Atmospheric Convection: Research and Operational Forecasting Aspects

July 18, 2005 — July 22, 2005


  • Fulvio Stel (ARPA FVG -CRMA, Udine, Palmanova (UD), Italy)
  • Reinhold Steinacker (University of Vienna, Wien, Austria)
  • Dario Giaiotti (ARPA FVG -CRMA, Udine, Palmanova (Udine), Italy)

The course has two main objectives: the first is to give to the participants a review of basic concepts of tropospheric convection and of the related meteorological phenomena; the second one is to show how the convection forecasting problems are handled operatively.
Convection is the most important process of vertical heat exchange in the troposphere and it acts at different time and space scales. The horizontal and vertical gradients of several meteorological variables (e.g. temperature, moisture, wind) play a significant role in triggering convection, and, particularly, for deep convection. These gradients are often due to orographic and geographic variability (e.g. terrain nonuniformity, sea-land transition, land use differences). In order to deal with these problems, several techniques and fields of knowledge are needed. Accordingly, a multidisciplinary approach is the most effective and efficient.
Many meteorological phenomena of great societal impact, due to their effects on people and property, are connected with convection (and deep convection). For this reason their forecast proves to be pivotal, especially in regions where they constitute one of the major weather features. Regions over which deep convection occurs rather frequently are not unusual in the mid latitudes. One significant example is the North-East of Italy, where during the summer season the daily climatological probability of thunderstorms ranks to approx. 50%, that is every second day is affected by thunderstorms.
The lectures will first focus on the basic principles of atmospheric thermodynamics and on the classification of weather convective phenomena. Furthermore, the boundary conditions needed for the onset of the convection, related to the above mentioned gradients, will be discussed in detail. In particular, the sea-atmosphere interaction and the influence of orography on flows will cover a great portion of the course. Operative forecasting applications are going to be examined and discussed from the USA and Italian perspectives and experiences. In this context the topic of forecasts verification will be treated as well, considering its important role in the improvement of forecast procedures.
Friday afternoon the participants should visit the Friuli Venezia Giulia Meteorological Observatory (OSMER). A session is to be scheduled there to allow the participants in the course to talk about their current research and/or forecasting activities.
The course is addressed to:
PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, researchers and forecasters interested in broadening their knowledge in mesoscale meteorology, especially in the topics concerning research and forecast of convection over mid latitudes.

See also