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Dr. Richard L. Pfeffer

Professor Emeritus
The Carl-Gustaf Rossby Professor of Meteorology
Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus
Dynamic Meteorology

Dynamic Meteorology including diagnostic studies and computer laboratory modeling of atmospheric processes pertaining to the global atmospheric circulation and hurricane formation.

Founding Director, FSU Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute

Selected Publications

  • Pfeffer, R. L., R. Kung, S. Applequist, C. Long and G. Buzyna, 1998: Progress in characterizing the route to geostrophic turbulence and redesigning thermally-driven rotating annulus experiments. (INVITED PAPER) Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics, 9, 253- 57. [A new paradigm is presented for thermally driven rotating fluid experiments in which external heating is applied from the top and bottom to produce (i) an internal PV gradient on which large-scale waves can propagate radially and vertically, and (ii) a critical surface along which such waves are at least partially absorbed, as they are in the tropics, thereby making the experiments a much closer analog to the atmosphere than they have been in the past.]
  • Challa, M. and R. L. Pfeffer, 1998: Can eddy fluxes serve as a catalyst for hurricane and typhoon formation? J. Atmos. Sci., 55, 2201-2219. [Going beyond the use of composite data to define the initial conditions for numerical simulations of tropical storm evolution, we present t he results of new simulations with initial conditions derived from an individual tropical disturbance that developed into a hurricane and one that did not, and we show that the key difference between the two is the presence of a positive eddy torque in the developing case and a negative eddy torque in the non-developing case.]
  • Cubukco, N., R. Pfeffer and D.E. Dietrich, 2000: A study of the ocean influences on a hurricane using a coupled ocean model with bathymetry and land-sea contrasts. J. Atmos. Sci., 57, 481-492. [This paper gives evidence that bathymetry and land sea contrasts can have significant influences on the intensity changes of hurricanes traveling over bodies of water such as the Gulf of Mexico, even when such disturbances are far from land]
  • Mao, Q., S. Chang and R. Pfeffer, 2000: Influence of large-scale initial ocean mixed layer depth on tropical cyclones. Mo Wea Rev., 128, 4058-4070. [This paper gives evidence that background variations of the oceanic mixed layer depth can have significant influences on the intensity changes in hurricanes as they move over the tropical ocean]
  • Pfeffer, R.L., 2003: Laboratory Fluid Dynamics. Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences, Ed by Holton, Pyle and Curry, publ. Elsevier Science Ltd. [This article describes a variety of laboratory experiments that have been applied to an understanding of atmospheric, oceanic and earth interior convective and rotating flows]
  • Applequist, S., G.E. Gahrs, R.L. Pfeffer & X.F. Niu, 2002: Comparison of Methodologies for Probabilistic Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting. Wea. and Forecasting, 17, 783-799, 2002 [This paper demonstrates that nonlinear statistical methods give significantly better probabilistic precipitation forecasts than linear regression, which is the standard method used by the NWS in MOS guidance]
  • G.E. Gahrs, Applequist, S., R.L. Pfeffer & X.F. Niu, 2003: Improved Methodologies for Probabilistic Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting. Wea. and Forecasting, 18, 879-890, 2003. [This paper shows that probabilistic quantitative precipitation forecasting can be improved by the use of optimization procedures for selecting variables and weights to be applied to those variables]