Mesoscale Processes


The mission of Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes is to conduct research to understand the physics and dynamics of atmospheric processes through the use of satellite, aircraft and surface-based remote sensing observations and computer-based simulations. Development of advanced remote sensing instrumentation (primarily lidar) and techniques to measure meteorological parameters in the troposphere is an important focus. Key areas of investigation are cloud and precipitation systems and their environments from the scale of individual clouds and thunderstorms through mesoscale convective systems and cyclonic storms, and up to the scale of the impact of these systems on regional and global climate. The processes of the interaction of the atmosphere with the land and ocean surface beneath it are also of high priority. The staff consists of approximately 60 people, including 10 civil servants, post-doctoral personnel, university affiliates and individuals associated with private companies. Approximately 34 members have Ph.D.'s and the rest are split between those with Master's degrees in the Atmospheric Sciences or related fields and other specialists in programming, laboratory, administrative and outreach support.

Research may be broadly categorized into these areas:

CONUS Precipitation

Continuous United States and Puerto Rico: Current 1-Day Observed Precipitation - click here for full size

Field Campaigns

The East Pacific Origins and Characteristics of Hurricanes field campaign was recently selected. Flights are currently being scheduled for August 2017.

The NASA Micro-Pulse Lidar Network (MPLNET) is a federated network of Micro-Pulse Lidar (MPL) systems designed to measure aerosol and cloud vertical structure, and boundary layer heights. The data are collected continuously, day and night, over long time periods from sites around the world. 


The Cloud Physics Lidar, or CPL, is a backscatter lidar designed to operate simultaneously at 3 wavelengths: 1064, 532, and 355 nm. The purpose of the CPL is to provide multi-wavelength measurements of cirrus, subvisual cirrus, and aerosols with high temporal and spatial resolution.


The Compact Scanning Submillimeter-wave Imaging Radiometer (CoSSIR) is an airborne, 12-channel, (183 - 874 GHz) total power imaging radiometer that was mainly developed for the measurements of ice clouds.  But it can be used for estimation of water vapor profiles and snowfall rates. When first completed and flown in the CRYSTAL-FACE field campaign during July 2002, the system had 15 channels at different frequencies from those listed below.