Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Peter D. Blanken

Second Advisor

Waleed Abdalati

Third Advisor

Tammy M. Weckwerth


The 2015 Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) field campaign sought to increase understanding of mechanisms for nocturnal severe weather in the Great Plains of the United States. A collection of instruments from this field campaign, including a water vapor Differential LiDAR (Light Detection Imaging And Ranging) (DIAL) and 449 MHz radar wind profiler were used to measure water vapor flux in regions between 300 m and the convective boundary layer. Methods to properly sample eddies using eddy-covariance were established, where analysis showed that a 90-minute Reynold’s averaging period was optimal to sample most eddies. Additionally, a case study was used to demonstrate the additional atmospheric parameters which can be calculated from profiles of water vapor flux, such as the water vapor flux convergence/divergence. Flux footprints calculated at multiple heights within the convective boundary layer also show how a surface based instrument is sampling a completely different source than one taking measurements above 300 m. This result is important, as it shows how measurements above the surface layer will not be expected to match with those taken within a few meters of the surface, especially if average surface features such as land use type and roughness length are significantly different. These calculated water vapor flux profile measurements provide a new tool to analyze boundary layer dynamics during the PECAN field campaign, and their relationships to PECAN’s study areas such as mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), nocturnal low-level jets (NLLJs), elevated convective initiation, and the propagation of bores or wavelike features from nocturnal convective systems.