Inclass Exercise and Homework 1: Metr 535/835

Synoptic and Thermodynamic Controls on the Severe Weather Outbreak of May 22, 2011in the east central Great Plains


To start, let's use some sources of weather information you have to assess the severe weather outbreak of May 22, 2011 in southeastern Kansas, northeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Missouri

You also will need to "order" the radar and satellite information for the period of the storm. You should review how to do this from your notes from Metr 415/815.

Eventually, you will do a complete case study of this event. But right now you are "forced" to use only the graphics and material found on the links above begin reconstructing the synoptic overview. Many of these graphics appear in current and future assigned reading:

Doswell, C.A. III, 1987: The distinction between large-scale and mesoscale contribution to severe convection: A case study example. Wea. Forecasting, 2, 4-16. (PDF)


Doswell, C.A. III, and L.F. Bosart, 2001: Extratropical synoptic-scale processes and severe convection. Severe Convective Storms, Meteor. Monogr ., 28, no. 50, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 27-69. (PDF)


Assemble a presentation on the basic synoptic and thermodynamic controls of the outbreak of severe weather in southeastern portions of Kansas, northeastern portion of Oklahoma and southwestern portion of Missouri on this day. In today's class period, you will work on assembling paper copies of the appropriate charts and diagrams that will be used as illustrations in your presentations. Please avoid "Metr 100" think. In other words, the surface chart should be analyzed as best as you can at this point.

You may not be able to find the exact product you want from the archives you will have to substitute a close match, or a chart from which you can infer what you need, based upon what you learned in Metr 430. (Example)

You'll be need to look at the specifics of the thermodynamics and shear setting (as we get background). The radiosonde site you would use (from the SPC) archive are KSGF.

Before you begin, you should distill in your own minds what the articles have to say about synoptic-scale (dynamic) controls on severe weather events, and what charts you would need to illustrate that for this case. Then you would need to decide what you would include to assess that thermodynamic and shear environments, as we discussed them in Metr 503.

The end product should be a typewritten-short manuscript, complete with references, for the synoptic-scale and thermodynamic environment for this event with an overview of the radar and satellite information too. Eventually, with better graphics, this section will form part of the larger paper that you will produce (as the main writing/research assignment) for this class. Undergraduates will eventually need to have a PowerPoint presentation done for this, and Graduate students both a PowerPoint and an HTML version, for posting.

Due September 9, 2011: Outline of "Synoptic and Mesoscale Controls on the Severe Weather Outbreak of May 22, 2011in the east central Great Plains"

  • Only an outline, and not "fleshed out" with text.
  • Limit the number of figures to 6-10.
  • But you can actually look at many more, the total number of which will be pared down.
  • Points on outline should relate directly to figures.
  • Figures should be sequentially numbered in the order they are referred to in the outline.
  • Outline should be thematically logical.
  • Outline points should be content-rich (in other words, something like this "500 mb chart" is not allowed. Meteorological information that relates to the purpose of the section (see title) should be the centerpoint. For example, "
    1. 500 mb chart at 12 UTC 24 May 2004, showing, pattern characteristic of the middle and upper troposphere over the Great Plains.
      1. Note trough axis near the Nebraska-Kansas border, and the strong southwesterly flow over southeastern Nebraska.
      2. Pattern suggests upward vertical velocities centered over southeastern Nebraska with associated divergence in the upper troposphere.
      3. Pattern suggests loaded gun sounding over southeastern Nebraska.
      4. Blah, blah, blah

This exercise will help you plan out what charts you will eventually need to fill out a synoptic overview section.