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Tower Clouds

Tower Clouds are associated with strong updrafts very deep convection. The term "hot tower" is often used.? Not all very deep cloud towers are associated with equally intense convection; those over land are generally more intense than those over oceans. Because sometimes they can reach up to 16-18 km, well above the tropical tropopause, it is believed that they may play an important role in the troposphere and stratosphere exchange (Sherwood and Dessler, 2000; Dessler 2002). Literature also suggests that the appearance of these tower clouds in a tropical cyclone may be correlated with their intensification ( Kelley et al. 2004; Kelley et al. 2005). The TRMM PR can detect the vertical reflectivity structure of these systems and shows the domination of the Tower Clouds overshooting the tropical tropopause over Africa (Liu and Zipser 2005). Here we define and rank the tower clouds by using the area of PR 20 dBZ at 14 km within a precipitation system.

Tower Clouds over different regions in different seasons

Current plan is to show the top 10 (or more) tower clouds (if they exist) for each 10x10 degree box globally (35S-35N) for four different seasons (DJF, MAM, JJA, SON). The result will come out soon...

Correlation to Carbon Monoxide, Water vapor and Thin clouds in the lower stratosphere The role of deep convection in the tropical troposphere and stratosphere exchange has been a hot topic in the science community. One way to investigate this is to compare the seasonal cycles of carbon monoxide and water vapor in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere with the climatology of the tower clouds reaching near the tropical tropopause. (details coming soon)

Tower Clouds in Tropical Cyclones The pioneering work of Joanne Simpson, Jeffrey Halverson and others has already shown that the presence of tower clouds increases the chance that a disturbance will intensity to tropical cyclone strength. Using TRMM observations, Owen Kelley and his colleagues in NASA GSFC provided further evidence of the importance of the tower clouds in the intensification of tropical cyclones. Using the precipitation feature database, one may easily identify the tower clouds in tropical cyclones observed by TRMM and validate or extend these hypotheses. (details coming soon)

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