DoC Gold Medal and Distinguished Career Awards

2014 DoC Gold Medal

Erica Kuligowski, Long Phan, Frank Lombardo, Materials and Structural Systems Division, and Dave Jorgensen (NOAA), for their study of building performance, warnings, and human behavior in the investigation of the 2011 Joplin, MO tornado

NOAA Distinguished Career Award — NOAA’s Distinguished Career Award honors cumulative career achievement of sustained excellence, rather than a single defined accomplishment, in specific categories.  In addition, this award recognizes significant accomplishments across all NOAA program areas and functions that have resulted in long- term benefits to our mission and strategic goals.

Richard J. Doviak (OAR)
For development of breakthrough radar methods that have greatly enhanced operational severe weather detection and advanced meteorological research.

David J. Stensrud (OAR)
For exemplary service as a brilliant scientist, inspiring mentor, and generous collaborator in 28 years with the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

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NSSL scientists awarded an NSF grant to improve convective-scale weather prediction

IMG_0853NSSL scientists Jidong Gao, David Stensrud and the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology professor Xuguang Wang have received a significant research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop new techniques that will help improve convective-scale (1km) weather prediction.

Currently, most convective-scale data assimilation rely on techniques that were developed for larger-scale weather, where the rules of the atmospheric dynamics are usually different from those of thunderstorm events. To make convective-scale data assimilation more realistic and able to predict individual storms, they must effectively use Doppler radar data as a jumping off point.

The scientists propose to explore new techniques to feed (assimilate) operational WSR-88D radar data into convective scale models, and evaluate the results. This research will help improve our understanding of storm-scale data assimilation and dynamics, and lead to better detection and prediction of thunderstorm hazards. The award continues to draw upon NOAA’s critical investment in the WSR-88D network, and will provide synergistic support to NOAA’s Warn-on-Forecast project.

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NSSL scientists invited editors for special journal issue

Advances In Meteorology-Feb2014NSSL scientists Jidong Gao, David Stensrud, and Louis Wicker were among five invited guest editors for a special issue of Advances in Meteorology, an open access international journal. This special issue focuses on high-resolution storm-scale computer models that ingest or assimilate radar data.

With the steady increase in computing power, operational centers throughout the world are preparing to run their weather computer models at resolutions high enough to predict individual thunderstorms. To do this, the models will be required to ingest observations.

This opportunity increases the demand for using radar data in storm-scale data assimilation in order to insert storm structures into model initial conditions.

The potential for successfully assimilating radar data into storm-scale numerical weather prediction (NWP) models is challenged by data quality control, proper estimation of the background error statistics, and the estimation of atmospheric state variables that are not directly observed by radar.

This special issue focuses on progress in some of these important areas. There are 12 papers published in this special issue, including seven papers from NSSL and five papers from other institutions. This special issue can be found at:

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Field project begins to improve thunderstorm prediction

MPEX-logo-finalToday, researchers launched the Mesoscale Predictability EXperiment (MPEX) field project to collect data on pre-storm and post-storm environments in an effort to better predict where and when thunderstorms will form.  MPEX runs from May 15 – June 15, and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

NSSL researchers will team with Colorado State University and Purdue to launch weather balloons carrying instrument packages called radiosondes.  They hope to find out how thunderstorms interact with the atmosphere that surrounds and supports them, and how this affects formation of new thunderstorms.  They also hope to ingest the balloon data into computer models to see how the extra data collected during the afternoon can help predict the location and severity of evening storms better.

Researchers with the National Center for Atmospheric Research will use a Gulfstream V aircraft to sample pre-storm jet stream winds, upper–level temperatures and other features across Colorado and nearby states.  The aircraft will cruise at 40,000 feet for up to six hours so researchers can thoroughly canvass the region. The data they collect will also be ingested into computer models to show how well the extra data can help predict local and regional weather conditions into the next day.

Additional participants are from the University at Albany, State University of New York and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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