THE PROJECTS (Undergrad)
ARCH Thesis- Florida International University (2014-15)
CMMAP Summer Internship- Colorado State University (2014)
Image to the left: TRMM satellite overlooking the "eye" feature of an intense tropical cyclone.
The Relationship Between Lightning and Precipitation in Tropical Cyclones
Tropical cyclones (TCs) are one of the most vigorous types of storms on Earth. For some time, it has been widely speculated that TCs lacked the ability to generate sustained electrical activity within convection. The advent of satellite-borne data in the late 20th century coupled with advanced technologies from the 21st century have both helped expand our field of knowledge on lightning flashes in TCs. Since the inception of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite in 1998 (now defunct), TRMM has delivered state-of-the-art data that have allowed us to learn more about the overall structure and evolution of convection in TCs. My role in this research is to examine the relationship between lightning and precipitation using data from the TRMM satellite.
More about the fundamentals of this project are in the following paper: Jiang et al., 2011.
This research has been conducted as part of a year-long honors course at Florida International University that encourages research for undergraduates known as the Advanced Research and Creativity in Honors course (ARCH).
Due to the ongoing progress of this research, I cannot disclose methods and results at this time.
Mentor: Dr. Haiyan Jiang
Graduate Supervisor: Cheng Tao
Image to the left: Me launching a rawinsonde as part of an educational experiment for high school and college students at CMMAP.
Evaluation of WRF Forecasts of Severe Weather Environments Against Mobile Upsonde Observations from the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX)
The National Weather Service conducts routine weather balloon soundings at two pre-determined times: 0000 and 1200 UTC (From Miami, it is 8:00 AM & PM on EDT; 7:00 AM & PM on EST). These have been the standard for many years to provide forecasters a glimpse of the atmospheric profile and the thermodynamic variables present at the time. Coniglio et al. (2013) performed a study which evaluated NWS observations versus several planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameters from the Weather Research and Forecasting model (Skamarock et al. 2008) at these pre-determined times in order to test for various atmospheric parameters such as convective available potential energy (CAPE), convective inhibition (CIN), mixing ratio, and virtual potential temperature. The issue with these two times is that most daily weather phenomena occur between 0000 and 1200 UTC, so it is commonplace to miss out on particular elements. This is magnified when the investigated environment is favorable for the development of intense convection leading to severe weather. My role in this research was to examine the results of the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX) and compare the findings with various PBL parameters from the WRF model.
This project was first presented at the 19th Conference of Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface (IOAS-AOLS) at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Phoenix, AZ. You can view my poster from the AMS meeting here.
Mentor: Dr. Russ Schumacher
SMART Summer Internship- University of Colorado at Boulder (2013)
Image to the left: Looking off to the Colorado flatirons from the NCAR Table Mesa Lab.
Convection Initiation Along the Rocky Mountain Front Range
The Colorado Rocky Mountain Front Range (RMFR) continues to be a focal point in convection formation for the mid-western United States. It is quite common to see thunderstorms form along the RMFR and mature into larger storm systems over time across the mid-western states. Identifying patterns in the overall formation of convection and progression under weak and strong synoptic-scale forcing is critical to understanding flow patterns. For methods, a qualitative and quantitative representation of convective storm initiation patterns is made based on radar reflectivity observed between the months of May through August for years 2009 through 2012 between Denver and Fort Collins in Colorado. Locations of convection initiation are linked to topography as well as atmospheric conditions such as upper-level wind flow, surface winds, and moisture content to determine thunderstorm characteristics and potential behavior given the initial conditions. Our results showed that convection develops along the Front Range and then migrates to the east in times of both weak and strong synoptic forcing. Depending on the wind direction, convection initiates on the north side of the Cheyenne Ridge and Palmer Divide for northerly flow and on the east side of the Rocky Mountains for easterly flow.
This research was presented at the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.
This research has also been published in the 2014 Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research run by the University of North Carolina at Asheville. You can view the publication here.
Mentor: Dr. Katja Friedrich