5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Tuesday, 18 November 2003: 8:45 AM
High resolution diagnostics and short term prognostics in support of fire weather forecast operations at NWS Melbourne, FL
Peter F. Blottman, NOAA/NWS, Melbourne, FL; and J. C. Pendergrast, S. M. Spratt, and D. W. Sharp
Poster PDF (241.8 kB)
Versions of the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) and the ARPS Data Analysis System (ADAS) have been implemented at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Melbourne, Florida (MLB). ADAS facilitates the integration of both traditional and non-traditional observational data sets within east central Florida. The intent is to produce fine resolution analyses, both spatially and temporally, so that the current state of the atmosphere is continuously depicted for NWS forecasters. The ARPS model can be used by the operational forecaster as an additional tool in assessing the short term changes to the local environment.

ADAS analyses incorporate a dense network of local observing systems located within east central Florida, supporting the United States space program. These include: 44 wind towers, five 915 MHz boundary layer Doppler wind profilers and a 50 MHz wind profiler. In addition other data sets include: level II radial velocity and reflectivity information from several Florida Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) sites, GOES-12 visible and infrared satellite imagery, METAR surface observations, buoy data, Florida Automated Weather Network observations, Automatic Position Reporting Station (amateur radio) observations and aircraft flight level data.

ADAS analyses with a horizontal resolution of 4 km are produced every 15 minutes and ported to the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). These high resolution diagnostics assist forecasters in preparing routine fire weather forecasts as well as specialized fire weather spot forecasts in the instance of wildfire or prescribed burns. A limited number of ADAS graphics are also posted to the NWS MLB web site for use by field fire weather specialists and land management personnel at the local, state and federal levels.

Recently, the ARPS mesoscale forecast model was implemented. ARPS is cycled with the ADAS analyses to produce high resolution prognostics out 9 to 12 hours. This mesoscale model provides fine temporal and spatial resolution guidance to the NWS meteorologist. ARPS forecasts have demonstrated the ability to provide accurate guidance for the preparation of routine fire weather products, and on demand spot forecasts. Key parameters to the land management community (ie. moisture and wind information) can be monitored in real time with ADAS and predicted within 12 hours using ARPS. The depiction and forecast of mesoscale features such as sea breeze onset and progression, as well as the evolution of thunderstorm outflow boundaries can be obtained. The ARPS model has shown promise as an additional tool to forecast the timing and placement of thunderstorm activity critical for safe wildland fire fighting or to conduct effective prescribed burns.

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