11.1 Lessons Learned during the Storm Chasing Utah Style Study (SCHUSS)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012: 10:15 AM
Priest Creek C (The Steamboat Grand)
Jim Steenburgh, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and J. Zawislak, T. I. Alcott, G. Susca-Lapota, J. McMillen, C. Wall, J. Young, S. Bang, C. Stwertka, L. Campbell, R. Akers, and J. Wurman

This presentation describes the lessons learned during an education and outreach program called SCHUSS, the Storm Chasing Utah Style Study (SCHUSS), which involved handing over the keys for the storm-chasing Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR) Doppler on Wheels polarimetric radar (DOW6) to a group of highly motivated mountain meteorology students at the University of Utah.

National Science Foundation support to the CSWR enabled the deployment of DOW6 for SCHUSS, which began in September 2011 with the preparation of a series of short proposals and operations plans in four key areas: (1) lake-effect precipitation, (2) orographic precipitation, (3) fronts and severe weather (the latter a bit of a lark in Utah), and (4) microphysical processes and polarimetric radar. These planning exercises laid the foundation for SCHUSS operations from 21 Oct – 21 Nov, when the students used DOW6 for 6 Educational Observing Periods (EOPs,) which concentrated on training and instruction in the deployment, operation, and interpretation of a mobile polarimetric Doppler radar, 8 Intensive Observing Periods (IOPs), which examined specific weather phenomenon with the goal of obtaining high-quality datasets for future student research projects, and 6 Educational and Outreach Deployments (EODs), which involved demonstrations for primary and secondary students, as well as students at the University of Utah.

We plan to discuss the key activities and outcomes of SCHUSS from educational and research perspectives. Particularly noteworthy are several IOPs that examined orographic and lake-effect precipitation and utilized additional observing systems of opportunity including two portable GPS-sounding systems, a multi-angle snowflake camera, and a vertically pointing radar (the latter operated by North Carolina State University). In the case of orographic precipitation, operations concentrated on Little Cottonwood Canyon, where the surrounding topography produces some of the largest climatological gradients in precipitation and snowfall in the interior western United States.

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