Mesoscale meteorology is the study of atmospheric phenomena with typical spatial scales between 10 and 1000 kilometers. Examples of mesoscale phenomena include fronts, mesoconvective systems, thunderstorms, gap winds, downslope windstorms, and land-sea breezes. Many of the weather phenomena that most directly affect human activity occur on the mesoscale.
While researchers have been able to successfully predict large-scale weather patterns since the 1950s, the prediction of smaller—or mesoscale—phenomena such as storms has proven more difficult. Why the lag in mesoscale prediction? The dynamics of weather phenomena on large scales can largely be described by considering just hydrostatic and geostrophic balance, allowing them to be described by highly simplified models.