Blue Waters Professor
Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences
Univ. Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Group member Emma Scott successfully completed her M.S. degree in July.  Emma has taken a position with NCEI, the National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, NC.  Congratulations Emma!


We welcome Tobias Ross, a graduate of the University of Leeds, to our group in Fall 2019.  Toby will be performing data analysis and high-resolution idealized numerical modeling of thunderstorms to understand and quantify the microphysical impacts of developing thunderstorms upon their outflows, and potential for new convective generation.


We have recently published our DOE-sponsored work on the microphysical influences upon cold pool initiation, strength, depth and propagation speed in Monthly Weather Review.  The paper can be found here.


All group members gave oral or poster presentations at the recent AMS Conference on Cloud Physics, held in July 2018 in Vancouver.  Shown below are, from left to right:  Bryan Engelsen, Sonia Lasher-Trapp, Emma Scott, and Holly Mallinson.


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.


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.