Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS)

Atmospheric and Cloud Dynamics Theme

The Atmosphere and Cloud Dynamics Research Theme is concerned with study of some of the most important phenomena influencing our weather and climate. We have particular specialisms in

  • Meteorology associated with hills and mountains, in the UK and overseas;
  • Atmospheric properties in the lowest part of the atmosphere (the boundary layer), over the land and the ocean;
  • The behaviour of convective clouds; in particular cumulonimbus clouds and thunderstorms;
  • Dynamics, microphysics and climatic influence of stratocumulus and cirrus clouds;
  • Cyclones and fronts in mid-latitudes; rainfall, winds and dynamics;
  • Tropical weather systems; notably African weather and climate;
  • Computer modelling of weather and climate.

We study a wide range of fundamental science that underpins our physical understanding of the atmosphere. Our work has very direct application to areas such as high-impact weather (e.g. heavy rain and wind-storms) and climate. The research is based on a broad spectrum of activities in the areas of dynamics and clouds, and interacts strongly with the other ICAS research groups; Climate Change and Impacts and Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosols.

Research into atmospheric dynamics includes investigation of atmospheric flows on scales from a few metres up to global scales, in regions of climatic significance around the world.  Our research addresses physical phenomena such as mountain meteorology and climate; gravity waves; cumulonimbus storms and convection; frontal cyclone dynamics; boundary-layer turbulence and transport; coastal oceanography and air-sea interactions.

Clouds are of paramount importance for weather and climate. We perform research aimed at understanding the basic processes within clouds and cloud systems. Through these studies we are able to better explain and predict the effects of clouds on precipitation, atmospheric composition, and climate.  The group has an integrated experimental and modelling programme with current projects investigating warm rain formation, ice formation processes, cumulus cloud dynamics and precipitation, coupling of cloud and dynamics in arctic stratus, lightning production, cirrus cloud evolution and radiative properties, and the initiation of convective storms.

The research in the group spans a range of techniques including field measurements, laboratory experiments and numerical modelling. We have an ongoing programme of collaboration with NCAS, the Met Office, and a number of the leading research communities around the world.

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