Research - Winter Storms

Van in a field.
Rauber and his research colleagues
Ice on the side of a vehicle.

Winter Storm Research has been a focus in my group since I started in 1987 at the University of Illinois.  We began research in the late 1980s with the University of Illinois Winter Precipitation Project, and continued in the early 1990s with the STORM-FEST campaign and in the late 1990s with the SNOWBAND campaign.  In 2004 we conducted a pilot project called Pre-Profiling of Winter Storms (pre-PLOWS).  We have since carried out a major field effort also called PLOWS (see the PLOWS webpage). A fundamental challenge of cool season quantitative precipitation forecasting is to simulate dynamic and microphysical processes governing the spatial and temporal variability within extratropical cyclones . Variability in the location, type, and intensity of precipitation is often determined by precipitation banding and/or embedded convection on scales of approximately 5-200 km. Banding is particularly common in narrow regions in the northwest quadrant in cyclones where frontal structures and associated frontal circulations are modified by deformation flow . As noted in the U.S. Weather Research Program Cool Season Implementation Plan (Rauber and Ralph 2004), our understanding of the dynamics and microphysics of these precipitation substructures is limited primarily because observations and simulations have not achieved adequate temporal and spatial resolution to diagnose the forcing for the circulations. Understanding these phenomena is essential to improving winter storm forecasting.

At the University of Illinois, the publications below are from research prior to the PLOWS campaign.

Publications

  • Ramamurthy, M. K., B. P. Collins, R. M. Rauber, and P. C. Kennedy, 1990:  Evidence of very-large-amplitude solitary waves in the atmosphere.  Nature,348, (22 Nov.), 314–317.

  • Shields, M. T., R. M. Rauber, and M. K. Ramamurthy, 1991:  Dynamical forcing and mesoscale organization of precipitation bands in a Midwest winter cyclonic storm.  Mon. Wea. Rev., 119, 936–964.

  • Rauber, R. M., and A. Tokay, 1991:  An explanation for the existence of supercooled water at the top of cold clouds.  J. Atmos. Sci., 48, 1005–1023.

  • Ramamurthy, M. K., R. M. Rauber, B. P. Collins, M. T. Shields, P. C. Kennedy, and W. L. Clark, 1991:  UNIWIPP: A University of Illinois field experiment to investigate the structure of mesoscale precipitation in winter storms.  Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 72, 764–776.

  • Martner, B. E., R. M. Rauber, R. M. Rasmussen, E. T. Prater, and M. K. Ramamurthy, 1992:  Impacts of a destructive and well-observed cross country storm.  Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 73, 169–172.

  • Ramamurthy, M. K., R. M. Rauber, B. P. Collins, and N. K. Malhotra, 1993:  A comparative study of large amplitude gravity wave events.  Mon. Wea. Rev., 121, 2951–2974.

  • Rauber, R. M., M. K. Ramamurthy, and A. Tokay, 1994:  Synoptic and mesoscale structure of a severe freezing rain event: The St. Valentine’s Day ice storm.  Wea. Forecasting, 9, 183–208.

  • Kristovich, D. A. R., G. S. Young, J. Verlinde, P. J. Sousounis, P. Mourad, D. Lenschow, R. M. Rauber, M. K. Ramamurthy, B. J. Jewett, K. Beard, E. Cutrim, P. J. DeMott, E. W. Eloranta, M. R. Hjelmfelt, S. M. Kreidenweis, Jon Martin, J. Moore, H. T. Ochs, D. C. Rogers, J. Scala, G. Tripoli, and J. Young, 2000:  The lake-induced convection experiment (Lake-ICE) and the Snowband Dynamics Project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 81, 519-542.

  • Rauber, R. M., L. S. Olthoff, M. K. Ramamurthy, and K. E. Kunkel, 2000:  The relative importance of warm rain and melting processes in freezing precipitation events.  J. Appl. Meteor., 39, 1185-1195.

  • Rauber, R. M., M. Yang, and M. K. Ramamurthy 2001:  Origin, evolution, and finescale structure of the St. Valentine's Day mesoscale gravity wave observed during STORM-FEST.  Part I: Origin and evolution. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129, 198-217.

  • Yang, M., R. M. Rauber and M. K. Ramamurthy 2001:  Origin, evolution, and finescale structure of the St. Valentine's Day mesoscale gravity wave observed during STORM-FEST.  Part II: Finescale structure. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129, 218-236.

  • Rauber, R. M., L. S. Olthoff, M. K. Ramamurthy, and K. E. Kunkel, 2001:  Further investigation of a physically based, nondimensional parameter for discriminating between locations of freezing rain and ice pellets. Wea. and Forecasting, 16, 185-191.

  • Rauber, R. M., L. S. Olthoff, M. K. Ramamurthy, K. E. Kunkel, and D. Miller, 2001:  A synoptic weather pattern and sounding based climatology of freezing precipitation in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.  J. Appl. Meteor., 40, 1724-1747.

  • Rauber, R.M., and R. W. Scott, 2001: Central Illinois cold air funnel outbreak. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129, 2815-2821.

  • Jewett, B. J., M. K. Ramamurthy, and R. M. Rauber, 2003:  Origin, evolution, and fine scale structure of the St. Valentine's Day gravity wave observed during STORM-FEST.  Part III: Gravity wave genesis and the role of evaporation.  Mon. Wea. Rev., 131, No. 4, pp. 617–633

  • Ralph, M., R. M. Rauber, B. F. Jewett, D. E. Kingsmill, P. Pisano, P. Pugner, R. M. Rasmussen, D. W. Reynolds, T. W. Schlatter, R. E. Stewart, J. S. Waldstricher, 2005: Improving Short Term (0-48 Hour) Cool Season Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting:  Recommendations From A USWRP Workshop.  Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., 86, 1619-1632.

  • Cellitti, M., J. W. Walsh, R. M. Rauber, and D. Portis, 2006: Cold Air Outbreaks, the Polar Vortex, and the Large Scale Circulation.  J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres. 111, D02114: doi:10.1029/2005JD006273.

  • Grim, J. A., R. M. Rauber, M. K. Ramamurthy, B. F. Jewett and M. Han 2007: High resolution observations of the trowal/warm frontal region of two continental winter cyclones Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 1629–1646.

  • Han, M., R. M. Rauber, M. K. Ramamurthy, B. F. Jewett and J. A. Grim, 2007: Mesoscale dynamics of the trowal and warm frontal regions of two continental winter cyclones Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 1647–1670.