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Thomas Spengler

Professor, Director fo the Research School on Changing Climates in the coupled Earth System and President of the International Commission on the Dynamical Meteorology
  • E-mailThomas.Spengler@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 98 46
  • Visitor Address
    Geophysical Institute
    Allegaten 70
    5020 Bergen
    Room 
    229
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7803
    5020 BERGEN

Profile

I am a meteorologist focusing on the combination of theory, observations, and modelling, specialized on scales ranging from meso, synoptic, to large-scale flow and participated and coordinated several field campaigns.

Since 2015, I am the director of the RCN funded Norwegian Research School on Changing Climates in the Coupled Earth System (CHESS).

I am currently leading research projects focusing on atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions in higher latitudes as well as air-sea interactions and cyclone development in the midlatitude storm tracks.

In 2012 I was elected as a member of the International Commission for Dynamic Meteorology and was elected President of ICDM in 2019. From 2015-2019, I was the elected as Chair of the Atmospheric Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC).

I was awarded the prize for best lecturer of the academic year 2012/2013 at the Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen and nominated for the IAMAS early career scientist medal in 2013.

Research areas

  • Air-Ice-Sea Interactions in the Marginal Ice Zone
  • Jet Stream Dynamics and Variability
  • Polar Lows
  • Tropical-Extratropical Interactions
  • Teleconnections
  • Baroclinic and Diabatic Intensification of Extratropical Cyclones
  • Heat Lows
  • Orographic Slope and Valley Winds
  • Flow over and around Topography

I am leading a science outreach project together with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in which we feature four concerts as part of the regular concert series for the season 2019-2020. The themes of the four concerts are: Space, Ocean, Climate, and Humankind. More information about the project can be found on https://nestesteg.w.uib.no/.

Courses:

Introduction to Methods in Weather Forecasting (GEOF321)

Dynamics of the Atmosphere (GEOF326)

Advanced Atmospheric Dynamics (GEOF352)

Mesoscale Dynamics (GEOF328)

Seminar in Atmospheric Sciences (GEOF351)

Polar Meteorology and Climate (AGF-213)

The Arctic Atmospheric Boundary Layer and Local Climate Processes (AGF-350)

 

Supervision of PhD students:

Kristine Flacké Haualand: Diabatic intensification of baroclinic evolution and the role of surface fluxes. 2016-2020

Leonidas Tsopouridis: Air-sea interaction processes in the Gulf Stream and Kurishio Rregions. 2016-2020

Clemens Spensberger: New approaches to investigate the influence of orographic and dynamic blocking on large-scale atmospheric flow. 2011-2015

Annick Terpstra: Dynamical perspectives on the formation and intensification of polar lows. 2011-2014

Mathew Reeve: Monsoon onset in Bangladesh: reconciling scientific and societal perspectives. 2010-2015

Stefan Keiderling: Jet Dynamics, Evolution, and Forcing. 2013-2017

Qi Kong: Interactions of Cyclones with steep Topography. 2011-2013

 

Supervision of Master students:

Kjersti Konstali: A Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean-Ice Mixed Layer Model for Cold Air Outbreaks. 2018-2019

Lars Andreas Selberg: Dynamics and Predictability of extreme winter storm Nina. 2015-2016

Kristine Flacké Haualand: Diabatic intensification of baroclinic evolution. 2015-2016

Ståle Dahl-Eriksen: Influence of SST gradients on cyclones and storm tracks. 2015-2016

Magnus Haukeland: Polar Low Climatology and Impact on Norway: Present and Future. 2015-2016

Musa Ssemujju: Early Season Rainfall in North-East Bangladesh. 2015-2016

Matthias Gottschalk: An idealized study on the influence of the sea ice edge on the development of polar lows. 2015

Ragnhild Nordhagen: Forecast Challenges associated with Cold Pools in Norwegian Valleys. 2013-2014

Linda Green: Influence of Surface Fluxes on Polar Low Development: Idealised Simulations. 2013-2014

Bas Creeze: Polar low detection and tracking. 2013

Trond Thorsteinsson: The development and evaluation of an idealized ocean model for the Bergen Dynamic Model. 2013

Angus Munro: What can flow deformation tell us about Rossby wave breaking in the atmosphere? 2012-2013

Espen Karlsen: Extreme precipitation in Norway: Present and Future Changes based on Regional Climate Simulations. 2012-2013

Stefan Keiderling: Low Level Jet Streams at the Sea Ice Edge - Numerical Simulations using WRF. 2012-2013

Cecilie Villanger: Exteme winds in Norway - an analysis based on observations and reanalyses. 2012-2013

Elin Tronvoll: Cyclone Interaction with the Topography of Greenland: A Catalog of Cyclone Motion. 2011-2012

  • 2020. The connection between the Southern Annular Mode and a feature-based perspective on Southern Hemisphere mid-latitude winter variability. Journal of Climate. 115-129.
  • 2020. Influence of mid-latitude oceanic fronts on the atmospheric water cycle.
  • 2020. Factors affecting extreme rainfall events in the South Pacific. Weather and Climate Extremes.
  • 2019. The Iceland Greenland seas project. 1795-1817.
  • 2019. Report: Winter School on the Influence of Diabatic Processes on Atmospheric Development.
  • 2019. Prevailing Surface Wind Direction during Air-Sea Heat Exchange. Journal of Climate. 5601-5617.
  • 2019. Polar low workshop. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). ES89-ES92.
  • 2019. Maintenance of baroclinicity: a case study of severe cyclone.
  • 2019. Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2019. Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2019. Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2019. Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2019. Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2019. Local versus Remote Influence of Surface Fluxes in Idealised Baroclinic Development.
  • 2019. Influence of the SST Front and Jet Stream on the evolution of Cyclones.
  • 2019. Influence of the North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Front and Jet Stream on the Evolution of Cyclones.
  • 2019. Influence of sea surface temperature on extratropical cyclones in an idealized framework.
  • 2019. Influence of sea surface temperature on extra-tropical cyclones in an idealized channel framework.
  • 2019. How does latent cooling affect baroclinic development in an idealized framework? Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 2701-2714.
  • 2019. How does evaporation of rain influence the development of midlatitude cyclones?
  • 2019. How do Extratropical Cyclones respond to the North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Front? .
  • 2019. How do Extratropical Cyclones respond to the North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Front? .
  • 2019. How do Extratropical Cyclones respond to the North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Front? .
  • 2019. How Does Latent Cooling Affect Baroclinic Development in an Idealised Framework?
  • 2019. How Do Latent Cooling and Surface Heat Fluxes Influence Baroclinic Development in an Idealised Framework?
  • 2019. Diabatic Effects on Baroclinic Development.
  • 2019. Climatological Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2019. Can Extratropical Cyclones increase Baroclinicity? A Pathway to Cyclone Clustering.
  • 2018. The isentropic slope: A case study of severe extratropical cyclones, and the global climatology of the maintenance of baroclinicity by extratropical cyclones.
  • 2018. The North Atlantic waveguide and downstream impact experiment. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). 1607-1637.
  • 2018. Polar Mesoscale Cyclone Climatology for the Nordic Seas Based on ERA-Interim. Journal of Climate. 2511-2532.
  • 2018. Polar Mesoscale Cyclone Climatology for the Nordic Seas.
  • 2018. Non-Uniqueness of Attribution in Piecewise Potential Vorticity Inversion. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 875-883.
  • 2018. Modification of Polar Low Development by Orography and Sea Ice. Monthly Weather Review. 3325-3341.
  • 2018. Midlatitude Storm Development and Intensification.
  • 2018. Maintenance of Baroclinicity: Global Climatology of the Slope of Isentropic Surfaces and their Tendencies.
  • 2018. Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2018. Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2018. Maintenance of Baroclinicity by Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2018. Isentropic Slope Tendency as a Diagnostic for the Evolution of Severe Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2018. Isentropic Slope Tendency as a Diagnostic for the Evolution of Severe Extratropical Cyclones.
  • 2018. Influences of sea surface temperature on mid latitude cyclones in an idealized framework.
  • 2018. Influence of the SST Fronts on the evolution of North Atlantic Storms.
  • 2018. Influence of the Northern Hemisphere Sea Surface Temperature Fronts and Jet Stream on the evolution of Cyclones.
  • 2018. Global Climatology of Baroclinicity and its Variations: Role or Air-Sea Interactions.
  • 2018. Effects of latent heating and surface fluxes in baroclinic development.
  • 2018. Effects of Surface Fluxes and Latent Heating on Extratropical Cyclones in an Idealised Linear Framework.
  • 2018. Difference between Mean and Instantaneous Wind Direction associated with Air-Sea Fluxes.
  • 2018. Difference between Mean and Instantaneous Wind Direction associated with Air-Sea Fluxes.
  • 2018. Difference between Mean and Instantaneous Wind Direction associated with Air-Sea Fluxes.
  • 2018. Diabatic Effects on Baroclinic Development in an Idealised Linear Framework.
  • 2018. The effect of SST gradients on atmospheric frontogenesis.
  • 2017. Upper-Tropospheric Jet Axis Detection and Application to the Boreal Winter 2013/14. Monthly Weather Review. 2363-2374.
  • 2017. UNifying Perspectives on Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions during CyClone Development.
  • 2017. UNPACC project overview.
  • 2017. UNPACC project overview.
  • 2017. UNPACC project overview.
  • 2017. UNPACC project overview.
  • 2017. Synoptic Systems interacting with the Rocky Mountain Barrier: Observations and Theories. Monthly Weather Review. 783-794.
  • 2017. Polar Low Workshop Summary. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). ES139-ES142.
  • 2017. New Tools for Comparing Beliefs about the Timing of Recurrent Events with Climate Time Series Datasets.
  • 2017. Maintenance of Storm Tracks and Baroclinicity.
  • 2017. Maintenance of Baroclinicity in the Atlantic Storm Tracks.
  • 2017. Maintenance of Baroclinicity in the Atlantic Storm Tracks.
  • 2017. Latent heating and surface fluxes in baroclinic development.
  • 2017. Latent heating and surface fluxes in baroclinic development.
  • 2017. Inversion of potential vorticity density. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 801-807.
  • 2017. Influence of the Gulf Stream Sea Surface Temperature Front on the evolution of Storms.
  • 2017. Influence of the Gulf Stream Sea Surface Temperature Front on the Evolution of Storms.
  • 2017. Influence of Air-Sea Interactions on Cyclone Development and Maintenance of the North Atlantic Storm Track.
  • 2017. Impact of moisture on storm development.
  • 2017. Difference between Mean and Instantaneous Wind Direction associated with Air-Sea Fluxes.
  • 2017. Diabatic effects on baroclinic development.
  • 2017. Air-Sea Interaction Regimes and their Synoptic and Climatological Interpretation.
  • 2017. Air-Sea Interaction Processes along the Gulf Stream region.
  • 2016. Upper Tropospheric Jet Axis Detection: Winter 2013/2014 and Northern Hemispheric Variability.
  • 2016. Upper Tropospheric Jet Axis Detection: Winter 2013/2014 and Northern Hemispheric Variability.
  • 2016. The role of surface fluxes on polar low development: idealised simulations.
  • 2016. Structure of the shear-line polar low in the Norwegian Sea.
  • 2016. Structure of a shear-line polar low. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 12-26.
  • 2016. Polar low dynamics: conducive environments and the role of moisture.
  • 2016. Polar Lows, forward and reverse shear conditions and diabatic intensification.
  • 2016. Polar Low Climatologies for the Nordic Seas.
  • 2016. New Tools for Comparing Beliefs about the Timing of Recurrent Events with Climate Time Series Datasets. Weather, Climate, and Society. 493-506.
  • 2016. Maintenance of Baroclinicity in the Atlantic Storm Track and its relation to the Sea Surface Temperature Gradient along the Gulf Stream.
  • 2016. Maintenance of Baroclinicity in the Atlantic Storm Track and its relation to the Sea Surface Temperature Gradient along the Gulf Stream.
  • 2016. Maintenance of Baroclinicity in the Atlantic Storm Track and its Relation to the Sea Surface Temperature Gradients and Cold Air Outbreaks.
  • 2016. Maintenance of Baroclinicity in the Atlantic Storm Track and its Relation to the Sea Surface Temperature Gradients and Cold Air Outbreaks.
  • 2016. High-latitude dynamics of atmosphere-ice-ocean interactions. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). ES179-ES182.
  • 2016. Forward and reverse shear environments during polar low genesis over the North East Atlantic. Monthly Weather Review. 1341-1354.
  • 2016. Dynamics and Predictability of the Extreme Extratropical Cyclone Nina.
  • 2016. Dynamics and Predictability of Arctic Extremes and the Influence of Air-Sea Interactions on their Evolution.
  • 2016. Diabatic heating and jet stream shifts: A case study of the 2010 negative North Atlantic Oscillation winter. Geophysical Research Letters. 9994-10,002.
  • 2016. Comment on "Incorporating the Effects of Moisture into a Dynamical Parameter: Moist Vorticity and Moist Divergence". Weather and forecasting. 1393-1396.
  • 2016. Climatology of polar lows over the Sea of Japan using the JRA-55 reanalysis. Journal of Climate. 419-437.
  • 2016. Climatology of polar lows impacting Norway.
  • 2016. Climatology and Impact of Polar Lows in the North Atlantic: Present and Future.
  • 2016. Climatology and Genesis Environments of Polar Lows in the Northeast Atlantic.
  • 2016. Climatology and Genesis Environment of North Atlantic Polar Lows.
  • 2016. A Lagrangian climatology of wintertime cold air outbreaks in the Irminger and Nordic seas and their role in shaping air-sea heat fluxes. Journal of Climate. 2717-2737.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

SUBMITTED ARTICLES:

Sergeev, D. E., I. A. Renfrew, T. Spengler, A. Terpstra, and S.-I. Watanabe: North Atlanticpolar mesoscale cyclones in ERA5 and ERA-Interim. Geophys. Res. Lett., submitted

Spensberger, C., and T. Spengler: Climatology and Variability of Jets in the Upper Troposphere. J. Clim., submitted

Weijenborg, C., and T. Spengler: Diabatic heating as a pathway for cyclone clustering encompassing the extreme storm Dagmar. Geophys. Res. Lett., submitted

Employment history

2014–today Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway: Professor for Dynamic Meteorology

Jul-Dec 2015 School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK: Visiting Research Scientist

2010–2014 Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway: Associate Professor for Dynamic Meteorology

2009–2011 Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton University, New Jersey, USA Postdoctoral: Research Associate

Feb 2009 Monash Weather and Climate, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia: Visiting Scientist

2008-2009 Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland: Postdoctoral Research Assistant

2005–2008 Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland: Doctoral Research Assistant

2004-2005 Meteorological Institute Munich, University of Munich, Germany: Research assistant

 

Professional Organisations

2011–today International Commission on Dynamic Meteorology (ICDM) of the International Association for Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS), since 2019 elected presidenc of ICDM

2013–today Atmospheric Working Group (AWG) of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), from 2015 until 2019 elected Chair of the AWG

 

Awards and Nominations

2013 Best Lecturer at the Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen

2013 Nominee for the IAMAS Early Career Science Medal

Unifying Perspectives on Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions during Cyclone Development (UNPACC)

2017-2020 (10 Mio NOK)

Summary

Extratropical cyclones are a key feature of the mid-latitude climate and weather, where unresolved mesoscale air-sea interactions are thought to play a crucial role in their genesis and intensification, yielding model uncertainties and forecast challenges. Understanding these mesoscale interactions between ocean sea surface temperature fronts, ocean eddies, and the atmosphere is thus essential for understanding the role of diabatic processes in extratropical cyclones and constraining uncertainty.

While recent studies highlight the importance of mesoscale air-sea interactions for the development and intensification of cyclones, we are still lacking a theoretical framework unifying moist baroclinic and frontal-wave instability under the influence of air-sea interaction and diabatic processes. How do oceanic fronts and eddies influence the genesis and intensification of cyclones? What is the role of mesoscale air-sea interaction processes for the upscale growth of instabilities? Can such instabilities trigger or inhibit the intensification of extratropical cyclones? What are the underlying mechanisms for diabatic amplification of energy conversion in extratropical cyclones?

We will establish an innovative collaboration in atmospheric dynamics and air-sea interactions by combining key and complementary expertise from the Universities of Bergen, Monash (Australia), East Anglia (UK), Texas A&M (USA), Tokyo (Japan) as well as ECMWF (UK). The central goal of the collaboration is to elucidate and quantify the mechanisms responsible for extratropical cyclone intensification associated with mesoscale air-sea interactions. Our approach utilizes novel detection routines on high-resolution coupled model datasets and reanalyzes as well as idealized and real case simulations. As the integrated framework is grounded in fundamental dynamics, we expect UNPACC to yield a unified framework for moist frontal-baroclinic instability theory including the influence of air-sea interactions.

Research groups