Ted Letcher
OwLES: Homepage

Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems (OWLeS)

The Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems (OWLeS) project will be conducted during December 2013 through January 2014. The OWLeS project examines the formation mechanisms, cloud microphysics, boundary layer processes and dynamics of lake-effect systems (LeS) using new observational tools capable of detailing LeS characteristics not observed in previous LeS field experiments. Lake-effect systems form through surface-air interactions as a cold air mass is advected over relatively warm (at least partially) ice-free mesoscale bodies of water. The OWLeS project focuses on Lake Ontario because of its geometry and size, influence of upstream lakes, frequency of LeS, nearby orography, and proximity to several participating universities with a strong record of undergraduate research. We distinguish between short-fetch LeS (those oriented at large angles to the long axis of the lake) and long-fetch LeS (those more aligned with the lake's long axis).

MRR Data

North Redfield OwLES team after a big storm

MRR Transect

Four Micro Rain Radars (MRR) were deployed downwind of Lake Ontario as part of OwLES to study the inland evolution of lake-effect storms as they interact with the Tug Hill Plateau.
MRR Transect

MRR Information

MRR at Sandy Island Beach

Technical Information

  • 24 GHz, FM-CW, profiling, Doppler
  • Δz=200m (upto 6km AGL)
  • Δt=60s
  • 28 Usable Range Gates
  • Post processed following:

OWLeS Related Links

Main Information

OWLeS news media

Publications and Presentations

Note: This is not a complete list of publications from the OwLES project
  • Campbell, L., W.J. Steenburgh, P.G. Veals, T.W. Letcher, J.R. Minder, 2016: Lake-Effect Mode and Precipitation Enhancement over the Tug Hill Plateau during OWLeS IOP2b. Mon. Wea. Rev. Early Online Release URL

  • Justin R. Minder, Theodore W. Letcher, Leah S. Campbell, Peter G. Veals, and W. James Steenburgh, 2015: The Evolution of Lake-Effect Convection during Landfall and Orographic Uplift as Observed by Profiling Radars. Mon. Wea. Rev., 143, 4422-4442.URL

  • 16th Mountain Meteorology Conference (2014) -- The OWLeS Orographic (O2) Field Campaign: Adventures in Intense Snowstorms on the Tug Hill Plateau. Jim Steenburgh, L. Campbell, P. G. Veals, T. Letcher, and J. R. Minder Recorded Presentation

  • 16th Mountain Meteorology Conference (2014) -- Modification of long-axis lake-effect snow bands associated with landfall and orographic uplift: Results from a profiling radar network deployed during OWLeS. Justin R. Minder, T. Letcher, J. Steenburgh, P. G. Veals, and L. Campbell Recorded Presentation