Chris Slocum

Colorado State University


I am interested in studying and improving the community's knowledge of tropical cyclones through dynamical and statistical techniques. In the Schubert Research Group, we seek to systematically simplify the atmosphere to get at the "why" of atmospheric phenomena. I feel that the following excerpt from one of Lorenz's papers (1960) provides excellent motivation for our work.

"In order to make the best attainable forecast of the future weather, it would be desirable to express the physical laws as exactly as possible, and determine the initial conditions as precisely as possible. Yet the ultimate achievement of producing perfect forecasts, by applying equations already known to be exact to initial conditions already known to be precise, if such a feat were possible, would not by itself increase our understanding of the atmosphere, no matter how important it might be from other considerations. For example, if we should observe a hurricane, we might ask ourselves, 'Why did this hurricane form?' If we could determine the exact conditions at an earlier time, and if we should feed these conditions, together with a program for integrating the exact equations, into an electronic computer, we should in due time receive a forecast from the computer, which would show the presence of a hurricane. We then might still be justified in asking why the hurricane formed. The answer that the physical laws required a hurricane to form from the given antecedent conditions might not satisfy us, since we were aware of that fact even before integrating the equations." -- E.N. Lorenz

Using simplified dynamical models, I am working to understand the role of diabatic heating in tropical cyclone rapid intensification. Also, I am evaluating the effects of Burger's "shock-like" structures in the hurricane boundary layer on eyewall replacement cycles and the existence of warm-ring structures in intense tropical cyclones. In addition to my theoretical work, I have continued to collaborate with researchers at NOAA ESRL to assimilate a CIRA IR wind retrieval product around the core of tropical cyclones into the GFS with hopes of producing a more realistic vortex. Feel free to contact me about my work and research interests.

Lorenz, E. N., 1960: Maximum Simplification of the Dynamic Equations. Tellus, 12, 243–254.

Selected Publications

Selected Presentations and Talks