Top View of Storm Anvil Showing Breaking Wave & Trailing Cirrus Plume

Science Behind the Image

A feature called an Above Anvil Cirrus Plume (AACP) has been observed in supercell thunderstorms by aircraft and satellite data and has been the subject of numerical study. The AACP is observed as an elongated elevated “tier” of ice cloud that extends downwind from the overshooting top. This feature is important to atmospheric researchers and forecasters because three-fourths of all supercells exhibiting AACP’s were associated with severe weather (large hail and/or damaging winds/tornadoes). Understanding the specific conditions by which AACP’s form in supercells is therefore of great interest as they have the potential to serve as a useful “nowcasting” device during severe weather events. Simulation credit: Leigh Orf from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Completed on TACC’s Frontera supercomputer.

Visualization Behind the Image

This visualization used a combination of 3D techniques to visualize the top of the storm. The volume visualization provided a view of the cloud ice which revealed the presence of the AACP. Animations of the cloud like rendering revealed the mechanism of formation of the plume to be a wave like structure similar to that seen in a hydraulic jump. Paraview with OspRAY ray tracing was used to produce the visualization.



Greg Foss
Dave Semeraro


SC21 Visualization Showcase Finalist