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Sheldon Drobot, Amanda R. S. Anderson, Crystal Burghardt, and Paul Pisano

In 2008, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Board on Enterprise Planning (BEP) established the Committee on Mobile Observations to discuss the application and utilization of mobile weather and road condition data in the context of supporting the weather and transportation communities and how these data could be used to improve safety and mobility across the nation's surface transportation system. The goal of the committee is to articulate a clear vision for mobile data that captures the immense opportunities for these data to improve road weather services and transportation safety and mobility. The Committee on Mobile Observations is engaged in numerous activities to accomplish its goal, which includes a nationwide survey of the traveling public to obtain better information on their preferences for and interests in obtaining weather and road condition information, their willingness to share vehicle data, and their willingness to pay for enhanced services. This paper outlines the results of the survey. Working through Survey Sampling International, the survey obtained 1627 responses. Results show that people are strongly interested in obtaining road weather information, though they remain wary of sharing data, and they are disinclined to pay for the data. Stratifications note some regional differences in the level of interest in data, as well as dependencies between the amount of information desired, and the willingness to pay for it and to share vehicle information.

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Irina I. Rypina, Larry J. Pratt, Samuel Entner, Amanda Anderson, and Deepak Cherian

Abstract

The Lagrangian characteristics of the surface flow field arising when an idealized, anticyclonic, mesoscale, isolated deep-ocean eddy collides with continental slope and shelf topography are explored. In addition to fluid parcel trajectories, we consider the trajectories of biological organisms that are able to navigate and swim, and for which shallow water is a destination. Of particular interest is the movement of organisms initially located in the offshore eddy, the manner in which the eddy influences the ability of the organisms to reach the shelf break, and the spatial and temporal distributions of organisms that do so. For nonswimmers or very slow swimmers, the organisms arrive at the shelf break in distinct pulses, with different pulses occurring at different locations along the shelf break. This phenomenon is closely related to the episodic formation of trailing vortices that are formed after the eddy collides with the continental slope, turns, and travels parallel to the coast. Analysis based on finite-time Lyapunov exponents reveals initial locations of all successful trajectories reaching the shoreline, and provides maps of the transport pathways showing that much of the cross-shelf-break transport occurs in the lee of the eddy as it moves parallel to the shore. The same analysis shows that the onshore transport is interrupted after a trailing vortex detaches. As the swimming speeds are increased, the organisms are influenced less by the eddy and tend to show up en mass and in a single pulse.

Open access
Curtis L. Walker, Brenda Boyce, Christopher P. Albrecht, and Amanda Siems-Anderson

Abstract

Innovative technologies that support implementation of automated vehicles continue to develop at a rapid pace. These advances strive to increase efficiency and safety throughout the global transportation network. One important challenge to these emergent technologies that remains underappreciated is how the vehicles will perform in adverse weather. Each year, weather-related vehicular crashes account for approximately 21% of all highway crashes in the United States. These crashes result in over 5,300 fatalities, injure over 418,000 people, and cost billions of dollars in insurance claims, liability, emergency services, congestion delays, rehabilitation, and environmental damage annually. Automated vehicles have the potential to significantly mitigate these statistics; however, public, private, and academic partnerships between the meteorological and transportation communities must be established to develop solutions to weather impacts now. To date, such interactions have been sparse and largely contribute to a lack of awareness in how these two communities may collaborate together. The purpose of this manuscript is to call the meteorological community to action and proactive engagement with the transportation community. A secondary goal is to make the transportation community aware of the advantages of teaming with the weather enterprise. Automated vehicles will not only increase travel safety, but also have benefits to the meteorological community through increasing availability of high-resolution surface data observations. The future challenges of these emergent technologies in the context of road weather implications focus on vehicle situational awareness and technological sensing capability in all weather conditions, and transforming how drivers and vehicles are informed of weather threats beyond sensing capabilities.

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Rita D. Roberts, Amanda R. S. Anderson, Eric Nelson, Barbara G. Brown, James W. Wilson, Matthew Pocernich, and Thomas Saxen

Abstract

A forecaster-interactive capability was added to an automated convective storm nowcasting system [Auto-Nowcaster (ANC)] to allow forecasters to enhance the performance of 1-h nowcasts of convective storm initiation and evolution produced every 6 min. This Forecaster-Over-The-Loop (FOTL-ANC) system was tested at the National Weather Service Fort Worth–Dallas, Texas, Weather Forecast Office during daily operations from 2005 to 2010. The forecaster’s role was to enter the locations of surface convergence boundaries into the ANC prior to dissemination of nowcasts to the Center Weather Service Unit. Verification of the FOTL-ANC versus ANC (no human) nowcasts was conducted on the convective scale. Categorical verification scores were computed for 30 subdomains within the forecast domain. Special focus was placed on subdomains that included convergence boundaries for evaluation of forecaster involvement and impact on the FOTL-ANC nowcasts. The probability of detection of convective storms increased by 20%–60% with little to no change observed in the false-alarm ratios. Bias values increased from 0.8–1.0 to 1.0–3.0 with human involvement. The accuracy of storm nowcasts notably improved with forecaster involvement; critical success index (CSI) values increased from 0.15–0.25 (ANC) to 0.2–0.4 (FOTL-ANC). Over short time periods, CSI values as large as 0.6 were also observed. This study demonstrated definitively that forecaster involvement led to positive improvement in the nowcasts in most cases while causing no degradation in other cases; a few exceptions are noted. Results show that forecasters can play an important role in the production of rapidly updated, convective storm nowcasts for end users.

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Amanda R. S. Anderson, Michael Chapman, Sheldon D. Drobot, Alemu Tadesse, Brice Lambi, Gerry Wiener, and Paul Pisano

Abstract

The 2010 Development Test Environment Experiment (DTE10) took place from 28 January to 29 March 2010 in the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area for the purposes of collecting and evaluating mobile data from vehicles. To examine the quality of these data, over 239 000 air temperature and atmospheric pressure observations were obtained from nine vehicles and were compared with a weather station set up at the testing site. The observations from the vehicles were first run through the NCAR Vehicle Data Translator (VDT). As part of the VDT, quality-checking (QCh) tests were applied; pass rates from these tests were examined and were stratified by meteorological and nonmeteorological factors. Statistics were then calculated for air temperature and atmospheric pressure in comparison with the weather station, and the effects of different meteorological and nonmeteorological factors on the statistics were examined. Overall, temperature measurements showed consistent agreement with the weather station, and there was little impact from the QCh process or stratifications—a result that demonstrated the feasibility of collecting mobile temperature observations from vehicles. Atmospheric pressure observations were less well matched with surface validation, the degree of which varied with the make and model of vehicle. Therefore, more work must be done to improve the quality of these observations if atmospheric pressure from vehicles is to be useful.

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David Gochis, Russ Schumacher, Katja Friedrich, Nolan Doesken, Matt Kelsch, Juanzhen Sun, Kyoko Ikeda, Daniel Lindsey, Andy Wood, Brenda Dolan, Sergey Matrosov, Andrew Newman, Kelly Mahoney, Steven Rutledge, Richard Johnson, Paul Kucera, Pat Kennedy, Daniel Sempere-Torres, Matthias Steiner, Rita Roberts, Jim Wilson, Wei Yu, V. Chandrasekar, Roy Rasmussen, Amanda Anderson, and Barbara Brown

Abstract

During the second week of September 2013, a seasonally uncharacteristic weather pattern stalled over the Rocky Mountain Front Range region of northern Colorado bringing with it copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. This feed of moisture was funneled toward the east-facing mountain slopes through a series of mesoscale circulation features, resulting in several days of unusually widespread heavy rainfall over steep mountainous terrain. Catastrophic flooding ensued within several Front Range river systems that washed away highways, destroyed towns, isolated communities, necessitated days of airborne evacuations, and resulted in eight fatalities. The impacts from heavy rainfall and flooding were felt over a broad region of northern Colorado leading to 18 counties being designated as federal disaster areas and resulting in damages exceeding $2 billion (U.S. dollars). This study explores the meteorological and hydrological ingredients that led to this extreme event. After providing a basic timeline of events, synoptic and mesoscale circulation features of the event are discussed. Particular focus is placed on documenting how circulation features, embedded within the larger synoptic flow, served to funnel moist inflow into the mountain front driving several days of sustained orographic precipitation. Operational and research networks of polarimetric radar and surface instrumentation were used to evaluate the cloud structures and dominant hydrometeor characteristics. The performance of several quantitative precipitation estimates, quantitative precipitation forecasts, and hydrological forecast products are also analyzed with the intention of identifying what monitoring and prediction tools worked and where further improvements are needed.

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Paolo M. Ruti, Oksana Tarasova, Julia H. Keller, Greg Carmichael, Øystein Hov, Sarah C. Jones, Deon Terblanche, Cheryl Anderson-Lefale, Ana P. Barros, Peter Bauer, Véronique Bouchet, Guy Brasseur, Gilbert Brunet, Phil DeCola, Victor Dike, Mariane Diop Kane, Christopher Gan, Kevin R. Gurney, Steven Hamburg, Wilco Hazeleger, Michel Jean, David Johnston, Alastair Lewis, Peter Li, Xudong Liang, Valerio Lucarini, Amanda Lynch, Elena Manaenkova, Nam Jae-Cheol, Satoru Ohtake, Nadia Pinardi, Jan Polcher, Elizabeth Ritchie, Andi Eka Sakya, Celeste Saulo, Amith Singhee, Ardhasena Sopaheluwakan, Andrea Steiner, Alan Thorpe, and Moeka Yamaji

Abstract

Whether on an urban or planetary scale, covering time scales of a few minutes or a few decades, the societal need for more accurate weather, climate, water, and environmental information has led to a more seamless thinking across disciplines and communities. This challenge, at the intersection of scientific research and society’s need, is among the most important scientific and technological challenges of our time. The “Science Summit on Seamless Research for Weather, Climate, Water, and Environment” organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 2017, has brought together researchers from a variety of institutions for a cross-disciplinary exchange of knowledge and ideas relating to seamless Earth system science. The outcomes of the Science Summit, and the interactions it sparked, highlight the benefit of a seamless Earth system science approach. Such an approach has the potential to break down artificial barriers that may exist due to different observing systems, models, time and space scales, and compartments of the Earth system. In this context, the main future challenges for research infrastructures have been identified. A value cycle approach has been proposed to guide innovation in seamless Earth system prediction. The engagement of researchers, users, and stakeholders will be crucial for the successful development of a seamless Earth system science that meets the needs of society.

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