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Peter Rogowski, Mark Otero, Joel Hazard, Thomas Muschamp, Scott Katz, and Eric Terrill

Abstract

Accurate surface meteorological (MET) observations reported reliably and in near–real time remain a critical component of on-scene environmental observation systems. Presented is a system developed by Scripps Institution of Oceanography that allows for rapid, global deployment of ground-based weather observations to support both timely decision-making and collection of high-quality weather time series for science or military applications in austere environments. Named the Expeditionary Meteorological (XMET), these weather stations have been deployed in extreme conditions devoid of infrastructure ranging from tropical, polar, maritime, and desert environments where near continuous observations were reported. To date, over 1 million weather observations have been collected during 225 deployments around the world with a data report success rate of 99.5%. XMET had its genesis during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), when the U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing identified an immediate capability gap in environmental monitoring of their operation area due to high spatiotemporal variability of dust storms in the region. To address the sensing gap, XMET was developed to be a portable, expendable, ruggedized, self-contained, bidirectional, weather observation station that can be quickly deployed anywhere in the world to autonomously sample and report aviation weather observations. This paper provides an overview of the XMETs design, reliability in different environments, and examples of unique meteorological events that highlight both the unit’s reliability and ability to provide quality time series. The overview shows expeditionary MET sensing systems, such as the XMET, are able to provide long-term continuous observational records in remote and austere locations essential for regional spatiotemporal MET characterization.

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Carter Ohlmann, Peter White, Libe Washburn, Brian Emery, Eric Terrill, and Mark Otero

Abstract

Dense arrays of surface drifters are used to quantify the flow field on time and space scales over which high-frequency (HF) radar observations are measured. Up to 13 drifters were repetitively deployed off the Santa Barbara and San Diego coasts on 7 days during 18 months. Each day a regularly spaced grid overlaid on a 1-km2 (San Diego) or 4-km2 (Santa Barbara) square, located where HF radar radial data are nearly orthogonal, was seeded with drifters. As drifters moved from the square, they were retrieved and replaced to maintain a spatially uniform distribution of observations within the sampling area during the day. This sampling scheme resulted in up to 56 velocity observations distributed over the time (1 h) and space (1 and 4 km2) scales implicit in typical surface current maps from HF radar. Root-mean-square (RMS) differences between HF radar radial velocities obtained using measured antenna patterns, and average drifter velocities, are mostly 3–5 cm s−1. Smaller RMS differences compared with past validation studies that employ current meters are due to drifter resolution of subgrid-scale velocity variance included in time and space average HF radar fields. Roughly 5 cm s−1 can be attributed to sampling on disparate time and space scales. Despite generally good agreement, differences can change dramatically with time. In one instance, the difference increases from near zero to more than 20 cm s−1 within 2 h. The RMS difference and bias (mean absolute difference) for that day exceed 7 and 12 cm s−1, respectively.

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Gian Villamil-Otero, Ryan Meiszberg, Jennifer S. Haase, Ki-Hong Min, Mark R. Jury, and John J. Braun

Abstract

To investigate topographic–thermal circulations and the associated moisture variability over western Puerto Rico, field data were collected from 15 to 31 March 2011. Surface meteorological instruments and ground-based GPS receivers measured the circulation and precipitable water with high spatial and temporal resolution, and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model was used to simulate the mesoscale flow at 1-km resolution. A westerly onshore flow of ~4 m s−1 over Mayaguez Bay was observed on many days, due to an interaction between thermally driven [3°C (10 km)−1] sea-breeze circulation and an island wake comprised of twin gyres. The thermally driven sea breeze occurred only when easterly synoptic winds favorably oriented the gyres with respect to the coast. Moisture associated with onshore flow was characterized by GPS measured precipitable water (PW). There is diurnal cycling of PW > 3 cm over the west coast during periods of onshore flow. The WRF Model tends to overestimate PW on the west side of the island, suggesting evapotranspiration as a process needing further attention. Fluctuations of PW affect local rainfall in times of convective instability.

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