Cloud Systems: Dynamic and Physical Processes

Our group is recognized around the world as having expertise in studying precipitation systems using satellite, aircraft, and ground based remote sensing. We have participated in more than a dozen field campaigns to observe phenomena of interest. We also use mesoscale numerical models to study the dynamical processes within clouds which lead to their observed structure and morphology. Specific foci of this research include understanding factors controlling the distribution of precipitation, precipitation intensity, lightning production, its diurnal cycle, and the vertical structure of precipitation.

Currently, we are leading the RELAMPAGO-2018 field campaign, and co-leading the CACTI field campaign to study deep convective systems in central Argentina which may the the most intense on earth.  This project is supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, and agencies in Argentina and Brazil.  Total funding for this project is approximately $30 million across agencies.

We are also involved in the planning, data collection, and analysis of the upcoming CAMP2EX field campaign near the Philippines.  This project will study the properties of developing monsoon and its relation with the Boreal Summer Intraseasonal Oscillation using the NASA P-3 and SPEC LearJet aircrafts.  This project is sponsored by the NASA Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Remote sensing of precipitation using radar and passive microwave techniques: Understanding processes

Our research uses the latest in spaceborne sensors, as well as ground validation data (including polarimetric radar, aircraft in situ, radar, and passive microwave measurements, and ground based rain gauges and distrometers) to reduce measurement errors involved in the remote sensing of precipitation. We also perform studies to address the sampling error in remote sensing precipitation processes.  We are members of the NASA Preciptiation Measurement Missions Science Team, and we are actively involved in ground validation activities for the  Global Precipitation Mission satellite, which launched in 2014.

Tropical Meteorology and Convection: How and why convection varies across the tropics

Our group has participated in a number of tropical field campaigns and studies many aspects of tropical cloud systems using remote sensing platforms.  We have performed global and regional studies of convection over continental and remote oceanic locations, as well as participated in tropical cyclone field campaigns.   Recently, we use long-term passive microwave satellite observations from SSM/I and TMI to examine the structural changes of storms related to tropical cyclone intensity change.  We are also involved in the NASA Ocean Vector Winds Science Team to study cold pool-convection interactions over the tropical oceans.

Surface-Atmosphere Interaction: Landform-precipitation coupling and feedbacks

Our research investigates the role of the land and ocean surface in controlling our precipitation climate. Over land, we have examined how land surface processes in complex terrain influence the timing and evolution of atmospheric convective processes. We recently participated in two field projects (India and New Mexico) to study such interactions, as well as performing mesoscale model simulations with advanced land surface initialization and physics. We are also involved in research investigating how agricultural ecosystems impact clouds and precipitation.  Over ocean, we are interested in how the ocean surface in open ocean and coastal locations interacts with the atmosphere to produce the observed preciptiation climate.

Interested in our research?

If you are interested in our research and are interested in pursuing a M.S. or Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, please contact Prof. Steve Nesbitt. Undergraduates in Atmospheric Sciences are also welcome to pursue research opportunities or ATMS 492 Capstone Projects with us.