Overview of MMM Laboratory

The Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Laboratory (MMM) excels in fundamental research covering the dynamics and physics of mesoscale (1 – 1000 km) and microscale (10-6 – 1000m) atmospheric phenomena, with an emphasis on processes, prediction and predictability. MMM collaborates within NCAR and throughout the research community to improve atmospheric predictive capability as part of earth-system prediction across a wide range of space and time scales.

To advance atmospheric science, MMM has endeavored to produce the most accurate and computationally efficient numerical models, more effective systems of data assimilation, and better representations of processes not currently resolved in weather and climate models. The results of our efforts, with extensive external contributions, include advancements in the Weather Research Forecasting (WRF) model, the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS), and sophisticated codes for cloud-resolving and eddy-resolving simulations. MMM also plays a central role in the emerging unification of atmospheric simulation capability across NCAR.

MMM continues to emphasize boundary-layer, turbulence and cloud-microphysics research. Recently, we have seen the emergence of eddy-resolving simulations of mesoscale phenomena such as tropical cyclones, general moist convection and fronts in the upper ocean. We are thus better positioned to address multi-scale dynamics and compare our models with observations of turbulent flows to develop a deep understanding of interactions across a continuous spectrum of mesoscale and microscale atmospheric motions.

The science of MMM is motivated by the societal need for improved information relevant to decision making in the face of high-impact weather. MMM has continued to investigate the practical predictability of hazards on short time scales, and statistics of extremes out to decadal time scales. We are exploring the information content of ensemble prediction and better ways to convey uncertainty in the environment of complex sources of rapidly changing information. These efforts, coupled with fundamental research to improve simulation tools and understand processes, allow MMM to lead our community toward next-generation prediction capabilities.

In summary, the fundamental research conducted in MMM is essential to the understanding of the earth system and developing innovative techniques to predict it. This annual report highlights a number of the efforts we undertook in Fiscal Year 2018 to advance key components of the current NCAR Strategic Plan.