Large-scale Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Ice Storms 

Ice storms (freezing rain) can have enormous impacts on life and property.  The infamous 4 - 10 January 1998 Ice Storm resulted in > 100 mm (4 in.) of ice in New England, eastern Ontario, and southern Quebec, leaving millions without power for weeks!  

Check out our 2012 Weather and Forecasting article on dynamic and thermodynamic precursors of severe freezing rain events in Montreal, Quebec

Check out our 2012 article on cold-season wind regimes often associated with freezing rain in Montreal in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology

A more recent severe ice storm in Slovenia in late January and early February 2014 produced > 125 mm of ice accumulation, and was likely the most expensive natural disaster in that country's history (see the ridiculous pictures below).  This severe ice storm was associated with a "Rex Block", a stagnant upper-tropospheric pattern that features a strong ridge to the north and cut-off cyclone to the south (see image below)  

  Potential temperature on the dynamic tropopause (2 PVU surface, K, shaded), sea-level pressure (mb, solid contours), and 1000-500 mb thickness (decameters, dashed contours) during the height of the 2014 Slovenia Ice Storm.  The affected region in Slovenia is marked with a red star.      Note the Rex Block pattern (ridge above cut-off low) over Eastern Europe and the strong arctic anticyclone in Russia that helped to funnel near-surface cold air on the south side of the Alps.   

Potential temperature on the dynamic tropopause (2 PVU surface, K, shaded), sea-level pressure (mb, solid contours), and 1000-500 mb thickness (decameters, dashed contours) during the height of the 2014 Slovenia Ice Storm.  The affected region in Slovenia is marked with a red star.  

Note the Rex Block pattern (ridge above cut-off low) over Eastern Europe and the strong arctic anticyclone in Russia that helped to funnel near-surface cold air on the south side of the Alps.  

my primary research objectives in this area are to:  

  • Improve understanding of the precursor planetary- and synoptic-scale dynamics that result in long-duration severe freezing rain events.  
  • Assess how freezing rain frequency, duration, intensity, and areal coverage have changed and are changing in a warming world.