Mobile Upper Air Operations in Support of the MPEX Field Experiment

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Avery Tomasco, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; and J. Hernandez, C. Thomas, R. Sodowsky, L. Barta, C. Holt, and D. Conlee

Texas A&M Meteorology students, primarily from the Summer SOAP (Student Operational ADRAD Project) undergraduate research program, participated in the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX) during portions of intensive operating periods from May 21st through May 31st 2013. The MPEX experiment explores the question of whether high spatial resolution observations can improve the skill of computer models to predict downstream severe convective activity.

Texas A&M's role in the experiment was to serve as one of four mobile radiosonde teams that were strategically placed in the areas of forecasted convection to collect serial soundings as storms developed, matured and decayed. During our involvement, a total of 22 iMet radiosondes were launched from a mobile platform, with multiple sondes being released in rapid succession for each intensive ground observation period. The data from these launches were normally collected using two separate ground stations for a high rate of flight success. The addition of a fourth team from Texas A&M allowed for the modification of the sensing strategy into a “collapsing box” enabling increased radiosonde temporal resolution and coverage.

Several interesting cases of collected radiosonde data will be presented, including soundings which appeared to be entrained into convection and/or affected by lightning or simultaneous sonde interference. We will also address launch and data capture techniques developed for these extremely fast-paced mobile operations including lessons-learned for future field operations.