Heinselman and Coniglio meet President Obama

President Barack Obama joins recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for a group photo in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 13, 2010.

NSSL’s Pam Heinselman (second row from the bottom, end) and Mike Coniglio (second row from the top, fifth from the left) in the official White House photo with President Obama from the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers reception at The White House earlier this month.

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NSSL taps community to make precipitation reports

robin on holly bush
A robin rests on a frozen holly bush in Norman, Oklahoma. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Berryhill, Norman resident.

With much of the U.S. well in the grip of winter, NSSL continues its third year of leaning on the local community to help provide observations for research.

The Winter Precipitation Identification Near the Ground (W-PING) project invites public observations of winter precipitation from volunteers within a 90-mile radius of Norman, Okla.

Winter precipitation is particularly difficult to forecast because it may melt or re-freeze very near the ground.  Because radars cannot see close to the ground, NSSL will use public observations of what is actually happening at the surface to compare with what the radar has detected. This information will help researchers improve computer programs and radar techniques to better estimate what is actually falling on the ground.

This is the first time W-PING observations will be compared with data from two radars during 2010 operations.  The testbed NEXRAD radar and a new dual-polarized radar (OU-PRIME) will both be collecting data simultaneously.

This is a perfect opportunity for classrooms, families and closet scientists to be a part of important weather research happening in their backyard.  Volunteers should visit:  http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/projects/winter/ and click on “I Want to Volunteer!”  There is no commitment, and no minimum number of reports.  The form will request the date, time, location, and precipitation type.

Since the first year of W-PING, NSSL has received over 2,800 individual observations from volunteers.  W-PING is coordinated by Kim Elmore, NSSL/CIMMS.

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NSSL researcher wins honors in AMS Artificial Intelligence competition

Kim Elmore
Kim Elmore

NSSL/CIMMS researcher Kim Elmore received second place in the American Meteorological Society Artificial Intelligence Competition.  This is the third year of the contest.
To compete, participants are given a data set, then tasked with defining or detecting some weather-related phenomena based the provided data.  The entrants are also requested to present a paper on the method used.

This year’s task was to make probability forecasts of moderate or greater turbulence for airline flights using over 100,000 observations and 130 variables. Elmore, along with co-participant University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology Professor Mike Richman, used an ensemble tree regression method to solve the problem, and were awarded second place.

Elmore and Richman co-chaired last year’s competition, and was invited to compete in the 2009 event.  As a result of Elmore’s efforts, he has been invited to become a member of the AMS Committee on Artificial Intelligence.

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SoCal rain events captured by NSSL radar team

Mullally debris basin
Workers assess a debris flow in the Mullally debris basin.

NSSL’s mobile radar team and the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radar (SMART-R) have captured seven heavy rain events in southern California as part of the NOAA/USGS demonstration flash flood and debris flow early warning system.

The heaviest rain occurred on December 12, 2009 with over 2 inches of rain reported in some areas.  During the event the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for the Station Fire burn area where debris eventually blocked some of the roads.

NSSL is supplying real-time close-up radar data during rain events in areas where the local NWS radar beam is blocked by the terrain.  The SMART-R is currently located at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California, and the project is expected to run through April 1, 2010.  NSSL and CIMMS folks rotating through the project so far are Dave Jorgensen, Katherine Willingham, and Kevin Manross.

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VORTEX2 article published in Weatherwise

The title page for the Weatherwise story on V2

Weatherwise Magazine published an article about VORTEX2 in their January/February 2010 edition.  To read the full article, go to:  http://www.weatherwise.org/Archives/Back%20Issues/2010/January-February%202010/vortex2-full.html.

“VORTEX2:  Inside the Biggest Tornado Chase in History” was written by Susan Cobb (NSSL/CIMMS), and describes the daily activities of the field project studying tornadoes.

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NSSL researcher honored by AMS

Jack_Kain_for_AMS_awardsNSSL’s John S. Kain was honored at the 90th American Meteorological Socity (AMS) Awards Banquet Meeting in Atlanta, GA on January 20, 2010.  Kain received an Editor award “for constructive and timely reviews that improved the quality of papers published in the AMS journal, “Monthly Weather Review.”  Kain is a research meteorologist in the Forecast and Warning Research and Development Division at NSSL.

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