The physics of atmospheric instability, lightning, and global warming

Monday, September 21, 2015 - 4:25pm
Room #1 LeConte Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Public Lecture: 

With a long list of unsolved problems -- many of them directly relevant to our daily experience -- Earth's atmosphere is a rich playground for physicists.  This richness stems from the presence of water, which interacts with radiation and thermodynamics in ways that fundamentally alter the nature of the atmosphere.  As a consequence, there are many basic questions about the atmosphere that remain unsolved, such as: what sets the speed of updrafts in storms?  Although this question remains unanswered, progress has recently been made on many related topics.  In this talk, I will give an overview of the progress from the last two years on the development of theories for relative humidity, convective instability, lightning, severe weather, and their responses to global warming.