1.1 100 Years of Research in Large-Scale Atmospheric Dynamics: Progress, Challenges, and Future Directions

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 1:30 PM
210C (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Ángel Adames-Corraliza, Ann Arbor, MI

The last 100 years in research in large-scale atmospheric dynamics has seen the field evolve from a rather nascent science, rooted in our desire to be able to predict atmospheric motions, to a vibrant, multidisciplinary field of study. This progression has been anchored by multiple breakthroughs in our understanding of atmospheric flow. This talk will summarize some of these breakthroughs. The discussion will begin in the mid 20th century, when the foundations of quasi-geostrophic theory and Rossby wave motions were established, the backbone of modern midlatitude synoptic meteorology. With the development of these theories, along with numerical models, new insights in midlatitude wave-mean flow interactions were possible. During this period Robert Dickinson played a pivotal role in furthering our understanding on how planetary scale waves propagate and interact with the zonal background flow. These contributions helped further our understanding of jet streams, sudden stratospheric warming events, and the tropical Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO).

More recent efforts to understand large-scale atmospheric dynamics has focused on the tropical latitudes. Research in the last decades has revealed that water vapor, clouds and radiation play fundamental roles in shaping the dynamics of monsoons, ENSO, and many tropical motion systems. Insights from simplifications of these interactions will be discussed, with a focus on how these processes cause the tropics fundamentally differ from the midlatitudes. The advances in both the midlatitudes and the tropics reveal the many intricacies of our dynamic atmosphere. It also exposes the need to integrate interactions across scales and with other components of the Earth system in order to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of weather and climate.

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