4.2 Exploring the Operational Value of High-Resolution 1-Second Sounding Data

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 8:45 AM
Room 13AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Barry R. Bowers, NOAA/NWS Forecast Office, Norman, OK; and J. Holmes, R. Barnes, F. Mitchell, and T. T. Lindley

For several decades, meteorological data from the National Weather Service (NWS) radiosondes have been significantly truncated to accommodate limited bandwidth. When viewing current soundings in the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System Skew-T interface, significant vertical resolution is lost. A recent effort is changing this standard and high resolution 1-second data will soon be accessible in real time. This study will document a review of 1-second radiosonde data, using the RAOB software program, from synoptic upper air observations launched at NWS Norman. Using statistical analysis techniques we compared these legacy soundings with raw 1-second data soundings for 385 balloon launches. We found statistical significance when comparing positive values of storm relative helicity calculations in three different atmospheric layers. In the legacy soundings, loss of hodograph structure was observed due to interpolation between significant levels. This generally yielded lower storm relative helicity values compared to 1-second data soundings. This has important implications for severe weather forecasting. The increased vertical resolution of 1-second wind data may positively influence numerical weather prediction, especially in the Convective-Allowing Model era, and improve detection of non-convective low-level wind shear for aviation interests. To further demonstrate the operational value of 1-second data, a comparison of legacy and 1-second soundings will be conducted for the 30 most significant non-convective low level wind shear environments and the 30 observations with the greatest 0-1 km storm relative helicity values sampled at NWS Norman since September 2016.
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