Weather and Extremes

At SoMAS our faculty and students study a variety of weather events, ranging from everyday weather to extreme events. SoMAS researchers use a range of models and observations to understand and predict extratropical cyclones, tornadoes and hurricanes, with a particular interest to events unique to where we call home, the Northeast United States and Long Island.

 Atmospheric Chemistry, Aerosols & Clouds

At SoMAS, there is strong research program related to the gases, aerosols, and clouds that constitute our atmosphere. This research incorporates both observational and modeling work accomplished in field projects, via two atmospheric chemistry laboratories, or with advanced numerical cloud models and LES models. Broadly, these efforts are focused on the constituents of Earth’s atmosphere, the processes they undergo, and how they might change in the future. Mitigating gaps in knowledge related to these topics is vital to improving our understanding of our present and future weather and climate systems.

 Climate Dynamics and Variability

SoMAS have active research programs directed toward advancing the scientific community’s understanding of climate variability and predictability from subseasonal to decadal time scales, from ocean to atmosphere, and from regional scale to large-scale. A variety of observational, theoretical, and modeling strategies are used to explore the dynamics of weather and climate, towards improved understanding and predictions.

Research Opportunities

Stony Brook is strongly committed to undergraduate research. It has been recognized by the National Science Foundation as one of the ten major universities for excellence in undergraduate research and is one of its RAIRE award receipients. Many of our undergraduates actively participate in Institute research projects, learning about the research process while making important contributions.  For example, the summer 2008 REU program allowed students from Stony Brook and across the country to study sea-breeze evolution and air-sea interaction in the coastal zone surrounding Long Island.

Besides using data from SoMAS’s research vessel Seawolf, other high resolution observations have been collected by students and faculty driving around the island with temperature and wind sensors. Students also maintain a polar orbiting satellite receiving station in the weather maproom, from which observations are used to document the sea-surface temperature changes around Long Island and its effect on local weather. Stony Brook runs its own operational numerical weather forecast models (WRF), and students use the model to make forecasts, participate in the national forcast contest, verify the model, and to investigate various local weather phenomena. Other areas of student research have included climate change and atmospheric chemistry. Many of the students have presented their projects at the Stony Brook RAIRE program for undergraduate achievement, and some have been awarded summer RAIRE fellowships to continue their work.