PAOC Colloquium (PAOCQ) – Sue van den Heever (CSU)
“Chasing Tropical Convective Storms with the NASA INCUS Mission”
The transport of air and water within convective storms in the tropics provides fresh water, influences extreme weather, shapes cloud radiative forcing, and helps to drive the large-scale circulation. This transport of air and water – referred to as the convective mass flux (CMF) – is the focus of the NASA Investigation of Convective Updrafts (INCUS) mission, to be launched in 2026. INCUS is a train of 3 Smallsats, each carrying a Ka-band cloud radar. A passive microwave radiometer will also be housed on the middle platform. The 3 observatories will be separated in time by 30, 90 and 120 seconds, thus facilitating the rapid, systematic, and repeated sampling of the same storm system. Much research has been undertaken in preparation for the INCUS mission including generating an extensive database of high-resolution model simulations in regions throughout the tropics; analyzing these simulations to uncover key relationships about CMF and its variability; tracking observed and simulated storms throughout their lifetimes using a cloud object tracking tool; analyzing ground-based radar observations of storms obtained through rapid adaptive scanning techniques; and evaluating convective morphologies and environments using GPM observations and reanalysis datasets. After introducing the INCUS mission, this seminar will highlight a number of key results arising from this research.
About this series: The PAOC Colloquium is a weekly interdisciplinary seminar series that brings together the whole PAOC community. Seminar topics include all research concerning the physics, chemistry, and biology of the atmospheres, oceans and climate, but also talks about e.g. societal impacts of climatic processes. The seminars take place on Monday from 12-1pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and Zoom password.