Lake-effect snows are produced by cold air flowing over warm lake surfaces and are known for their severity and disruption to life near the Great Lakes of the US and other locations around the globe. Convective boundary layers are the media through which cool air masses are coupled to the warm underlying Earth's surface. Convective boundary layers responsible for lake-effect snowstorms are particularly important because their accompanying clouds and snow act as tracers to reveal the structure and organization of the boundary layer when viewed by radar and instrumented aircraft. In addition, they are useful laboratories for study of the initiation and growth of snow. This project will analyze data from the Lake Snow Project and will be carried out as a collaborative effort between the University of Illinois and North Carolina State University. The Principal Investigator from the University of Illinois will use vertical profiles of moisture fluxes and analyses of Doppler radar winds and reflectivity to obtain a better description of small scale convective elements and their cloud and snow growth processes. The Principal Investigator from North Carolina State University will use aircraft data to identify conditions associated with the initial formation of ice particles in lake-effect clouds and to determine relationships between cloud and snow characteristics and ambient and/or antecedent meteorological conditions. Results from this research will be of value to boundary layer meteorologists concerned with convection and, cloud physicists interested in ice nucleation and snow growth, and weather forecasters striving to predict lake-effect snow storms.
Lake Effect Boundary Layer Processes