Laura Tomkins is in the second year of the Atmospheric Science Master’s program at the University of Kansas and is advised by Professor David Mechem. She is currently conducting research using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to simulate large and dramatic cloud-eroding boundaries in stratocumulus clouds over the Southeast Atlantic Ocean. Stratocumulus clouds act to cool the planet so these boundaries which scour out the clouds are an important research topic.
She hopes that the WRF model will provide important insights into the physical mechanisms of the boundaries. In January 2019, she will be presenting some of her research at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Phoenix, Arizona.
Tomkins was accepted to the Advanced Study Institute (ASI) to assist with the Remote Sensing of Electrification, Lightning, and Mesoscale/ Microscale Processes with Adaptive Ground Observations (RELAMPAGO, which also means "flash of lightning" in Spanish) field campaign in Cordoba, Argentina this fall. RELAMPAGO is a collaborative project which focuses on observing large and intense convective storms which form in the lee of the Andes mountains. The project included faculty, research scientists, and students from institutions in the US, Brazil, and Argentina. Laura assisted with the Doppler on Wheels (DOW) mobile radars provided by the Center for Severe Weather Research. The radars were driven to specific locations around the region where they monitored storms and collected data throughout the day.
Photos: Left, a supercell captured during a severe weather mission during the RELAMPAGO field campaign in Cordoba, Argentina. Right, Laura Tomkins.