Forensic Meteorology

Exponent meteorologists provide a full range of meteorological support for litigation and insurance coverage issues. We use a wide range of meteorological data to reconstruct weather events, including surface weather observations, upper air soundings, radar imagery, satellite imagery, three-dimensional analysis and forecasts from National Weather Service meteorological models, lightning data, snow and ice cover data, and climatological data and summaries.

Exponent can also provide custom simulations of specific weather events using NOAA’s Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. WRF supports the development of high-resolution fields of almost any meteorological variable of interest including wind, temperature, humidity, and precipitation.

For severe wind events, Exponent can perform simulations using Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) models to map wind forces on buildings or structures. That information can then be used in finite element structural models or by Exponent civil engineers to understand building damage. This approach has proved especially useful when investigating wind versus water claims.
One of Exponent’s greatest strengths is our cross-disciplinary expertise. Our meteorologists work in close collaboration with Exponent civil, electrical, and thermal engineers to solve your most complex problems. Our forensic meteorological services include evaluating the following meteorological conditions and their impacts on a wide variety of industries and accidents:

  • Wind, temperature, humidity, visibility, solar radiation, and precipitation
  • Ice or snow cover, snow melt and refreezing
  • Heat waves and cold waves
  • Fogging and visibility

Severe weather events can result in property damage that may lead to litigation. Exponent can provide data and a better understanding of severe weather events including:

  • Hurricanes and tropical storms
  • Winter storms
  • High wind events
  • Flooding events
  • Severe thunderstorms
  • Lightning

Exponent’s atmospheric scientists have performed a range of forensic meteorological services for clients. For example, Exponent scientists performed a detailed meteorological analysis of a flash flood event in the New York region. They have also performed high-resolution numerical modeling of Hurricane Katrina to evaluate the surface wind field of the storm as it made landfall near New Orleans and then used CFD simulations to evaluate multiple wind versus water damage claims involving industrial buildings. Recently, Exponent scientists performed detailed analyses of dust storm events and wind and hail impacts from severe thunderstorms.