Thunderstorms in the present, past and future

Speaker: Courtney Schumacher

Date: Wed, Mar 23, 2022

Location: PIMS, University of Victoria, Online, Zoom

Conference: PIMS-UVic Distinguished Colloquium

Subject: Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics: Climate Modelling

Class: Scientific


  • What do thunderstorms look like on the inside?
  • Were they any different 30 to 50 thousand years ago?
  • How might they change in the next 100 years as global temperatures continue to rise?

The presentation will start with how a thunderstorm looks in 3-D using radar technology and lightning mapping arrays. We will then travel tens of thousands of years into the past using chemistry analysis of cave stalactites in Texas to see how storms behaved as the climate underwent large shifts in temperature driven by glacial variability. I will end the talk with predictions of how lightning frequency may change over North America by the end of the century using numerical models run on supercomputers, and the potential impacts to humans and ecosystems.