NSSL/CIMMS hosting Chinese Ministry of Water Resources visitors

A team from the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) is in Norman, Okla., to work with NSSL’s National Mosaic and multi-sensor Quantitative precipitation estimation (NMQ) system.

China recently implemented a national Doppler weather radar network similar to NEXRAD, and they are using NMQ to incorporate the radar observations into their operations.

Traditionally, the MWR has used rain gauge data only for their flood warnings and water resource management.

Through a collaboration project with CIMMS, NSSL installed the NMQ system for a pilot domain of the Huai River and the middle reach of the Yellow River in China for the MWR.

The system has been running in China in real-time since June 2011 and has demonstrated its capabilities of integrating data from radar, rain gauge, and atmospheric model and generating high-resolution QPE products operationally.

Based on the pilot domain experiment, the MWR now plans to expand the system to their local Water Resources Commissions, similar to the NWS River Forecast Centers.  The visitors are being trained at NSSL on the NMQ system configurations and real-time management.

Future collaborations will be focused on customizations and refinements of NMQ’s scientific components for the local environment in China.

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NSSL partners with San Francisco’s Exploratorium

Rust and Waugh
Retired NSSL scientist Dave Rust, and OU/CIMMS/NSSL grad student Sean Waugh look at a static electricity exhibit with Exploratorium staff.

A team from NSSL spent a week at the world-renowned San Francisco Exploratorium to work with staff as part of the NOAA Scientist in Residence program.  The Exploratorium is a unique museum dedicated to unstructured exploration and discovery of science and art.

NSSL retired researcher Dave Rust led the team and shared his expertise as an observational scientist and creator of observation platforms.  Rust, along with NSSL/CIMMS’s Sean Waugh and Susan Cobb brainstormed with staff to develop demonstrations, experiments and exhibits on weather and severe weather.  They also gave presentations on NSSL and their research and worked with “explainers” who serve as guides in the museum.  Part of the time was spent discussing new ideas for an outdoor observatory to be located at the Exploratorium’s new location on Pier 15, opening in 2013.

The team will return in late Winter 2012 for two weeks to share NOAA NSSL research with Exploratorium visitors.

The partnership is the result of a five-year educational grant with NOAA to co-develop interactive exhibits, online learning experiences and professional development workshops for the learning institution.

The Exploratorium first opened in 1969 and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors each year.

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Meteorological Technology World Expo to feature NSSL researcher

NSSL’s Kurt Hondl will be a featured speaker at the first Meteorological Technology World Expo on Tuesday, October 18 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. Hondl is one of eight speakers from the U.S., and the only one to represent NOAA.

Hondl will speak on “Rapid sampling of severe storms by phased array radar.”  The National Weather Radar Testbed phased-array radar in Norman, Okla. has unique electronic scanning capabilities that can reveal the detailed evolution of severe weather precursors to potentially extend warning lead-time. The presentation was co-written with NSSL’s Pamela Heinselman.

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Eye to eye with Irene

MM Hurricane Irene
NSSL's Mobile Mesonet is prepared to take weather measurements of Hurricane Irene as it makes landfall.

NOAA and University of Oklahoma researchers are in North Carolina to deploy two mobile radars and a state-of-the-art instrumented vehicle to intercept Hurricane Irene. They are joining research teams from across the United States to collect an unprecedented hurricane dataset to better understand these devastating storms and protect lives and property. The team includes researchers from the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, the University of  Oklahoma (OU), and the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies at OU.

Hurricanes are notorious producers of torrential rain. This combined with fierce winds, driving water and waves onshore, can cause devastating flooding even many miles inland.

Scientists will use the unique dataset from this storm to help improve techniques for estimating rainfall in extreme weather events, which will increase the accuracy of flood and flash flood forecasts and warnings. Researchers also want to understand severe turbulence and wind bursts in the hurricane near the ground to help set building code guidelines in hurricane prone areas.

Both mobile radars from the University of Oklahoma are equipped with dual-polarization technology that provides more accurate estimates of precipitation type and amount. This will be the first hurricane for the National Science Foundation-funded Rapid Scan X-band dual polarized radar (RaXPOL), which is sensitive enough to detect cloud particles. The storm intercept Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching radar (SMART-R 2) uses a different frequency and detects precipitation.

Data from one of the mobile radars will be available online for public real-time viewing while it is gathering data: http://smartr.metr.ou.edu/smartr2/img.

Researchers plan to compare mobile radar data with the NOAA National Weather Service NEXRAD radar in Newport/Morehead City, N.C., recently upgraded with dual-polarization technology. It will be the first time three radars transmitting at three different frequencies will be operating simultaneously to scan a land-falling hurricane. Since each radar reveals different features of the storm, researchers will be looking for new clues in the rainfall characteristics of hurricanes.

In addition, a number of new weather instruments fixed to a vehicle will be tested during the deployment. Other teams will deploy a variety of sensitive weather instruments to measure clouds, size and speed of raindrops, infrared radiation, static electricity, turbulence, and wave surges.

For their own safety, the NOAA/University of Oklahoma team will choose a site designed to withstand Category-5 hurricane storm surge and will anchor their vehicles.

A SMART-R radar intercepted Tropical Storm Gabrielle in 2001, Hurricane Lilli in 2002, Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and Hurricane Frances in 2005. A mobile radar was also deployed during Hurricane Ike in 2008 and made the first dual-polarized scans of a hurricane eyewall.

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NSSL/CIMMS researchers to present at international symposium

NSSL/CIMMS researchers will be presenting at the 2nd International Symposium on Earth-science Challenges (ISEC) at the National Weather Center (NWC) in Norman, Okla. on September 14-16, 2011. This biannual event is dedicated to bringing together scientists and engineers from around the world to share recent advances in the study of the Earth.

Participating researchers will be giving oral and poster scientific presentations on earth system science, radar and satellite remote sensing of the atmosphere, hydrometeorology, modeling and data assimilation, and weather and climate variability.

The event is sponsored by Kyoto University (KU),and the University of Oklahoma (OU).


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CI-FLOW produced accurate total water level predictions from Irene

Hurricane Irene heads for the Outer BanksThe Coastal and Inland Flooding Observation and Warning (CI-FLOW) project began producing real-time 84-hour simulations of total water level in coastal North Carolina from Hurricane Irene on Tuesday, August 23.  Hurricane Irene made landfall near Morehead City, N.C.

CI-FLOW total water level simulations were compared with water levels observed during the storm.  Researchers found a high level of agreement in both the timing and water level heights for the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse River coastal watershed.

CI-FLOW is the first system to capture the complex interaction between waves, tides, river flows, and storm surge to produce total water level simulations.

CI-FLOW’s unique interdisciplinary team is lead by the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory and includes North Carolina, South Carolina, & Texas Sea Grant Programs, National Sea Grant, Renaissance Computing Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Oklahoma, NWS Offices in Raleigh & Newport/Morehead City, NWS Southeast River Forecast Center, NOAA Coastal Services Center, NOAA in the Carolinas, Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence SouthEast, NWS Office of Hydrologic Development, and National Ocean Service Coast Survey Development Laboratory.

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