Student Opportunities

Mesoscale and Tropical Meteorology
Dr. Clark Evans

Are you interested in joining an engaging research team that conducts exciting research into mesoscale phenomena? My research group has openings for two to three graduate students, level of study open, to join us beginning in Fall 2018. Research projects that prospective graduate students may be engaged with include:

Overland Tropical Cyclone Reintensification: Previous research by Prof. Evans and others has quantified the importance of surface enthalpy fluxes over strongly-heated wet land surfaces to overland tropical cyclone reintensification. This project seeks to reconcile competing theories as to the physical processes that result in the requisite enthalpy fluxes and thus clarify how tropical cyclones can be maintained or intensify over land.

Evaluating Vertical Profiles from Next-Generation Global Models: Operational forecasters, particularly those forecasting for potential thunderstorm events, make extensive use of model-derived soundings, which are influenced both by the underlying meteorology and many factors related to the model’s formulation. This project seeks to quantify how well NCEP’s next-generation FVGFS global model can forecast vertical soundings in known thunderstorm-supporting environments.

Intrinsic Short-Range Predictability of Convection Initiation: Owing to its senstivity to atmospheric processes from the micro- to the synoptic-scales, perhaps the most challenging forecast problem is that of initial thunderstorm formation. This project seeks to build off of recent research by Prof. Evans and others to quantify the intrinsic limits to short-range (3-18 h) thunderstorm formation predictability within realistic thunderstorm environments.

Other potential projects include quantifying the influence of sea surface temperature uncertainty on cold-season severe weather predictability, examining diurnal cycle influences on tropical cyclone reintensification after reemergence over water, and examining the sensitivity of thunderstorm-induced cold pool interactions with the marine atmospheric boundary layer to the treatment of the water surface. To express interest in or for more information about these opportunities, please contact Professor Evans.

Air Pollution and Microscale Meteorology
Dr. Jonathan Kahl

We seek a graduate student that is broadly interested in meteorological aspects of air pollution and/or micrometeorology to join our research group beginning in Fall 2018. The specific research focus for this student is open and to be decided by the student in consultation with Professor Kahl. Examples of recent student-led research include: the development of improved fine particulate matter models utilizing remotely-sensed observations of aerosol optical depth; the development of an empirical model to forecast winds and wind gusts atop the roof of Miller Park; evaluation of the accuracy and utility of popular stability classification schemes.

For more information or to discuss specific research ideas, please contact Professor Kahl.

Climate Dynamics
Dr. Sergey Kravtsov

We seek one graduate student to join our research group in Fall 2018. We particularly welcome contact with prospective students at either level who are interested in one of the following research areas:

Empirical Climate Modeling: Preliminary results demonstrated that it is possible to generate synthetic highly resolved data sets of the select observed fields (sea-level pressure, vector wind etc.) that closely mimic these fields’ detailed observed statistics. Such climate emulators may be used for statistical prediction, climate model error estimation, climate downscaling and many other applications. This basic strategy is proposed to be augmented to include the dependence of the empirical models on the external variables (sea-surface temperature, greenhouse gas forcing and so on). This will allow development of hybrid statistical-dynamical schemes for future climate prediction.

Synoptic eddies as building blocks of large-scale low-frequency variability in the atmosphere: Previous work attributed a surprisingly large fraction of large-scale low-frequency variability such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) to ultra-low-frequency redistribution of synoptic storm tracks and suggested that synoptic eddies play a primary dynamical role in defining what’s traditionally referred to as the “mean flow.” A numerical strategy is proposed to model the observed life cycles of eddies and their long-range interactions to analyze the resulting kinematics and dynamics of the midlatitude climate.

Climate networks: A useful novel way to analyze climate variability is by regarding the climate system as a network of interacting climate subsystems represented by their respective index time series. We are working on developing and analyzing conceptual models of such networks, which may dynamically rationalize some of the observed low-frequency organization properties behind climate regime shifts.

Mesoscale air–sea interaction: The theme of mesoscale ocean–atmosphere coupling and its large-scale climate repercussions has been drawing much attention recently. This project will utilize an intermediate-complexity eddy-resoving coupled model (Q-GCM: to systematically explore the effect of increasing atmospheric-model resolution on the simulated climate variability.”

For more information, please contact Professor Kravtsov.

Cloud Modeling
Dr. Vincent Larson

The goal of our research group is to develop a unified parameterization of subgrid variability in atmospheric models. A unified parameterization represents all cloud types with a single equation set. In this way, a unified approach differs from the separate-schemes-for-separate-regimes approach used in current-generation weather and climate models.

In the coming years, we plan to improve our parameterization’s representation of turbulence, which will involve the numerical solution of partial differential equations. The parameterization’s treatment of precipitation will also be revised; this research will involve Monte Carlo integration.

All members of our research group – postdocs, graduate students, and undergrads – develop the parameterization code base and have the opportunity to co-author papers. All newcomers to the group should expect to be challenged!

We seek up to one graduate student to join our group in Fall 2018.

For more information, please contact Professor Larson.

Synoptic Meteorology and Numerical Methods
Dr. Paul Roebber

We are seeking one graduate student, at either the M.S. or Ph.D. level, to join our research group in Fall 2018. We particularly welcome contact with prospective students at either level who are interested in one of the following research areas:

Systems Modeling and Analysis: Our group has conducted NSF, NOAA, and UCAR funded and peer-reviewed studies using a variety of modeling tools, including traditional NWP, multiple linear and logistic regression, artificial neural networks, agent-based models, and evolutionary programming. Subjects of these studies overlap extensively with the topics below, but outside of these, have also included operations of a large state university system, the performance of peer review, and the impact of wide adoption of green roof architecture on urban climates. Ongoing research in this area seeks to extend these tools in pursuit of both operational forecast challenges and fundamental research questions (e.g., new methods of ensemble forecast generation and calibration). A current collaboration with a major power company provides exceptionally high quality wind power data to advance research into improved wind-power predictions.

Multiscale Predictability and Forecast Studies: Past studies have included the following broad areas: convective initiation, heavy rainfall, severe storms, wind-power forecasting, snow depth, ice storms, rapid cyclogenesis, landfalling cyclones and precipitation and large scale flow regime change. In this area, new forecast verification tools have also been developed during the progression of this work.

Air-water Interactions: Students in our group have investigated wave generation on large freshwater lakes, carbon cycling between the air and water in such systems, improving predictions of deep lake circulations from better representation of atmospheric driving, and long term periodicities in Great Lakes water levels owing to climate-linked changes in precipitation and evaporative driving.

For more information, please contact Professor Roebber.