Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division
The Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology (MMM) Division is one of nine programs or divisions within the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The mission of MMM is one of basic research to advance fundamental understanding of mesoscale and microscale processes and to improve the modeling, observation, and prediction of these processes. The divisions research ranges from basic to applied. However, for the direct transfer of knowledge to benefit society, we rely on collaborative efforts with other NCAR divisions and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) programs whose missions are more directly aligned to technology transfer.
The division is organized into six science groups whose missions relate to their scientific approach (e.g., modeling, analysis of observations), or to the scales considered (e.g., mesoscale, microscale). It consists of 75 staff with 9 project scientists, 29 scientists, including 16 senior scientists. Eleven scientists hold joint appointments with other NCAR divisions. Colocated with the division is a group of three scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) who specialize in airborne dual-Doppler observations of mesoscale systems. This group augments the MMM program in mesoscale observations. An external advisory committee assists the division in determining its scientific direction. The committee currently is comprised of four university colleagues and two scientists from ATD and CGD. The committee is expected to meet once or twice a year.
Research within the division covers a wide range of topics related to mesoscale and microscale meteorology. Generally, we maintain a breadth of expertise so that many of the research areas currently identified (at the national and international levels) as priorities for the atmospheric and related sciences in mesoscale and microscale meteorology are represented within the division. This breadth helps us fulfill our role as a focal point for the weather research community, enables visitors to interact with NCAR scientists and other visitors, and facilitates the development of collaborative research programs with scientists from many institutions.
In a recent division science planning meeting held November 10 and 11, 1997, two high priority initiatives emerged as goals for the division. They are Prediction of Precipitation and the Role of Clouds in Climate. The goal of the Precipitation Prediction Initiative is
|to reduce the errors associated with the prediction of precipitation to approximately the limits of mesoscale predictability. It will involve research into the dynamics of precipitation mesoscale systems, studies of mesoscale predictability, and the development of advanced numerical prediction and data assimilation systems.|
The goal of the Role of Clouds in Climate Initiative is
|to assess the impact of various mesoscale and microscale systems on the larger scales, particularly those that determine climate. It will develop and improve methods to account for those processes in climate models, and will focus on cloud systems with emphasis on oceanic convective systems, stratus-topped boundary layer systems, cirrus clouds, and cloud systems associated with cold air outbreaks.|
Other emerging initiatives within the MMM Division include
|ice microphysics which will use new observing systems and models to define ice processes in clouds;|
|fire weather designed to develop and verify high resolution coupled models of the atmosphere and forest fire behavior;|
|mountain induced turbulence focused on turbulence generated by mountains through breaking mountain waves or other mechanisms; and|
|surface processes which examine exchanges between the earths surface and the atmosphere.|
A number of research areas within the division cut across the primary scientific thrusts relating directly to weather and climate. Some of these areas have goals that overlap with either climate or weather objectives and often augment the programs described in the earlier high priority initiatives. In addition, there are programs of research defined by individual scientists, many of which are part of the larger initiatives while others represent investigations of fundamental problems in mesoscale and microscale meteorology. Often these independent studies lead to the development of major initiatives, such as those outlined above.
Research conducted during the period 1 October 1996 through 30 September 1997 will, for the most part, become part of the various initiatives outlined above. For a detailed description of the science the division undertook in FY 1997, please refer to the Table of Contents.
In January 1997 several scientists in MMM were recipients of funding provided through NCARs U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) grants program. This competitive program was established through a special increment to NCARs base program funds from NSF for activities related to the three initial scientific foci of the USWRP: (1) studies related to the importance and mix of observations; (2) studies related to quantitative precipitation forecasting; and (3) studies related to hurricane forecasts near landfall. Descriptions of research underway in this program within MMM can be found under the following topics:
|Development of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model|
|Adaptive-Grid Model Development|
|Hybrid Coordinate Model Development|
|Adaptive Observations in FASTEX|
|Development of MM5 4DVAR System|
|Development of MM5 3DVAR System|
|Lifting at Boundary Layer Convergence Lines|
The above research activities have fostered collaboration with ATD, CGD, and RAP as well as several universities and agencies. Another activity intended to increase interdivisional and/or multidisciplinary research within NCAR was the creation of an NCAR Opportunity Fund in FY 1997. One of the four projects awarded funding was the Chemistry-Dynamical Coupling Initiative (CDI), a joint effort between ACD, CGD, and MMM. This project, which commenced late in the fiscal year, is designed to develop a coupled mesoscale dynamical/atmospheric chemical transport modeling system and to conduct investigations into the mesoscale transport and evolution of chemical species in the troposphere. Scientists involved in the CDI will first study the generation and redistribution of NOx in convective systems observed during the STERAO-A field experiment conducted over northeastern Colorado in June 1996. Preliminary work by Jordan Powers and Peter Hess (ACD) involves the coupling of the MM5 and a regional chemical transport model developed in ACD. Events from the STERAO-A campaign are being modeled and analyzed to yield an integrated understanding of their mesoscale meteorology and chemistry.
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