Approximately 45 CIRA researchers are integrated into various collaborative research efforts within the Global Systems Division (GSD) and the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD) at the NOAA Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, along with two computer scientists who help lead several joint software application efforts with the Meteorological Development Laboratory at the National Weather Service. All of these collaborative research activities fall directly under one or more of CIRA’s six research themes and two cross-cutting research areas. The six research themes are: 1) Global and Regional Climate Studies; 2) Local Area and Mesoscale Weather Forecasting and Evaluation; 3) Applied Cloud Physics; 4) Applications of Satellite Observations; 5) Air Quality and Visibility; and 6) Societal and Economic Impacts. The two cross-cutting research areas are: 1) Numerical Modeling and 2) Education, Training, and Outreach.
These research endeavors also closely respond to one or several of NOAA’s four mission goals and one overarching mission support goal identified in its most recent FY 2006-2011 Strategic Plan and NOAA OAR’s 5-Year Research Plan for FY 2008-2012.
Examples of on-going collaborations include:
Unmanned Aircraft System
Code for the generation of synthetic Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) observations were ported to the ESRL/GSD supercomputer system. A method of converting the synthetic UAS observations for ingestion into the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation data assimilation system was developed and testing is currently underway. Evaluations of the Nature Run for the Pacific UAS testbed OSSE and the Arctic testbed OSSE were performed. Refer to the following website for information on the NOAA UAS program: uas.noaa.gov
Flow-following Icosahedral Model
A global Flow-following Icosahedral Model (FIM) has been developed with output generated on a 0.5 degree latitude and longitude grid. A website for display of FIM output has been created with 3-hourly forecasts out to 7 days (fim.noaa.gov/fimgfs). Efforts have now commenced on a non-hydrostatic version of the model.
The PACE effort comprised of two separate investigative projects—the FX-Collaborate and the TMU projects—is examining innovative software and data products to help minimize adverse weather disruptions to air traffic operations over the US. Aviation data sets and forecast products specifically tailored for the ARTCC air traffic weather forecasting environment are being prototyped, along with investigation into the utilization of collaborative weather forecasting techniques. The TMU four-phase project is designed to address the weather information needs of the TMU relating to the weather-related hazards consisting of convection, icing, turbulence, and ceiling/visibility. Refer to the following website for additional information on the TMU project: www.esrl.noaa.gov/gsd/ab/asdad/projects/tmu/
Volcanic Ash Collaboration Tool
In February 2007, the VACT development team was awarded the 2006 US Department of Commerce Bronze Medal “for developing the Volcanic Ash Collaboration Tool, a new tool which provides collaborative forecasting capabilities during volcanic eruptions and is essential to preventing volcanic ash damage to lives and property.” See the following website for additional information on the VACT project: www.esrl.noaa.gov/gsd/ab/asdad/projects/vact/
Real-Time Verification System
A Real-Time Verification System (RTVS) has been implemented at the Global Systems Division to provide on-the-spot verification of various algorithms for aviation impact variables such as icing, turbulence, convection, and ceiling and visibility. The CIRA team has been collaborating with the RTVS group to create and demonstrate a verification framework to support processing of meteorological quality information within NextGen. Critical to the effort is the ability to effectively integrate information from the air traffic planning process. CIRA researchers successfully implemented a proof-of-concept to evaluate and demonstrate the new ideas. This approach proved valuable to the operational community; as a result, work continues on enhancing the capability and integrating the system into the NextGen development. Visit the following website for more details: rtvs.noaa.gov
Scalable Modeling System
A directive-based model parallelization tool called the Scalable Modeling System (SMS) has been released to the public domain to aid in the parallelization of NWP models. Refer to the following website for additional information: www.esrl.noaa.gov/gsd/ab/ac/sms.html
A beta version of a Java application called WRF Portal that is a GUI to WRF-NMM and WRF-ARW was released in April 2008. WRF Portal also supports 2D visualization and includes WRF Domain Wizard as a built-in software component. WRF Domain Wizard enables users to choose a region of the Earth to be their domain, reproject that region in a variety of map projections, create nests using the next editor, and run the three WRF Preprocessing System programs. See www.wrfportal.org.
The operational 13km RUC running at NCEP was upgraded to include assimilation of radar reflectivity, TAMDAR observations, enhanced convection, and enhanced land-surface radiation. Although the Rapid Refresh (RR) model remains at 13km resolution, the domain now covers all of North America rather than just the continental US. For further information regarding the RUC/RR model, as well as a variety of real-time weather model output, see ruc.noaa.gov, rapidrefresh.noaa.gov.
An optimized configuration of the LAPS hot-start forecast system, coupled with the non-hydrostatic MM5 forecast model, was developed, tested and implemented operationally at Vandenberg AFB, CA. The configuration utilizes a triple-nested domain, with the domains having a grid spacing of 10 km, 3.3 km, and 1.1 km. This configuration has been installed on a Linux cluster coupled to the local data assimilation and forecast system at the western space launch facility. A similar configuration has been tested and implemented for the eastern range (Cape Canaveral). Refer to the following website for additional information on this and other LAPS initiatives mentioned below: laps.noaa.gov
CIRA scientists have been an integral part of an on-going Hydrometeorological Testbed (HMT) project that represents a cooperative effort between NWS WFOs in Sacramento and Monterey and the Reno WFO in Nevada, the NOAA California-Nevada River Forecast Center in Sacramento, and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Heavy Precipitation Branch. The collaboration focuses on the detailed analysis of the WRF-ARW model with various microphysics and its performance in cases of atmospheric river events. The evaluation consisted of comparisons of the flow and cloud structure against observations from experimental radars deployed for the HMT project. Refer to the following website for additional project information: www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/programs/2007/hmt/
Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment
The Terrain-induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX) project is a testbed for high-resolution, nonhydrostatic weather models in order to provide accurate guidance in complex environments. The test area for T-REX is in the vicinity of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Graphical products of extensive model parameters are made available for viewing and comparison - for more information see www.esrl.noaa.gov/gsd.
The FX-Net system supporting a host of users, including the National Interagency Fire Center and the Geographic Area Coordination Centers as an operational fire weather support platform, continues to provide exceptional service. Significant enhancements continue to be added including new fire weather products and new user-friendly tools. Enhancements to the Gridded FX-Net Forecaster Workstation also continue to be implemented including new capability to compress grid datasets with irregular boundaries such as Theta fields. Refer to the following website for additional information: fx-net.noaa.gov
The objective of the FX-Collaborate (FXC) project is to develop an interactive display system that allows forecasters and users at different locations to collaborate in real-time on a forecast for a particular weather or weather-dependent event. FXC is currently being implemented and/or evaluated for several outside projects and organizations. One significant application in particular, Geo-targeted Alerting System (GTAS), involves the development of a prototype public notification system to be used by NOAA and the DHS operations centers in the event of a biological, chemical, or radiological release in the Nation’s Capital region. See fxc.noaa.gov for information on FXC.
Science On a Sphere
Science On a Sphere (SOS) was installed at four new permanent public venues—NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK; Ocean Explorium in New Bedford, MA; Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, UT; and Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, CA—during 2007-2008, bringing to 20 sites where SOS is in operational use. Model output data from the new global FIM model were rendered for display on SOS along with new and improved datasets of Mercury, Io, and several of Saturn’s moons. For more information, go to www.sos.noaa.gov.
Since the transition of WFO-Advanced forecast system (core software for AWIPS) from Hewlett Packard Unix (HPUX) operating system to Linux a few years ago, ALPS (Advanced Linux Prototype System) continues to provide an ideal platform for prototyping new capabilities. Among these is the ability to create graphics in KMZ format and display them on GoogleEarth. The new global FIM model has also been integrated and displayed for the entire globe on the ALPS “movable” scale. Refer to the following website for background and additional information on the ALPS project: fxa.noaa.gov/ALPS/
Data Systems Group
CIRA staff, as part of the Data Systems Group in the Information & Technology Services, continues to support the real-time meteorological data acquisition and processing systems within the GSD Central Facility. Multiple computers operate in a newly developed distributed, event-driven environment known as the Object Data System (ODS) to acquire, process, store, and distribute a wide array of conventional and advanced meteorological data daily. These data sets are provided to scientists and developers, both internal and external, for various modeling, application, and workstation development activities. Refer to the following website for additional information on projects and activities within DSG: www.esrl.noaa.gov/gsd/its/dsg/
Comparisons performed between the statistical properties of Large Eddy Simulations (LES) with aircraft observations of non-precipitating, warm cumulus clouds observed in the vicinity of Houston, TX during the Gulf of Mexico Atmospheric Composition and Climate Study (GoMACCS) revealed good agreement. These comparisons, together with the excellent agreement between observed and simulated cloud size distributions, suggest that the LES is able to successfully generate the cumulus cloud populations that were present during GoMACCS. See www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/2006/ for background and additional information.
A synchronized data set of pertinent cloud and aerosol microphysical properties at a temporal resolution of 20s was created based on the experimental set-up at Point Reyes, CA during 2005. Aerosol fields measured at coarser temporal resolution have been interpolated to 20s recognizing that aerosol temporal changes are much slower than cloud temporal changes. Although the various measures of aerosol effects on cloud microphysics are consistent, they were demonstrated to likely be too low. Radiative transfer modeling also demonstrated that uncertainties in these measures will translate to large uncertainties in radiative forcing estimates.
An NCAR AutoNowcaster display system (CIDD) was installed at the Fort Worth-Dallas WFO as part of a multi-year collaborative effort with NWS/MDL and NCAR. This allows FAA Central Weather Service Unit (CWSU) forecasters to review the several types of AN products (real-time and forecast) that are available within the system. In preparation for an operational evaluation, significant software improvements were made during the past year in Data Management, Data Display, Forecaster Interaction (boundary and polygon editing), and Data Dissemination. The significance of this achievement goes beyond providing improved severe weather situational awareness for the CWSU forecasters with operational products to assist in regional air traffic control, but that these guidance are now being served using input data provided by NWS forecasters using AWIPS.
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