Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 4:15 PM
Conference Center: Tahoma 3 (Washington State Convention Center )
Upper-air observations from radiosondes are limited in spatial coverage and are primarily launched only at synoptic times, potentially missing rapidly evolving air masses. For forecast challenges which require diagnosis of the three-dimensional extent of the atmosphere, these observations may not be enough for operational forecasters. Currently, forecasters rely on model output alongside the sparse network of radiosondes for characterizing the three-dimensional atmosphere. However, satellite information can help fill in the spatial and temporal gaps in radiosonde observations. In particular, temperature and moisture retrievals from the NOAA-Unique Combined Atmospheric Processing System (NUCAPS), which combines infrared soundings from the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) with the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) to retrieve profiles of temperature and moisture. NUCAPS retrievals are available in a wide swath of observations with approximately 45-km spatial resolution at nadir and a local Equator crossing time of 1:30 A.M./P.M. enabling three-dimensional observations at asynoptic times. For forecasters to make the most appropriate use of these observations, these satellite-based soundings must be displayed in the National Weather Service’s decision support system, the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). NUCAPS profiles are currently available in AWIPS as point observations that can be displayed on Skew-T diagrams. This presentation discusses the development of a new visualization capability for NUCAPS within AWIPS that will allow the data to be viewed in gridded horizontal maps or as vertical cross sections, giving forecasters additional tools for diagnosing atmospheric features. Forecaster feedback and examples of operational applications from two testbed activities will be highlighted. First is a product evaluation at the Hazardous Weather Testbed for severe weather—such as high winds, large hail, tornadoes—where the vertical distribution of temperature and moisture ahead of frontal boundaries was assessed. Second, is a product evaluation with the Alaska Center Weather Service Unit for cold air aloft—where the detection of the three-dimension extent of exterior aircraft temperatures lower than -65°C (temperatures at which jet fuel may begin to freeze)—was assessed.
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