Researchers at the University of Oklahoma’s National Institute for Risk and Resilience, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, and the National Severe Storms Lab recently conducted a transdisciplinary experiment exploring the effect of social and behavioral data on how weather forecasters communicate risk before, during, and after extreme weather events.
National Weather Center News
How Do Weather Forecasters Communicate Risk Before, During, and After Extreme Weather Events?
NOAA's Hazardous Weather Testbed
OU Researchers Collect Data From Hurricane Sally
Hurricane Sally radar image
University of Oklahoma scientists led by Michael Biggerstaff, OU School of Meteorology professor, deployed a Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching (SMART) weather radar south of Mobile, Alabama, in advance of the landfall of Hurricane Sally. There they measured the structure of the winds in the hurricane boundary layer, the lowest mile of air above the ground.
Improving Understanding of Climate Change Through Cloud Formation
Greg McFarquhar, Director of CIMMS
Greg McFarquhar, the director of the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies and a professor in the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, will lead a three-year project funded by a $689,082 grant from the Department of Energy. The project uses unique sets of data collected in polar regions that give information on the small-scale properties of aerosols and clouds, data that will provide better insight into weather prediction models.
OU Researchers Travel to the Gulf of Mexico to Intercept Hurricane Laura
OU & NOAA Researchers
A team of research scientists from the University of Oklahoma and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Severe Storms Laboratory have traveled to Texas near the Gulf of Mexico to collect data during the landfall of Hurricane Laura.
The data collected will allow for a better understanding of hurricane winds and the damage they cause. This knowledge will aid in the development of cost-effective building codes to lessen future damage, provide more data to improve other infrastructure, and increase storm resilience.
OU and OSU Take Off to Support Atmospheric Research
CASS quadcopter drone
During August 2020, teams from the University of Oklahoma (OU) Center for Autonomous Sensing and Sampling (CASS) and the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Unmanned Systems Research Institute (USRI) joined forces at OU’s Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station (KAEFS) to conduct innovative atmospheric research using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones, which could lead to improved weather forecasts. Both the OU and OSU teams are developing and testing state-of-the-art UAS, instrumented with meteorological sensors designed to collect precision atmospheric data in the Earth’s lower atmosphere, which can be ingested by weather forecast models. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the scientists and engineers from CASS and USRI were able to maintain safe practices and socially distance as they worked to together to push the envelope of UAS atmospheric research.
New OU Research Could Inform Understanding of Storm Formation
The CLAMPS trailer deployed on June 12, 2017 in SE Wyoming and SW Nebraska. (Photo by Brandon Smith, OU CIMMS)
August 7, 2020
A study led by researchers from the University of Oklahoma aims to improve scientists’ understanding of how storms develop in densely populated coastal regions.
Petra Klein, professor in the School of Meteorology and executive associate dean in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, leads the project team that includes scientists from the University of Wisconsin and two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration laboratories located in Norman, Oklahoma, and Boulder, Colorado.
“As part of the Coastal Urban Boundary-layer Interactions with Convection proposal, we will collect comprehensive datasets documenting the environment in the lowest layer of the atmosphere, or the boundary layer, where clouds initiate, grow and decay,” Klein said. “Three unique profiling systems will be deployed and continuously operated for four months in the larger Houston area. We hypothesize that the interactions between sea-breezes and urban wind circulations affect the transport and mixing of aerosols (tiny particles that contribute to cloud formation) in the boundary layer.”
Klein adds that the resulting knowledge gained from the CUBIC project will provide critical insight into the processes that lead to the development of storms in densely populated coastal regions.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of 31 new projects in atmospheric sciences aimed at improving the power of Earth system models to predict weather and climate, this research dives deeply into the nuances of cloud formation.
“Atmospheric processes leading to cloud formation and precipitation are notoriously complex and difficult to model accurately,” said Chris Fall, director of the DOE’s Office of Science, in a news release. “These studies, which combine observation and modeling, will be important steps toward more precise and predictive models on both regional and global scales.”
Projects were chosen by competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement, under the Atmospheric System Research Program (PDF), sponsored by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, within the department’s Office of Science.
Berrien Moore, dean of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and the director of the National Weather Center, said, “we are so very proud of this major DOE award received by Professor Petra Klein and a team of NOAA and university scientists to explore linkages between our planet’s atmospheric boundary layer with convection processes. Understanding better such linkages is central to improving the power of Earth system models to predict weather and climate. As such, we will all benefit from the cutting-edge work of this exciting project.”
NWC REU Program Goes Virtual For First Time
The 2020 participants of the NWC REU program attend a virtual tour of the Radar Innovations Laboratory hosted by Dr. Robert Palmer via Zoom.
July 1, 2020
The NWC REU program, which is funded through grants from the National Science Foundation, gives students at universities across the country the opportunity to collaborate with mentors in their field of study. Organized by CAPS, the program is headed by Dr. Daphne LaDue and her research assistant, Alex Marmo. Program mentors come from the Norman weather and climate community, and are partnered with REU students based on research interests. Alex had the following to say about this year's program:
The virtual 2020 NWC REU has definitely been different, although this years mentors and participants have been enthusiastic with the continuation of our program. We have put together virtual tours and seminars that have given us the opportunity to talk to even more people across various organizations! The program is at its halfway mark and the students are well into their research projects. They are all facing challenges working remotely, but they are grateful to be able to participate. The students gave their practice talks this week in preparation of final presentations that will be held July 21-24. It was so nice to see their progress with their projects and the confidence they've built working in the research environment.
Below is a list of this years REU participants and mentors along with their research projects: