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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics

Interactions of environmental wind-shear and deep moist convection in the tropics

Supervisors

Dr John Marsham (School of Earth and Environment) - lead academic supervisor, Dr Stephen Griffiths (School of Mathematics) and Dr Andrew Ross (School of Earth and Environment)

Theme(s)

Environmental Flows

Summary

The fluid dynamics of moist convection and its representation in models is a ‘grand challenge’ for atmospheric science, and is key to improved weather and climate predictions. Environmental wind-shear is crucial for allowing organised long-lived deep moist convective systems, and is a key quantity analysed by forecasters, yet parameterisations of moist convection in global models do not account for shear. This project will build on recent observational work by using an idealised numerical model to develop a theoretical understanding of the role of shear in storms over West Africa, a location where intense organised convection occurs regularly, but the fundamental controls are still poorly understood. The project will initially analyse how the large diurnal and seasonal variations in shear affect storms in this unique and important environment. Further questions include:

  • What is the role of shear in the initiation of storms (likely quite different to in mature systems)?
  • How does shear control the interaction of storms with synoptic variability?
  • What are the implications of the results for the newly developed  parametrisation of convective “memory” in the Met Office model?

In addition to the theory and idealised modelling there are opportunities to utilise recently developed large-domain convection permitting simulations.