Texas Tech University

Thunderstorms, Tornadoes and Lightning


Ongoing research includes observational and numerical modeling studies of thunderstorm cold pool formation, the origin of low-level vorticity, and vorticity dynamics at storm and tornado scales.

Lightning depends on thunderstorm properties at all scales, from electrification's dependence on cloud microphysical conditions, including the impact of environmental thermodynamics and entrainment, to the distribution of flash sizes and electrical energy, that are controlled by the turbulent kinematic trajectories in storms that organize the texture of charge.

The structure of the dryline is being investigated with an emphasis on convection initiation.


Dr. Eric Bruning, Cloud and precipitation microphysics, thunderstorm electrification and lightning.

Dr. Johannes Dahl, Dynamics of convective storms, cloud scale numerical modeling and forecasting severe thunderstorms.

Dr. Christopher Weiss, Observations and modeling of severe thunderstorm processes (especially relevant to tornadogenesis), dryline dynamics and convection initiation.

Research Facilities

Our observational work makes extensive use of the TTU Ka-band mobile Doppler radars and StickNet observing platforms, with background conditions provided by the West Texas Mesonet, and when needed our radiosonde facility. The continuously operating West Texas Lightning Mapping Array provides total lightning data for all storms in the region and is the foundation for storm electricity studies.

Related Graduate Courses

  • ATMO 5316: (3:3:0) Dynamics of Severe Storms
  • ATMO 5321: (3:3:0) Cloud and Precipitation Physics
  • ATMO 5322: (3:3:0) Atmospheric Electricity
  • ATMO 5327: (3:3:0) Radar Meteorology