85th AMS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, 12 January 2005
The Use of Satellite Water Vapor Imagery and Model Data to Diagnose and Forecast Turbulent Mountain Waves
Nathan Uhlenbrock, CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and S. Ackerman, W. Feltz, T. Whittaker, B. Sharman, K. M. Bedka, and L. Gumley
Poster PDF (282.3 kB)
A technique for forecasting turbulent mountain waves was investigated using MODIS and GOES-12 water vapor (6.7um) imagery combined with hourly analyses from the RUC model. The limited domain of the Colorado and New Mexico mountains was chosen. Upon examining MODIS water vapor imagery daily from January 1, 2004 through May 31, 2004 within this domain it was found that wave signatures related to orography were present approximately 15% of the time.

To determine the probability of turbulence occurring in the waves seen in the imagery, pilot reports were examined for correlation. Approximately 90% of the severely turbulent days had wave signatures in the water vapor imagery during the time period of the reports. The wave signatures on these turbulent days appear different in the imagery from the signatures on the days that were less turbulent. The turbulent days had complex wave patterns with apparent interference and crossing wave fronts that extended downwind for a significant distance. The days that were less turbulent had wave signatures that were much simpler with wave patterns that could be characterized as linear.

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