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Studies of the Initiation and Organization of Convective Clouds

This is the research home page of Dr. John M. Peters

(currently under construction)


John on the summit of Longs Peak


I completed my Ph.D. in April 2015 under the advisement of Dr. Russ Schumacher. Since then, I have been working in the Precipitation Systems Research Group as a National Science Foundation (NSF) postdoctoral fellow. View my current C.V. and publication list.


I aim to answer very fundamental questions about why thunderstorms organize and behave in particular ways. My recent work has focused on organized clusters of thunderstorms, which are known as mesoscale convective systems (MCSs). For instance, why do some MCSs move quickly from west to east (potentially producing damaging winds), whereas others stall over a fixed location and produce heavy rainfall? What causes individual roating thunderstorms (supercells) to merge into MCSs? How are the environments of MCSs at night different than the analogous MCS environments during the day?

I answer these questions using a combination of numerical modeling and observational experiments. I have used tools such as the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, Cloud Model 1 (CM1), gridded reanalysis data, and in situ radiosonde observations of the environments near and within convective storms. Specific research areas and publications are listed below:

  • Supercells that merge into MCSs

  • Up-wind propagation in MCSs

  • Relative vs. Absolute Buoyancy

  • Elevated conditionally unstable atmospheric layers

  • The influence of synoptic scale motions on MCSs

  • Overlapping tornado and flash flood threats

  • Predictability of persistent atmospheric regimes

  • Miscellaneous