Each graduating KU Atmospheric Science senior is required to take ATMO 697: Seminar for Seniors, which explores current research in atmospheric science and includes as a requirement, a final seminar presentation by each student. The spring 2018 seniors presented compelling research, which also exemplified the breadth of the field of atmospheric science.
James Barham - Seminar given Mar. 26, 2018
Urban Flash Flooding: Impacts, Forecast Techniques, and Causes
Abstract: Flash flooding is one of the most dangerous and expensive weather events that occur in the United States. A high proportion of annual deaths occur in either urban or suburban areas due to many factors such as impervious surfaces, higher population densities, and much quicker stream/river responses. This rapid rising of streams in urban areas is a challenge to forecasters. Along with recognizing large scale patterns, forecasters utilize ingredient based methods. A crucial step is understanding the hydrology of what the water does once it reaches the ground. The NWS currently utilizes the Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting model (SAC-SMA) to determine precipitation runoff in a stream or river basin. One limitation is the impervious nature of urban environments, as models do not fully represent the complex water mitigation systems in these areas. Development of new techniques to represent the complex hydrology is a rapidly growing research area that will be discussed. This presentation will provide an example of how these forecast and hydrological techniques are utilized operationally and will include a brief overview of two historic flash flood cases that occurred in Kansas City, MO in 2017.
Daryan Herrick - Seminar given April 2, 2018
Climate Change Impacts on Hurricanes
Abstract: The effects of climate change are continuously being researched with new methods being developed every day. One such effect being studied is the impact climate change has on hurricanes; there is still no consensus amongst climate scientists. The main signifiers that would demonstrate climate change as having a positive feedback to the severity of hurricanes are the changes in strength, frequency, storm surge, and precipitation. In order to fully understand the issue, I will explore the arguments from either side; those who agree that there is definitely a correlation and those who say there is not.
Carissa Allen - Seminar given April 9, 2018
Social Media’s Role During Severe Weather
Abstract: There are many ways that people can receive notifications during inclement weather, with some of the more popular resources being through television and social media. Today, almost everyone has some form of social media, so how does social media play a role in alerting the public during times of severe weather? There are many people who do not follow weather pages on social media, so how would it be best to warn active social media users through social media? The answer to this question might be that we work together with social media sites to have them display current advisories, watches, and warnings for the user’s current location at the top of their social media feed. This way people would more than likely see the notifications and take appropriate action.
Jonathan Wedel - Seminar given April 16, 2018
Quantifying Significant Severe Weather Parameters and Assessing their Utility in Forecast Techniques
Abstract: Quantifying severe weather parameters and assessing their performance is essential for understanding when it comes to predicting severe weather. Many factors can influence these parameters and how they perform. These factors include geographical locations, time of day, time of year, and different seasons. Parameters such as MLCAPE (mixed layer cape), SHR6 (0-6 km shear), SRH1 (0-1 km storm relative helicity), and MLLCL (mixed layer lifting condensation level) were analyzed for two different storm mode regimes. These two regimes are RMSs (right moving supercells) and QLCSs (quasi-linear convective systems). For RMSs tornadoes, the traditional parameters that were found to have the greatest probability of detection (POD) were the MLCAPE-SHR6 parameter spaces. Under the QLCS regime, the parameter spaces that characterize QLCS tornadoes feature low MLLCL heights and high values of SRH1, but the false alarm rates are higher because these parameter spaces are found to be a little less clear in their utility. One new forecast technique that is still being tested for possible future implementation into the NWS operational system is the SSCRAM (Statistical Severe Convective Risk Assessment Model) model. This model attempts to predict severe weather 2 hours into the future. This is done by linking cloud to ground lightning data to mesoscale analysis data from the Storm Prediction Center to create lightning-conditioned prognostic probabilities. This is powerful in that it not only uses the occurrence of severe weather, but it incorporates the null occurrences. This provides a probabilistic way of quantifying different parameters and how well they perform 2 hours into the future.
Caitlyn Sutherlin - Seminar given April 23, 2018
Investigating the Sustainability of Perennial Agriculture
Abstract: The changing climate leads to uncertainties concerning the sustainability of certain agricultural resources, and with the additional stresses of an increasing global population, uncertainty in food security will greatly increase. To adhere to future food demands in the face of this changing climate, perennial agriculture has been a proposed solution. However, it is equally important to assure that perennial agriculture is not negatively affecting the climate in exchange for this proposed more robust food source. We chose to examine the interactions between perennial and annual agricultural crops by focusing on the efficiency of exchanges with the atmosphere. This is done using the omega decoupling factor for 4 different sites as a way of quantifying the contributions of radiation and stomatal conductance over the resulting water and carbon cycles. This gives us an indication of how the plant canopy is interacting with, and influencing the local microclimate. Ultimately, this should give us an indication of the ability of perennial crops to aid in the climate mitigation process. We hypothesized that the perennial site chosen would have omega values more similar to the omega values of a natural grassland rather than an annual crop site. Using AmeriFlux towers to determine the canopy values needed to calculate the omega decoupling factor, we focused on the Kernza perennial crops being grown at the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas (KLS), in comparison to a natural grassland in Manhattan, Kansas (KON), a typical land cover model in Lawrence, Kansas (KFS), and an annual crop site in Lamont, Oklahoma (ARM). These results will allow us to move forward in the investigation of perennial crops as a sustainable food source.