Richard Grotjahn

Professor of Climate Dynamics


President of ICDM

Thank you for visiting my home page.

This File is ocassionally Under Construction                           /be users directory       Last update: 21 August 2015.
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Short Biography     

      I was born in Seattle.  I received a B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Washington. I completed M.S. and Ph. D. degrees at Florida State University  .

      I was a postdoctoral scholar at NCAR and at CIRES before moving to Davis in January 1982. I've had four sabbaticals: BMRC (Melbourne Australia), twice at NCAR, and at LASG (Beijing China).

      My scientific work bridges these broad disciplinary categories:

  1. climate model analysis & use,
  2. theoretical dynamics (e.g. instability),
  3. synoptics (including statistical analyis), and
  4. weather forecasting & numerical prediction.
Generally, my research merges expertise across 2 or more of these disciplinary boundaries.

      I seek to understand whatever problem I am studying from multiple directions.   My areas of focus have been frontal cyclones, subtropical highs, the atmosphere's global scale circulations, climate change, and weather predition.

      In the early 1990's I wrote a comprehensive book on the general circulation; I have signed a contract to thoroughly revise and update the book for a new publisher. I've also edited two journal special editions and had other articles on the subject.
      I wrote the chapter on extreme weather in the popular-science book 'Encyclopedia of Weather and Climate Change.
      I am currently co-editing (with J Li, R Swinbank, and H Volkert) a technical book on high-impact weather and extreme climate for Cambridge Univ. Press.

      In pure theoretical dynamics, I have studied localized systems (instead of wavetrains). I approach the problem in an unusual way, by tempering the theoretical work with corresponding observational analysis. I am developing a new research line interrogating how extreme weather-creating patterns develop.

      I am past Secretary and presently President of the International Commission on Dynamical Meteorology ( ICDM ) a commission of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences. ( IAMAS )
I am also a member of the CNRCWP scientific advisory board, led the US CLIVAR working group on Extremes, and so forth.


My official departmental web page is here. More personal information can be found here.

I teach severe and unusual weather, computer methods, general circulation, weather forecasting and synoptic meteorology, advanced dynamics, and other subjects as needed by the group.

9 graduate students (4 women, 5 men) completed their degrees under my guidance. 

Permanent job options specifically in dynamics are quite limited, but general computer and modeling skills remain broadly employable. (Atmospheric Sciences has better employment prospects than most sciences.)

Beyond my regular faculty duties, I own a small organic farm 4 miles from Davis. Our main crop is pistachios. Recently, we installed a 4kW solar PV system that provides about 75% of the electrical usage in the house and rental unit. My twin daughters, Anna & Karen, born in April 1997, keep my wife and me very busy.

I lived in Australia for a year and I have visited 6 continents ( I've not yet visited Antarctica).

Research Projects:

My current research includes:

  • certain types of extreme weather (occurring <2% of the time) that our research has shown to be linked to specific very large scale patterns. California Cenral Valley examples are: hottest temperatures, cold air outbreaks, heaviest precipitation, and strong north winds. A link to our EWE page is here We are applying that knowledge several ways, such as:
    1. to analyze what large scale patterns occur and how they develop and evolve dynamically
    2. to analyze climate model performance by assessing whether the model develops such events with proper timing, strength, etc.
    3. to assessing how extreme weather is likely to change over this century.
    4. to assess possible impacts on agricultural sectors by changes to extreme weather in future climate

          I am applying various tools to identify, assess, and understand various extreme weather. I use extreme value statistics as well as standard statistics to identify key features. I use advanced dynamical tools coupled with synoptic analysis to investigate and understand how the weather patterns are created that result in extreme events. This multi-pronged approach provides a statistical and synoptic-dynamic foundation for assessing climate model simulations of extreme events. Such an assessment is needed before one can interpret future trends in extreme events. As an example, my early work showed that a widely-used global climate model underpredicts California heat wave frequency of occurrence (but not necessarily the magnitude).
  • the growth of climate model bias using linear and nonlinear theoretical tools, including a focus upon the Northern Hemisphere middle and high latitudes. We focussed on the NCAR CCSM & CAM. Some further information is here
  • extensively investigating the subtropical highs (including the one which strongly influences our weather in California); this work has had primarily observational and modeling components. Some further information is here
  • A page with links to some of my recent papers is here



Miscellaneous Projects
General circulation of the atmosphere projects.  
Global Atmospheric Circulations
stereo homepage
General circulation of the atmosphere projects
and an old site for my book: Global Atmospheric Circulations
Numerous images and techniques for viewing and making stereo images with a camera or using computer graphics.

   Personal Information

     Family    Farm  
Anna & Karen my twin daughters Rich Fields Farm about my farm.
Slide show        Image Magnifier (tests) pistachios production



Teaching related links: Some of my course web pages:
ATM 10 Severe and Unusual Weather.
ATM 98 Practical Skills for a Career in Physical Science.
ATM 111 Weather Analysis and Forecasting.
ATM 112  Weather Forecasting Practice.
ATM 121A  Introduction to Atmospheric Dynamics.
ATM 150 Introduction to Computer Methods.
ATM 240 General Circulation of the Atmosphere.


Administration work:
LAWR Homepage
LAWR Information Technology committee web site.

UCAR members meeting Oct. 1999


University of California information:
Retirement and savings UC systemwide main entry
UCD Benefits main entry
Rates for the savings plans main entry Page maintained by UCD
Library information and searching:
UCDavis Electronic Journals
Also CDL Library online journals
Defunct Calif. Digital Lib lists -- select Phys. Sci. + browse
AMS online journal search not a UCD or UC link
UCD Library main entry
MELVYL main entry at UCOP
UCD Library catalogs and databases at UCD
UCD office of research:
main entry       forms  
travel & faculty research awards
        travel awards status
  Committee on Research
sponsored programs   Grant Preparation
UCD accounts & passwords  
UCD site license software     Norton   lists of vendors and ordering info
central storehouse  
Policy & procedure manuals  
Sabbatical rules from UCOP APM 740
 web-based UCD manuals   including research travel
  Application for research travel  form, in several formats
  Various travel forms  from accounting & finance
  UCD travel insurance  information & forms
Graduate Studies/Division:
  GARD link  Grad Applicant Review Database (GARD)


Atmospheric Science Links

Local Weather Products:
student-run local forecast products  
California list            nationwide list text information organized by state DEFUNCT 12/03


Sacramento Valley Extraordinary Weather Forecasting using Composites:
Hard Freeze conditions Long Duration Fog conditions
Heat Wave conditions End of Heat Wave conditions
Heavy Rain conditions Technical Reports: .pdf of methodology and
.pdf of figures and other appendices  


NWS offices:
current conditions      various models      radars        Main Entry SACRAMENTO NWS
Various Nationwide MAPS NWS maps: radar, precip. accumulation, flooding, watch/warnings, Fronts, AQ etc.
main entry             forecast maps & text. MONTEREY NWS
main entry point RENO NWS


Current radar imagery
NWS Dixon Radar Sac NWSFO site can navigate to adjacent radars, do loops, etc.
Sac (DAX) larger view       national   
Sac (DAX) Doppler
courtesy of  Intellicast. Links keep changing but it should forward you
national loop produced at PSU
national (in WXP format) produced at SFSU


Analysis products:
N. Pac. Satellite-500mb overlay           N. Pac. Satellite-sfc P overlay         general entry SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIV
anim still PSU Sat overlays
SKEW T and profiler RAP at NCAR
DIFAX products at U. Wyoming, choose 1/2 gif size
DIFAX products NWS Charts on the net, telecom ops cntr
DIFAX products (WEFAX) from NWS iwin server
METAR products interactive map at FSL


Forecast & Analysis Products sites:
General entry point Unisys site
General entry point PSU - eMap-Wall
main entry point     NOGAPS -- NGP & AVN/MRF
     main entry point      NORAPS -- limited area model
     satellite products      NRL
general list       NAM forecasts IGES at UNIV. MARYLAND
forecast models     Meso-eta output UNIV. OF UTAH -- regional, but many models
AVN & ETA model comparisons          other products CDC MAPROOM . . .mdl comparisons defunct
NCEP model data runs EMC -- Environmental Modeling Center
MM5 forecast model runs UNIV. OF WASHINGTON -- try the loops
general entry UNIV. HAWAII -- tropical wx, satellite & fcst loops
NOAA Air Resources Lab site NOAA Air Resources Lab "Ready" site, build custom maps
ETA, RUC, and MRF forecast models
   main entry point
RAP at NCAR  -- branches to other types of data and charts
Analyses    Forecasts
Observations    RUC model MAPS
FSL Weather products  -- branches to model plots, soundings, etc.
main entry     model products   

upper air       text products

Ohio State Univ.
main entry        skew-T ln-P Under const.       animated satellite images U. Illinois Weather Visualizer


MOS and forecast meteograms products:
MRF & AVN MOS Univ. of WYOMING -- pick region and model
MRF MOS for California general entry point NOAA site -- also has MRF MOS for other states
MOS general entry point NWS Met Dvlpmt Lab -- Eta, AVN, MRF, NGM & other MOS
eMap-Wall of MOS maps produced at PSU
Eta Forecast meteograms at nearest mdl grid pt to station. Experimental NCEP product (10/02)
NOAA Air Resources Lab site NOAA Air Resources Lab "Ready" site
Sacramento Eta model data      Sacramento AVN model data        General list of cities site IGES/U. Maryland


Medium to Seasonal Forecasts:
main entry point USA Today general links
COLA short term outlooks
main entry    ECMWF model bias    ECMWF model input sources Various ECMWF products
Seasonal forecasts    CDC alt site NOAA Official sites
seasonal products IRI U. Columbia
Exper. Long-lead Fcst Blltn IGES
Predictions & links ECPC - UCSD, Scripps


Miscellaneous Products:
main entry point NCEP Ensemble Products
General entry ECMWF: 'free access' charts; pick area and overview (valid time)
radar   main entry NWS internet weather source
SSEC satellite images U. Wisconsin: global; specialty images
defunct entry page defunct

****************** links repaired 01/04 **********


Isentropic Charts
P RH PV and winds class AOS 453 at Univ. Wisconsin
constant theta Florida State Univ -- at RAOBs
  Texas A&M Univ


Other weather data and servers of interest:

Archives of weather information
Text data:  
get/view current fcsts and recent obs Selecting "climatic data" obtains the previous day's max/min T and precip
24 h precip data by station up to 30 days back; interactive map at FSL
STP data     RTP #1     RTP #2 Hi/Lo/Precip for No Calif. recent days
No. Calif. Climate Reports 1/day for recent years
Satellite Data  
GOES Satellite imagery satellite data entry from NCDC -- several years worth, GOES 7, 8, and 9
Satellite images NOAA has  from various satellites including GOES, GMS, and Meteosat
Satellite overlays SFSU  has overlays of 300, 500, SLP contours on GOES E and W
GOES Satellite images NRL site. overlays and animations for N.E. Pacific and other regions
Forecast Model Output  
main entry point     NOGAPS -- back 3 days (2 runs/da)
general forecast model entry site. Univ. Utah: ETA (7 days back), MRF (10 days back), NGM (7 days back)
MM5 forecast model images Univ. Washington
Weather Maps  
Purdue's WXP Period covered: 1/96 - 2/99 ...
UNISYS WXP site Similar archives  begin 10/98.
COVIS @ U. Illinois Skew-T charts up to 2 days back
FSL - NOAA Site data back into 1997. ASCII text files and perhaps graphs
NOAA Air Resources Lab site Some maps go back several years
NCEP    see also CDAS Reanalysis data main page at CDC
to ftp Reanalysis data    from CDC.
cd Datasets

To obtain daily data for SLP (and other variables): cd ncep.reanalysis.dailyavgs
To obtain monthly derived data for SLP (and other variables): cd ncep.reanalysis.derived
To obtain OLR data: cd interp_OLR
To obtain SST data: cd reynolds_sst
NetCDF User's Guide    at UNIDATA
NetCDF User's Guide    for FORTRAN at UNIDATA
Ferret User Guide and Tutorial    at wrc - noaa
NCEP    see also CDAS Reanalysis data from wwb (Wesley E.)
     CDAS.   ncep reanal data     daily averages and monthly averages
get/view climate data       CLIMVIS      surface station text observations NCDC -- CLIMVIS draws maps. Other link has text data files (very large)


Commercial weather services
general entry point        Sacramento forecast
San Francisco forecast         Tahoe forecast
Intellicast products
California list Yahoo
California list  USA today
main entry (enter cit,state or zip code) AccuWeather:
California list of forecasts. CNN:

Annotated lists of weather sites



Search tools:
Alta Vista Lycos
Yahoo    Yahoo string search engines site google search engine site
Magellan Dogpile search 

Miscellaneous items:


News sources:
CNN main      SI entry     ESPN CNN, SI, and ESPN
main entry     weather entry USA Today
audio files      official main entry NPR
Davis Enterprise Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee "Smile" entry Sacramento Comic Press main entry
main entry     email Netscape - AOL


BestBookBuys compares > 2 dozen online merchants for book prices
computer shopper compares prices at many computer equipment suppliers
Lehman's online Electric & non-electric products for self-sufficient living.





Computing-related Sites:
main entry      

consulting related information  

NCAR Graphics homepage

NCAR Sci Comp Div
main entry NCAR Clim. Global Dyn.
GrADS site general info  


Horticultural Sites:




  • Go to "/%7Egrotjahn/">Richard

    A list of favorite internet addresses (just for starters!)

    Text and Images collected or prepared at UCD from NWS and UNIDATA products:

    Sacramento (SMF) 24 hr Meteorogram
    An alternative can sometimes be obtained from UCSD at: this location -- (it might not be updated.) 24 hr Meteorogram (courtesy of UCSD)
    Travis AFB (SUU) 24 hr Meteorogram
    Oakland Skew-T chart
    temperature contours for California
    pressure contours for CA


    PURDUE UNIV:  formerly the products displayed by the Purdue Univ. WXP server
    Here is the location of Purdue's earth and atmospheric sciences department.


        Past Projects:

    Past Project links: (note some may be broken)
    Some of my research projects and output Misc. projects with my students:
    my cgi Programs (files executable over the web)

    Misc. .gif Movies
    Misc. .gif Images

    Tahoe waterspouts imagery 

    Subtropical High work 

    Dyanmics and Instability research links This path includes the paper on the instability of a local structure in directory "Local".

    Cris Castello's .gifs & .gif Movies
    Cris Castello's radial .gifs & .gif Movies

    Dan Hodyss' resolution test .gifs & gif Movies

    Cris Castello's MAS model plots.