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Quantitative Ice Accretion Information from the Automated Surface Observing System

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  • 1 Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hanover, New Hampshire
  • | 2 Hedgesville, West Virginia
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Abstract

Freezing precipitation is a persistent winter weather problem that costs the United States millions of dollars annually. Costs and infrastructure disruption may be greatly reduced by ice-storm warnings issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), and by the development of climatologies that allow improved design of infrastructure elements. However, neither the NWS nor developers of climatologies have had direct measurements of ice-storm accumulations as a basis for issuing warnings and developing storm design standards. This paper describes the development of an aviation routine/special weather report (METAR/SPECI) remark that will report quantitative ice thickness at over 650 locations during ice storms using new algorithms developed for the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS). Characteristics of the ASOS icing sensor, a field program to develop the algorithms, tests of accuracy, application of the algorithms, and sources of error are described, as is the implementation of an ice-thickness METAR/SPECI remark. The algorithms will potentially allow freezing precipitation events to be tracked with regard to ice accumulation in near–real time as they progress across the United States.

Corresponding author address: Charles C. Ryerson, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Engineer Research and Development, Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 72 Lyme Road, Hanover, NH 03755-1290. Email: charles.c.ryerson@erdc.usace.army.mil

Abstract

Freezing precipitation is a persistent winter weather problem that costs the United States millions of dollars annually. Costs and infrastructure disruption may be greatly reduced by ice-storm warnings issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), and by the development of climatologies that allow improved design of infrastructure elements. However, neither the NWS nor developers of climatologies have had direct measurements of ice-storm accumulations as a basis for issuing warnings and developing storm design standards. This paper describes the development of an aviation routine/special weather report (METAR/SPECI) remark that will report quantitative ice thickness at over 650 locations during ice storms using new algorithms developed for the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS). Characteristics of the ASOS icing sensor, a field program to develop the algorithms, tests of accuracy, application of the algorithms, and sources of error are described, as is the implementation of an ice-thickness METAR/SPECI remark. The algorithms will potentially allow freezing precipitation events to be tracked with regard to ice accumulation in near–real time as they progress across the United States.

Corresponding author address: Charles C. Ryerson, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Engineer Research and Development, Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 72 Lyme Road, Hanover, NH 03755-1290. Email: charles.c.ryerson@erdc.usace.army.mil

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