7.4 PCAPS (Persistent Cold-Air Pool Study)- An upcoming study of persistent wintertime inversions in Utah's Salt Lake Basin

Wednesday, 4 August 2010: 5:30 PM
Crestone Peak I & II (Keystone Resort)
C. David Whiteman, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and J. D. Horel and S. Zhong

Persistent multi-day temperature inversions occur sometimes in winter in the Salt Lake Basin and in other areas of the Intermountain Basin and other mountain areas of the world. These persistent inversions produce important effects on local populations including high air pollution, low temperatures, weak diurnal temperature oscillations, fog and low clouds, freezing rain and drizzle, poor visibility, and local transportation problems. The onset and cessation of the cold-air pools are difficult to forecast using presently available tools and techniques.

A new NSF-funded research program called PCAPS (Persistent Cold-Air Pool Study) will be conducting a field study in the Salt Lake Basin from the beginning of December 2010 to mid February 2011 to study the meteorological conditions that give rise to the initiation, maintenance and breakup of these cold-air pools. This field research program and its aftermath will combine case studies of persistent cold pool episodes using field data and numerical modeling with climatological data analyses of historical events to gain a better understanding of the meteorology of these events. This talk will describe the upcoming research program, stating the research goals and hypotheses, the participating organizations, the instruments and approaches to be used in collecting cold-air pool data, and the modeling plans.

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