Minutes of the November 14, 2011 Meeting
Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter


Around 12 people met first for dinner at the Downtown Grill and Brewery, and then 17 members convened at the University of Tennessee Ag campus to hear Dr. Kevin Birdwell (Oak Ridge National Laboratories) speak on "Wind Regimes in the Complex Terrain of the Great Valley of Eastern Tennessee". The following was an abstract of his talk: "This research was designed to provide a better understanding of physical wind mechanisms within the complex terrain of the Great Valley of Eastern Tennessee to assess the impacts of regional air flow with regard to synoptic and mesoscale weather changes, wind direction shifts, and air quality. Meteorological data from 2008-2009 were analyzed from 13 meteorological sites along with associated upper-level data. Up to 15 ancillary sites were used for background reference. Two-step complete linkage and K-means cluster analyses, synoptic weather studies, and ambient meteorological comparisons were performed to generate hourly wind classifications. These wind regimes revealed seasonal variations of underlying physical wind mechanisms (forced channeled, vertically coupled, pressure-driven, and thermally-driven winds). Synoptic and ambient meteorological analysis (mixing depth, pressure gradient, pressure gradient ratio, atmospheric and surface stability) suggested up to 93% accuracy for the clustered results. Probabilistic prediction schemes of wind flow and wind class change were developed through characterization of flow change data and wind class succession."

Biography of Kevin: Kevin R. Birdwell graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geography from Murray State University in Murray, KY in 1988 and worked part-time for the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at ORNL during 1988-1991. He was employed as a meteorological research associate for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Atmospheric and Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) from 1991 to 2001. During that time, he received his Master of Science (1996) from Murray State University. Kevin completed his Ph.D. in Geography with an emphasis on environmental change, weather, and climate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2011. He has been employed with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) since 2001 as the manager of the on-site meteorological program, a meteorologist in the ORNL Emergency Operations Center, and as a researcher with the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division. His research has focused on complex terrain meteorology, air quality and dispersion, paleoclimates, and environmental change.




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