14th Conference on Interaction of the Sea and Atmosphere
14th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography


An evaluation of the application of sea level pressure analyses derived from near real time QuikSCAT winds as an operational tool within the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center

Joan M. Von Ahn, STG, Inc. and NOAA/NESDIS, Camp Springs, MD; and J. M. Sienkiewicz and J. Patoux

The SeaWinds scatterometer onboard the NASA QuikSCAT satellite has provided Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) forecasters with Near-Real Time (NRT) ocean vector winds over large ocean areas since 1999. QuikSCAT wind retrievals are now fully integrated into OPC operations. Forecasters routinely use QuikSCAT winds in their analysis and forecast process to locate and position frontal features, centers of high and low pressure and the extent of wind warning areas. QuikSCAT has also given forecasters the ability to differentiate between all wind warning categories, and to identify areas of HURRICANE FORCE conditions. The assessment of wind conditions over the open oceans is more accurate than ever before.

QuikSCAT's impact on the analysis and forecast process has been significant especially on the short-term wind warning process. This positive impact has not carried over to the forecasters' analyses of sea level pressure (SLP). To improve the SLP analysis, the OPC has begun to use the University of Washington Planetary Boundary Layer model (UWPBL4.0) to derive SLP from QuikSCAT wind fields. The UWPBL model retrieves SLP through the inverse process using QuikSCAT L2B winds from the NASA Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC) servers. Using the UWPBL model we generated surface pressure fields for a number of North Atlantic and North Pacific extratropical cyclones. A comparison of the SLP fields from the UWPBL model with the manual OPC surface analyses and the Global Forecast System (GFS) surface pressure fields revealed that in most cases the central pressure of the storms was not analyzed to be deep enough by either OPC manual analyses or the GFS model. Unfortunately, the L2B winds are not available in real time thus limiting the use of the UWPBL model to operational forecasters. OPC, with help from the UW PBL group, has modified the UWPBL model to derive SLP fields using the NRT Merged Geophysical Data Record Lite (MGDR Lite) QuikSCAT winds from NOAA/NESDIS. The resulting SLP fields are available to forecasters in NRT on N-AWIPS workstations. This version of the UWPBL model has been running in NRT in a quasi-operational mode since June 2005. This paper compares the UWPBL NRT SLP fields with the OPC manual analyses and the GFS SLP fields. The UWPBL model SLP fields are also evaluated for use as analysis tool for OPC forecasters.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (72K)

Joint Poster Session 1, MARINE METEOROLOGICAL APPLICATIONS OF REAL AND SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR (Joint between the 14th Conference on Interaction of the Sea and Atmosphere and 14th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography )
Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 9:45 AM-9:45 AM, Exhibit Hall A2

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