92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Sunday, 22 January 2012
Technologies for Improving Operational Forecasting and Severe Storms Research
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Christopher D. Karstens, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; and D. Herzmann

Poster PDF (2.8 MB)

This presentation discusses several projects undertaken in the last few years serving many different purposes within the operational forecasting and research communities. A short description of each project is given below. In addition to providing an overview of each topic, plans for future work and potential future projects are discussed.

1. National Bufkit Data Distribution/Archive and Meteogram Visualization Tool

Beginning 23 January 2009, generation of publicly accessible NAM, GFS, and RUC Bufkit profiles began for nearly 900 sites in the Contiguous U.S., and an archive of these data began on 30 December 2010. A web-based meteogram visualization tool was also created to display temperature, apparent temperature, dew point, wind speed and direction, precipitation, and accumulated snowfall meteograms from the aforementioned data sources. In addition, the meteogram plots include NAM MOS, GFS MOS, and the nearest ASOS observations, provided via the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM), and National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts via the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD). Discussion of post-processing techniques, implementation of empirically-based algorithms, and community usage and incorporation of constructive feedback is provided.

2. Interactive Radar/Warning Workshop

Starting in 2010, the annual radar/warning workshop held at the Central Iowa NWA Severe Storms and Doppler Radar conference transitioned from a presentation-style format to an interactive, competition format intended to be engaging and provide a constructive learning environment. The diverse group of attendees is now split into small teams, consisting of 5-10 people, tasked with issuing severe weather warnings from laptop computers running Gibson-Ridge radar software and a custom-designed warning generation tool. In addition to the laptop computers (and several accommodating power strips), core infrastructure includes a wireless controller, two wireless access points, and a central data server for distributing level-II radar files. The intent is to create a simulated real-time severe weather scenario. Discussion of component integration, workshop setup, case study and radar-site transposing, the warning generation tool, and scoring techniques is provided.

3. Data Acquisition and Real-time Display/Tracking Software for Project TWISTEX

The Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in/near Tornadoes EXperiment (TWISTEX) is a field project that collects surface observations near severe storms and tornadoes using mobile mesonet instrumentation mounted on four vehicles. The mesonet racks consist of a variety of instruments that use various protocols for acquisition (e.g., TCP, RS-232, USB, NMEA). Additionally, communication among team members is essential to ensure real-time coordination and to ensure proper vehicle spacing in adverse driving conditions. To fulfill these needs, a custom-designed program was written which includes the following components:

Mesonet and vehicle checklist

Mobile Chat Client

Data acquisition from multiple instruments simultaneously and creation of data logs

Real-time display of acquired data and automated monitoring

Generation and distribution of GIS placefiles for display in Gibson-Ridge radar software in real-time

GIS coordination tools (e.g., navigational waypoints, instrumentation waypoints, etc.)

Integration with SpotterNetwork.org for severe weather reporting.

An overview of this program and its usage during the past two severe storms seasons is discussed.

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