Prof. Daniel Kirshbaum

Daniel Kirshbaum

Mesoscale Meteorology

Daniel Kirshbaum
Associate Professor, Ph. D. (Washington)
Mesoscale Meteorology

Office: Burnside Hall 839
Tel: (514) 398-3347
Fax: (514) 398-6115
daniel.kirshbaum [at] (E-Mail)


Research Interests

Mesoscale dynamics and moist convection: Moist convection is a major source of severe weather and plays a key role in the climate system. Because convective clouds form at very small spatiotemporal scales and are fundamentally turbulent and chaotic, they are inadequately understood and poorly resolved in weather and climate models. This poor resolution introduces large forecast uncertainties, which can be partially mitigated by ensemble methods (for convection-permitting models) or well-formulated physical parameterization schemes (for larger-scale models).

The initiation of convective clouds in a conditionally unstable atmosphere is often constrained by mesoscale processes that lift air to its level of free convection (LFC). The dynamics of such processes (including mountain flows, fronts, drylines, and outflow boundaries) are thus another topic of intensive study in my group. However, lifting to the LFC is only a necessary condition for convection initiation—other dynamical and microphysical processes (e.g., vertical wind shear, entrainment of dry environmental air, and the formation of ice) control whether such a cloud will ascend through the troposphere and produce precipitation. My research uses a combination of observations and models of varying complexity to investigate the dynamics, microphysics, and predictability of moist convection and its attendant precipitation. It also aims to quantify key related processes using simple mathematical models, to facilitate the improvement of cumulus parameterization.

Current projects

  • The impact of mesoscale ascent on the vertical development of cumulus convection.
  • The transition from shallow-to-deep convection
  • Physical mechanisms behind quasi-stationary convective storms.
  • Orographic precipitation: morphology, sensitivities, and prediction.
  • Parameterization of shallow and deep convection in large-scale models.
  • Predictability of convective precipitation in convection-permitting weather forecast models.

Some recent publications (see my personal website for complete list)

Fairman*, J. G. Jr, D. M. Schultz, D. J. Kirshbaum, S. L. Gray, and A. I. Barrett*, 2016: Climatology of banded precipitation over the contiguous United States.  Mon. Wea. Rev., 144(12): 4553--4568.

Teixeira, M. A. C., D. J. Kirshbaum, H. Olafsson, P. F. Sheridan, and I. Stiperski, 2016: Editorial: The Atmosphere over Mountainous Regions. Front. Earth Sci., 4: 84.

Kovacs*, M. and D. J. Kirshbaum, 2016: Topographic impacts on the spatial distribution of deep convection over southern Québec.  J. Appl. Meteorol. Clim., 55: 743-762.

Barrett*, A. I., S. L. Gray, D. J. Kirshbaum, N. M. Roberts, D. M. Schultz and J. G. Fairman*, Jr, 2016: The utility of convection-permitting ensembles for the prediction of stationary convective bands. Mon. Wea. Rev., 144: 1093-1114.

Kirshbaum, D. J., F. Fabry, and Q. Cazenave, 2016: The Mississippi Valley convection minimum on summer afternoons: observations and numerical simulations.  Mon. Wea. Rev., 144: 263-272.

Wang, C.-C. and D. J. Kirshbaum, 2015: Thermally forced convection over a mountainous tropical island. J. Atmos. Sci., 72: 2484-2506. DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-14-0325.1.

Kirshbaum, D. J. and J. G. Fairman, Jr., 2015: Cloud trails past the Lesser Antilles. Mon. Wea. Rev., 143: 995-1017. DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-14-00254.1.

Cannon, D. J., D. J. Kirshbaum, and S. L. Gray, 2014: A mixed-phase bulk orographic precipitation model with embedded convection. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 140: 1997-2012.

Hanley, K. E., D. J. Kirshbaum, N. M. Roberts, and G. Leoncini, 2013: Sensitivities of a squall line over central Europe in a convective-scale ensemble..Mon. Wea. Rev., 141: 112–133.

Kirshbaum, D. J. and A. L. M. Grant, 2012: Invigoration of cumulus cloud fields by mesoscale ascent.Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc., 138: 2136-2150.