Department of Atmospheric Sciences | University of Illinois
Atmospheric Sciences | RESEARCH

Storm Structure, Dynamics, and Mesoscale Meteorology

The awesome power of hazardous weather and the devastation it causes has drawn students for decades into atmospheric sciences. Virtually everyone on earth is affected by hazardous weather and almost everyone is curious about how and why it develops. In the last fifty years, we have learned more about hazardous weather processes than in all of human history, but still we have just scratched the surface and, as Hurricane Katrina reminded us, so much more needs to be done.  Research in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences covers a full range of hazardous weather, from winter storms to thunderstorms to hurricanes.  We tackle this research through both field work and numerical modeling.

Students in our department have flown in research aircraft alongside severe thunderstorms and into the heart of winter cyclones. They have used Doppler radars and other instrumentation to investigate the structure of weather systems and deduce their internal dynamics, thermodynamics and microphysics. Our students carry out advanced numerical simulations of all types of hazardous weather systems, testing hypotheses about their structure derived from their understanding of the observations they helped to collect.  Our faculty and students work with state-of-the-art instrumentation systems from institutions around the world, in locations around the world, carrying out investigations that push the forefront of our understanding.  Our students have been in field campaigns in locations as diverse as Australia, Africa, the Caribbean, and as close as Lake Michigan—and not just watching!  They have designed research missions and even sat in the cockpit of research aircraft directing scientific investigations.  You can take part in this exciting work.

Want to learn more? See these faculty websites:

Dave Kristovich Jeffrey Frame Brian Jewett
Steve Nesbitt Bob Rauber John Walsh
Zhou Wang Bob Wilhelmson