Time series of 3D cloud simulationView of cumulus cloud from aircraftPhotorealistic Cloud ModelingSunset over Ocean



Professor Lasher-Trapp performing outreach

Blue Waters Professor
Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences
Univ. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
fax: 217-244-1752




NEW GRaduates

Group members Holly Mallinson and Bryan Engelsen successfully completed their M.S. degrees in July.  Holly will continue in our group to pursue a Ph.D.; Bryan has taken a position as an Air Quality Scientist at ERM environmental consulting in the Chicago area.  Congratulations Holly and Bryan! 

NEW GRoup members

We welcome Enoch Jo, a graduate of UCLA with a M.S. from Florida State University, and Luke Allen, a graduate of North Carolina State University, to our group in Fall 2018.  Both Enoch and Luke will be performing high-resolution idealized numerical modeling of thunderstorms to understand and quantify different aspects of entrainment and its impact upon storm and precipitation development. 

Recent Publications

We have been completing our work based on the COnvective Precipitation Experiment (COPE) field campaign in Southwest England.  Our newer publications include the influence of cloud spacing on entrainment and cloud development, and the effects of wind shear upon rime-splintering and precipitation, and a summary paper of the observations of precipitation development highlighted in four of the COPE cases.

RECENT conference

All group members gave oral or poster presentations at the recent AMS Conference on Cloud Physics, held in July in Vancouver.  Shown below are, from left to right:  Bryan Engelsen, Sonia Lasher-Trapp, Emma Scott, and Holly Mallinson.

group members in front of harbor in Vancouver



Group Overview

Our group uses numerical modeling with observational analysis to investigate research problems associated with the development of clouds and precipitation. Our successes in the last decade, often with other collaborators, include demonstrating when giant aerosol particles are (or are not) important in warm rain formation, how the productivity of the warm rain process may change in a future warmer climate, the importance of variability resulting from entrainment and mixing upon accelerating or preventing warm rain formation, the influence of a strong warm rain process upon ice production in oceanic cumuli, and the behavior of clouds as shedding thermals that thus entrain air through their leading edges. We have published multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals and regularly present our work at the AMS Cloud Physics Conference and the International Conference on Clouds and Precipitation.

We have also contributed to the development of tools for visualization of ground-based and airborne radar data and high-resolution numerical simulations of clouds, evaluated the performance of aircraft-mounted cloud microphysical probes, and tested microphysical parameterizations in larger-scale cloud models. Finally, we have contributed to science education through studies on improving undergraduate understanding of the nature of science, and the development and evaluation of research-based laboratories for undergraduates in atmospheric science.


Our Future

We continue to shift our emphasis toward the interaction of warm rain and ice processes in mixed-phase cumuli.  New projects include using very high-resolution simulations on the Blue Waters supercomputer to investigate the effects of entrainment in thunderstorms and its effect upon precipitation (NSF award), and microphysical effects upon convective outflow and its generation of new convection (DOE- ASR award with lead PI Jeff Trapp). In Jan/Feb 2018, we'll also be participating in an NSF-funded study of clouds in the Southern Ocean, the Southern Ocean Clouds Radiation Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES), to collect data and numerically model the persistent supercooled liquid clouds there that are important for understanding and predicting global climate.


Current Activity Links

                  NSF logo

             SOCRATES logo 



Blue Waters Image