8.1 Understanding Severe Storm Dynamics through the Active Development and Use of Modeling and Observational Tools

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 1:30 PM
Ballroom C (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Susan C. van den Heever, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO

Updrafts, downdrafts, and evaporatively-generated cold pools all play a critical role in driving the dynamical characteristics of midlatitude severe storms. Our understanding of and ability to predict these fundamental storm characteristics have been enhanced both through the use of numerical model simulations and observations collected in field studies. Model simulations provide visual insights into the complex three-dimensional flow fields within severe storms and the manner in which these flow regimes interact with various environmental characteristics, while field observations provide opportunities for hypothesis investigation, ground-truth validation and model evaluation. However, numerical models are frequently treated as black boxes and the difficulties in collecting accurate and useful measurements of severe storms are often underappreciated. As such, potential errors in model and observational datasets and their implications for research are not well understood. If we are to effectively educate our future generation of scientists, we need to encourage our graduate students to “look under the hood” of our numerical models and to delve deeper into the planning and execution of observational techniques utilized in the field. In this talk, the merits of actively involving students in designing and managing field campaign measurements of severe storms, as well as the development of simple numerical models from the ground up, are presented and evaluated.
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