Welcome to the Physical Ecology Group at the University of Lincoln
Although organisms obey the same physical laws as inanimate objects the evolutionary implications of these laws are often neglected. Physical factors influence the fitness value of traits and play an important role in the course of evolution. These are the areas of investigation that interest us.
Mike Olbinski’s latest storm chasing timelapse, “Monsoon V,” is once again spectacular. Although I do think the name could have been “Haboob” instead, given how many sweeping dust clouds encroach on the viewer. These towering wall clouds of dust can form from downdrafts at the leading edge of a cold front, or from the fading remains of a thunderstorm. In dry, dusty regions like Arizona, the strong downward winds spread outward as they near the ground, picking up dust and sand. Below you can see two examples of haboobs racing ahead of fronts.
The middle image shows a microburst, where a sudden, localized downdraft falls out of the storm. Notice how the wind and rain sweep outward as they near the ground. This is typical of any flow heading straight toward a wall! Check out the full video for lots more gorgeous fluid dynamics in action. (Video and image credit: M. Olbinski)