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Jean Thiébaux, Eric Rogers, Wanqiu Wang, and Bert Katz

A new blended high-resolution real-time global sea surface temperature analysis (RTG_SST), developed specifically for use in operational numerical weather forecasting models, was implemented in NCEP's operational job stream on 30 January 2001, immediately following investigations of miss-forecast precipitation events in the mid-Atlantic states. Each daily analysis uses the most recent 24-h receipts of in situ and satellite-derived surface temperature data and provides a global SST field on a 0.5° × 0.5° (latitude-longitude) grid. The RTG_SST provides the sea surface temperature fields for the regional Meso Eta Model, replacing the previously used National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) 50-km satellite-only SST analysis.

Forecast events leading to the implementation of the RTG_SST are described; comparison is made of the properties used in this new analysis with those of the Reynolds-Smith (RS) analysis and the NESDIS 50-km analysis; data ingestion, analysis, and verification components of the RTG_SST are reviewed; and analysis-related products and data that are available via the NCEP Web site are referenced.

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Eric Rogers, Geoffrey J. DiMego, Joseph P. Gerrity, Ralph A. Petersen, Brian D. Schmidt, and Deirdre M. Kann

Analyses and forecasts for the first 2 weeks of the Genesis of Atlantic Lows Experiment (GALE) are described. These fields were produced using the National Meteorological Center (NMC) Regional Analysis and Forecast System (RAFS). Two sets of analyses and forecasts were constructed: one using the NMC operational database only (Level IIIa), and one using the NMC data merged with high-density observations taken during GALE (Level IIIb).

During the first 14 days of GALE, supplemental data were collected throughout two Intensive Observing Periods (IOPs). Comparisons of the Level IIIa and IIIb analyses over the GALE observing region in the southeastern United States indicated a worsening of the geopotential height analysis at operational NWS rawinsonde sites using the supplemental IIIb data. This was caused by inconsistencies in the height measurements at the high-density GALE rawinsonde sites. Such patterns were not observed in the wind and temperature analyses.

During IOP No. 1, the Level IIIa and IIIb Nested Grid Model (NGM) forecasts were nearly identical. For IOP No. 2, one forecast cycle saw an improvement in the Level IIIb forecasts due to offshore GALE dropwindsonde data, while another was improved by the inclusion of late-arriving rawinsonde data in the IIIb analysis. The inland, high-density GALE soundings, however, had a negligible impact on NGM forecasts during the entire 12-day period.

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Robert Rogers, Sim Aberson, Michael Black, Peter Black, Joe Cione, Peter Dodge, Jason Dunion, John Gamache, John Kaplan, Mark Powell, Nick Shay, Naomi Surgi, and Eric Uhlhorn

In 2005, NOAA's Hurricane Research Division (HRD), part of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, began a multiyear experiment called the Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX). By emphasizing a partnership among NOAA's HRD, Environmental Modeling Center (EMC), National Hurricane Center (NHC), Aircraft Operations Center (AOC), and National Environmental Satellite Data Information Service (NESDIS), IFEX represents a new approach for conducting hurricane field program operations. IFEX is intended to improve the prediction of tropical cyclone (TC) intensity change by 1) collecting observations that span the TC life cycle in a variety of environments; 2) developing and refining measurement technologies that provide improved real-time monitoring of TC intensity, structure, and environment; and 3) improving the understanding of the physical processes important in intensity change for a TC at all stages of its life cycle.

This paper presents a summary of the accomplishments of IFEX during the 2005 hurricane season. New and refined technologies for measuring such fields as surface and three-dimensional wind fields, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, were achieved in a variety of field experiments that spanned the life cycle of several tropical cyclones, from formation and early organization to peak intensity and subsequent landfall or extratropical transition. Partnerships with other experiments during 2005 also expanded the spatial and temporal coverage of the data collected in 2005. A brief discussion of the plans for IFEX in 2006 is also provided.

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Robert Rogers, Sim Aberson, Altug Aksoy, Bachir Annane, Michael Black, Joseph Cione, Neal Dorst, Jason Dunion, John Gamache, Stan Goldenberg, Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan, John Kaplan, Bradley Klotz, Sylvie Lorsolo, Frank Marks, Shirley Murillo, Mark Powell, Paul Reasor, Kathryn Sellwood, Eric Uhlhorn, Tomislava Vukicevic, Jun Zhang, and Xuejin Zhang

An update of the progress achieved as part of the NOAA Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX) is provided. Included is a brief summary of the noteworthy aircraft missions flown in the years since 2005, the first year IFEX flights occurred, as well as a description of the research and development activities that directly address the three primary IFEX goals: 1) collect observations that span the tropical cyclone (TC) life cycle in a variety of environments for model initialization and evaluation; 2) develop and refine measurement strategies and technologies that provide improved real-time monitoring of TC intensity, structure, and environment; and 3) improve the understanding of physical processes important in intensity change for a TC at all stages of its life cycle. Such activities include the real-time analysis and transmission of Doppler radar measurements; numerical model and data assimilation advancements; characterization of tropical cyclone composite structure across multiple scales, from vortex scale to turbulence scale; improvements in statistical prediction of rapid intensification; and studies specifically targeting tropical cyclogenesis, extratropical transition, and the impact of environmental humidity on TC structure and evolution. While progress in TC intensity forecasting remains challenging, the activities described here provide some hope for improvement.

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Fedor Mesinger, Geoff DiMego, Eugenia Kalnay, Kenneth Mitchell, Perry C. Shafran, Wesley Ebisuzaki, Dušan Jović, Jack Woollen, Eric Rogers, Ernesto H. Berbery, Michael B. Ek, Yun Fan, Robert Grumbine, Wayne Higgins, Hong Li, Ying Lin, Geoff Manikin, David Parrish, and Wei Shi

In 1997, during the late stages of production of NCEP–NCAR Global Reanalysis (GR), exploration of a regional reanalysis project was suggested by the GR project's Advisory Committee, “particularly if the RDAS [Regional Data Assimilation System] is significantly better than the global reanalysis at capturing the regional hydrological cycle, the diurnal cycle and other important features of weather and climate variability.” Following a 6-yr development and production effort, NCEP's North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) project was completed in 2004, and data are now available to the scientific community. Along with the use of the NCEP Eta model and its Data Assimilation System (at 32-km–45-layer resolution with 3-hourly output), the hallmarks of the NARR are the incorporation of hourly assimilation of precipitation, which leverages a comprehensive precipitation analysis effort, the use of a recent version of the Noah land surface model, and the use of numerous other datasets that are additional or improved compared to the GR. Following the practice applied to NCEP's GR, the 25-yr NARR retrospective production period (1979–2003) is augmented by the construction and daily execution of a system for near-real-time continuation of the NARR, known as the Regional Climate Data Assimilation System (R-CDAS). Highlights of the NARR results are presented: precipitation over the continental United States (CONUS), which is seen to be very near the ingested analyzed precipitation; fits of tropospheric temperatures and winds to rawinsonde observations; and fits of 2-m temperatures and 10-m winds to surface station observations. The aforementioned fits are compared to those of the NCEP–Department of Energy (DOE) Global Reanalysis (GR2). Not only have the expectations cited above been fully met, but very substantial improvements in the accuracy of temperatures and winds compared to that of GR2 are achieved throughout the troposphere. Finally, the numerous datasets produced are outlined and information is provided on the data archiving and present data availability.

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Qing Wang, Denny P. Alappattu, Stephanie Billingsley, Byron Blomquist, Robert J. Burkholder, Adam J. Christman, Edward D. Creegan, Tony de Paolo, Daniel P. Eleuterio, Harindra Joseph S. Fernando, Kyle B. Franklin, Andrey A. Grachev, Tracy Haack, Thomas R. Hanley, Christopher M. Hocut, Teddy R. Holt, Kate Horgan, Haflidi H. Jonsson, Robert A. Hale, John A. Kalogiros, Djamal Khelif, Laura S. Leo, Richard J. Lind, Iossif Lozovatsky, Jesus Planella-Morato, Swagato Mukherjee, Wendell A. Nuss, Jonathan Pozderac, L. Ted Rogers, Ivan Savelyev, Dana K. Savidge, R. Kipp Shearman, Lian Shen, Eric Terrill, A. Marcela Ulate, Qi Wang, R. Travis Wendt, Russell Wiss, Roy K. Woods, Luyao Xu, Ryan T. Yamaguchi, and Caglar Yardim


The Coupled Air–Sea Processes and Electromagnetic Ducting Research (CASPER) project aims to better quantify atmospheric effects on the propagation of radar and communication signals in the marine environment. Such effects are associated with vertical gradients of temperature and water vapor in the marine atmospheric surface layer (MASL) and in the capping inversion of the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL), as well as the horizontal variations of these vertical gradients. CASPER field measurements emphasized simultaneous characterization of electromagnetic (EM) wave propagation, the propagation environment, and the physical processes that gave rise to the measured refractivity conditions. CASPER modeling efforts utilized state-of-the-art large-eddy simulations (LESs) with a dynamically coupled MASL and phase-resolved ocean surface waves. CASPER-East was the first of two planned field campaigns, conducted in October and November 2015 offshore of Duck, North Carolina. This article highlights the scientific motivations and objectives of CASPER and provides an overview of the CASPER-East field campaign. The CASPER-East sampling strategy enabled us to obtain EM wave propagation loss as well as concurrent environmental refractive conditions along the propagation path. This article highlights the initial results from this sampling strategy showing the range-dependent propagation loss, the atmospheric and upper-oceanic variability along the propagation range, and the MASL thermodynamic profiles measured during CASPER-East.

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Robert M. Rauber, Bjorn Stevens, Jennifer Davison, Sabine Goke, Olga L. Mayol-Bracero, David Rogers, Paquita Zuidema, Harry T. Ochs III, Charles Knight, Jorgen Jensen, Sarah Bereznicki, Simona Bordoni, Humberto Caro-Gautier, Marilé Colón-Robles, Maylissa Deliz, Shaunna Donaher, Virendra Ghate, Ela Grzeszczak, Colleen Henry, Anne Marie Hertel, Ieng Jo, Michael Kruk, Jason Lowenstein, Judith Malley, Brian Medeiros, Yarilis Méndez-Lopez, Subhashree Mishra, Flavia Morales-García, Louise A. Nuijens, Dennis O'Donnell, Diana L. Ortiz-Montalvo, Kristen Rasmussen, Erin Riepe, Sarah Scalia, Efthymios Serpetzoglou, Haiwei Shen, Michael Siedsma, Jennifer Small, Eric Snodgrass, Panu Trivej, and Jonathan Zawislak

The Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean (RICO) field campaign carried out a wide array of educational activities, including a major first in a field project—a complete mission, including research flights, planned and executed entirely by students. This article describes the educational opportunities provided to the 24 graduate and 9 undergraduate students who participated in RICO.

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James D. Doyle, Jonathan R. Moskaitis, Joel W. Feldmeier, Ronald J. Ferek, Mark Beaubien, Michael M. Bell, Daniel L. Cecil, Robert L. Creasey, Patrick Duran, Russell L. Elsberry, William A. Komaromi, John Molinari, David R. Ryglicki, Daniel P. Stern, Christopher S. Velden, Xuguang Wang, Todd Allen, Bradford S. Barrett, Peter G. Black, Jason P. Dunion, Kerry A. Emanuel, Patrick A. Harr, Lee Harrison, Eric A. Hendricks, Derrick Herndon, William Q. Jeffries, Sharanya J. Majumdar, James A. Moore, Zhaoxia Pu, Robert F. Rogers, Elizabeth R. Sanabia, Gregory J. Tripoli, and Da-Lin Zhang


Tropical cyclone (TC) outflow and its relationship to TC intensity change and structure were investigated in the Office of Naval Research Tropical Cyclone Intensity (TCI) field program during 2015 using dropsondes deployed from the innovative new High-Definition Sounding System (HDSS) and remotely sensed observations from the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD), both on board the NASA WB-57 that flew in the lower stratosphere. Three noteworthy hurricanes were intensively observed with unprecedented horizontal resolution: Joaquin in the Atlantic and Marty and Patricia in the eastern North Pacific. Nearly 800 dropsondes were deployed from the WB-57 flight level of ∼60,000 ft (∼18 km), recording atmospheric conditions from the lower stratosphere to the surface, while HIRAD measured the surface winds in a 50-km-wide swath with a horizontal resolution of 2 km. Dropsonde transects with 4–10-km spacing through the inner cores of Hurricanes Patricia, Joaquin, and Marty depict the large horizontal and vertical gradients in winds and thermodynamic properties. An innovative technique utilizing GPS positions of the HDSS reveals the vortex tilt in detail not possible before. In four TCI flights over Joaquin, systematic measurements of a major hurricane’s outflow layer were made at high spatial resolution for the first time. Dropsondes deployed at 4-km intervals as the WB-57 flew over the center of Hurricane Patricia reveal in unprecedented detail the inner-core structure and upper-tropospheric outflow associated with this historic hurricane. Analyses and numerical modeling studies are in progress to understand and predict the complex factors that influenced Joaquin’s and Patricia’s unusual intensity changes.

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