The Numerical Prediction of Storm-Scale Weather: Fifteen Years of Progress Following Lilly's Bold Vision
Kelvin Droegemeier, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
In the mid 1980s, the concept of a national Doppler weather radar surveillance network finally became a certainty as part of the NWS Modernization and Restructuring Development Plan. The so-called NEXRAD, or WSR-88D radars were installed beginning in the early 1990s, with the full network commissioned in 1994. This rather remarkable development was congruent with an open solicitation in 1988 of unprecedented simplicity and vision from the National Science Foundation – which sought to create a series of Science and Technology Centers exclusively at universities. These centers would focus on inherently multi-disciplinary problems of notable difficulty and potentially great societal and economic relevance that could not be attacked via the traditional single investigator mode of research. Further, they would be among the first entities to transform K-12 education via outreach programs, and also would usher in a new era of public-private partnerships in basic research and technology commercialization. Finally, the centers would have a clear 11-year NSF base funding horizon, after which support would be provide via other avenues predicated upon the relevance and success of the center's outcomes.
Anticipating NEXRAD, Doug Lilly began working in the mid 1980s with graduate Dawn Wolfsberg on methods for retrieving the unobserved components of the radial wind field from a single Doppler radar. This work laid the foundation for a proposal in response to the NSF solicitation, and in 1989 the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) began operation at the University of Oklahoma. Celebrating its 15-year anniversary, the mission of CAPS is to develop and demonstrate techniques for the practical numerical prediction of high-impact local weather, particularly thunderstorms, with emphasis on the assimilation of high-resolution observations from Doppler weather radars. In this presentation I present a historical overview of storm-scale NWP research at CAPS, along with new studies in storm-scale dynamic adjustment, parameter retrieval, data assimilation, and ensemble forecasting. I reflect on Doug's contributions during his 5-year term as director of CAPS, and describe how CAPS laid the groundwork for the new WRF model. Further, I provide an overview of ongoing research at CAPS, particularly that of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adpative Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). CASA, which is lead by the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and was created jointly with CAPS and other partners, seeks to transform low-tropospheric atmospheric remote sensing through the placement of small, inexpensive, phased-array Doppler radars on cellular towers. Finally, I close with a vision for the future of NWP including the roles of the government, academia and industry.Recorded presentation
Session 2, Severe Storm Dynamics and Prediction
Thursday, 2 February 2006, 1:30 PM-3:00 PM, A302
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