Collaborative Research: Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems-Surface and Atmospheric Influences on Lake-effect Convection (OWLeS-SAIL)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This grant is part of a larger effort centered on the Ontario Winter (OW) Lake-effect Systems (LeS) field project, to be conducted December 2013-January 2014. OWLeS will focus on two complementary lines of research, each tracing to a preferred wind regime, characteristic cross-lake fetch and corresponding distinct mesoscale mode of winter storm organization. Activities led by this sub-group will focus on 'short-fetch' events in which prevailing low-level winds are oriented at large angles relative to Lake Ontario's long axis. These investigators will seek to advance process-oriented understanding of atmospheric boundary-layer circulations over adjacent complex land cover, factors controlling the location and downwind persistence/spatial extent of lake-effect circulations and associated bands of heavy snowfall, as well as those precipitation events associated with smaller bodies of water as are found in the Finger Lakes region. Observational assets to be deployed during OWLeS will include the University of Wyoming King Air instrumented aircraft, the CSWR Doppler on Wheels mobile radars, multiple mobile rawinsounding systems, the Millersville University Profiling System, the UAH Mobile Integrated Profiling System, and a variety of other surface measurement systems. The intellectual merit of this sub-group's activities is centered upon determination of (1) how upwind land-surface and atmospheric factors determine the three-dimensional structure of the short-fetch convective LeS PBL that develop over a relatively-warm, open water surface; (2) how organized, initially convective cloud and precipitation structures under short-fetch conditions persist far downstream over land, long after leaving the buoyancy source (i.e., the ice-free waters of Lake Ontario); and (3) factors controlling the development of, and interactions between, complex atmospheric stratifications embodying a internal planetary boundary layer and residual layers resulting from airmass advection over multiple mesoscale bodies of water and intervening land.

Broader impacts of OWLeS will include improved physical understanding and model-based representations of conditions that impact populations and associated major transportation corridors along the shores of the Great Lakes region, as well as extensive opportunities for enhanced classroom and hands-on field project based educational opportunities for a large number of students who will be actively engaged in field campaign planning, instrument preparation, data collection and analysis. Outreach efforts will extend to K-12 students and college students enrolled at nearby institutes of higher learning.

Effective start/end date6/1/135/31/20


  • National Science Foundation: $380,874.00


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