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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 630263, 10 pages
Research Article

Numerical Investigations of Convective Initiation in Barbados

1Atmospheric Physics Program, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, USA
2Meteorology and Climate Science, San José State University, San Jose, CA 95192-0104, USA
3Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, Husbands, St. James, BB 23006, Barbados

Received 11 March 2013; Accepted 29 May 2013

Academic Editor: Lian Xie

Copyright © 2013 Kim Whitehall et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Localized convection in Barbados accounts for hazardous conditions and a significant percentage of the island’s annual rainfall. The feature results in rainfall accumulations exceeding 50 mm in 3 hours or less, over isolated locations. Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) simulations are conducted for a rapid convective initiated and heavy precipitation event of 26 August 2008 over Barbados. The simulation results from the 1 km grid resolution domain depict that the shallow topography on the island plays a significant role in enhancing convective activity under weak synoptically disturbed conditions. The model results also demonstrate that the driving forces for the development of deep convective clouds include low-level moisture convergence that form as a result of the temperature differential between the land and the ocean and forced low-level uplift as a result of the blocking by the topography. The high-resolution WRF simulations demonstrate its capability to accurately capture the low-level flow over the island, as well as the orientation of the divergence and convergence patterns throughout the depth of the atmosphere. These results are heartening to use the WRF as a resource for studying deep convection in Barbados for disaster managers and water resource managers.