SCOOP: Study of COnvective and Orographic Precipitation

The Study of Convective and Orographic Precipitation (SCOPE) was a research project designed to investigate the dynamics and characteristics of precipitation, particularly focusing on convective and orographic (mountain-induced) rainfall. Convective precipitation is typically associated with thunderstorms and results from the heating of the Earth's surface, while orographic precipitation occurs as moist air rises over mountainous areas.

This project combined data analysis with a field experiment to investigate the multi-scale interactions between kinematic and microphysical processes during orographic precipitation events. Its overarching goals were: i) assessing the relationship between precipitation characteristics and upstream conditions along the Colorado Front Range; ii) estimating the strength and persistence of convective and mesoscale features and their effects on microphysics; and iii) studying those forcing mechanisms and microphysical processes that govern the efficiency, rapid intensification, and characteristics of precipitation.

To achieve these objectives, data from operational and research stations located east of and within the Colorado Front Range were used. The operational instruments included the NWS Doppler Radar and the operational sounding in Denver. Research instruments comprised the Colorado State University CSU-CHILL dual-polarization Doppler radar (CSU-CHILL), surface instruments, and vertical-pointing radars operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research at the Marshall field site, along with instruments operated by the University of Colorado. CU instruments were located at the Duane Physics building on CU Boulder campus and at the CU Mountain Research Stations C1 and Soddie. At that time, CU’s vertical pointing microwave rain radar and NCAR’s disdrometer and raingauge were installed at CU Mountain Research Station at C1.