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Thomas Spengler

Professor, Director of the Research School on Changing Climates in the coupled Earth System and President of the International Commission on Dynamical Meteorology
  • E-postThomas.Spengler@uib.no
  • Telefon+47 55 58 98 46
  • Besøksadresse
    Geophysical Institute
    Allegaten 70
    5020 Bergen
    Rom 
    229
  • Postadresse
    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 (ICDM) 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), and a member from 2013-2021. Since 2022, I am the elected Leader of the Norwegian Geophysical Society.

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.

I lead a science outreach project together with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in which we featured 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/.

Research areas

  • Atmopshere-Ocean-Ice Interactions
  • Jet Stream Dynamics and Variability
  • Polar Lows
  • Teleconnections
  • Baroclinic and Diabatic Intensification of Extratropical Cyclones
  • Heat Lows
  • Orographic Slope and Valley Winds
  • Flow over and around Topography
  • Convection

I lead 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 People. 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

Vitenskapelig artikkel
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2024). Midlatitude Oceanic Fronts Strengthen the Hydrological Cycle Between Cyclones and Anticyclones. Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2024). Impact of sea spray-mediated heat fluxes on polar low development. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2024). Global Attribution of Precipitation to Weather Features. Journal of Climate. 1181-1196.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2023). Warm air intrusions reaching the MOSAiC expedition in April 2020- The YOPP targeted observing period (TOP). Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2023). The role of Rossby waves in polar weather and climate. Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD). 61-80.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2023). Reconciling conflicting evidence for the cause of the observed early 21st century Eurasian cooling. Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD). 95-114.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2023). Observing atmospheric convection with dual-scanning lidars. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. 5103-5123.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2023). Linking Instantaneous and Climatological Perspectives on Eddy-Driven and Subtropical Jets. Journal of Climate. 8525-8537.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2023). Diabatic effects on the evolution of storm tracks. Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD). 927-942.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2022). The COMBLE Campaign: A Study of Marine Boundary Layer Clouds in Arctic Cold-Air Outbreaks. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). E1371-E1389.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2022). Formation of maritime convergence zones within cold air outbreaks due to the shape of the coastline or sea ice edge. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 2546-2562.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2022). Driving Mechanisms of an Extreme Winter Sea Ice Breakup Event in the Beaufort Sea. Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2022). Coupled atmosphere–ocean observations of a cold-air outbreak and its impact on the Iceland Sea. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 472-493.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2022). Bedymo: A combined quasi-geostrophic and primitive equation model in σ coordinates. Geoscientific Model Development. 2711-2729.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2021). The Effect of Sea Surface Temperature Fronts on Atmospheric Frontogenesis. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 1753-1771.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2021). Sensitivity of Air-Sea Heat Exchange in Cold-Air Outbreaks to Model Resolution and Sea-Ice Distribution. Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Atmospheres. 13 sider.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2021). Relative importance of tropopause structure and diabatic heating for baroclinic instability. Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD). 695-712.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2021). Polar lows - moist-baroclinic cyclones in four different vertical wind shear environments. Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD). 19-36.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2021). On the Influence of Sea Surface Temperature distributions on the Development of Extratropical Cyclones. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 1173-1188.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (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.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2020). Smoother versus sharper Gulf Stream and Kuroshio sea surface temperature fronts: effects on cyclones and climatology. Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD). 953-970.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2020). IsoTrotter: Visually Guided Empirical Modelling of Atmospheric Convection. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. 775-784.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2020). Feature-Based Jet Variability in the Upper Troposphere. Journal of Climate.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2020). Factors affecting extreme rainfall events in the South Pacific. Weather and Climate Extremes.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2020). Direct and Indirect Effects of Surface Fluxes on Moist Baroclinic Development in an Idealized Framework. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2020). Diabatic Heating as a Pathway for Cyclone Clustering Encompassing the Extreme Storm Dagmar. Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2020). Cyclone Intensification in the Kuroshio Region and its relation to the Sea Surface Temperature Front and Upper‐Level Forcing. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 485-500.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2020). Characteristics of cyclones following different pathways in the Gulf Stream region. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 392-407.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2019). Prevailing Surface Wind Direction during Air-Sea Heat Exchange. Journal of Climate. 5601-5617.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2019). Polar low workshop. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). ES89-ES92.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2019). How does latent cooling affect baroclinic development in an idealized framework? Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 2701-2714.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2018). The North Atlantic waveguide and downstream impact experiment. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). 1607-1637.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2018). Polar Mesoscale Cyclone Climatology for the Nordic Seas Based on ERA-Interim. Journal of Climate. 2511-2532.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2018). Non-Uniqueness of Attribution in Piecewise Potential Vorticity Inversion. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 875-883.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2018). Modification of Polar Low Development by Orography and Sea Ice. Monthly Weather Review. 3325-3341.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2017). Upper-Tropospheric Jet Axis Detection and Application to the Boreal Winter 2013/14. Monthly Weather Review. 2363-2374.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2017). Synoptic Systems interacting with the Rocky Mountain Barrier: Observations and Theories. Monthly Weather Review. 783-794.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2017). Polar Low Workshop Summary. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). ES139-ES142.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2017). Inversion of potential vorticity density. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 801-807.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2016). Structure of a shear-line polar low. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 12-26.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2016). New Tools for Comparing Beliefs about the Timing of Recurrent Events with Climate Time Series Datasets. Weather, Climate, and Society. 493-506.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2016). Forward and reverse shear environments during polar low genesis over the North East Atlantic. Monthly Weather Review. 1341-1354.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2016). Diabatic heating and jet stream shifts: A case study of the 2010 negative North Atlantic Oscillation winter. Geophysical Research Letters. 9994-10,002.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2016). Comment on "Incorporating the Effects of Moisture into a Dynamical Parameter: Moist Vorticity and Moist Divergence". Weather and forecasting. 1393-1396.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2016). Climatology of polar lows over the Sea of Japan using the JRA-55 reanalysis. Journal of Climate. 419-437.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (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.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2015). Rossby waves, extreme fronts, and wildfires in southeastern Australia. Geophysical Research Letters. 2015-2023.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2015). Idealised simulations of polar low development in an Arctic moist-baroclinic environment. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 1987-1996.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2015). Complementing scientific monsoon definitions with social perception in Bangladesh. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). 49-57.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2015). Aspects of potential vorticity fluxes: Climatology and impermeability. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 3257-3267.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2015). Analysis of the slope of isentropic surfaces and its tendencies over the North Atlantic. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 3226-3238.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2015). An initialization method for idealized channel simulations. Monthly Weather Review. 2043-2051.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2014). Testing a flexible method to reduce false monsoon onsets. PLOS ONE.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2014). A new look at deformation as a diagnostic for large-scale flow. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 4221-4234.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2013). Reflection of Barotropic Rossby Waves in Sheared Flow and Validity of the WKB Approximation. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 2170-2178.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2012). Potential vorticity attribution and causality. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 2600-2607.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2012). FLOHOF 2007: an overview of the mesoscale meteorological field campaign at Hofsjokull, Central Iceland. Meteorology and atmospheric physics (Print). 1-13.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2011). The Norwegian IPY-THORPEX. Polar Lows and Arctic Fronts during the 2008 Andøya Campaign. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). 1443-1466.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2011). How does rain affect surface pressure in a one-dimensional framework? Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 347-360.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2011). Dynamics of Heat Lows over elevated terrain. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 250-263.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2010). The Modulation of the Subtropical and Extratropical Atmosphere in the Pacific Basin in Response to the Madden Julian Oscillation. Monthly Weather Review. 2761-2779.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2009). Thermally driven Flows at an asymmetric valley exit: Observations and Model Studies at the Lech Valley exit. Monthly Weather Review. 3437-3455.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2009). Multi-event analysis of the westerly Greenland tip jet based upon 45 winters in ERA-40. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 1999-2011.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2009). Comments on "Dry-Season Precipitation in Tropical West Africa and Its Relation to Forcing from the Extratropics". Monthly Weather Review. 3149-3150.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2008). The dynamics of heat lows over flat terrain. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 2157-2172.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2005). The Dynamics of Heat Lows in Simple Background Flows. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 3147-3166.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2002). The Prediction of low-level convergence lines over northeastern Australia. Australian meteorological magazine. 13-23.
Populærvitenskapelig artikkel
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2015). Iskantens ekstreme klima. Bergens Tidende. 12-13.
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2012). Hva er egentlig monsunen? Klima.
Doktorgradsavhandling
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2014). Dynamical perspectives on the formation and intensification of polar lows.
Vitenskapelig Kapittel/Artikkel/Konferanseartikkel
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2021). Revealing Multimodality in Ensemble Weather Prediction.
Sammendrag/abstract
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2016). High-latitude dynamics of atmosphere-ice-ocean interactions. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). ES179-ES182.
Errata
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2019). Corrigendum: Polar mesoscale cyclone climatology for the Nordic seas based on ERA-Interim. [J. Climate, 31, (2018) (2511-2532) doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0890.1. Journal of Climate. 973-974.
Vitenskapelig oversiktsartikkel/review
  • Vis forfatter(e) (2019). The Iceland Greenland seas project. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society - (BAMS). 1795-1817.

Se fullstendig oversikt over publikasjoner i CRIStin.

Bias Attribution Linking Moist Dynamics of Cyclones and Storm Tracks (BALMCAST)

2020-2025 (12 Mio NOK)

Summary

There is a dichotomy between theoretical understanding and modeling of weather and climate, where the former mainly assumes a dry atmosphere while the latter relies on parameterizations of physical processes, especially related to moisture and phase changes that can yield a significant feedback on the dynamics. With prevailing model biases in jet streams and storm tracks often being tied to these processes, we thus lack a theoretical underpinning that can aid a physical attribution and alleviation of these biases. For example, while the development of cyclones is traditionally thought to reduce the midlatitude temperature gradient that gives rise to storm development, latent heating within these storms enhances the temperature gradient, sometimes even yielding a net increase. These cycles are most likely associated with events of cyclone clustering with significant socio-economic impact. While the mechanisms by which cyclone lifecycles alter temperature gradients must be determined by frontal dynamics, we lack a detailed understanding of the interplay between processes along fronts and their relation to cyclone clustering as well as storm track intensity and variability. We therefore propose to develop a framework combining moist dynamics across fronts, cyclones, and the storm track.

Our framework will clarify the pertinent mechanisms and the role of frontal lifecycles and cyclone development in storm track variability and thereby aid our understanding of prevailing model biases. It will also contest our understanding of cyclone development, as our new paradigm allows for cyclones to increase temperature gradients. As our new moist storm track model will explain the positioning, intensity, and variability of storm tracks in terms of moist processes, it will allow us to physically attribute model biases and formulate alternative hypotheses about the cause for future shifts of storm tracks.

 

Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions over Key Regions of the Arctic and Their Linkages to Midlatitudes (ARCLINK)

2022-2026 (10 Mio NOK)

Summary

State-of-the-art weather and climate prediction models suffer from significant errors due to misrepresentations in both atmosphere-ocean interactions and atmospheric weather patterns. We aim to improve models by identifying processes and weather events leading to significant forecast errors. Our findings will guide model development in the polar regions with benefits for global weather and climate models. In particular, we will focus on atmosphere-ocean interactions during cold air outbreaks, which are large excursions of cold polar air masses over the relatively warmer ocean. These cold air outbreaks comprise the majority of the overall atmosphere-ocean heat exchange in the polar regions. Several recent and upcoming field campaigns provide valuable data to assess the fidelity of our models.

As the aforementioned weather events are connected to the larger-scale setting of the atmospheric circulation, we will investigate coupling mechanisms between the polar and lower latitudes. Particular focus will be on incursions of heat and moisture into the Arctic. It has recently been argued that these incursions are becoming more frequent with climate change, though a thorough assessment of the representation of these events in our weather and climate models is still lacking. We will characterize these teleconnection events to identify and attribute model errors.

Our results will explain errors in weather and climate models associated with atmosphere-ocean heat exchange and the representation of weather events. Given the importance of the atmosphere-ocean heat exchange in the subpolar regions, our findings will leave a profound impact on the weather and climate research community.

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

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