Severe and Hazardous Weather: An Introduction to High Impact Meteorology

Author(s): Robert Rauber, John Walsh, Donna Charlevoix

Edition: 6

Copyright: 2022


Details: Print Product |

The fifth edition can be found HERE 


Extreme weather and climate events have impacted every region of the United States and many regions throughout the world during the five years since the publication of the previous edition of Severe and Hazardous Weather. The recent fires in California and Oregon were heartbreaking to watch. The number of billion-dollar disasters attributable to weather and climate has been unprecedented. Hurricane Harvey caused record flooding in Houston, and Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Two Caribbean Islands, Barbuda and Grand Bahama were struck directly by Category 5 winds. Heat waves, once a rare summer event, are now happening every year. A bitter cold wave in 2021 had disastrous consequences in the southern United States. Meanwhile, the last 5 years were the hottest years on record globally, as the decades-long warnings of climate scientists have begun to come to fruition.

Science has continued its relentless charge to understand these events and improve their prediction. Scientists work tirelessly to study how hazardous weather systems develop, although the pace was slowed in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerical modeling continues to advance at a rapid pace, leading to more accurate weather forecasts and more reliable climate projections. Researchers have made progress in understanding relationships between climate change and hazardous weather.

The 6th edition of Severe and Hazardous Weather is a response to all these changes. A new chapter on Fire Weather is the highlight. Well over a hundred figures in other chapters have been updated to reflect the latest scientific information and the most recent events. Throughout the text, high quality updated figures give the book a clear, bright new look. More importantly, the science presented in the book has been updated with the latest findings. Significant changes have been made in many chapters, reflecting new understanding of hazardous weather. The material on the linkages between climate change and severe weather has been expanded and updated.

The goal in Severe and Hazardous Weather continues to be to provide a current, relevant, and scientifically accurate discussion of all types of hazardous weather. It opens the doors to an understanding of severe and hazardous weather and allows each student to develop an appreciation for the complexities and power of weather. In a more practical vein, it helps readers to better prepare for hazardous weather, be more aware of what is happening when hazardous weather threatens, and to safely react when hazardous weather strikes.




Chapter 1 Properties of the Atmosphere
Key Words
- FUN FACT Degree-days—A Measure of Energy Consumption
- FUN FACT Dangerous Weather Is Always Nearby
- Moisture Variables
- FUN FACT Extreme Indoor Relative Humidity in Winter
- Phase Changes and Clouds

Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 2 Meteorological Measurements

Key Words
Surface Measurements
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY A Historical Perspective on Technology in Meteorology
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY The U.S. National Weather Service

- ADVANCED TOPIC The Doppler Shift and Doppler Radars
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Doppler Radar and Tornadoes
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Radar Estimated Precipitation and Flood Forecasting

Satellites and Satellite Imagery
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Soundings from GPS and COSMIC Satellites
Lightning Detection
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 3 Weather Maps
Key Words
The Surface Station Model and Surface Weather Maps
Pressure as a Vertical Coordinate
Constant Pressure Maps
- ADVANCED TOPIC 500 mb Maps and Vorticity
- METEOROLOGY AND MAPS Upper Air Maps and the Internet

Cross Sections
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 4 Forecasting and Simulating Hazardous Weather
Key Words
Weather Forecasting Using Computer Models
- Initializing and Running a Model
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY The Origin of Numerical Weather Prediction

Output from Models
- ADVANCED TOPIC Synopsis of Operational NWP Models
Limitations of Weather Forecast Models
Research Models
- FUN FACT A Perspective on Weather Prediction
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 5 Climate and Global Change
Key Words
Controls of Climate
Seasonal Cycle
Pressure Patterns
Land and its Effects on Climate
Causes of Climate Change
- ADVANCED TOPIC Determining Past Climates
- Long Term (Millions of Years)
- Medium Term (Thousands to Hundreds of Thousands of Years)
- FUN FACT Ice-Age Weather
- Short Term (Several Years to Hundreds of Years)
- EXTREME EVENT The Year without a Summer

Recent and Ongoing Climate Change
Future Climate Change
Impacts of a Changing Climate
- ADVANCED TOPIC Attribution of Changes in Hazardous Weather
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 6 Atmospheric Stability
Key Words
The Concept of Stability
Lapse Rates
Determining Stability
Mechanisms that Cause Air to Rise
- FUN FACT Thunderstorms Over Mountains
Stability Indices
- ADVANCED TOPIC Stability, Capping Inversions and Severe Storms
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 7 Forces and Force Balances
Key Words
Forces That Affect Atmospheric Motion
- The Pressure-Gradient Force
- FUN FACT Experience the Change of Pressure Across a Hurricane Eyewall
- The Gravitational Force
- The Frictional Force
- The Coriolis Force

Newton’s Laws of Motion
Force Balances
- Hydrostatic Balance
- Geostrophic Balance

Summary of Forces and Force Balances
Geostrophic Balance and the Jet Stream
- STORMS AND SOCIETY Flying and the Jet Stream
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 8 The Development of High- and Low-Pressure Systems
Key Words
Force Imbalances
- Curved Flow
- Jet Streaks
- ADVANCED TOPIC Multiple Jet streaks
- Combined Effect of Curvature and Jet Streaks

The Friction Layer
Effects of Heating and Cooling
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 9 Airmasses and Fronts
Key Words
- FUN FACT Tornadoes from Clashing Airmasses?
- Cold Fronts
- Warm Fronts
- Stationary Fronts
- Occluded Fronts
- Dry Lines
- Upper-Level Fronts
Finding Fronts on Weather Maps
- METEOROLOGY AND MAPS The Origins of Fronts on Maps
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 10 Extratropical Cyclones Forming East of the Rocky Mountains
Key Words
The Environment Prior to the Development of a Cyclone
The Initial Development of the Cyclone
Initial Movement of the Airmasses
Early Weather Along the Fronts
- East of the Cyclone Center
- South of the Cyclone Center
     Upper-Level Front, Dry Line, and Cold Front Present
     A Paci‑c Front: The Upper-Level Front and Dry Line Aligned
     Cold Front Only
- Northwest of Cyclone Center
     Summary of Early Weather

Storm Intensi‑cation
- ADVANCED TOPIC The Environment on the Great Plains During Cyclone Formation
The Mature Cyclone
- FUN FACT Alberta Clippers
The Dissipating Cyclone
Continental Cyclones and Global Climate Change
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 11 Extratropical Cyclones Forming Along the East and Gulf Coasts
Key Words
East Coast Cyclones
- The Environment Before the Development of an East Coast Cyclone
- The Initial Development of the Cyclone
- FUN FACT Bomb Cyclones
- Fronts, Airow, and Weather Conditions
- STORMS AND SOCIETY The Blizzard  of 1888
- Storm Evolution
- EXTREME EVENTS March 2018 Nor’Easters Slam East Coast

Gulf Coast Cyclones
- The East Coast Storm Track
- The Mississippi—Ohio River Valley Storm Track

Forecasting and Assessing the Impact of Coastal Cyclones
- Coastal Cyclones and Global Climate Change
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 12 Freezing Precipitation and Ice Storms
Key Words
Supercooled Water
Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere During Freezing Precipitation
- Freezing Rain
- Freezing Drizzle
- STORMS AND SOCIETY The Roselawn, Indiana, ATR72 Aircraft Accident and Freezing Drizzle Aloft

Weather Patterns Associated with Freezing Precipitation
- FUN FACT Wind and Ice Storms
Forecasting Freezing Precipitation
- EXTREME EVENT The 1998 Northeast Ice Storm
Distribution of Freezing Precipitation in North America
Freezing Precipitation and Global Climate Change
- EXTREME EVENT 2008 Disastrous Ice Storms in China
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 13 Lake-Effect Snowstorms
Key Words
The Large-scale Weather Pattern for Lake-effect Snowstorms
Lake-effect Snowstorm Development
- EXTREME EVENTS Buffalo Snows of November 2014
Climatology of Lake-effect Snows
Organization of Lake-effect Snowfall
- Wind-parallel Rolls
- Shore-parallel Bands
- FUN FACT A Forecaster’s Nightmare
- Vortices
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OWLeS and the Tug Hill Plateau
Lake-enhanced Snowfall
Lake-effect Snow and Global Climate Change
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 14 Cold Waves
Key Words
- FUN FACT Extreme Cold in the Arctic
Formation of Cold Airmasses
Outbreaks of Cold Air into Middle Latitudes of North America
- EXTREME EVENT Bitter Cold over the United States in 2018 and 2019
Extreme Cold in Europe and Asia
Wind Chill
- EXTREME EVENT The Cold Air Outbreak of February 2021: Disaster in Texas
Cold Waves and Global Climate Change
- ADVANCED TOPIC Cold Air Outbreaks and the Polar Vortex
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 15 Great Plains Blizzards
Key Words
- STORMS AND SOCIETY Hypothermia, Frostbite, and Blizzards
Cold, Wind, and Snow
Colorado Cyclones and Blizzards
- EXTREME EVENT The Blizzards of 2019
- FUN FACT Snow Rollers

Alberta Clippers and Blizzards
Ground Blizzards
Blizzard Safety
- EXTREME EVENT The Great Chicago Blizzard of 2011
Forecasting Blizzards
Blizzards and Global Climate Change
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 16 Mountain Snowstorms
Key Words
Key Mountain Ranges
- FUN FACT Avalanche!

Source of Mountain Snowstorms
- EXTREME EVENT The Atmospheric Rivers of 2019
Storms Along the Western Slopes of the United States
Storms on the East Slope of the Rockies
- EXTREME EVENT The Upslope Snowstorm of March 2021
Global Climate Change: Mountain Snows and Dwindling Water Supplies
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 17 Mountain Windstorms
Key Words
The Dynamics of Downslope Windstorms
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY T-REX and the Hunt for Rotors
Chinook Windstorms of the Rocky Mountains
- FUN FACT Rapid Temperature Fluctuations
Forecasting Chinooks
- EXTREME EVENT A 2018 Chinook Event in Wyoming and Colorado
Windstorms of California
Katabatic Winds
- FUN FACT Katabatic Winds in North America
Mountain Windstorms and Global Climate Change
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 18 Thunderstorms
Key Words
Ordinary Thunderstorms
- FUN FACT How Much Water Is in a Thunderstorm?
Mesoscale Convective Systems
- EXTREME EVENT Midwest Derecho
Frontal Squall Lines
Supercell Thunderstorms
- FUN FACT Low Precipitation (LP) and High Precipitation (HP) Supercells
Thunderstorms and Global Climate Change
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 19 Tornadoes
Key Words
Tornado Formation in Supercells
- ADVANCED TOPIC Tornado Winds
- EXTREME EVENT The Tri-State Tornado of 1925
- EXTREME EVENT The Tornado Outbreak of 27 April 2011 in the Southeast United States

Tornado Formation within Non-supercell Thunderstorms
- FUN FACTS Other Tornado-like Vortices
Tornado Statistics
Tornado Detection
Tornado Forecasting
Tornado Safety
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 20 Hailstorms
Key Words
- FUN FACT How Big is a Hailstone?
Hail Embryo Formation
Hailstone Growth
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Hail Suppression—Can Hail Damage Be Reduced?
- FUN FACT Hail and “Green” Thunderstorms

Forecasting and Detection of Hail
Distribution and Impacts of Hail
- EXTREME EVENT San Antonio’s Billion-Dollar Hailstorm of April, 2016
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 21 Lightning
Key Words
The Nature of Lightning
Electricity and Charge
Charge Distribution and Charging Mechanisms in Thunderstorms
- Interface Charging
- Induction charging
- FUN FACT Lightning in Hurricanes

The Lightning Stroke
- FUN FACT Ball Lightning
Other Phenomena Associated with Electrical Discharges in the Atmosphere
Lightning Safety
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 22 Downbursts
Key Words
Downburst Formation
Environmental Conditions Associated with Microburst Development
Downburst Structure
Types of Microbursts
- FUN FACTS Heatbursts: Warm Blasts from Downdrafts
The Problem for Aircraft
- EXTREME EVENT The Andrews Air Force Base Microburst of 1983
Modern Technology to Detect Microbursts
Prediction of Conditions Favorable for Microbursts
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 23 El Niño, La Niña, and the Southern Oscillation
Key Words
The Southern Oscillation
Evolution of ENSO events
- FUN FACTS The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)
Consequences of El Niño and La Niña
- ADVANCED TOPIC ENSO, the IOD, and Hurricane Activity
- EXTREME EVENTS El Niño and “Snowmageddon” in the Winter of 2009–2010

Monitoring the Southern Oscillation
El Niño and Global Warming
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Monitoring the Tropical Paci‑c Ocean
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 24 Tropical Cyclones
Key Words
Worldwide Hurricane Occurrences
Hurricane Tracks
Hurricane Structure
Tropical Cyclone Formation and Intensi‑cation
- Trigger Mechanisms for Thunderstorms in the Tropics
- The Environment Required for Tropical Cyclones to Form from Thunderstorm Clusters
- How Thunderstorms Organize into a Hurricane

Destructive Forces in a Hurricane
- Storm Surge
- Other Disastrous Forces in Hurricanes
- EXTREME EVENTS Vulnerability of U.S. Coastal Cities
- EXTREME EVENTS Caribbean Devastation

Forecasting Hurricane Tracks and Intensity
Global Climate Change: Potential Effects on Hurricanes
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 25 Floods
Key Words
- EXTREME EVENT Worldwide Floods
Types of Floods
- FUN FACT Watersheds, River Stages, and Floodplains
North American Flood Weather Patterns
- Flooding Following Landfall of Tropical Cyclones
- Flooding from Other Tropical Weather Systems
- Flooding from Mesoscale Convective Systems
- EXTREME EVENT Mississippi River Floods
- Flooding from Frontal Overrunning
- Flooding Compounded by Snowmelt
- Flash Floods of the Desert Southwest
- Flash Floods Along the East Slope of the Rocky Mountains
- West Coast Floods
Flood Forecasting and Safety
- STORMS AND SOCIETY The Cleanup—Who’s Responsible?
Global Climate Change: Potential Effects on Floods
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 26 Drought
Key Words
- EXTREME EVENT Drought Disasters Occur Worldwide
Indices of Drought
Causes of Drought
Drought in the Central United States
- The Drought of the Early 2010s
- The Drought of 1988
- The Drought of the 1930s: The Dust Bowl

Drought in the Eastern United States
- EXTREME EVENT Flash Droughts
Drought in the Western United States
- FUN FACT River Flows and Water Rights in the West
Historical Perspective on Drought
Global Climate Change: Potential Effects on Drought
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 27 Heat Waves
Key Words
- EXTREME EVENT Recent Heat Waves Around the World
Measures of Heat Stress
- EXTREME EVENT How High Can the Heat Index Go?
- WEATHER AND SOCIETY Heat Disorders and Safety Tips

Meteorological Conditions Associated with Heat Waves
Urban Heat Island Effect
Memorable Heat Waves in the United States
- The Summer of 2020: Record Heat in the West
- Heat Waves of 2012: Record-Setting Spring and Summer Temperatures
- The July 1995 Heat Wave: Chicago and the Midwest
- Heat Waves of the 1930s
- FUN FACT The 1930s and the Advent of Air-Conditioning

Global Climate Change: Potential Effects on Heat Waves
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Chapter 28 Fire Weather
Key Words
The Nature of Wildfires
Wildfire and Climate
- EXTREME EVENT Australian Wildfires
Anatomy of a Wildfire
- FUN FACT Fire Whirls
Weather Impacts
- Relative Humidity and Wood Combustibility
- Temperature and Wildfires
- Wind and Wildfire Spread
- Lightning as a Trigger

Fire Forecasting
Fighting Wildfires
Impacts of Wildfires
Wildfire Management
Fire and Climate Change
Test Your Understanding
Test Your Problem-Solving Skills

Appendix A
Units, Conversions, and Constants

Appendix B
Blank Maps and Charts

Appendix C
Geography Overview

Appendix D
Watches, Warnings, and Advisories for Severe and Hazardous Weather



Robert Rauber

Bob Rauber: Bob is professor and head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois. He maintains active research programs in the fields of mesoscale meteorology, radar meteorology, and precipitation physics, and has been an investigator in over 20 major field research campaigns. Bob’s research has appeared in numerous scientific journals and he has authored articles for a number of encyclopedias. Bob has received multiple teaching awards from the University of Illinois, served seven years as chief editor and five as editor of the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

John Walsh

John Walsh: John Walsh, professor emeritus, has taught atmospheric science courses at the University of Illinois for over 35 years, primarily at the introductory undergraduate level. His research emphasizes climate and climate change, particularly in the polar regions. He has been a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and for the US National Climate Assessment. He has served on the National Research Council’s Polar Research Board and on the Board of Atmospheric Science and Climate’s Commit- tee on Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change Attribution. He is an editor of the Journal of Climate and a Fellow of the AMS.

Donna Charlevoix

Donna Charlevoix: Donna Charlevoix is the Director of Education and Community Engagement for a science facility of the National Science Foundation and holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the University of Illinois where she taught meteorology and science education-focused courses for over 15 years. She is also the recipient of multiple teaching awards. Donna is the education editor for the Bulletin of the AMS and serves as Commissioner of Education and Human Resources for the AMS. She also serves on the Board of Directors for a children’s science museum in the Boulder area.

Related ISBN's: 9781792462818, 9798765705315, 9781792462856




ISBN 9781792462818

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