1.1 Severe Convective Storms Knowledge, Practice and Societal Response: Some Priorities for Fundamental Physical Research

Monday, 7 November 2016: 9:00 AM
Pavilion Ballroom (Hilton Portland )
Matthew D. Parker, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC

In the past 30 years, we’ve seen great progress in our ability to both measure and simulate the atmosphere.  Most of the “first order” dynamical processes governing convective storms have been reasonably well articulated.  Our present era is one in which we seek to understand how the important complexities of real world storms coincide with and differ from these first order conceptual models.  The lower tropospheric processes that produce (or fail to produce) tornadoes and intense mesovortices are of great societal relevance, but remain uncertain.  The roles of microphysical processes (including the impacts of aerosols and the pathways leading to exotic hydrometeor distributions) are likely of great consequence to downdrafts, cold pools, precipitation patterns, and storm evolution. Meanwhile, detailed studies of the myriad storms that occur in non-classical environments (e.g. at night and during the cold season) have only very recently begun.  Many of the associated questions lie at the very edge of what our observing systems and models can reliably depict.  I will argue that our knowledge base will most rapidly advance if we can prioritize hypothesis-driven research, develop new techniques for making observations of storms (particularly above the ground), and foster coordination among a wider range of scientists (e.g. storm dynamicists, aerosol and precipitation physicists, instrument engineers, model parameterization developers, data assimilation experts).
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