7.5 The NOAA El Niño Rapid Response Field Campaign: Implementation Overview

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 4:45 PM
607 (Washington State Convention Center )
J. Ryan Spackman, Science and Technology Corporation, Boulder, CO; and R. M. Dole, R. S. Webb, C. D. Barnet, J. Barsugli, R. Cifelli, G. P. Compo, C. J. Cox, L. S. Darby, C. Fairall, L. M. Hartten, A. Hoell, M. Hoerling, J. Intrieri, L. T. Iraci, G. N. Kiladis, E. A. Konopleva-Akish, M. Newman, P. E. Johnston, J. M. Ryoo, C. A. Smith, A. B. White, G. Wick, D. E. Wolfe, and K. Wolter

The NOAA El Niño Rapid Response (ENRR) field campaign gathered unprecedented observations at the heart of the recent strong El Niño in January to March 2016.  Despite extremely limited lead times, NOAA mounted a complex field response in a remote part of the world in four months for a campaign that usually takes two or three years to plan.  The field campaign was designed to examine the tropical-extratropical response to central and eastern tropical Pacific convection triggered by the warm El Niño ocean conditions with a special focus on high-impact weather events expected to occur downstream in the continental U.S.  The effort involved multiple research aircraft, a NOAA oceangoing vessel, and in situ observations from a large atoll in the deep tropics.  This presentation provides a detailed overview of the implementation of the ENRR field campaign.

The NOAA Gulfstream IV research aircraft completed 22 successful science flights, releasing over 625 dropsondes in the central tropical Pacific to examine the thermodynamic, wind, and precipitation environments around large-scale convection located between the equator and 5°N south of Hawaii.  To add spatial and temporal sampling, radiosondes were launched twice daily from Kiritimati Island in the central tropical Pacific and up to 8 times daily from the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown research vessel in the data-sparse eastern tropical Pacific.  The ENRR sampling strategy was complemented by additional research flights with the NASA Global Hawk (GH), two U.S. Air Force Weather Reconnaissance C-130Js, and the NASA Ames-led Alpha Jet.  To link atmospheric processes observed by the G-IV in the tropics with downstream weather events at midlatitudes, NOAA led three long-endurance flights with the GH in the eastern Pacific as part of the Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) project.  The final series of G-IV flights captured the cascade of dynamical processes between the tropics and precipitation along the U.S. West Coast over a week-long period in early March with a coordinated mission between the G-IV and Alpha Jet while the storm was making landfall in northern California.  The timely ENRR observations gathered this past winter will enable new model developments and parameterizations with the goal to improve predictability for ENSO-driven weather events.

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