Convective Cold Pools and Their Implications for Storm Prediction

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Prof. Susan van den Heever

Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science

Colorado State University

Monday October 18, 2021, 2 PM ET



Cold pools play a critical role in the initiation, intensity, organization and lifetime of storms. Cold pools also contribute 30-40% to the dust transport within arid regions, and pose a threat to air quality, fire weather and human safety by virtue of their strong surface winds and low-level turbulence. In warmer and drier climates, the hazards posed by cold pools are likely to increase. In spite of their importance, accurately representing cold pools in numerical weather prediction through global climate models remains extremely challenging. This is due, in part, to the fact that they are determined by precipitation processes, land-atmosphere exchanges, and aerosol-radiation interactions, each of which have their own modeling challenges; and, in part, to the fact that they are typically shallow, rapidly evolving features which require high spatial and temporal model resolutions. Such cold pool characteristics also make them challenging to observe, either remotely or through in situ measurements. In this talk, the role of soil moisture, surface heat fluxes, aerosols and radiation in determining current and future cold pool characteristics will be discussed. The challenges in accurately representing cold pool processes within numerical models, and the ways in which we might address these challenges, will also be presented.



Dr. Susan van den Heever is a Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. She joined the CSU faculty in 2008 after obtaining her B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University. Her research is focused on deep convective cloud processes, in particular microphysical and dynamical feedbacks, cold pool dynamics, and aerosol cloud interactions, and she oversees the development of the RAMS model. Dr. van den Heever teaches graduate classes in cloud physics, cloud dynamics, and mesoscale modeling, and co-authored the book Storm and Cloud Dynamics. She is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and has received the American Geophysical Union ASCENT award, the American Meteorological Society Edward Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award, the MIT Houghton Lectureship award, and several CSU teaching and mentoring awards. She is an editor of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, co-chairs the GEWEX Aerosol and Precipitation initiative, and recently co-chaired the Science Community Committee (SCC) of NASA’s ACCP pre-formulation study.




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Oct 18 2021


John Xun Yang