83rd Annual

Wednesday, 12 February 2003: 4:15 PM
An Overview of Surface Transportation Weather Research Conducted through the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET)
Paul Pisano, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC; and T. Spangler and D. Hardesty
Poster PDF (168.6 kB)
State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) operate over 1,200 fixed Environmental Sensor Stations (ESS) that provide information to support surface transportation decisions. Fixed and mobile ESS observations include parameters such as road temperature, and road surface conditions (e.g. dry, wet concentration of chemicals that depress pavement freezing points). In addition, fixed ESS typically measure wind speed and direction, temperature, barometric pressure, precipitation amounts, visibility distance, and humidity, which can be valuable supplemental observations for weather forecasting.

In 2001, the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) began a joint research effort to evaluate how ESS data can best be used for both road condition forecasting and broader weather forecasting. The overall goal of the project is to promote data sharing and using ESS observations and advanced meteorological modeling techniques to improve road condition forecasting for road maintenance, traffic operations, and travel decisions.

In order to accomplish this goal, the project has established cooperative working relations between DOTs, the university community, and local NWS weather forecast offices (WFOs). Working through the Outreach Program of the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training, a request for proposals was issued and five universities received funding to work on a variety of research projects. This paper will describe the five research projects and their results to date.

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