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Areas of Research

Atmospheric Chemistry

Atmospheric Dynamics

Boundary Layer Research

Climate Fluctuations and Change

Cloud & Aerosol Research


Mesoscale Meteorology

Middle Atmosphere Meteorology

Planetary Atmospheres

Radiative Transfer and Remote Sensing

Synoptic Meteorology

Cloud Dynamics, Precipitation Processes, and Storms

Faculty: Christopher Bretherton, Dale Durran, Robert Houze, Bradley Smull, Mark Stoelinga, Sandra Yuter

These studies are concerned with the organization of air motions and precipitation processes in all types of clouds, ranging from oceanic stratus clouds to tropical convection to fronts passing over mountain ranges. This area of research emphasizes the analysis of observations of storms by aircraft, radar and satellite and interpretation of the data via numerical modeling of the clouds. These studies aim to help understand the role of clouds and precipitation in the global atmospheric circulation and climate and to improve the forecasting of precipitation and severe weather.

Students and faculty often participate in field experiments to study precipitating cloud systems in various locations around the world. Recent projects in midlatitudes focus on the physics and dynamics of rainfall over the European Alps and the Oregon Cascades. Current work on tropical precipitation includes analysis of observations with satellite-borne radars and microwave sensors on the TRMM satellite. Ground based observations at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands are being used to validate and understand the satellite observations. Shipborne radar is being used to study precipitation in the Indian Monsoon and the Intertropical Convergence Zone. A project is planned to use aircraft radar data to study rainband/eyewall interactions in hurricanes.

Research Group Websites:

The Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment (MCTEX)
Mesoscale Group

Graduate Program | Atmospheric Sciences | UW Graduate School