Meteorological Sensor Array (MSA) Observations and High Resolution Model Validation

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 9:45 AM
131AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Gail Vaucher, Army Research Laboratory, White Sands Missile Range, NM; and R. Edmonds
Manuscript (467.1 kB)

Observing systems advance meteorological models when used to validate and verify numerical weather model results. One of the more difficult challenges in validating high resolution atmospheric models is finding a high resolution (<1km), gridded observation dataset that matches the model grid. In 2014, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory constructed a gridded Meteorological Sensor Array (MSA) “Proof of Concept” in the New Mexico desert. The long term MSA program is aimed at improving micro- and mesogamma-scaled atmospheric models by optimizing high resolution forecast-observation comparisons. Meteorological sensor development and model sensor sensitivity studies are also part of the MSA vision.

The MSA Phase I (“Proof of Concept”) field component consisted of five equally-distant towers sampling standard meteorological parameters and insolation: three 10-m towers were placed along a north-south axis, west of a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Farm, and two 10-m towers along an east-west axis, situated east of a Solar PV Farm. Along with microscale model improvements, this field design is being used to investigate atmospheric impacts of a large Solar PV Farm.

After a successful 2-month, 24/7 data acquisition, the Phase I data were used to test the process for validating microscale model output. In this paper, we review the overall MSA program, describe the MSA Phase I design and measurements, and present the current results from the microscale model validation assessment process.