Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Remote-sensing multi-scale interactions in the evolution of tropical convection
Room 811 AOSS, March 6, 2017, 3:30 PM
Small thunderstorms, squall lines, tropical cyclones; all of these systems, organized across a range of scales in both space and time, comprise the tropical convection that is the source of precipitation for the most highly populated regions of the world. While significant progress has been made in understanding tropical convective systems and their associated precipitation processes, the understanding and accurate prediction of their evolution remains elusive. Dealing with this problem is made particularly difficult because these tropical systems occur in difficult to reach areas, with little continuous instrument surveillance.
With this motivation, a research program that began as an observational study of internal tropical cyclone processes necessarily expanded into a multi-scale exploration of how tropical precipitation systems interact with, and are influenced by, their larger-scale environment. Using remote sensing observations from satellites and intensive field campaigns, linked together with high-resolution numerical modeling, this research explores two main questions: Do large-scale conditions significantly influence the precipitation production and evolution in tropical convective systems, and if so, how? Once developed, does upscale organization serve as a form of protection from the outside world? These questions inevitably lead to a discussion about future observational needs to address these gaps in understanding about a large contributor to the global precipitation and energy budget.