Significant papers sent to HQ

Journal: Weather and Forecasting

Early online release: March 27

Title: Forecaster Use and Evaluation of Real-Time 3DVAR Analyses during Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warning Operations in the Hazardous Weather Testbed

Authors: Kristin M. Calhoun,* Travis M. Smith, and Darrel M. Kingfield, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, NOAA/OAR National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma, Jidong Gao and David J. Stensrud NOAA/OAR National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

Summary: A weather-adaptive three-dimensional data assimilation (3DVAR) system was included in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed as a first step towards introducing Warn-on-Forecast initiatives into operations. NWS forecasters were asked to incorporate the data in conjunction with single-radar and multi-sensor products in the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) as part of their warning-decision process for real-time events across the United States.

Important Conclusions: Forecasters found the updraft, vertical vorticity, and storm-top divergence products the most useful for storm interrogation and quickly visualizing storm trends, often using these tools to increase the confidence in a warning decision and/or issue the warning slightly earlier. Blending data from multiple radars was extremely useful to forecasters rather than having to analyze multiple radars separately. The largest hurdle for realtime use of 3DVAR or similar data assimilation products by forecasters is the data latency, as even 4-6 minutes reduces the utility of the products when new radar scans are available.

Significance: The eventual goal of this real-time 3DVAR system is to help meteorologists better track severe weather events and eventually provide better warning information to the public, ultimately saving lives and reducing property damage.

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Journal: Bulletin of the AMS

Online release: April 2, 2014

Title: ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND RELATED RESEARCH: Current Systems, Emerging Technology, and Future Needs

Authors: HOWARD B. BLUESTEIN 1, ROBERT M. RAUBER , DONALD W. BURGESS , BRUCE ALBRECHT , SCOTT M. ELLIS , YVETTE P. RICHARDSON , DAVID P. JORGENSEN , STEPHEN J. FRASIER , PHILLIP CHILSON , ROBERT D. PALMER , SANDRA E. YUTER , WEN-CHAU LEE , DAVID C. DOWELL , PAUL L. SMITH , PAUL M. MARKOWSKI , KATJA FRIEDRICH , and TAMMY M. WECKWERTH

Summary: To assist the National Science Foundation in meeting the needs of the community of scientists by providing them with the instrumentation and platforms necessary to conduct their research successfully, a meeting was held in late Nov. 2012 with the purpose of defining the problems of the next generation that will require radar technologies and determining the suite of radars best suited to help solve these problems.

Important Conclusions: The research community recommended polarimetric radars, S-band radars with Bragg-scattering radars, airborne radars, diverse radar platforms at several wavelengths, VHF profiling systems, radars in data sparse areas, deployable networks of radars, phased-array radar technology, better software tools for radar display and analysis, availability of radar instrumentation for the research community, educational support, and an increase computer resources. Radar developers need to think far ahead (~50 years). What is useful now might quickly become old technology.

Significance: The emerging radar technologies that will be most helpful in answering the key scientific questions are identified.

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New system automatically detects supercell thunderstorms

NWS forecasters will be evaluating a new weather-adaptive three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) system from NSSL/CIMMS that automatically detects and analyzes supercell thunderstorms during the 2011 Experimental Warning Program in the Hazardous Weather Testbed.  The program runs from May 9-June 10, 2011.

Early identification of supercell thunderstorms is critical to the public severe weather warning process since 90% of supercell thunderstorms produce tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

The 3DVAR system uses data from the national WSR-88D radar network and NCEP’s North American Mesoscale model product to automatically locate regions of thunderstorm activity.  It is able to identify deep rotating updrafts that indicate a supercell thunderstorm at 1 km resolution every five minutes in these regions.

The 3DVAR analyses contain full three-dimensional wind field and precipitation fields, and can provide estimates of storm dynamics such as the strength of the updraft. In addition, by combining observations from multiple radars, the 3DVAR system provides a single information source that can reduce the observational data flow that challenges forecasters every day.

During the 5-week project, 3DVAR products will be available to participating NWS forecasters in near real-time to determine if these high-resolution analyses can improve their awareness of the hazardous weather threat.

The system performed well during the spring of 2010, detecting and analyzing significant severe weather events including tornado outbreaks in Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.  More recently, the significant tornadoes in Greensburg, Pa. and Mapleton, IA in early April were also well identified and analyzed.

Initial development and testing of the 3DVAR was done at the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms at the University of Oklahoma.  Preliminary display of the product can be found at:

http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/users/jgao/public_html/analysis/RealtimeAnalysis.htm

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