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Corey G. Amiot, Lawrence D. Carey, William P. Roeder, Todd M. McNamara, and Richard J. Blakeslee


Wind warnings are the second-most-frequent advisory issued by the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron (45WS) at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Given the challenges associated with nowcasting convection in Florida during the warm season, improvements in 45WS warnings for convective wind events are desired. This study aims to explore the physical bases of dual-polarization radar signatures within wet downbursts around Cape Canaveral and identify signatures that may assist the 45WS during real-time convective wind nowcasting. Data from the 45WS’s C-band dual-polarization radar were subjectively analyzed within an environmental context, with quantitative wind measurements recorded by weather tower sensors for 32 threshold-level downbursts with near-surface winds ≥ 35 kt (1 kt ≈ 0.51 m s−1) and 32 null downbursts. Five radar signatures were identified in threshold-level downburst-producing storms: peak height of 1-dB differential reflectivity Z DR column, peak height of precipitation ice signature, peak reflectivity, height below 0°C level where Z DR increases to 3 dB within a descending reflectivity core (DRC), and vertical Z DR gradient within DRC. Examining these signatures directly in updraft–downdraft cycles that produced threshold-level winds yielded mean lead times of 20.0–28.2 min for cumulus and mature stage signatures and 12.8–14.9 min for dissipating stage signatures, with higher signature test values generally yielding higher skill scores. A conceptual test of utilizing signatures within earlier cells in multicell storms to indirectly predict the potential for intense downbursts in later cells was performed, which offered increased lead times and skill scores for an Eulerian forecast region downstream from the storm initiation location.

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Corey G. Amiot, Sayak K. Biswas, Timothy J. Lang, and David I. Duncan


Recent upgrades, calibration, and scan-angle bias reductions to the Advanced Microwave Precipitation Radiometer (AMPR) have yielded physically realistic brightness temperatures (Tb) from the Olympic Mountains Experiment and Radar Definition Experiment (OLYMPEX/RADEX) dataset. Measured mixed-polarization Tb were converted to horizontally and vertically polarized Tb via dual-polarization deconvolution, and linear regression equations were developed to retrieve integrated cloud liquid water (CLW), water vapor (WV), and 10-m wind speed (WS) using simulated AMPR Tb and modeled atmospheric profiles. These equations were tested using AMPR Tb collected during four OLYMPEX/RADEX cases; the resulting geophysical values were compared with independent retrieval (1DVAR) results from the same dataset, while WV and WS were also compared with in situ data.

Geophysical calculations using simulated Tb yielded relatively low retrieval and crosstalk errors when compared with modeled profiles; average CLW, WV, and WS root-mean-square deviations (RMSD) were 0.11 mm, 1.28 mm, and 1.11 m s−1, respectively, with median absolute deviations (MedAD) of 2.26 x 10−2 mm, 0.22 mm, and 0.55 m s−1, respectively. When applied to OLYMPEX/RADEX data, the new retrieval equations compared well with 1DVAR; CLW, WV, and WS RMSD were 9.95 × 10−2 mm, 2.00 mm, and 2.35 m s−1, respectively, and MedAD were 2.88 × 10−2 mm, 1.14 mm, and 1.82 m s−1, respectively. WV MedAD between the new equations and dropsondes were 2.10 and 1.80 mm at the time and location of minimum dropsonde altitude, respectively, while WS MedAD were 1.15 and 1.53 m s−1, respectively, further indicating the utility of these equations.

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