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Kiel L. Ortega, Travis M. Smith, Kevin L. Manross, Kevin A. Scharfenberg, Arthur Witt, Angelyn G. Kolodziej, and Jonathan J. Gourley

During the springs and summers of 2006 through 2008, scientists from the National Severe Storms Laboratory and students from the University of Oklahoma have conducted an enhanced severe-storm verification effort. The primary goal for the Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment (SHAVE) was the remote collection of high spatial and temporal resolution hail, wind (or wind damage), and flash-flooding reports from severe thunderstorms. This dataset has a much higher temporal and spatial resolution than the traditional storm reports collected by the National Weather Service and published in Storm Data (tens of square kilometers and 1–5 min versus thousands of square kilometers and 30–60 min) and also includes reports of nonsevere storms that are not included in Storm Data. The high resolution of the dataset makes it useful for validating high-resolution, gridded warning guidance applications.

SHAVE is unique not only for the type of data collected and the resolution of that data but also for how the data are collected. The daily operations of the project are largely student led and run. To complete the remote, high-resolution verification, the students use Google Earth to display experimental weather data and geographic information databases, such as digital phonebooks. Using these data, the students then make verification phone calls to residences and businesses, throughout the United States, thought to have been affected by a severe thunderstorm. The present article summarizes the data collection facilities and techniques, discusses applications of these data, and shows comparisons of SHAVE reports to reports currently available from Storm Data.

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Travis M. Smith, Valliappa Lakshmanan, Gregory J. Stumpf, Kiel L. Ortega, Kurt Hondl, Karen Cooper, Kristin M. Calhoun, Darrel M. Kingfield, Kevin L. Manross, Robert Toomey, and Jeff Brogden

Abstract

The Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) system, which was developed at the National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma, was made operational in 2014 at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The MRMS system consists of the Warning Decision Support System–Integrated Information suite of severe weather and aviation products, and the quantitative precipitation estimation products created by the National Mosaic and Multi-sensor Quantitative Precipitation Estimation system. Products created by the MRMS system are at a spatial resolution of approximately 1 km, with 33 vertical levels, updating every 2 min over the conterminous United States and southern Canada. This paper describes initial operating capabilities for the severe weather and aviation products that include a three-dimensional mosaic of reflectivity; guidance for hail, tornado, and lightning hazards; and nowcasts of storm location, height, and intensity.

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Kristin M. Calhoun, Kodi L. Berry, Darrel M. Kingfield, Tiffany Meyer, Makenzie J. Krocak, Travis M. Smith, Greg Stumpf, and Alan Gerard

Abstract

NOAA’s Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) is a physical space and research framework to foster collaboration and evaluate emerging tools, technology, and products for NWS operations. The HWT’s Experimental Warning Program (EWP) focuses on research, technology, and communication that may improve severe and hazardous weather warnings and societal response. The EWP was established with three fundamental hypotheses: 1) collaboration with operational meteorologists increases the speed of the transition process and rate of adoption of beneficial applications and technology, 2) the transition of knowledge between research and operations benefits both the research and operational communities, and 3) including end-users in experiments generates outcomes that are more reliable and useful for society. The EWP is designed to mimic the operations of any NWS Forecast Office, providing the opportunity for experiments to leverage live and archived severe weather activity anywhere in the United States. During the first decade of activity in the EWP, 15 experiments covered topics including: new radar and satellite applications, storm-scale numerical models and data assimilation, total lightning use in severe weather forecasting, and multiple social science and end-user topics. The experiments range from exploratory and conceptual research to more controlled experimental design to establish statistical patterns and causal relationships. The EWP brought more than 400 NWS forecasters, 60 emergency managers, and 30 broadcast meteorologists to the HWT to participate in live demonstrations, archive events, and data-denial experiments influencing today’s operational warning environment and shaping the future of warning research, technology, and communication for years to come.

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Lans P. Rothfusz, Russell Schneider, David Novak, Kimberly Klockow-McClain, Alan E. Gerard, Chris Karstens, Gregory J. Stumpf, and Travis M. Smith

Abstract

Recommendations by the National Research Council (NRC), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Weather-Ready Nation workshop participants have encouraged the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the broader weather enterprise to explore and expand the use of probabilistic information to convey weather forecast uncertainty. Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs) is a concept being explored by NOAA to address those recommendations and also potentially shift the National Weather Service (NWS) from (primarily) teletype-era, deterministic watch–warning products to high-resolution, probabilistic hazard information (PHI) spanning periods from days (and longer) to within minutes of high-impact weather and water events. FACETs simultaneously i) considers a reinvention of the NWS hazard forecasting and communication paradigm so as to deliver multiscale, user-specific probabilistic guidance from numerical weather prediction ensembles and ii) provides a comprehensive framework to organize the physical, social, and behavioral sciences, the technology, and the practices needed to achieve that reinvention. The first applications of FACETs have focused on thunderstorm phenomena, but the FACETs concept is envisioned to extend to the attributes of any environmental hazards that can be described probabilistically (e.g., winter, tropical, and aviation weather). This paper introduces the FACETs vision, the motivation for its creation, the research and development under way to explore that vision, its relevance to operational forecasting and society, and possible strategies for implementation.

Open access
Brian J. Butterworth, Ankur R. Desai, Stefan Metzger, Philip A. Townsend, Mark D. Schwartz, Grant W. Petty, Matthias Mauder, Hannes Vogelmann, Christian G. Andresen, Travis J. Augustine, Timothy H. Bertram, William O. J. Brown, Michael Buban, Patricia Cleary, David J. Durden, Christopher R. Florian, Trevor J. Iglinski, Eric L. Kruger, Kathleen Lantz, Temple R. Lee, Tilden P. Meyers, James K. Mineau, Erik R. Olson, Steven P. Oncley, Sreenath Paleri, Rosalyn A. Pertzborn, Claire Pettersen, David M. Plummer, Laura D. Riihimaki, Eliceo Ruiz Guzman, Joseph Sedlar, Elizabeth N. Smith, Johannes Speidel, Paul C. Stoy, Matthias Sühring, Jonathan E. Thom, David D. Turner, Michael P. Vermeuel, Timothy J. Wagner, Zhien Wang, Luise Wanner, Loren D. White, James M. Wilczak, Daniel B. Wright, and Ting Zheng

Abstract

The Chequamegon Heterogeneous Ecosystem Energy-Balance Study Enabled by a High-Density Extensive Array of Detectors 2019 (CHEESEHEAD19) is an ongoing National Science Foundation project based on an intensive field campaign that occurred from June to October 2019. The purpose of the study is to examine how the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) responds to spatial heterogeneity in surface energy fluxes. One of the main objectives is to test whether lack of energy balance closure measured by eddy covariance (EC) towers is related to mesoscale atmospheric processes. Finally, the project evaluates data-driven methods for scaling surface energy fluxes, with the aim to improve model–data comparison and integration. To address these questions, an extensive suite of ground, tower, profiling, and airborne instrumentation was deployed over a 10 km × 10 km domain of a heterogeneous forest ecosystem in the Chequamegon–Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin, United States, centered on an existing 447-m tower that anchors an AmeriFlux/NOAA supersite (US-PFa/WLEF). The project deployed one of the world’s highest-density networks of above-canopy EC measurements of surface energy fluxes. This tower EC network was coupled with spatial measurements of EC fluxes from aircraft; maps of leaf and canopy properties derived from airborne spectroscopy, ground-based measurements of plant productivity, phenology, and physiology; and atmospheric profiles of wind, water vapor, and temperature using radar, sodar, lidar, microwave radiometers, infrared interferometers, and radiosondes. These observations are being used with large-eddy simulation and scaling experiments to better understand submesoscale processes and improve formulations of subgrid-scale processes in numerical weather and climate models.

Open access