Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology

CIRA Directors Conference Room
Friday, February 3, 2017 - 10:00
Andrew Kren, NOAA ESRL

A key project within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Global Observing Systems Analysis (GOSA) group is the Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) project. One of the main objectives of SHOUT is to conduct both Observing System Experiments (OSEs) and Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) to evaluate the impact of real and simulated Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) data on weather forecasts of tropical cyclones and high-impact weather events over the United States. In 2016, the GOSA SHOUT group participated in NOAA’s El Niño Rapid Response (ENRR) mission, conducted between January and March 2016, as well as in the SHOUT Hurricane Rapid Response (HRR) Mission during the fall of 2016.  

We provided targeted observing support to determine areas sensitive to forecast error growth and evaluated the impact of Global Hawk (GH) data on global numerical weather prediction. Both OSE and OSSE experiments were conducted prior to and after the field missions. OSEs were performed for an extratropical storm which hit Alaska in February 2016 during ENRR and for hurricane Matthew in October 2016 during HRR. One of the questions that SHOUT addresses is how much can the GH observations mitigate a possible gap in satellite data. Results here address the impact of GH dropsonde data in addition to the current observing system, as well as under a potential gap in global satellite coverage. Results show that targeted GH dropsondes improve forecast skill over the verification region of interest in both cases. Furthermore, accompanying OSSEs using a realistic nature run are used to validate the Ensemble Transform Sensitivity (ETS) targeting technique to identify data sensitive regions and also to investigate the impact of targeted data collected from different simulated flight tracks. Finally, an objective flight path design that covers sensitive regions identified using the ETS method, as well as subjective flight path designs that also include areas of key meteorological features, such as upper-level jet streaks, frontal systems, and moisture plumes, are studied and will also be discussed during this talk.