Extreme Storm Forecasts Fine-tuned using Simulation, Data Science

The Midwestern plains of the U.S. are known for their dramatic storms: tornadoes, hail, thunderstorms. But one storm feature has mystified researchers: why does their frequency seem to peak at night? Xuguang Wang, an associate professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, is part of a team working on the multi-agency PECAN (Plains Elevated Convection At Night) project, designed to advance the understanding — and prediction — of nocturnal, warm-season precipitation through improved use of data and simulation. “Scientists still don’t understand mechanics of nighttime storms exactly,” Wang says. “There are hypotheses, but there’s no consensus about the physical process yet.” Moreover, “our skill in predicting where they will form and how strong they’ll be at night is poor.” To better comprehend dynamics of these storms, research teams supported…


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