Recent upgrades to and ongoing challenges for the Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA)
This paper examines recent and future upgrades to the system, focusing on two in particular. The resolution of the CONUS RTMA will be increased to 2.5 km in the fall of 2010, allowing many small geographical features to be better resolved and providing much greater detail in regions of complex terrain. Work is also underway to bring in a first guess of the surface wind field during landfalling tropical storm events from the hurricane version of the WRF model. This is in response to the analyses of 10-meter winds around tropical systems being far too weak, due primarily to very weak wind field guesses provided by the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model.
Finally, ongoing challenges related to the RTMA will be presented. These include handling dew point gradients along drylines, dealing with the weak wind speed bias in mesonet observations, and overcoming problems with the temperature over snow cover due to issues with the first guess.