51 An Immersive Visualization Environment for Mountain Meteorology Education

Monday, 27 June 2016
Green Mountain Ballroom (Hilton Burlington )
Brian J. Billings, Millersville Univ., Millersville, PA; and J. J. van der Veken and P. Dorofy

Building on previous work with stereo immersion for meteorological education, an environment is currently being developed specific to mountain meteorology. The control and integration with Oculus Rift goggles is handled with the Unity software. Unity contains a 3D terrain object that is easy to manipulate and appears with realistic variability in individual peaks. Other 3D objects, such as isosurfaces of relative humidity and hydrometeor mixing ratios and planes of potential temperature, are created as object files using simple external programs and imported in.

To include a variety of mountain meteorology concepts in a limited area, the initial terrain consists of a long ridge which separates over its southern half to create an interior valley, similar to the branching of the Cascade Range from the Rockies to form the Columbia Basin. In this valley, synoptic conditions are considered to be quiescent so that thermally-driven circulations and cold pools can be depicted. Over the single ridgeline to the north, a strong jet creates an upslope precipitation zone and a leeside dynamics zone. The former shows regions of different microphysical growth regimes, while the latter can depict both mountain wave and downslope windstorm activity. Additional phenomena and methods for interacting with them will be investigated after the most basic components have been constructed.

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