Severe Weather

What is severe weather?

Severe weather widely refers to any dangerous meteorological or hydro-meteorological phenomena, of varying duration, with a risk of causing significant damage, severe social disruption, or loss of human life. The many types of severe weather can vary depending on the latitude, altitude, topography, and atmospheric conditions. Only occurring in certain regions, localized severe weather phenomena are characterized by blizzards, snowstorms, ice storms, and dust storms.

Typically, the term severe weather is used to report significant weather occurrences, which develop during strong to severe thunderstorms, tropical cyclones, or extratropical cyclones.

Research Objectives

  • To understand the genesis and development of severe weather
  • To be able to better predict severe weather events
  • To collect data that can be used for model verification

Why do we take measurements of severe weather?

The Earth Observing Laboratory studies severe weather to develop a reliable and near-worldwide capability for data and information exchange via satellite between ground systems (including radar) and the research aircraft to guide flight around severe weather.

By better understanding the causes and development of severe weather, prediction models can more effectively determine where and when severe weather will occur. This weather prediction and forecasting can help encourage better preparation for those at risk.

Recent EOL field projects studying severe weather:

  • RELAMPAGO 2018: The Remote sensing of Electrification, Lightning, And Mesoscale/microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAPMAPGO) is studying the connections between the land surface, complex terrain, convective development, and the production of severe weather.
  • PECAN 2015: The Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) project studied the development and persistence of severe thunderstorms at night over the continental United States.

Do you still have questions about severe weather?

If you still have a few more questions about severe weather, feel free to ask a scientist! You can find a scientist who specializes in your particular question. Click on his or her name to send the scientist an email, or click on some of the other provided links to learn more about his or her specialty!