Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Atmospheric and Earth Science

Committee Chair

John R. Mecikalski

Committee Member

Udaysankar Nair

Committee Member

Kevin Knupp


Thunderstorm forecasting--Ala.bama, Convection (Meteorology)


In the Southeast U.S., summer days with abundant “pop-up” thunderstorms are common and strong synoptic forcing is not needed to initiate them. The goal of this study is to explain and ultimately enhance predictability of summertime convective initiation in these tranquil environments. Spatial non-randomness arises, with greater event density appearing over high elevation by midday. Late in the day, event counts subside with another mechanism emerging (urban heat island). Antecedent rainfall, instability, and moisture are higher on average where convective initiation occurred. In terms of feature importance, elevation is more important in the early to mid-afternoon while antecedent rainfall and wind direction consistently are the most important overall. Future work includes implementation of additional features, average soundings over areas of differing event density, and further machine learning analysis.



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