Environmental & Climate Sciences Department Seminar

"Understanding Environmental Links to Convective Storms Using Cloud Tracking Methods"

Presented by Sean Freeman, University of Alabama-Huntsville

Thursday, May 11, 2023, 11:00 am — Large Conference Room, Bldg. 490

Convective clouds, such as thunderstorm clouds, significantly affect weather and climate. They are responsible for most of the world's severe storms and play essential roles in Earth's water cycle and radiative budget. Environmental thermodynamics, dynamics, and other conditions, such as aerosol particle number and type, influence the properties of convective storms. Some of the basics of how these environmental properties influence the development of convective storms are known. However, it is unknown precisely how environmental conditions control the evolution of convective clouds and how clouds modify the environment. Understanding the relationship between environmental conditions and cloud properties is particularly important as climate change alters the underlying environment.

Quantifying the relationship between environmental conditions and convective clouds requires comprehensive information about clouds and their environments. Although some cloud properties can be sampled through observations, numerical model simulations can provide information about environmental and cloud characteristics and the processes occurring inside clouds. In this presentation, we will discuss the development of a database of clouds occurring in simulations generated using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) model. These high-resolution simulations are conducted over six weeks with a large domain encompassing much of the western Pacific basin. To identify clouds and storms across their lifecycle, we use the Tracking and Object-Based Analysis of Clouds (tobac) package, which tracks each convective cloud and can identify its initial formation environment and properties over its lifetime. Using this tobac-tracked database of clouds, we obtain statistics on how cloud properties vary as a function of their initial environment. Using these statistics, we will examine how convective clouds' updrafts, precipitation, and morphology vary as a function of environmental characteristics.

Hosted by: Aryeh Drager

Videoconference Instructions

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