Photo shot across Lake Wichita TX on 10 April 1979 of the famous tornado

Well I needed an update to my research page....So here is a photo from the archives, this picture is a rather famous one from the 10 April 1979 outbreak in northwest Texas. I was 17 years old at the time, and the resulting long-lived squall line continued all night into the next day across southwest Missouri where I was a senior in high school. The tornado warnings in Springfield that next morning further inspired me to come to the University of Oklahoma and study meteorology that fall.

NSSL/FRDD Rm 3332, 120 David L. Boren Boulevard, Norman, OK 73072
November 10, 2020

Research Interests

Recent History:

From August 2012 to June 2016, I was the project manager for NOAA's Warn on Forecast program which researchs NWP methods to predict hazardous weather from convective resolving models. Dr. Pam Heinselman now leads the WoF program for NOAA and NSSL.

Since 2016 I have been the chief scientist for the WoF program where I continue to study storm-scale data assimilation methods, convective predictability, and research new numerical methods to improve non-hydrostatic model predictions.

    As part of that work, I am interested in a number of related scientific problems....

  1. Nonhydrostatic atmospheric model development (particularily numerical methods used to solve the non-hydrostatic compressible Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes equations)
  2. The use of the ensemble Kalman filter and the local particle filter to assimilate storm-scale radar and satellite observations for analysis and prediction
  3. Dynamics and predictability of severe storms and tornadoes
  4. Radar and other in situ observations of supercell thunderstorms

Professional History

I have a broad set of research interests which generally are focused on numerical analysis, simulation, and forecasts of severe convection and tornadoes. My original research interests in supercells and tornadoes can be traced back to nearly my high school days in the late 1970s. While obtaining my undergraduate and Master's degrees at University of Oklahoma in the 1980s, I became an avid storm chaser and eventually was fortunate enough to be able to work on some of the first in situ deployments of instruments near severe storms with my mentors: Howie Bluestein (OU) and later Don Burgess and Bob Davies-Jones (NSSL). I got the modeling bug while doing my work with Dr. Tzvi Gal-Chen on satellite temperature assimilation for my Master's degree. I left Oklahoma in summer of 1986 to begin a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. I was fortunate to have Dr. Robert Wilhelmson as my dissertation advisor and together we investigated tornadogenesis within supercells using some of the first sub-200m resolution numerical simulations. The work was facilitated and supported by one of the five original and newly formed NSF computing centers, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. I became very interested in the developing paradigm of "computational science" that is now ubiquitous across most scientific disciplines. During most of the 1990s I was a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University. In 1999 I was very fortunate to be able to return to my meteorological roots here in Norman as a scientist at the National Severe Storms Lab. My work today continues to focus on severe storms and tornadoes. The tremendous effort and resulting progress by hundreds of scientists during the past 30 years has led to a substantial increase in our scientific understanding of severe weather, and this progress has led to improved forecasts and more accurate warnings for the U.S. public.

Recent Publications

Dynamics of severe storms and tornadoes

Oliveira, M. I., M. Xue, B. Roberts, L. J. Wicker, and Nusrat Yussouf, 2019: Horizontal vortex tubes near a simulated tornado: Three-dimensional structure and kinematics. Atmosphere, 10 (v11) 716. PDF Available Here

Flora, M. L., C. Potvin, L. J. Wicker, 2018: Practical Predictability of Supercells: Exploring Ensemble Forecast Sensitivity to Initial Condition Spread. Mon. Wea. Rev., 146, 2361-2379. PDF Available Here

Coffer, B., M. D. Parker, J. M. Dahl, L. J. Wicker, and A. J. Clark, 2017: Volatility of tornadogenesis: An ensemble of simulated nontornadic and tornadic supercells in VORTEX2 environments. Mon. Wea. Rev., 145, 4605-4625. PDF Available Here

Observation and analyses of supercells and tornadoes

Wienhoff, Z. B., H. E. Bluestein, D. W. Reif, R. M. Wakimoto, and L. J. Wicker, 2020: Analysis of debris signature characteristics and evolution in the 24 May 2016 Dodge City, Kansas, tornadoes. Mon. Wea. Rev. 148, 5063-5086. PDF available here.

Weinhoff, Z. B., H. B. Bluestein, L. J. Wicker, J. C. Snyder, A. Shapiro, C. K. Potvin, J. B. Houser, D. W. Reif, 2018: Applications of a spatially variable advection correction technique for temporal correction of dual-Doppler analyses of tornadic supercells. Mon. Wea. Rev., 146, 2949-2971. PDF available here.

Betten, D. P., M. I. Biggerstaff, and L. J. Wicker, 2017: A trajectory mapping technique for the visualization and analysis of three-dimensional flows in supercell storms. J. Atmos. Ocea. Tech., 34, 33-49. PDF available here.

Recent papers on the development of data assimilation methods for convective storms

Kerr, C., L. J. Wicker, and P. Skinner 2020: Updraft-based adaptive assimilation of radial velocity observations in a Warn-on-Forecast system. Wea. Forecasting, In press. PDF Available Here

Wang, Y., J. Gao, P. S. Skinner, K. Knopfmeier, T. Jones, G. Creager, P. L. Heinselman, L. J. Wicker, 2019: Test of a Weather-Adaptive Dual-Resolution Hybrid Warn-on-Forecast Analysis and Forecast System for Several Severe Weather Events. Wea. Forecasting. 34, 1807-1827. PDF Available Here

Poterjoy, J., L. J. Wicker, and M. Buehner 2019: Progress in the development of a nonlinear data assimilation strategy for high-dimensional systems. Mon. Wea. Rev. 147, 1107–1126. PDF Available Here

Numerical methods for nonhydrostatic models

Wicker, L. J. and W. C. Skamarock, 2020: An Implicit-Explicit Vertical Transport Scheme for Convective Allowing Models Mon. Wea. Rev., Accepted 9 July 2020 PDF Available Here

Flyer, N., G. Barnett, L. J. Wicker, 2016: Enhancing finite differences with radial basis functions: Experiments on the Navier–Stokes equations. J. Comp. Phys., 316 39-62. DOI: PDF Available Here

Wicker, L. J., and W. C. Skamarock, 2002: Time-splitting methods for elastic models using forward time schemes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 130, 2088–2097.

To search my complete list of recent publications, please see NSSL's Publications Search or download my curriculum vitae below.

Current Vitae

Louis J. Wicker (.pdf, last updated 14 January 2021)

Other Interests

Using Git and Dropbox

How to Use Git and Dropbox

Python in computational science

Lou's Python Page

Reproducible research in computational science

Reproducible Research Blog offsite ink warning

Randy LeVeque: Wave propagation software, computational science, and reproducible research offsite ink warning (.pdf, 412 kB)

Randy LeVeque: Python tools for reproducible research on hyperbolic problems offsite ink warning