Mesoscale Meteorology

Faculty: Dale Durran, Robert Houze, Cliff Mass

Mesoscale Meteorology Image.

Mesoscale meteorology is the study of atmospheric phenomena with typical spatial scales between 10 and 1000 km. Examples of mesoscale phenomena include thunderstorms, gap winds, downslope windstorms, land-sea breezes, and squall lines. Many of the weather phenomena that most directly impact human activity occur on the mesoscale. Research in mesoscale meteorology has been spurred by recent advances in observational and numerical modeling capabilities that have greatly improved the tools used by atmospheric scientists to study mesoscale weather systems.

Faculty and students in the department are actively involved in a large number of different research projects in mesoscale meteorology. These include studies of convective cloud clusters and squall lines in the tropics and mid-latitudes, studies of precipitation bands along fronts, the investigation of marine stratus and strato-cumulus over the sub-tropical oceans, and research on topographically forced flows such as downslope windstorms, the blocking and channeling of the winds by orography, mountain-wave induced rotors, and the prediction of precipitation in complex terrain. These phenomena are studied using in situ observations, remote sensing, and both idealized and highly realistic mathematical models. Many local weather phenomena of the Pacific Northwest are also under study in the department, where a very high resolution weather forecast model for the Puget Sound region is run twice daily on an operational basis.

Research Group Websites:

Cloud and Aerosol Research Group
Improving Microphysics and Precipitation Parameterizations in Mesoscale Models (IMPROVE)
Mesoscale Alpine Group (MAP)
Mesoscale Analysis and Forecasting Group
Mesoscale Group Website
Regional Numerical Weather Prediction

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Revised: 06.02.10