Michelle is a PhD student working with Drs. Petra Klein and Elizabeth Smith. She earned prior degrees at UW-Milwaukee and Metropolitan State University-Denver. She focuses on boundary layer properities in the urban-coastal interface as part of the DOE-AWAKEN project under the OU-NSSL collaboratic CUBIC project.
The TRacking Aerosol and Convective interactions ExpeRiment (TRACER) was designed to increase the understanding of cloud and aerosol interactions in deep convection in Houston, Texas. The TRACER-CUBIC (Coastal Urban Boundary-layer Interactions with Convection) project investigates the evolution of the planetary boundary-layer (PBL) across the larger Houston metro area using Doppler lidar and thermodynamic profiling data sets collected at three sites during the Intensive Observation Period (IOP, 1 June - 25 September 2022). Three mobile profiling systems were deployed along a transect spanning from the coastal region across the city to a suburban area north of Houston. The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory CLAMPS2 was located at the University of Houston Coastal Center about 34 miles southwest of downtown Houston; the University of Wisconsin SPARC at the CSAPR2 site near Pearland, TX about 20 miles south of downtown Houston; and the University of Oklahoma CLAMPS1 in Aldine about 15 miles north of downtown Houston. The CLAMPS and SPARC profiling systems all include a scanning Doppler wind lidar and an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI), providing high temporal resolution boundary-layer profiles of aerosol backscatter, 3-d winds, thermodynamics, and turbulence. TRACER-CUBIC is motivated by studying how complex interactions between synoptic-scale flows, mesoscale circulations related to sea-breeze development, and microscale effects due to urban land-surface modifications influence PBL evolution. These interactions can strongly affect transport of pollutants and trigger local convergence zones that can play an important role in convection initiation. Information from the mobile profiling units, operational near-surface observation networks, satellite data, and radar products are used to identify days when sea-breeze circulations and convection initiation occurred. A fuzzy logic algorithm is applied with lidar and thermodynamic observations to produce estimated PBL heights. Initial results from the algorithm, with an emphasis on sea-breeze cases, as well as other PBL properties throughout the city, are presented and discussed.