Climatological patterns of Atlanta's urban heat island-initiated precipitation
Dixon, Paul Grady
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Due to Atlanta, Georgia’s rapid growth and urbanization over the past few decades, the city has developed a pronounced urban heat island (UHI) that has been shown to enhance and possibly initiate thunderstorms. Therefore, this study attempts to determine if, when, and where the metropolitan Atlanta area induces thunderstorms that might not have initiated otherwise. Land use data, radar reflectivity data, surface meteorological data, upper-air sounding data, and air mass classification (SSC) types are all used to determine if precipitation is initiated by Atlanta. Ultimately, this project illustrates significant spatial and temporal patterns based on a five-year climatology of events. July saw the most events with a diurnal peak just after local midnight. Low- level moisture appears to be the most important factor for UHI induced precipitation, but further research (over a longer time period) is required for more detailed understanding of the primary cause of these events.