83rd Annual

Monday, 10 February 2003
Processing realtime satellite information to nowcast convective initiation and its characteristics
John R. Mecikalski, CIMSS/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and R. D. Roberts, C. J. Kessinger, K. M. Bedka, B. L. DeWolf, and S. M. Thomas
Poster PDF (2.1 MB)
Accurately forecasting the initiation, temporal and spatial scales, and the immediate impacts of thunderstorms remains one of the more elusive problems in meteorology today. Improved methods must be developed for forecasting convection initiation (CI) and thunderstorms. Techniques are needed to quantify the important precursors to CI over small spatial and temporal scales (on the order of 1-5 km and 0-3 hours) using the wealth of information contained in realtime meteorological satellite imagery (e.g., GOES, MODIS), in conjunction with other operational weather data (e.g., radar, numerical models).

Specifically, the goals of this project include: 1. Development of new satellite-based techniques to identify important precursors to convection initiation and growth. 2. Combining these interest fields with other multisensor information to improve nowcasting of CI within expert systems (e.g., the National Convective Weather Forecasting, NCWF, and others). 3. Lay the foundation for using upcoming technology (e.g., hyperspectral) to test these techniques on higher resolution data.

To be present is new research that focusses on processing realtime satellite GOES visible and imager (infrared) data to isolate regions where cumulus clouds are new, expanding, deepening and persisting. The evaluation of patterns (lines and clusters) within realtime satellite imagery is another area of concentration, along with the application of cloud phase information (e.g., first time glaciation of cumulus cloud tops). Using GOES visible, imager and sounder data together to study CI is another unique aspect of the project.

This project's goals coincide with those of the FAA Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) efforts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), to nowcast CI for the purpose of enhancing aviation safety. Thus, this presentation will highlight recent research progress on a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (UW-CIMSS) and NCAR to routinely diagnose convection over land and ocean regions. As proven techniques are developed through this collaboration, they will be transfered into the forecast systems supported by the FAA for nowcasting convection over land and ocean.

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