Thunderstorm Identification and Geospatial Distribution Study

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Sunday, 17 January 2010
Exhibit Hall B2 (GWCC)
Kathleen Quardokus, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and S. M. Blakely, P. R. Brandt, K. E. Fischer, K. K. Gleason, B. J. Harvey, A. S. Keller, T. M. Lucko, R. M. Meizberg, C. A. Miller, J. M. Palac, J. C. Rogers, C. K. Simpson, K. J. Snow, K. W. Van Leer, T. C. Ward, B. S. Westfall, C. M. Woodward, J. M. Woznicki, and R. J. Trapp

Thunderstorms are ubiquitous worldwide. Despite their associated hazards, thunderstorms positively benefit the earth-atmosphere system in critical ways. For example, they help balance the atmosphere by vertically mixing heat, moisture, and momentum throughout the troposphere. Balances outside of the tropics are achieved through complex interactions between thunderstorms and larger-scale, midlatitude cyclones. At present, the modes of interaction are not fully understood, mainly because midlatitude thunderstorm frequency and geospatial distribution have yet to be well quantified.

Quantitative information on thunderstorm frequency and geospatial distribution based on weather radar data is presented, toward the development of advanced data mining techniques to be applied to the rich archive of NEXRAD Doppler radar data across the U.S. Ultimately these results will yield a better understanding of atmospheric scale interactions that will be exploited to improve short and long-term predictions of weather extremes.

The present study was conducted as part of a new sophomore-level, research-oriented laboratory at Purdue University in the Atmospheric Science program.