The Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) sounding network: operations, processing and analysis
Abstract. The Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) took place during the spring of 2011 centered in north-central Oklahoma, USA. The main goal of this field campaign was to capture the dynamical and microphysical characteristics of precipitating convective systems in the US Central Plains. A major component of the campaign was a six-site radiosonde array designed to capture the large-scale variability of the atmospheric state with the intent of deriving model forcing data sets. Over the course of the 46-day MC3E campaign, a total of 1362 radiosondes were launched from the enhanced sonde network. This manuscript provides details on the instrumentation used as part of the sounding array, the data processing activities including quality checks and humidity bias corrections and an analysis of the impacts of bias correction and algorithm assumptions on the determination of convective levels and indices. It is found that corrections for known radiosonde humidity biases and assumptions regarding the characteristics of the surface convective parcel result in significant differences in the derived values of convective levels and indices in many soundings. In addition, the impact of including the humidity corrections and quality controls on the thermodynamic profiles that are used in the derivation of a large-scale model forcing data set are investigated. The results show a significant impact on the derived large-scale vertical velocity field illustrating the importance of addressing these humidity biases.