Environmental applications research

LAPS/WRF Modeling Activities

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LAPS/WRF Modeling Activities

Participating CIRA Scientists: Steve Albers, Chris Anderson, and Isidora Jankov

1. Long-term Research Objectives and Specific Plans to Achieve Them:

2. Research Accomplishments/Highlights:

Fire Weather

We continue to support a web interface recently developed that allows an end user (e.g. Redzone Inc.) to automatically move a fire analysis/forecast domain so that we can quickly respond to evolving fire situations. The LAPS analysis runs at 500m resolution and utilizes a downscaled RUC background together with the latest observational data. The relocatable 500-m resolution forecast downscales the latest NAM run into the future.

A LAPS case study was performed of fire weather for recent Southern California fires that was presented to NWS personnel in the Los Angeles area.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

A presentation on LAPS analyses was provided to Dr. Starnes Walker from NOAA and DHS in the hopes of setting up additional projects related to disaster preparedness.

We maintained 4.5km and 1.5km LAPS analysis runs for domains over the Washington D.C. area, including the use of Level-II Doppler radars. Assistance was provided with the development of an observation converter from LAPS format to WRF format that can be used in DHS WRF runs.

Some changes were made to the wind analysis towards the goal of improving the boundary layer winds. This entails allowing the vertical radius of influence to be adjustable based on observation type. The vertical radius of influence for surface wind observations was reduced to half that of other observations for evaluation of the anticipated improvements.


We are working with ATMET to make a version of LAPS that can be built as a single executable with other changes allowing incorporation as the analysis step of the RAMS model. Recent discussions were held with both ATMET and AFTAC center on the best plan to continue the configuration of a single executable version of LAPS, including what software conventions should be used.

Global parameter names were changed by stripping off the "_cmn" or "_common" suffix to improve interfacing with ATMET's single executable version of LAPS. Modifications in various LAPS FORTRAN routines and scripts were made to accommodate this. Variable declarations are being changed from "real*4" to "real" and "integer*4" to "integer" to make the GSD and ATMET versions of LAPS more compatible. This should also make LAPS more robust when compiled on 64-bit platforms. A new global parameter was added to help control the writing of output from individual routines for ATMET purposes.
FORTRAN 90 modules that will be used by the single executable driver routines are now being compiled into LAPS, including modules used for namelist parameter definition and access. LAPS libraries—global, ingest and wind parameters—and wind analysis drivers were made more compatible with the F90 single executable ATMET LAPS realization. LAPS configuration is now set up to use C preprocessor directives to compile LAPS in either the single or multiple executable mode. Different wind driver code is specified by these directives based on the configuration.

The wind analysis modules are now better organized according to their function; this helps in setting up the desired ATMET configuration. The wind analysis has been updated to handle the passage of input and output arrays (as well as parameters) in a way that is compatible with the ATMET single executable version and keeps memory usage to a minimum. More of the global arrays are passed down from the main wind driver.

Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI)

We advised FMI on LAPS software including topics such as graphics plotting, web displays, and software portability. We are troubleshooting the radar remapping with some of their case data. We have a hypothesis that explains the presence of ring shaped artifacts and are advising FMI on ways to address them.

Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT)

Collaboration between the Hazardous Weather Testbed and Hydrometeorological Testbed has been established. Chris Anderson traveled with a group of managers to an initial brainstorming session to determine how the two testbeds can work together to accomplish common goals. A primary developmental priority that was identified was the need to advance the use of high-resolution forecasts so that they could be used in an adaptable manner. A pilot test is underway in which a mesoscale model ensemble forecast designed by Dave Stensrud and Mike Coniglio is being used to provide initial and boundary conditions to produce a cloud-scale model ensemble forecast. Also, Isidora Jankov has been recently invited by the Spring Experiment organization committee to actively participate as a researcher in this year’s experiment which takes place in Norman, Oklahoma.

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML)

We collaborated with AOML to run a LAPS analysis for Hurricane Dennis from 2005, including the use of special derived radar observations. This is a proof of concept for using LAPS to initialize the WRF model with current tropical cyclone information to help improve forecasts. The planned WRF experiments are in collaboration with a PhD student Jin-Young Kim coming to us from Korea. Our web interface was improved to be able to plot the densely packed special observations that support the analysis of tropical storms, along with flexibility in wind barb colors.

Fig. 1. Developing Hurricane Dennis 850mb winds as analyzed by LAPS with supplemental airborne radar information from AOML

3. Comparison of Objectives Vs Actual Accomplishments for Report Period:
Our accomplishments for this project compare favorably with the goals projected in the statement of work.

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