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Jason M. Apke, Daniel Nietfeld, and Mark R. Anderson


Enhanced temporal and spatial resolution of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite–R Series (GOES-R) will allow for the use of cloud-top-cooling-based convection-initiation (CI) forecasting algorithms. Two such algorithms have been created on the current generation of GOES: the University of Wisconsin cloud-top-cooling algorithm (UWCTC) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s satellite convection analysis and tracking algorithm (SATCAST). Preliminary analyses of algorithm products have led to speculation over preconvective environmental influences on algorithm performance. An objective validation approach is developed to separate algorithm products into positive and false indications. Seventeen preconvective environmental variables are examined for the positive and false indications to improve algorithm output. The total dataset consists of two time periods in the late convective season of 2012 and the early convective season of 2013. Data are examined for environmental relationships using principal component analysis (PCA) and quadratic discriminant analysis (QDA). Data fusion by QDA is tested for SATCAST and UWCTC on five separate case-study days to determine whether application of environmental variables improves satellite-based CI forecasting. PCA and significance testing revealed that positive indications favored environments with greater vertically integrated instability (CAPE), less stability (CIN), and more low-level convergence. QDA improved both algorithms on all five case studies using significantly different variables. This study provides an examination of environmental influences on the performance of GOES-R Proving Ground CI forecasting algorithms and shows that integration of QDA in the cloud-top-cooling-based algorithms using environmental variables will ultimately generate a more skillful product.

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Neil A. Stuart, Patrick S. Market, Bruce Telfeyan, Gary M. Lackmann, Kenneth Carey, Harold E. Brooks, Daniel Nietfeld, Brian C. Motta, and Ken Reeves
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Julie L. Demuth, Rebecca E. Morss, Isidora Jankov, Trevor I. Alcott, Curtis R. Alexander, Daniel Nietfeld, Tara L. Jensen, David R. Novak, and Stanley G. Benjamin


U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters assess and communicate hazardous weather risks, including the likelihood of a threat and its impacts. Convection-allowing model (CAM) ensembles offer potential to aid forecasting by depicting atmospheric outcomes, including associated uncertainties, at the refined space and time scales at which hazardous weather often occurs. Little is known, however, about what CAM ensemble information is needed to inform forecasting decisions. To address this knowledge gap, participant observations and semistructured interviews were conducted with NWS forecasters from national centers and local weather forecast offices. Data were collected about forecasters’ roles and their forecasting processes, uses of model guidance and verification information, interpretations of prototype CAM ensemble products, and needs for information from CAM ensembles. Results revealed forecasters’ needs for specific types of CAM ensemble guidance, including a product that combines deterministic and probabilistic output from the ensemble as well as a product that provides map-based guidance about timing of hazardous weather threats. Forecasters also expressed a general need for guidance to help them provide impact-based decision support services. Finally, forecasters conveyed needs for objective model verification information to augment their subjective assessments and for training about using CAM ensemble guidance for operational forecasting. The research was conducted as part of an interdisciplinary research effort that integrated elicitation of forecasters’ CAM ensemble needs with model development efforts, with the aim of illustrating a robust approach for creating information for forecasters that is truly useful and usable.

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