Jim Steenburgh

Jim Steenburgh

Professor

Office: 488 INSCC
Phone: (801) 581-8727
Fax: (801) 585-3681
Email: jim.steenburgh@utah.edu
Citations: Google Scholar/SciVal

University of Utah
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
135 S 1460 E, Rm 819
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0110

Blog: Wasatch Weather Weenies

Education

1989 B.S. Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University
1995 Ph.D. Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington

Research Interests

Mountain weather and climate, orographic and lake-effect precipitation, urban and arid-land meteorology, weather analysis and forecasting, numerical weather prediction

Teaching Interests

Atmos 5010: Weather Forecasting
Atmos 5110: Synoptic-Dynamic Meteorology I
Atmos 5120: Weather Discussion
Atmos 5210: Synoptic Meteorology II
Atmos 6250: Mountain Meteorology

Books

Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth

"Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth covers all of the essential topics for Utah powder lovers of every stripe. Jim Steenburgh's dual passion for powder skiing and the science behind the weather that produces Utah's legendary snowfall make him the ultimate authority on 'The Greatest Snow on Earth'."
—Nathan Rafferty, President, Ski Utah

"I have eagerly awaited the publication of Jim Steenburgh's book. Jim is one of those popular and charismatic professors with the rare gift of being able to explain complex science in layman's terms while also infecting his audience with his boundless enthusiasm and energy . . . Many of my conversations with him, lectures I've attended, and questions I've asked him are combined into one easy-to-understand book for the general public."
—Bruce Tremper, Utah Avalanche Center

"An entertaining, expert discussion on the science behind snow and skiing. A great read for snow lovers and ski enthusiasts alike."
—Thomas Niziol, Winter Weather Expert at The Weather Channel

"Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth will prove to be the primer for debates and inquiries about why Wasatch snow is so great."
—Onno Wieringa, General Manager, Alta Ski Area

Utah has long claimed to have the greatest snow on Earth—the state itself has even trademarked the phrase. In Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth, Jim Steenburgh investigates Wasatch weather, exposing the myths, explaining the reality, and revealing how and why Utah's powder lives up to its reputation. Steenburgh also examines ski and snowboard regions beyond Utah, making this book a meteorological guide to mountain weather and snow climates around the world.

Chapters explore mountain weather, avalanches and snow safety, historical accounts of weather events and snow conditions, and the basics of climate and weather forecasting. Steenburgh explains what creates the best snow for skiing and snowboarding in accurate and accessible language and illustrates his points with 150 color photographs, making Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth a helpful tool for planning vacations and staying safe during mountain adventures. Snowriders, weather enthusiasts, meteorologists, students of snow science, and anyone who dreams of deep powder and bluebird skies will want to get their gloves on Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth.

Paper: $21.95
Electronic book: $18.00

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Utah State University Press, Kings English, Weller Book Works, and wherever books are sold.

Book Chapters

Jim Steenburgh

Steenburgh, W. J., K. Redmond, K. E. Kunkel, N. Doesken, R. Gillies, J. Horel, M. P. Hoerling, and T. H. Painter, 2013: Present weather and climate: Average conditions. Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States: A Report Prepared for the National Climate Assessment. G. Garfin, A. Jardine, R. Merideth, M. Black, and S. LeRoy, Eds., Island Press, 56-73.

Liverman, D., S. Moser, P. Weiland, L. Dilling, M. Boykoff, H. E. Brown, D. E. Busch, E. Gordon, C. Greene, E. Hothaus, D. Niemeier, S. Pincetl, W. J. Steenburgh, and V. Tidwell, 2013: Climate choices for a sustainable Southwest. Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States: A Report Prepared for the National Climate Assessment. G. Garfin, A. Jardine, R. Merideth, M. Black, and S. LeRoy, Eds., Island Press, 405-435.

Jim Steenburgh

Meyers, M., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2013: Mountain weather prediction: Phenomenological challenges and forecast methodology. Mountain Weather Research and Forecasting: Recent Progress and Current Challenges. T. Chow, S. de Wekker, and B. Snyder, Eds., Springer, 1-34.

Steenburgh, W. J., D. M. Schultz, B. Snyder, and M. Meyers, 2013: Bridging the gap between operations and research to improve weather prediction in mountainous regions. Mountain Weather Research and Forecasting: Recent Progress and Current Challenges. T. Chow, S. de Wekker, and B. Snyder, Eds., Springer, 693-716.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Rutz, J. J., W. J. Steenburgh, and F. M. Ralph, 2014: The inland penetration of atmospheric rivers over western North America: A Lagrangian analysis. Submitted to Mon. Wea. Rev..

McMillen, J. D., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2014: Impact of microphysics parameterizations on simulations of the 27 October 2010 Great Salt Lake effect snowstorm. Wea. Forecasting, in press.

Fernando, H. J. S., and Coauthors, 2014: The MATERHORN - Unraveling the intricacies of mountain weather. Submitted to Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.

Campbell, L. S., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2014: Fine-scale orographic precipitation variability and gap-filling radar potential in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Wea. Forecasting, 29, 912-935.

Massey, J. D., W. J. Steenburgh, S. W. Hoch, and J. C. Knievel, 2014: Sensitivity of near-surface temperature forecasts to soil properties over a sparsely vegetated dryland region. J. Appl. Metor. Clim., 53, 1976-1995.

Rutz, J. J., W. J. Steenburgh, and F. M. Ralph, 2014: Climatological characteristics of atmospheric rivers and their inland penetration over the western United States. Mon. Wea. Rev., 142, 905-921.

Alcott, T. I., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2013: Orographic influences on a Great Salt Lake-effect snowstorm. Mon. Wea. Rev., 141, 2432-2450.

Yeager, K. N., W. J. Steenburgh, and T. I. Alcott, 2013: Contributions of lake-effect periods to the cool-season hydroclimate of the Great Salt Lake Basin. J. Appl. Meteor. Clim., 52, 341-362.

Rutz, J. J., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2012: Quantifying the role of atmospheric rivers in the interior western United States. Atmos. Sci. Lett., 13, 257-261.

Steenburgh, W. J., J. D. Massey, and T. H. Painter, 2012: Episodic dust events of Utah's Wasatch Front and adjoining region. J. Appl. Meteor. Clim., 51, 1654-1669.

Alcott, T. I., W. J. Steenburgh, and N. F. Laird, 2012: Great Salt Lake-effect precipitation: Observed frequency, characteristics, and environmental factors. Wea. Forecasting, 27, 954-971.

West, G. L., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2011: Influences of the Sierra Nevada on Intermountain cold-front evolution. Mon. Wea. Rev., 139, 3184-3207.

West, G. L., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2010: Life cycle and mesoscale frontal structure of an Intermountain cyclone. Mon. Wea. Rev., 138, 2528-2545.

Jeglum, M. E., W. J. Steenburgh, T. P. Lee, and L. F. Bosart, 2010: Multi-reanalysis climatology of Intermountain cyclones. Mon. Wea. Rev., 138, 4035-4053.

Alcott, T. I., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2010: Snow-to-liquid ratio variability and prediction at a high elevation site in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. Wea. Forecasting, 25, 323-337.

Steenburgh, W. J., C. R. Neuman, G. L. West, and L. F. Bosart, 2009: Discrete frontal propagation over the Sierra-Cascade Mountains and Intermountain West. Mon. Wea. Rev., 137, 2000-2020. BAMS Feb 2008

Steenburgh, W. J., and T. I. Alcott, 2008: Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 89, 1285-1293.

Shafer, J. C., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2008: Climatology of strong Intermountain cold fronts. Mon. Wea. Rev., 136, 784-807.

Cheng, W. Y. Y., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2007: Strengths and weaknesses of MOS, running-mean bias removal, and Kalman filter techniques for improving model forecasts over the western U. S. Wea. Forecasting, 22, 1304-1318.

Orf, L., G. Lackman, C. Herbster, A. Krueger, E. Cutrim, T. Whitaker, J. Steenburgh, and M. Voss, 2007: Models as educational tools. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88, 1101-1104.

West, G. L., W. J. Steenburgh, and W. Y.-Y. Cheng, 2007: Spurious grid-scale precipitation in the North American Regional Reanalysis. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 2168-2184.

Shafer, J. C., W. J. Steenburgh, J. A. W. Cox, and J. P. Monteverdi, 2006: Terrain influences on synoptic storm structure and mesoscale precipitation distribution during IPEX IOP3. Mon. Wea. Rev., 134, 478-497.

Cheng, W. Y. Y., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2005: Evaluation of surface sensible weather forecasts by the WRF and Eta models over the western United States. Wea. Forecasting, 20, 812-821.

Colle, B. A., J. B. Wolfe, W. J. Steenburgh, D. E. Kingsmill, J. A. W. Cox, and J. C. Shafer, 2005: High resolution simulations and microphysical validation of an orographic precipitation event over the Wasatch Mountains during IPEX IOP3. Mon. Wea. Rev., 133, 2947-2971.

Hart, K. A., W. J. Steenburgh, and D. J. Onton, 2005: Model forecast improvements with decreased horizontal grid spacing over fine-scale Intermountain orography during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Wea. Forecasting, 20, 558-576.

Cox, J. A. W., W. J. Steenburgh, D. E. Kingsmill, J. C. Shafer, B. A. Colle, O. Bousquet, B. F. Smull, and H. Cai, 2005: The kinematic structure of a Wasatch Mountain winter storm during IPEX IOP3. Mon. Wea. Rev., 133, 521-542.

Pataki, D. E., B. J. Tyler, R. E. Peterson, A. P. Nair, W. J. Steenburgh, and E. R. Pardyjak, 2005: Can carbon dioxide be used as a tracer of urban atmospheric transport? J. Geophys. Res., 110, D15, D15102.

Steenburgh, W. J., 2004: THE MAP ROOM: One hundred inches in one hundred hours. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 85, 16-20.

Steenburgh, J., and E. Greene, 2004: Intermountain winter storm evolution during a 100-inch storm cycle. The Avalanche Review, 22(4), 13-16.

Hart, K. A., W. J. Steenburgh, D. J. Onton, and A. J. Siffert, 2004: An evaluation of mesoscale-model based model output statistics (MOS) during the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Wea. Forecasting, 19, 200-218.

Steenburgh, W. J., 2003: One hundred inches in one hundred hours - evolution of a Wasatch Mountain winter storm cycle. Wea. Forecasting, 18, 1018-1036.

Steenburgh, W. J., 2002: Using real-time mesoscale modeling in undergraduate education. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 1447-1451. BAMS Feb 2008

Horel, J., T. Potter, L. Dunn, W. J. Steenburgh, M. Eubank, M. Splitt, and D. J. Onton, 2002: Weather support for the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 227-240.

Schultz, D. M., W. J. Steenburgh, R. J. Trapp, J. Horel, D. E. Kingsmill, L. B. Dunn, W. D. Rust, L. Cheng, A. Bansemer, J. Cox, J. Daugherty, D. P. Jorgensen, J. Meitin, L. Showell, B. F. Smull, K. Tarp, and M. Trainor, 2002: Understanding Utah Winter Storms: The Intermountain Precipitation Experiment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 189-210.

Schultz, D. M., W. J. Steenburgh, R. J. Trapp, J. Horel, D. E. Kingsmill, L. B. Dunn, W. D. Rust, L. Cheng, A. Bansemer, J. Cox, J. Daugherty, D. P. Jorgensen, J. Meitin, L. Showell, B. F. Smull, K. Tarp, and M. Trainor, 2002: Supplement to Understanding Utah Winter Storms: The Intermountain Precipitation Experiment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 210-210.

Stewart, J. Q., C. D. Whiteman, W. J. Steenburgh, and X. Bian, 2002: A climatological study of thermally driven wind systems of the U. S. Intermountain West. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 83, 699-708.

Steenburgh, W. J., and T. R. Blazek, 2001: Topographic distortion of a cold front over the Snake River Plain and central Idaho Mountains. Wea. Forecasting, 16, 301-314.

Steenburgh, W. J., and D. J. Onton, 2001: Multiscale analysis of the 7 December 1998 Great Salt Lake-effect snowstorm. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129, 1296-1317.

Onton, D. J., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2001: Diagnostic and sensitivity studies of the 7 December 1998 Great Salt Lake-effect snowstorm. Mon. Wea. Rev., 129, 1318-1338.

Steenburgh, W. J., S. F. Halvorson, and D. J. Onton, 2000: Climatology of lake-effect snow-storms of the Great Salt Lake. Mon. Wea. Rev., 128, 709-727.

Mass, C. F., and W. J. Steenburgh, 2000: An observational and numerical study of an orographically trapped wind reversal along the west coast of the U.S. Mon. Wea. Rev., 128, 2363-2396.

Schultz, D. M., and W. J. Steenburgh, 1999: The formation of a forward-tilting cold front with multiple cloud bands during Superstorm 1993. Mon. Wea. Rev., 127, 1108-1124.

White, B. G., J. Paegle, W. J. Steenburgh, J. D. Horel, R. T. Swanson, L. K. Cook, D. J. Onton, and J. G. Miles, 1999: Short-term forecast validation of six models. Wea. Forecasting, 14, 84-108.

Steenburgh, W. J., D. M. Schultz, and B. A. Colle, 1998: The structure and evolution of gap outflow over the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico. Mon. Wea. Rev., 126, 2673-2691.

Steenburgh, W. J., C. F. Mass, and S. A. Ferguson, 1997: The influence of terrain-induced cir-culations on wintertime temperature and snow level in the Washington Cascades. Wea. Forecasting, 12, 208-227.

Steenburgh, W. J., and C. F. Mass, 1996: Interaction of an intense extratropical cyclone with the coastal orography of western North America. Mon. Wea. Rev., 124, 1329-1352.

Steenburgh, W. J., and C. F. Mass, 1994: The structure and evolution of a simulated Rocky Mountain lee trough. Mon. Wea. Rev., 122, 2740-2761.

Steenburgh, W. J., and J. R. Holton, 1993: On the interpretation of geopotential height tendency equations. Mon. Wea. Rev., 121, 2642-2645.

Mass, C. F., W. J. Steenburgh, and D. M. Schultz, 1991: Diurnal surface pressure variations over the continental U.S. and the influence of sea level reduction. Mon. Wea. Rev., 119, 2814-2830.

Favorite Quote

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if it started snowing and never stopped?

- Steve Casimiro, Editor, Powder Magazine, 1987-1998