Convective Clouds and Storms

August 21, 2017
T R 10:00-11:15
METR 6223.001


Professor Bluestein stands before a natural backrop
Howard Bluestein
George Lynn Cross Research Professor


National Weather Center, Room 5930, 120 David L. Boren Blvd, Norman, OK   View map


Fall 2017



METR 6223

Fall 2017

Tues., Thurs. 10-11:15 AM                                NWC 5930

(make-up classes to be scheduled when necessary)

Instructor:  Prof. Howard (Howie “Cb”) Bluestein

NWC 5351 (far northwest corner on 5th floor)

Office phone:  325-3006

e-mail address:

Office hours: Mon., Wed., 1:30 – 2:30 PM (tentative)

Office hours may be cancelled if there is a severe-thunderstorm outbreak (or a threat of the aforementioned).

Other times by appointment please!

Text:  Severe Convective Storms and Tornadoes:  Observations and Dynamics by H. Bluestein, Springer/Praxis, June 2013


Texts (supplemental, but not required):  Atmospheric Convection by K. A. Emanuel, Oxford Univ. Press; Cloud Dynamics by R. A. Houze, Jr., Academic Press; Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology in Midlatitudes (Vol. II) by H. Bluestein, Oxford Univ. Press; Tornado Alley:  Monster Storms of the Great Plains by H. Bluestein, Oxford Univ. Press


Selected recent journal articles and Powerpoint presentations (supplemental; some to be provided on the web) at



METR 5113 (Advanced Atmospheric Dynamics I or equivalent).

Course outline:

  1. Basic dynamics
    1. Buoyancy
    2. Boussinesq approximation
    3. Anelastic approximation
    4. Vorticity equation, circulation analysis, buoyancy and dynamic pressure contributions
  2. Local convection (very brief overview)
    1. Similarity theory
    2. Plumes
    3. Thermals
  3. “Global” convection
    1. Rayleigh convection
    2. Rotational effects
    3. Effects of linear shear (brief overview)
  4. Precipitating convection: Observation and theory
    1. Ordinary cells
    2. Supercells
    3. Mesoscale convective systems (including squall lines and bow echoes)
  5. Tornadoes
    1. Observations
    2. Dynamics


one quiz  (50% each) and one term paper (50%)

There will be some problem sets designed to help you learn the material. These problem sets will be graded qualitatively and used to determine borderline grades.

Note:  Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent him/her from fully demonstrating his/her abilities should contact the instructor personally as soon as possible so the instructor can discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation and facilitate the student’s educational opportunity.