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Ultra-Light Dropsonde Project


Participating CIRA Researcher: Randy Collander


(Additional NOAA Mission Goal to Understand climate variability and change to enhance society’s ability to plan and respond / Climate observations and analysis)

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


The ability to make accurate long-term predictions of hurricane trajectories is limited by the ability to make detailed measurements of associated atmospheric variables. The objective of this program is to develop and deliver a dropsonde system that has dramatically lower-cost and lighter-weight than anything currently available. The resulting system would facilitate deployment of dropsondes by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and permit much more extensive measurement surveys. Extensive testing of the design and instrumentation will be completed in three phases. First, testing in an environmental chamber will be performed to verify that performance specifications are met, including range, resolution and accuracy of pressure, relative humidity and temperature sensors. Next, the sonde will be dropped from a suitable tower to evaluate the accuracy of altitude and wind speed and direction sensors in addition to the chamber-tested sensors. The third phase involves deployment at moderate altitudes by dropping from a meteorological balloon. Pending successful completion of the experimental testing, development of UAV deployment capabilities will be addressed.
2. Research Accomplishments/Highlights:

In FY08, design reviews were held between NOAA and CIRA personnel and Applied Research Associates, the developer of the ultra-light dropsonde. Size, shape and weight of the dropsonde were discussed, modifications suggested and incorporated into the prototype dropsonde to be delivered for testing in late FY08 or early FY09.

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


Development of a Multi-Vehicle Atmospheric Trajectory Prediction System


Participating CIRA Researcher: Randy Collander


(Additional NOAA Mission Goal to Understand climate variability and change to enhance society’s ability to plan and respond / Climate predictions and projections)

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


Based on extensive experience in the development and operation of advanced trajectory models related to the Global Air-ocean In-situ System (GAINS) project, CIRA proposed to participate with Global Solutions for Science and Learning (GSSL) in the continuing development of advanced multi-vehicle trajectory models in support of development and flight operations of a wide range of atmospheric vehicles including buoyant, heavier than air, aerodynamic decelerators, and hybrid vehicles. The models would combine atmospheric data and vehicle performance algorithms for the prediction and analyses of flight paths. The potential vehicles include zero-pressure and superpressure balloons, airships in both powered and un-powered flight, airplanes, gliders, guided and unguided parachutes along with hybrid systems using a combination of vehicles.
Specifically:
a. Develop multi-vehicle trajectory models for use in vehicle development as well as operational scenarios. These models would combine atmospheric data (observations and numerical weather model output) and vehicle performance algorithms for prediction and analysis of flight paths.

b. Adapt numerical weather model output into vehicle-specific trajectory models capable of utilizing historic and real-time data. Data should be both spatially and temporally consistent.

2. Research Accomplishments / Highlights:

NOAA/CIRA funding was unavailable for this project during this period.





TAMDAR Assessment


Participating CIRA Researcher: Ed Szoke

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


The TAMDAR (Tropospheric AMDAR (Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay)) program underwent a big milestone when the National Weather Service (NWS) agreed to purchase the TAMDAR data from the Midwest and mid-CONUS that had been part of the TAMDAR Great Lakes Field Experiment. The objective and subjective evaluation efforts by GSD and some NWS WFOs (particularly WFO Green Bay, Wisconsin) were crucial to establishing the usefulness and reliability of the data input that went into the NWS decision.
2. Research Accomplishments/Highlights:
In the past year, we continued to evaluate the TAMDAR data, including examination of new fleets that have come online with TAMDAR in Alaska. The evaluations include the impact on forecasts from the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model, utilizing both objective scoring and subjective case studies. Both objective and subjective evaluation of the model output has shown that TAMDAR does indeed have a positive impact on RUC forecasts of wind, temperature, humidity, and precipitation. Demonstration of the utility of the TAMDAR soundings for forecasting convection and other weather problems has also continued. A number of conference papers have been presented during the past year.
3. Comparison of Objectives Vs. Actual Accomplishments:
4. Leveraging/Payoff:
5. Research Linkages/Partnerships/Collaborators:
6. Awards/Honors:
7. Outrech:

8. Publications:

A CIRA-FAB 2007-2008 publications list is available on-line at this URL:


http://laps.noaa.gov/cira/annual_report/2007-2008/pubs/all.html
Moninger, W., S. G. Benjamin, B. D. Jamison, T. W. Schlatter, T. L. Smith, and E. J. Szoke, 2008: New TAMDAR fleets and their impact on Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) forecasts. 13th Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, 20-24 January 2008, New Orleans, LA, AMS, Paper P2.20.
Szoke, E., S. Benjamin, E. Dash, B. Jamison, W. Moninger, A. Moosakhanian, T. Schlatter, B. Schwartz, and T. Smith, 2008: Effect of meteorological observations from aircraft on NWP short-term forecasts of aviation-impact fields including precipitation, ceiling, and visibility. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2008, Vienna, Austria, EGU.

Szoke, E. J., S. Benjamin, R. S. Collander, B. D. Jamison, W. R. Moninger, T. W. Schlatter, B. Schwartz, and T. Smith, 2008: Effect of TAMDAR data on RUC short-term forecasts of aviation-impact fields for ceiling, visibility, reflectivity, and precipitation. 13th Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, 20-24 January 2008, New Orleans, LA, AMS, Paper 6.4.

Tollerud, E. I., F. Caracena, S. E. Koch, B. D. Jamison, R. M. Hardesty, B. J. McCarty, C. Kiemle, R. S. Collander, D. L. Bartels, S. Albers, B. Shaw, D. L. Birkenheuer, and W. A. Brewer, 2008: Mesoscale moisture transport by the low-level jet during the IHOP Field Experiment. Accepted by Mon. Wea. Rev.


V. Research Collaborations with the GSD Assimilation and Modeling Branch
Project Title: Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) / WRF Model Development and

Enhancement
Principal Researchers: Tracy Smith and Kevin Brundage
NOAA Project Goals/Programs: Weather and Water—Serve society’s needs for weather and water information/Local forecasts and warnings; Commerce and Transportation—Support the Nation’s commerce with information for safe, efficient, and environmentally sound transportation/Aviation weather
Keywords: 4-D Data Assimilation and Forecast System, Rapidly Updated Analyses

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

The primary focus of the GSD Assimilation and Modeling Branch is the refinement and enhancement of the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) and development of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. The RUC is a national scale 4-D data assimilation and forecast systems specifically designed to run at a high temporal frequency (1-hour cycle), taking advantage of a variety of special observations such as ACARS, RASS, profiler, radar, GPS integrated precipitable water vapor, and GOES soundings. It is run operationally at the NOAA/NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction, and in various experimental configurations at the ESRL Global Systems Division. In addition to refinement and enhancements of the RUC, CIRA researchers collaborate on the development of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model used by CIRA and GSD researchers. Development and testing of WRF based components for the Rapid Refresh (RR) system, intended to replace the RUC hydrostatic forecast model now used at NCEP, are currently underway. Overall goals are to continue the development work on the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) and Rapid Refresh models used by CIRA researchers and to improve the required visualization techniques for the RUC and RR fields. Additionally, CIRA researchers continue to work on applications of the RUC and RR to forecast problems, including investigations into the use of mesoscale model time-lagged ensembles to improve the accuracy of short-range forecasts, in particular QPF and wind energy, would also continue.

2. Research Accomplishments/Highlights:
During the past year, support of the RUC development continued, both at NCEP and at GSD. Extensive documentation on the RUC13, including significant differences from the RUC20, is available at http://ruc.fsl.noaa.gov/ruc13_docs/RUC13ppt.htm.
The RUC was also used extensively for data impact studies, most recently evaluating wind profilers, GPS, and TAMDAR, including moisture observations.

The RUC is also being used as a platform for current and future simulated observation studies.



.

3. Comparison of Objectives Vs Actual Accomplishments for the Report Period:


RUC13 updates at NCEP are a successful technology transfer. RUC data impact studies are in progress. RUC/WRF transition to operational “Rapid Refresh” to replace the current RUC running at NCEP is in progress. Incorporation of the NCEP GSI analysis package for the Rapid Refresh is also in progress. Visualization techniques continue to evolve and improve.
4. Leveraging/Payoff:
The RUC is an important forecasting tool for both aviation and severe weather forecasts, which ultimately impact public safety.
5. Research Linkages:
6. Awards/Honors
7. Outreach:
8. Publications:
Smith, T.L., S.G. Benjamin, S.I. Gutman, and S. Sahm, 2007: Short-range forecast impact from assimilation of GPS-IPW observations into the Rapid Update Cycle. Mon. Wea. Rev., 135, 2914-2930.

Project Title: TAMDAR (Troposheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting)

Project
Participating CIRA Researchers: Brian Jamison, Randy Collander, Tracy Smith, and Ed Szoke

NOAA Project Goals / Programs: Weather and Water—Serve society’s needs for weather and water information / Environmental modeling and local forecasts and warnings; Commerce and Transportation—Support the Nation’s commerce with information for safe, efficient, and environmentally sound transportation/Aviation weather

Key Words: TAMDAR, Airborne Weather Sensors, Aircraft Data Impact on Model Forecasts
1. Long-term Research Objectives and Specific Plans to Achieve Them:
The TAMDAR project is an evaluation of a new observing system using sensors placed on a number of regional aircraft. The sensors report temperature, pressure, humidity, winds, eddy dissipation rate, and icing. At GSD, one of the major efforts in the evaluation of TAMDAR has been to determine its impact on forecasts from numerical weather prediction models.  Using the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model, the long-term evaluation of TAMDAR impact continued using identical versions of the RUC model run with and without TAMDAR.  Both objective and subjective evaluation of the model output has shown that TAMDAR does indeed have a positive impact on RUC forecasts of wind, temperature, humidity, and precipitation.  Demonstration of the utility of the TAMDAR soundings for forecasting convection and other weather problems has also continued.  Tasks during the past year primarily involved examining the data for quality, and investigating the impact of the data on weather model forecasts.
2. Research Accomplishments/Highlights:
For these tasks, retrospective runs of the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) 20 km model were performed. Retrospective runs of the RUC for the period of November 26 to December 5, 2006 were necessary in order to determine the effect of adjustments to the model and/or the input data. Continuing with runs performed during fiscal year 2006-2007, additional runs for this period include:
a) a run with all profiler data removed.
b) a run with the radar Velocity Azimuth Display (VAD) data removed.
c) a run with all radiosonde observation (RAOB) data removed.
d) a run with all mesonet data removed.
e) a run with all surface data (mesonet and METAR) data removed.

f) a run where a routine is removed that creates pseudo boundary layer observations.

g) two runs where the background moisture error was lowered to 10 g/kg and 5 g/kg.
h) a run with cloud drift wind data removed.
i) a run accounting for the drift of the radiosonde balloons.
j) three runs where the height of profiler data were limited to 4 km, 8 km, and 12 km.
k) a run with changes to the background error limits for winds.
Another retrospective period was selected (August 15-25, 2007) to examine the data denial effects for summertime. This time period was selected primarily due to its substantial convective activity. Runs are ongoing, and a number of them have been completed. These include:
a) a baseline run using all data with no alterations in parameters, for which successive runs will be compared to determine impacts
b) a run with all TAMDAR data removed.
c) a run with all aircraft (AMDAR) data removed.
d) a run with all profiler data removed.
e) a run with all VAD data removed.
f) a run with all RAOB data removed.
A number of conference papers have been presented during the past year.

3. Comparison of Objectives vs Actual Accomplishments for Reporting Period:


The accomplishments for this project during this fiscal year compare favorably with the goals outlined in the statement of work.
4. Leveraging/Payoff:
5. Research Linkages:
6. Awards/Honors:
7. Outreach:
8. Publications:

Benjamin, S., B. D. Jamison, W. R. Moninger, B. Schwartz, and T. W. Schlatter, 2008: Relative forecast impact from aircraft, profiler, rawinsonde, VAD, GPS-PW, METAR and mesonet observations for hourly assimilation in the RUC. 12
th Conference on IOAS-AOLS, 20-24 January 2008, New Orleans, LA, AMS

Koch, S. E., C. Flamant, J. W. Wilson, B. M. Gentry, and B. D. Jamison, 2008: An atmospheric soliton observed with Doppler radar differential absorption lidar, and molecular Doppler lidar. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech (accepted).
Moninger, W., S. G. Benjamin, B. D. Jamison, T. W. Schlatter, T. L. Smith, and E. J. Szoke, 2008: New TAMDAR fleets and their impact on Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) forecasts. 13
th Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, 20-24 January 2008, New Orleans, LA, AMS.
Szoke, E., S. Benjamin, E. Dash, B. Jamison, W. Moninger, A. Moosakhanian, T. Schlatter, B. Schwartz, and T. Smith, 2008: Effect of meteorological observations from aircraft on NWP short-term forecasts of aviation-impact fields including precipitation, ceiling, and visibility. European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2008, Vienna, Austria, EGU.
Szoke, E. J., S. Benjamin, R. S. Collander, B. D. Jamison, W. R. Moninger, T. W. Schlatter, B. Schwartz, and T. Smith, 2008: Effect of TAMDAR data on RUC short-term forecasts of aviation-impact fields for ceiling, visibility, reflectivity, and precipitation. 13
th Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology, 20-24 January 2008, New Orleans, LA, AMS.
Tollerud, E. I., F. Caracena, S. E. Koch, B. D. Jamison, R. M. Hardesty, B. J. McCarty, C. Kiemle, R. S. Collander, D. L. Bartels, S. Albers, B. Shaw, D. L. Birkenheuer, and W. A. Brewer, 2008: Mesoscale moisture transport by the low-level jet during the IHOP Field Experiment. Mon. Wea. Rev. (accepted).

Yuan, H., C. Lu, J. McGinley, P. Schultz, B. Jamison, L. Wharton, and C. Anderson, 2008: Short-range precipitation forecasts using time-lagged multi-model ensembles. Wea. Forecasting (submitted).


Project Title: HRRR (High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Model) Project
Participating CIRA Researcher: Brian Jamison
NOAA Project Goal / Program: Weather and Water—Serve society’s needs for weather and water information / Local forecasts and warnings; Commerce and Transportation—Support the Nation’s commerce with information for safe, efficient, and environmentally sound transportation / Aviation weather
Key Words: Ultra high-resolution Rapidly Updated Analyses
1. Long-term Research Objectives and Specific Plans to Achieve Them:
The High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model is an adaptation of the Rapid Update Cycle model developed at GSD. The primary difference is that the HRRR model uses a sub-CONUS domain at 3 km resolution, and radar reflectivity is used as an input variable. The current HRRR domain extends from northern Minnesota to northern Oklahoma, and includes most of the northern East Coast. Tasks for this project include: generating graphics of output fields, creation and management of websites for display of those graphics, and creation and management of graphics for hallway public displays, including software for automatic real-time updates.
2. Research Accomplishments/Highlights:
Routines to generate the graphics were written as well as scripts to run these routines hourly to coincide with the hourly output of the model. A website was also created for display of these images (http://www-frd.fsl.noaa.gov/mab/hrrr3). This website also offers the option to display an alternate version of the HRRR which does not include upgrades developed at GSD.

In addition, similar graphics and a website (http://rapidrefresh.noaa.gov) were generated for the Rapid Refresh (RR) model, which is an upgrade to the RUC model that includes assimilation of radar reflectivity, TAMDAR observations, enhanced convection and enhanced land-surface radiation. The RR remains at 13 km resolution; however the domain covers all of North America rather than just the continental U.S. (Fig. 1).


Fig. 1. An example of a large domain Rapid Refresh image. A six-hour forecast of composite reflectivity from the Rapid Refresh non-cycled cold start model.


RR products for the Alaska region and the continental U.S. (CONUS) were also created and are available from the website.


A dual-monitor hallway display was installed on the second floor of the David Skaggs Research Center (DSRC) to display HRRR model graphics for public viewing. Currently, a montage loop of four output fields is displayed and updated regularly.
3. Comparison of Objectives vs Actual Accomplishments for Reporting Period:
In progress; the achievements for this project during this fiscal year compare favorably with the goals outlined in the statement of work.
4. Leveraging/Payoff:
5. Research Linkages:
6. Awards/Honors:
7. Outreach:
8. Publications:

Project Title: Study of gravity waves and turbulence interaction in the upper troposphere
Principal Scientist: Chungu Lu
NOAA Project Goal / Program: Commerce and transportation / Aviation weather
Key words: Aviation safety, upper-level jet, gravity waves, turbulence, atmospheric model simulation
1. Long-term Research Objectives and Specific Plans to Achieve Them:

This project is supported by the NOAA Office of Atmospheric and Oceanic Research (OAR). The long-term research objectives and scientific plans are to gain physical understandings of mesoscale gravity-wave dynamics and turbulence generation in the upper troposphere, and to provide public aviation safety advisory based on the obtained scientific understandings. The research may also provide insight into initiation and intensification of severe weather, because gravity wave and turbulence may trigger convections and transfer and deposit energy into weather systems. Propagation and dissipation of gravity waves also play important roles in global general circulation and serve as a forcing for upper atmospheric dynamics. Therefore, an understanding of interaction of gravity waves and turbulence may also be relevant to global climate studies.



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