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Fluid dynamics of the atmosphere: an introduction to weather systems

Prof. Suzanne Gray

Department of Meteorology, University of Reading

Lewis Fry Richardson pioneered modern mathematical techniques of weather forecasting and was famously quoted as saying 'Big whorls have little whorls that feed on their velocity, and little whorls have lesser whorls and so on to viscosity'. In this seminar I will introduce some fundamental concepts of fluid dynamics as applied to the atmosphere, and specifically to the whorls (or more precisely, extratropical cyclones) that bring us wet and windy winter weather in the UK. We will start with the underpinning equations, move on to the concepts of planetary-scale atmospheric waves, and finish with results from a recent project that included field experiments with the UK's meteorological research aircraft.