O&M Building, Room 1002A
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
College Station, Texas 77843
Ph.D. Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University
M.S. Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University
B.S. Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University
Christopher J. Nowotarski
My research is geared towards developing a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of convective storms in midlatitudes with the ultimate goal of improving prediction of such events and their attendant hazards. Though I am interested in severe convection of all forms, my current research is focused on supercell thunderstorms, particularly the development of low-level rotation in these storms as it relates to tornadogenesis. Our principal tools for these investigations are idealized simulations using cloud-resolving computer models compared with analyses of observed data collected both operationally and through research field experiments such as the second Verification of the Origin of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2).
We seek to understand the mechanisms that lead to the development, maintenance, and demise of low-level rotation in supercells on both the mesocyclone and tornado scales in supercell thunderstorms. We apply a range of trajectory, circulation, vorticity, and pressure analyses/diagnostics to simulation output to answer the fundamental question: What causes some supercells to produce tornadoes while others do not?
Much of my recent and continuing work is concerned with the link between storms and their environments. I am especially interested in how differing vertical wind shear, moisture, and temperature profiles near the ground may influence the potential for a supercell to become tornadic. I also study how horizontal variability in the surrounding boundary layer (associated with air mass boundaries or turbulent eddies) influences convective storms. The degree to which storms are able to modify these aspects of their surroundings and any feedbacks this may have on storm evolution are an integral part of this research.
Probabilistic tornado forecasting
Because reliable tornado-resolving operational forecast models are not yet feasible, an important aspect of my research involves improving operational forecasts of severe weather as much as possible with the information at hand. Using climatological data of storm reports coupled with nearby observations and reliable model data we are implementing various statistical tools to develop probabilistic guidance of tornado likelihood for forecasters based on pattern recognition of past events.
- Nowotarski, C. J., P. M. Markowski, Y. P. Richardson, and G. H. Bryan, 2014: Supercell low-level mesocyclones in simulations with sheared convective boundary layers. Submitted to Mon. Wea. Rev.
- Nowotarski, C. J., P. M. Markowski, Y. P. Richardson, and G. H. Bryan, 2014: Properties of a simulated convective boundary layer in an idealized supercell thunderstorm environment. Mon. Wea. Rev. In press.
- Nowotarski, C. J., and A. A. Jensen, 2013: Classifying proximity soundings with self-organizing maps toward improving supercell and tornado forecasting. Wea. Forecasting, 28, 783-801.
- Nowotarski, C. J., P. M. Markowski, and Y. P. Richardson, 2011: The characteristics of numerically simulated supercell storms situated over statically stable boundary layers. Mon. Wea. Rev., 139, 3139-3162.
Recent Presentations and Extended Abstracts
- "Understanding the effects of horizontal convective rolls on the organization of low-level vorticity in simulated supercell thunderstorms," 7th European Conference on Severe Storms, Helsinki, Finland; 6/2013.
- "Assessing boundary layer influences on supercell thunderstorms through idealized simulations," Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; 2/2013
- "The influence of horizontal convective rolls on the morphology of low-level rotation in idealized simulations of supercell thunderstorms," AMS 26thConf. on Severe Local Storms, Nashville, Tennessee; 11/2012.
- "Simulating supercell thunderstorms in a convective boundary layer," Croatian-USA Workshop on Mesometeorology, Zagreb, Croatia; 6/2012.
- "Interactions between simulated supercell thunderstorms and dry boundary layer convection," AMS 14th Conf. on Mesoscale Processes, Los Angeles, California; 8/2011.
- "Simulating supercell thunderstorms in a horizontally-heterogeneous convective boundary layer," AMS 25thConf. on Severe Local Storms, Denver, Colorado; 10/2010.
- "A unique collaboration: VORTEX2 students and professionals-mobile mesonet," AMS 9th Annual Student Conference, Atlanta, Georgia; 1/2010.
- "The effects of varying low-level, environmental stability on low-level rotation in numerical simulations of elevated supercells," AMS 24th Conf. on Severe Local Storms, Savannah, Georgia; 10/2008.