Assessment of Mid-Atlantic Atmosphere Instability, 2003-2012

Authors: Tianna Andrews*, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Michael Davis, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Physical Geography
Keywords: instability, atmosphere, Mid-Atlantic, summer, climate change
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Atmospheric instability is an indication of how unstable the atmosphere is at a given time. Depending on certain conditions, such as moisture content and temperature, the instability of the atmosphere can change potentially altering convection rates. Generally, an unstable atmosphere often indicates more variability in the weather (such as storms and other types of severe weather). Variables that affect the instability of the atmosphere include air temperature, specific humidity, and convective available potential energy (CAPE), which indicates the maximum energy available from an ascending air parcel. Cloud top pressure can be used to assess changes in the height of the deep convective anvils. These atmospheric variables were gathered from the Earth Systems Research Lab (ESRL), which is a part of the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) on a monthly period. The climate data was then partitioned into seasonal data and the summer (June-July-August) seasons from 2003 to 2012 for the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States were analyzed. By plotting this data in the IDL computer programming code, assessment into the trends of these atmospheric variables can cultivate a greater understanding of changes in atmospheric stability from 2003 to 2012. Additionally, days with thunderstorm data were collected from weather stations in the Mid-Atlantic United States to evaluate the occurrence of severe weather in the same time period.

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