CAREER: Toward a Global Understanding of Severe Convective Environments

Grant Details


Severe convective storms (SCS) produce damaging hail, intense wind gusts, and tornadoes that can result in significant losses, injuries, and fatalities. They pose a threat on every continent except Antarctica. Current observations of SCS are very sparse, and data records are limited. As such, our knowledge of where, why, and how often SCS occur globally is lacking. To address these difficulties, parameters derived from atmospheric conditions that foster SCS development (that is, favorable environments) have been used to assess SCS likelihood. Without these environments, developing storms will struggle to become SCS. The impacts of SCS are expected to grow with sprawling population centers and as favorable environments become more frequent with the warmer climate. This proposal aims to characterize the development of favorable environments across the globe and how global warming affects their development. While shedding light on the potential for SCS formation worldwide, this research may improve SCS forecasts and help manage risks and exposures to SCS. In addition to training students in research, the work will develop interactive educational contents and online instructional modules to raise public awareness to the threats posed by SCS.

The overarching research objective is to analyze the frequency at which favorable environments occur globally and assess whether they will change uniformly in a warming climate. The investigators will evaluate the capacity of available reanalyses to characterize favorable environments in different regions and weather regimes. They will assess the global likelihood of favorable SCS environments and quantify the underlying synoptic and mesoscale processes. Lastly, they will address how these favorable environments change in high-resolution simulations of global warming projections. To this end, this research can provide a new and fundamental understanding of the underlying frequency and processes leading to the SCS development and in response to a warming climate at previously unexplored resolutions. Integrating research and education, this proposal will focus on bringing a global perspective to SCS and climate change education, and improve the understanding of risk to property, agriculture and people by developing interactive educational resources and online modules.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date06/1/2005/31/25


  • National Science Foundation: $659,360.00


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