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N. Hosannah, J. González, R. Rodriguez-Solis, H. Parsiani, F. Moshary, L. Aponte, R. Armstrong, E. Harmsen, P. Ramamurthy, M. Angeles, L. León, N. Ramírez, D. Niyogi, and B. Bornstein

Abstract

Modulated by global-, continental-, regional-, and local-scale processes, convective precipitation in coastal tropical regions is paramount in maintaining the ecological balance and socioeconomic health within them. The western coast of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is ideal for observing local convective dynamics as interactions between complex processes involving orography, surface heating, land cover, and sea-breeze–trade wind convergence influence different rainfall climatologies across the island. A multiseason observational effort entitled the Convection, Aerosol, and Synoptic-Effects in the Tropics (CAST) experiment was undertaken using Puerto Rico as a test case, to improve the understanding of island-scale processes and their effects on precipitation. Puerto Rico has a wide network of observational instruments, including ground weather stations, soil moisture sensors, a Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD), twice-daily radiosonde launches, and Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) sunphotometers. To achieve the goals of CAST, researchers from multiple institutions supplemented existing observational networks with additional radiosonde launches, three high-resolution radars, continuous ceilometer monitoring, and air sampling in western Puerto Rico to monitor convective precipitation events. Observations during three CAST measurement phases (22 June–10 July 2015, 6–22 February 2016, and 24 April–7 May 2016) captured the most extreme drought in recent history (summer 2015), in addition to anomalously wet early rainfall and dry-season (2016) phases. This short article presents an overview of CAST along with selected campaign data.

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Cindy E. Morris, Samuel Soubeyrand, E. Keith Bigg, Jessie M. Creamean, and David C. Sands

Abstract

The aerosols that influence the initiation and amount of precipitation are cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), giant CCN, and ice nuclei. Aerosols are ever-present, their properties are variable, and their abundance is dynamic. Therefore, the extent of their impact on the outcome of meteorological contexts that are favorable for rain are difficult to specify. Rainfall can generate aerosols. Those of biological origin that are generated after rainfall can accumulate in a persistent manner over several weeks. Based on a recently developed index of rainfall feedback that focuses on persistent feedback effects and that represents the a priori sensitivity of rainfall to aerosols— of biological origin in particular—we mapped the intensity and patterns of rainfall feedback at 1,250 sites in the western United States where 100-year daily rainfall data were available and where drought is critically severe. This map reveals trends in feedback related to orographic context, geographical location, and season, among other trends. We describe an open-access tool (http://w3.avignon.inra.fr/rainfallfeedback/index.html) for mapping rainfall feedback on a planetary scale to provide a framework for future research to generate hypotheses and to establish rationale to choose field sites for experimentation. This will contribute to the long-term goal of developing a robust understanding of specific and contextual aerosol effects on rainfall applicable to forecasting and to land-use management.

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David Perkins, Ed Maibach, Ned Gardiner, Joe Witte, Bud Ward, Bernadette Woods Placky, Keith Seitter, and Heidi Cullen

Abstract

As American Meteorological Society (AMS) members who study Americans’ understanding of climate change and who are engaged in programs to educate Americans about climate change, we want our AMS colleagues to realize their key role in public education. In this article we make the case that 1) AMS members are well positioned to play important leadership roles in educational outreach on climate change, 2) the public wants to learn more about climate change, 3) there is a need for more effective public engagement efforts, and 4) we have successful outreach and educational models that we can start using today.

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Ligia Bernardet, Laurie Carson, and Vijay Tallapragada

Abstract

NOAA/NCEP runs a number of numerical weather prediction (NWP) modeling suites to provide operational guidance to the National Weather Service field offices and service centers. A sophisticated infrastructure, which includes a complex set of software tools, is required to facilitate running these NWP suites. This infrastructure needs to be maintained and upgraded so that continued improvements in forecast accuracy can be achieved. This contribution describes the design of a robust NWP Information Technology Environment (NITE) to support and accelerate the transition of innovations to NOAA operational modeling suites.

Through consultation with and at the request of the NOAA NCEP Environmental Modeling Center, a survey of segments of the national NWP community, and a review of selected aspects of the computational infrastructure of several modeling centers was conducted, which led to the following elements being considered as key for NITE: data management, source code management and build systems, suite definition tools, scripts, workflow management, experiment database, and documentation and training.

The design for NITE put forth by the DTC would make model development by NOAA staff and their external collaborators more effective and efficient. It should be noted that NITE was not designed to work exclusively for a certain modeling suite; instead it transcends the current operational suites and is applicable to the expected evolution in NCEP systems. NITE is particularly important for community engagement in the Next-Generation Global Prediction System, which is expected to be an Earth modeling system including several components.

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Andrew Grundstein, J. Marshall Shepherd, and Sarah Duzinski

Abstract

Inflatable bounce houses provide a popular summer activity for children. Injuries such as sprains and fractures are widely acknowledged, but there is less awareness about possible hazards from excessive heat exposure. This study aims to identify whether conditions in the bounce house are more oppressive than ambient conditions on a typical summer day in Athens, Georgia. Results show that maximum air temperatures in the bounce house can reach up to 3.7°C (6.7°F) greater than ambient conditions, and peak heat index values may exceed outdoor conditions by 4.5°C (8.1°F). When considered within the context of the National Weather Service heat index safety categories, the bounce house reached the “danger” level in more than half of the observations, compared with only 7% of observations for ambient conditions. Parents and caregivers should be aware of heat-related hazards in bounce houses and closely monitor children, adjusting or canceling activities as conditions become more oppressive.

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Darrian Bertrand and Mark Shafer

Abstract

State hazard mitigation plans guide state and local agencies in actions they may take to reduce their vulnerability to extreme events. However, because they are written for a general audience, they must be written in a way for a layperson to understand. In many cases, the people writing these plans are not meteorologists or do not have access to meteorological expertise. Consequently, descriptions of hazards may be taken from websites, other documents, or perhaps authoritative sources. This leads to inconsistencies in the way hazards are portrayed in the plans, which increases the difficulty of translating proposed actions to local governments or to other states.

This article delves into the issue of these variances and how it affects those who write state hazard mitigation plans. For this brief text, the hazards discussed in state plans that fall in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP)’s region are covered with a comparison of definitions from the National Weather Service (NWS) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS). States within the SCIPP region include Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. This study found that it is more common for states to use key words from NWS and AMS hazard definitions than to use exact definitions. The goal of this article is to prompt a discussion about the inconsistency of terminology used in state hazard mitigation plans and to spread awareness of this issue so that future plans can keep their unique elements while providing a better description and understanding of the included hazards.

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M. Reuter, M. Buchwitz, M. Hilker, J. Heymann, H. Bovensmann, J. P. Burrows, S. Houweling, Y. Y. Liu, R. Nassar, F. Chevallier, P. Ciais, J. Marshall, and M. Reichstein
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