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World of Science: Winter Storms

Fri, Mar 03, 2017 starting at 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Professor to discuss science behind worst winter storms 

Winter storms and the science behind them will be featured in an upcoming World of Science lecture at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College.
winter storm
Dr. David Kristovich will present "Observing the Worst Winter Storms East of the Rockies," Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge. 
Every winter, cold air plunges southward from the frigid northern regions of North America and the Arctic, overspreading much of the contiguous United States. As this air crosses the Great Lakes, the lower atmosphere dramatically changes from being dry and cold to filled with clouds and snow. This process produces the snowbelt regions near the lakes and sometimes results in storms dropping more than three feet of snow. Kristovich will discuss the challenges of taking measurements in these extreme snowstorms, what we know and do not know about them, and how new technologies (such as atmospheric LiDAR systems) are giving us new insights into how they form.
Kristovich is head of the Climate and Atmospheric Science Section (CASS) of the Illinois State Water Survey and an adjunct associate professor in the University of Illinois' Department of Atmospheric Sciences. The water survey is part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. The focus of his research is on mesoscale weather systems (sometimes called "storm scale," with sizes of 10s to 100s km across) that develop because Earth's surface is not uniform. For more than 20 years, Kristovich has examined these systems and the long-term changes in how often they occur. CASS focuses on providing climate information to the public, especially through the Illinois State Climatologist Office and the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, and it conducts basic and applied atmospheric research leading to improved weather and climate predictions.
Following Kristovich's talk, the Staerkel Planetarium will present The Stargazer. Tickets for regular planetarium programs range from $5 to $6. For a full planetarium show schedule, call 217/351-2446 or see www.parkland.edu/planetarium.

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