaign.

  • It was the operations base for the project coordinator and his team.

The Chilbolton team led by Darcy Ladd was fully involved with the CSIP observations; their specific role was to liaise closely with the project coordinator, and then to undertake observations as required. In addition they were responsible for maintenance of the CFARR instruments, and ensuring that the data acquisition systems operate optimally.

Boundary Layer, Acrobat Radar  

Specific measurements with CFARR instruments

Scanning S-band radar (CAMRa)

  • 3-D structure of cumulus clouds and precipitation type during the evolution of storm cells.
  • Distribution of precipitation, its type, and its intensity

Scanning L-band radar (ACROBAT)

  • Boundary layer depth
  • Location of individual thermals out to 60km from the site

Fixed 35GHz cloud radar (Copernicus)

  • Vertical cloud structure and wind within cloud above Chilbolton

UV Raman Lidar

  • Humidity profile time series
Contact: Hooper, David (STFC,RAL,RALSP)