Colloquia Abstracts

Thursdays, 4:00 pm, Workman 101 (unless noted*)

Physics 579 Graduate Seminar

Name: David J. Raymond, NMT

Title:  Atmospheric Convection, Weather and Climate

NOTE: Thur, Feb 16, 2016 — Workman 101


Atmospheric moist convection differs from other types of convection in fundamental ways,

the most important of which is the production of precipitation. Though the ascending branch

of a convective cell is typically a few kilometers in diameter, the existence of rainfall causes the

descending branch of the circulation to be spread over thousands of kilometers. This is unlike

most other convection, in which the descending current has roughly the same dimensions

as the ascending current. Atmospheric moist convection is therefore inherently multi-scale,

which causes immense problems in the representation of such convection in global weather

and climate models. Nevertheless, the fundamental role of convection as a large-scale energy

transfer mechanism in the atmosphere is clear.

In tropical regions, atmospheric circulations are dominated by convection, which makes

the tropics an excellent laboratory for studying this phenomenon. Recent modeling and field

observations of tropical convection have led to new insights into the behavior of large-scale

tropical disturbances including tropical cyclones, in which convection plays a crucial role.

How convection changes under the influence of global warming is of great importance to

the atmosphere as a whole. I will discuss current ideas on this subject.


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