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C. David Whiteman, Ph.D.

C. David Whiteman

Research Professor, Atmospheric Sciences 

Atmospheric Sciences
University of Utah
135 S 1460 East Rm 819 (WBB)
Salt Lake City, Ut 84112-0110

Office: 486 INSCC
Office Phone: (801) 585-1414
My Website: 

1980 Ph.D. Atmospheric Science Colorado State University
1970 M.S. Meteorology and Oceanography University of Michigan
1968 B.S. Physical Science Colorado State University

Research Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah, 2005-present.

Senior Research Scientist/Staff Scientist at Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 1980-2005.

Author of the book Mountain Meteorology: Fundamentals and Applications, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Editor, Journal of Applied Meteorology, 1998-2000.

Visiting Scientist/Professor:
University of Canterbury, New Zealand
University of Munich, Germany
University of Innsbruck, Austria
University of Bern, Switzerland
University of Freiburg, Germany
Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland
University of Vienna, Austria
University of Trento, Italy

Presently conducting research on 1) persistent wintertime inversions in the Salt Lake Valley, 2) boundary layer meteorology and diurnal wind circulations in Arizona's Meteor Crater, 3) temperature inversions and mountain wind systems in California's Owens Valley, 4) thermally driven wind circulations in the intermountain basin, 5) radiative transfer in three-dimensional topography.

Head, Mountain Meteorology Group, University of Utah Meteorology Department.

Fellow, American Meteorological Society.

A current list of Dr. Whiteman's publications can be viewed by clicking here

Research Projects:

Project Grants:Observing and modeling downslope-windstorm-type flow in a small-scale crater induced by larger-scale katabatic winds: National Science Foundation 2012

Collaborators: Sebastian Hoch, Ron Calhoun (Arizona State University), and Rich Rotunno (National Center for Atmospheric Research)

A serendipitous discovery in a prior NSF-funded research program identified Arizona's Meteor Crater as being ideally suited to studying downslope-windstorm-type flows on the upwind inner sidewall of the crater where these flows develop regularly when thermally driven drainage flows cascade over the crater’s rim on clear, undisturbed nights. The crater’s rim and environs are on a scale that can be readily instrumented to investigate these flows and the changing upstream conditions that cause them to form. This project will be the first systematic investigation of DWFs at a location where many replications occur naturally. Downslope windsoroms have important societal effects and are poorly understood scientifically. The program will combine a field study at the crater in the fall of 2103 with numerical simulations of such flows at the crater and in other topographic situations. 
Project Web site:


Project Grants: Bingham Mine Cold-Air PoolKennecott Utah Copper 2010

Collaborators: Sebastian Hoch

The Bingham Mine Cold-Air Pool Structure and Evolution project, funded by Kennecott Utah Copper, is investigating the meteorological factors affecting the development of temperature inversions inside the Bingham Open-Pit Copper Mine on the southwest side of the Salt Lake Basin. The project is being run at the same time as the PCAPS project to take advantage of the large number of meteorological sensors and measurement equipment involved in PCAPS.


Project Grants: Diurnal Evolution of Stable Boundary LayersNational Science Foundation 2008

Collaborators: Sharon Zhong, (Michigan State University)

This project, funded by the National Science Foundation and conducted collaboratively with Prof. Sharon Zhong at Michigan State University, is a follow-on to a research project that investigated the life cycle of diurnal temperature inversions in Arizona's Meteor Crater -- a near-ideal topographic basin. 
Project Web


Project Grants: Persistent Cold-Air Pool StudyNational Science Foundation 2010

Collaborators: John Horel; Sharon Zhong, (Michigan State University)

An investigation, conducted with co-investigators John Horel (UU) and Sharon Zhong (Michigan State University), to gain a better understanding of the meteorological processes that produce persistent wintertime inversions that cause air pollution problems in the Western United States and in other mountain areas of the world. This 3-yr project, funded by the National Science Foundation, includes a field study in the Salt Lake Basin from 1 December 2010 to 7 February 2011. The project has a strong educational component in which university graduate and undergraduate students have participated in the design and have organized the execution of the field study.
Project Web


Courses I Teach

ATMOS 3000 Mountain Weather and Climate


2009 Fellow - American Meteoroloigical Society

Last Updated: 4/30/21