Faculty, students, and staff in the Department are
engaged in research across the entire spectrum of topics
in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.
Synoptic Meteorology. Understanding
the synoptic and mesoscale behavior of tropical and
extra-tropical cyclones requires a wide range of techniques.
We are investigating tropical cyclone initiation and
developing an idealized model of the cyclone life cycle.
Other projects include work in forecast sensitivity,
targeted observations, 4-D assimilation of satellite
winds into numerical forecast models, and the nature
of the mid-latitude occlusion process and cyclone decay.
Climate and Climate Change. Climate
research involves defining the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of many components
of the climate, modeling these components in an
interactive system, and obtaining appropriate observational
information to define the climate and its changes.
We have ongoing studies on paleoclimate and recent
climate observations and use these in conjunction with
comprehensive climate system models to try to understand
the characteristics and physics of climate variations
on many time scales.
Large Scale Dynamics. Substantive
forcing and nonlinear processes are important for large
scale dynamics of both the atmosphere and ocean circulations.
The challenge remains to define and study the interactions
of circulations with many time and spacial scales in
order to understand the observed lifecycles of atmospheric
and oceanic systems and the dominant variability time
and spacial scales. Our studies include atmospheric
intraseasonal and interannual variability and oceanic
Radiation and Remote Sensing. Radiation
emitted and absorbed by the Earth system, drives the
large scale circulations of the atmosphere and ocean.
We are working to understand the flow of radiant energy
through clear and cloudy skies, and to use measurements
of radiation to remotely sense properties of the atmosphere
Cloud and Atmospheric Physics. Clouds
are the most visible part of weather phenomena and
influence the larger scale environment through the
release of latent heat. We study the physical and chemical
processes related to the formation and growth of cloud
and precipitation particles (cloud and rain drops,
graupel, hail, and snow crystals) and the interaction
between clouds and their dynamical environments. Other
projects center on processes such atmospheric electricity,
aerosol physics, and air pollution problems.
Oceanography. The ocean
acts as the flywheel of the climate system because
of its huge thermal inertia and ability to regulate the atmospheric carbon content. The ocean plays a
critical role in short-term climate variability (including
phenomena like El Nino) and long term climate change.
Research at the University of Wisconsin focuses on
the fundamental physical and geochemical processes
that drive ocean circulations, and on the climatic
impacts that result.