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Scott A. Braun
,
Ramesh Kakar
,
Edward Zipser
,
Gerald Heymsfield
,
Cerese Albers
,
Shannon Brown
,
Stephen L. Durden
,
Stephen Guimond
,
Jeffery Halverson
,
Andrew Heymsfield
,
Syed Ismail
,
Bjorn Lambrigtsen
,
Timothy Miller
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Simone Tanelli
,
Janel Thomas
, and
Jon Zawislak

In August–September 2010, NASA, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) conducted separate but closely coordinated hurricane field campaigns, bringing to bear a combined seven aircraft with both new and mature observing technologies. NASA's Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment, the subject of this article, along with NOAA's Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX) and NSF's Pre-Depression Investigation of Cloud-Systems in the Tropics (PREDICT) experiment, obtained unprecedented observations of the formation and intensification of tropical cyclones. The major goal of GRIP was to better understand the physical processes that control hurricane formation and intensity change, specifically the relative roles of environmental and inner-core processes. A key focus of GRIP was the application of new technologies to address this important scientific goal, including the first ever use of the unmanned Global Hawk aircraft for hurricane science operations. NASA and NOAA conducted coordinated flights to thoroughly sample the rapid intensification (RI) of Hurricanes Earl and Karl. The tri-agency aircraft teamed up to perform coordinated flights for the genesis of Hurricane Karl and Tropical Storm Matthew and the nonredevelopment of the remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston. The combined GRIP– IFEX–PREDICT datasets, along with remote sensing data from a variety of satellite platforms [Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), Aqua, Terra, CloudSat, and Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO)], will contribute to advancing understanding of hurricane formation and intensification. This article summarizes the GRIP experiment, the missions flown, and some preliminary findings.

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AIRS

Improving Weather Forecasting and Providing New Data on Greenhouse Gases

MOUSTAFA T. CHAHINE
,
THOMAS S. PAGANO
,
HARTMUT H. AUMANN
,
ROBERT ATLAS
,
CHRISTOPHER BARNET
,
JOHN BLAISDELL
,
LUKE CHEN
,
MURTY DIVAKARLA
,
ERIC J. FETZER
,
MITCH GOLDBERG
,
CATHERINE GAUTIER
,
STEPHANIE GRANGER
,
SCOTT HANNON
,
FREDRICK W. IRION
,
RAMESH KAKAR
,
EUGENIA KALNAY
,
BJORN H. LAMBRIGTSEN
,
SUNG-YUNG LEE
,
JOHN Le MARSHALL
,
W. WALLACE MCMILLAN
,
LARRY MCMILLIN
,
EDWARD T. OLSEN
,
HENRY REVERCOMB
,
PHILIP ROSENKRANZ
,
WILLIAM L. SMITH
,
DAVID STAELIN
,
L. LARRABEE STROW
,
JOEL SUSSKIND
,
DAVID TOBIN
,
WALTER WOLF
, and
LIHANG ZHOU

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and its two companion microwave sounders, AMSU and HSB were launched into polar orbit onboard the NASA Aqua Satellite in May 2002. NASA required the sounding system to provide high-quality research data for climate studies and to meet NOAA's requirements for improving operational weather forecasting. The NOAA requirement translated into global retrieval of temperature and humidity profiles with accuracies approaching those of radiosondes. AIRS also provides new measurements of several greenhouse gases, such as CO2, CO, CH4, O3, SO2, and aerosols.

The assimilation of AIRS data into operational weather forecasting has already demonstrated significant improvements in global forecast skill. At NOAA/NCEP, the improvement in the forecast skill achieved at 6 days is equivalent to gaining an extension of forecast capability of six hours. This improvement is quite significant when compared to other forecast improvements over the last decade. In addition to NCEP, ECMWF and the Met Office have also reported positive forecast impacts due AIRS.

AIRS is a hyperspectral sounder with 2,378 infrared channels between 3.7 and 15.4 μm. NOAA/NESDIS routinely distributes AIRS data within 3 hours to NWP centers around the world. The AIRS design represents a breakthrough in infrared space instrumentation with measurement stability and accuracies far surpassing any current research or operational sounder..The results we describe in this paper are “work in progress,” and although significant accomplishments have already been made much more work remains in order to realize the full potential of this suite of instruments.

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