Convection Nowcasting Products Available at the Army Test and Evaluation Command Ranges

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 9:30 AM
129A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Cathy Kessinger, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and W. Deierling, D. Megenhardt, E. Nelson, S. Dettling, and M. Steiner

Handout (2.6 MB)

Forecasters at the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) ranges are responsible for providing timely and accurate predictions of convective hazards to protect the safety of personnel conducting tests outdoors and associated materiél. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has developed a variety of convective weather products to assist the range forecasters in making timely and location-specific predictions to support test missions. At two of the ATEC ranges, White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) and Redstone Test Center (RTC), the NCAR AutoNowcaster (ANC) system is deployed. The ANC is constructed with modular components that can be configured as needed to provide custom levels of forecast support. At the other ranges, namely Aberdeen Test Center (ATC), Cold Regions Test Center (CRTC), Dugway Proving Grounds (DPG), Electronic Proving Ground (EPG), Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) and Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG), a simplified version of the ANC is deployed that is termed the AutoNowcaster-Lite (AN-Lite) system. The AN-Lite systems are configured to meet the forecast needs of each range.

In this paper, the ANC and/or AN-Lite systems used at each of the ranges are described, including the component algorithms in use. The ANC system provides time and space specific predictions of thunderstorm initiation and evolution. The ANC component algorithms include, among others, the prediction of lightning potential at near real-time (radar-based) as well as at longer time scales (numerical model-based). Examples of near-real time and model based strategic lightning predictions will be shown. A new algorithm, called Trident, has been recently deployed at YPG and will be used to predict and warn of heavy rainfall. An initial assessment of Trident performance will be discussed. Other enhancements to the range AN-Lite systems will be discussed that include access to new data sets and future algorithm developments.