It has now been more than three months since the SPADE field campaign in the Canadian Rockies came to an end. Since then, I have returned to work on my master’s project at the UQAM research office in Montreal, Qc. My research project is part of SPADE which was the study of precipitation in the Rocky Mountains. The main goal of my master's is to characterize the influence of atmospheric fluid dynamics on the spatial distribution of precipitation at the surface and in complex terrain, and at mountain-ridge and slope scales. A better knowledge of precipitation accumulation patterns, especially mixed and solid precipitation, allows better understanding and prediction of hydrology and water resources, for example during melting periods.
Specifically, we focussed on the influence of disturbed flows by obstacles such as mountains on the spatial variability of hydrometeor preferential deposition. The effect of precipitation types will also be investigated, as the drag coefficient and the fall speed of a hydrometeor depend on its shape and density. To characterize the atmospheric flow, we will conduct simulations of mean-turbulent and stationary flow around a mountain, such as Fortress Mountain, with computational fluid dynamics software OpenFOAM®. This will be combined with numerical models of precipitation trajectories and equations of motion for particles subjected to wind drag force.
Several datasets collected during the SPADE campaign will also be considered in this research. The processing of the data collected by the wind Doppler LiDAR HALO® will allow us to obtain wind speed profiles that we can compare with the numerical flow simulations. Also, the data from the optical disdrometer Parsivel® tells us the main types of precipitation that were observed by the instruments during precipitation events. This can also be used to characterize hydrometer types associated with different wind and other meteorological variables given by other instruments used during the field campaign.
Finally, since returning back home, I’ve been working a lot on the numerical processing of the LiDAR data. I have also worked on a literature review to investigate all the previous work that has been accomplished in that field of atmospheric sciences and to develop a better understanding of wind-induced processes that influence, at small scale, precipitation deposition patterns on the ground.
I am glad to work on a such motivating project that allowed me to discover the Rockies, one of the most beautiful regions of our vast country. I keep wonderful memories of that experience and of the extraordinary people I’ve met.
Mott, Rebecca, Vincent Vionnet, and Thomas Grünewald. "The seasonal snow cover dynamics: review on wind-driven coupling processes." Frontiers in Earth Science 6 (2018): 197.