One of Stephen Bieda’s long term professional goal is to work for a federal agency to help address climate hazards in arid land regions. And he has achieved this goal with his present employment as Lead Meteorological Trainer and Science Officer, United States Air Force.
Thesis Title: Flash flood causing mechanisms of the North American Monsoon System in the Sonoran Desert
Author: Stephen W. Bieda III
The North American Monsoon System (NAMS) is a significant weather and climate phenomenon that brings critical rainfall to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. As a result of the North American Monsoon Experiment, and research efforts surrounding the field campaign, the understanding of the NAMS has increased considerably over the last 15 years. In addition questions concerning potential flash flood causing mechanisms of the NAMS have not been thoroughly investigated. This dissertation is comprised of two papers that collectively address the aspects of the literary understanding of the NAMS as we know it today and conduct an investigation into the complex interactions between various weather systems that may influence the NAMS. In the first paper, a review of the major research of the NAMS literature since the last comprehensive review 15 years ago is conducted. The results of his review are assessed for where our understanding has been improved and where future research needs to be guided for purposes of the second paper. Based upon the results from the literature review, the second paper focuses on identification of inverted troughs and gulf surges based upon lower- and mid-level atmospheric parameters for purposes of assessing the impacts on National Weather Service Storm Report flash flood dates. This research contributes to the synthesis of the current knowledge of the NAMS in general and to the specific regional impacts that do occur during periods of heavy precipitation over the NAMS region for purposes of improving meteorological predictability of flash flooding. The results can (1) gauge our understanding of the NAMS literature to date and (2) improve meteorological forecasts through the recognition of synoptic and sub-synoptic patterns related to the NAMS that are most likely to cause flash floods.