Anyway, we flew through some lake-effect snow bands that had originally developed over Lake Erie and were moving eastward over land. Lake Erie is southwest of Lake Ontario and also gets a lot of lake-effect snow. One of the many scientific goals of OWLeS is to study what is known as the "downwind persistence" of lake-effect snow. In more simple words, how are these lake-effect snow bands able to continue to grow and stay strong even after they move far from the lake? Today's flight collected data that might help answer that question.
Remember from my previous post that the lake-effect snow forms and strengthens over the lakes mainly due to the temperature difference between the lake water and the very cold air above it. Well, once a snow band moves off the lake, it loses that temperature difference (the land is much cooler than the water), yet these snow bands often stay very strong up to 100 or more miles from the lake. Why is that, and what meteorological processes are controlling it? We had one of the scientists onboard the flight who was wanting to study this and try to answer these questions. Below are some photos I took during the flight.
|My display in the 4th seat shows data from our lidar (all the reds, yellows, and blues), |
which is sort of like a radar, and our flight track plotted on top of
the National Weather Service radar map
|Flying at ~7000 ft above the ground east of the lake-effect snowbands. |
This photo is looking southeast. Some of the weather instruments are visible
at the end of the wing!
|National Weather Service radar map over upstate New York|
|Just before takeoff. From L to R: Our pilot Brett, Phil, Scott the research scientist, and Jeff the flight scientist|