Session 2.1 The Utility of Aircraft Soundings in Assessing the Near Storm Environment

Monday, 6 November 2006: 1:30 PM
St. Louis AB (Adam's Mark Hotel)
Eugene S. Brusky, NOAA/NWS, Green Bay, WI; and R. D. Mamrosh

Presentation PDF (1.9 MB)

Much has been written in recent years about the importance of the near-storm environment in the prediction of severe thunderstorms. While ground based mesonets have been deployed in some areas to meet the need for more detailed surface conditions, the increase of tropospheric data have been largely limited to special radiosonde releases and Plains States wind profilers. A relatively new source of real time tropospheric data can help meteorologists better understand the near storm environment. Commercial aircraft have been an increasing source of meteorological data for over ten years, yet many forecasters know little or nothing about these useful data. Atmospheric soundings from these aircraft can be utilized to generate convective indices such as CAPE, CIN, LI and heights of the LCL and LFC. Flight level wind data can show details of jet streaks, diffluence, and mesoscale vorticity centers. The purpose of this paper is to raise awareness of aircraft as a source of weather data, explain how these data are collected, quality controlled and displayed, and finally how they can be used to improve the forecasts and warnings of severe local storms. Two other papers at this meeting will provide detailed case studies from recent convective events.
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