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Timothy A. Coleman, Kevin R. Knupp, James Spann, J. B. Elliott, and Brian E. Peters

Since the successful tornado forecast at Tinker AFB in 1948 paved the way for the issuance of tornado warnings, the science of tornado detection and forecasting has advanced greatly. However, tornado warnings must be disseminated to the public to be of any use. The Texas tornado warning conferences in 1953 began to develop the framework for a modern tornado warning system and included radar detection of tornadoes, a spotter network, and improved communications between the U.S. Weather Bureau, spotters, and public officials, allowing more timely warnings and dissemination of those warnings to the public.

Commercial radio and television are a main source of warnings for many, and the delivery methods on TV have changed much since 1960. NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) was launched after the 1974 Super Outbreak of tornadoes, with the most important feature being the tone alert that allowed receivers to alert people even when the radio broadcast was turned off. Today, NWR reaches most of the U.S. population, and Specific Area Message Encoding technology has improved its warning precision. Outdoor warning sirens, originally designed for use in enemy attack, were made available for use during tornado warnings around 1970.

“Storm based” warnings, adopted by the National Weather Service in 2007, replaced countybased warnings and greatly reduce the warning area. As communications advances continue, tornado warnings will eventually be delivered to precise locations, using GPS and other location technology, through cellular telephones, outdoor sirens, e-mails, and digital television, in addition to NWR.

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Lee Chapman, Catherine L. Muller, Duick T. Young, Elliott L. Warren, C. S. B. Grimmond, Xiao-Ming Cai, and Emma J. S. Ferranti

Abstract

The Birmingham Urban Climate Laboratory (BUCL) is a near-real-time, high-resolution urban meteorological network (UMN) of automatic weather stations and inexpensive, nonstandard air temperature sensors. The network has recently been implemented with an initial focus on monitoring urban heat, infrastructure, and health applications. A number of UMNs exist worldwide; however, BUCL is novel in its density, the low-cost nature of the sensors, and the use of proprietary Wi-Fi networks. This paper provides an overview of the logistical aspects of implementing a UMN test bed at such a density, including selecting appropriate urban sites; testing and calibrating low-cost, nonstandard equipment; implementing strict quality-assurance/quality-control mechanisms (including metadata); and utilizing preexisting Wi-Fi networks to transmit data. Also included are visualizations of data collected by the network, including data from the July 2013 U.K. heatwave as well as highlighting potential applications. The paper is an open invitation to use the facility as a test bed for evaluating models and/or other nonstandard observation techniques such as those generated via crowdsourcing techniques.

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Renee A. McPherson, Christopher A. Fiebrich, Kenneth C. Crawford, James R. Kilby, David L. Grimsley, Janet E. Martinez, Jeffrey B. Basara, Bradley G. Illston, Dale A. Morris, Kevin A. Kloesel, Andrea D. Melvin, Himanshu Shrivastava, J. Michael Wolfinbarger, Jared P. Bostic, David B. Demko, Ronald L. Elliott, Stephen J. Stadler, J. D. Carlson, and Albert J. Sutherland

Abstract

Established as a multipurpose network, the Oklahoma Mesonet operates more than 110 surface observing stations that send data every 5 min to an operations center for data quality assurance, product generation, and dissemination. Quality-assured data are available within 5 min of the observation time. Since 1994, the Oklahoma Mesonet has collected 3.5 billion weather and soil observations and produced millions of decision-making products for its customers.

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J. C. Doran, S. Abbott, J. Archuleta, X. Bian, J. Chow, R. L. Coulter, S. F. J. de Wekker, S. Edgerton, S. Elliott, A. Fernandez, J. D. Fast, J. M. Hubbe, C. King, D. Langley, J. Leach, J. T. Lee, T. J. Martin, D. Martinez, J. L. Martinez, G. Mercado, V. Mora, M. Mulhearn, J. L. Pena, R. Petty, W. Porch, C. Russell, R. Salas, J. D. Shannon, W. J. Shaw, G. Sosa, L. Tellier, B. Templeman, J. G. Watson, R. White, C. D. Whiteman, and D. Wolfe

A boundary layer field experiment in the Mexico City basin during the period 24 February–22 March 1997 is described. A total of six sites were instrumented. At four of the sites, 915-MHz radar wind profilers were deployed and radiosondes were released five times per day. Two of these sites also had sodars collocated with the profilers. Radiosondes were released twice per day at a fifth site to the south of the basin, and rawinsondes were flown from another location to the northeast of the city three times per day. Mixed layers grew to depths of 2500–3500 m, with a rapid period of growth beginning shortly before noon and lasting for several hours. Significant differences between the mixed-layer temperatures in the basin and outside the basin were observed. Three thermally and topographically driven flow patterns were observed that are consistent with previously hypothesized topographical and thermal forcing mechanisms. Despite these features, the circulation patterns in the basin important for the transport and diffusion of air pollutants show less day-to-day regularity than had been anticipated on the basis of Mexico City's tropical location, high altitude and strong insolation, and topographical setting.

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