Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 12 items for

  • Author or Editor: Patrick T. Marsh x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Patrick T. Marsh and Harold E. Brooks

No abstract available.

Full access
Vittorio A. Gensini, Alex M. Haberlie, and Patrick T. Marsh

Abstract

This study presents and examines a modern climatology of U.S. severe convective storm frequency using a kernel density estimate to showcase various aspects of climatological risk. Results are presented in the context of specified event probability thresholds that correspond to definitions used at the NOAA/NWS’s Storm Prediction Center following a practically perfect hindcast approach. Spatial climatologies presented herein are closely related to previous research. Spatiotemporal changes were examined by splitting the study period (1979–2018) into two 20-yr epochs and calculating deltas. Portions of the southern Great Plains and High Plains have seen a decrease in counts of tornado event threshold probability, whereas increases have been documented in the middle Mississippi River valley region. Large hail, and especially damaging convective wind gusts, have shown increases between the two periods over a majority of the CONUS. To temporally showcase local climatologies, event threshold days are shown for 12 select U.S. cities. Finally, data created and used in this study are available as an open-source repository for future research applications.

Free access
Bryan T. Smith, Richard L. Thompson, Andrew R. Dean, and Patrick T. Marsh

Abstract

Radar-identified convective modes, peak low-level rotational velocities, and near-storm environmental data were assigned to a sample of tornadoes reported in the contiguous United States during 2009–13. The tornado segment data were filtered by the maximum enhanced Fujita (EF)-scale tornado event per hour using a 40-km horizontal grid. Convective mode was assigned to each tornado event by examining full volumetric Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler data at the beginning time of each event, and 0.5° peak rotational velocity (V rot) data were identified manually during the life span of each tornado event. Environmental information accompanied each grid-hour event, consisting primarily of supercell-related convective parameters from the hourly objective mesoscale analyses calculated and archived at the Storm Prediction Center. Results from examining environmental and radar attributes, featuring the significant tornado parameter (STP) and 0.5° peak V rot data, suggest an increasing conditional probability for greater EF-scale damage as both STP and 0.5° peak V rot increase, especially with supercells. Possible applications of these findings include using the conditional probability of tornado intensity as a real-time situational awareness tool.

Full access
Michael C. Coniglio, James Correia Jr., Patrick T. Marsh, and Fanyou Kong

Abstract

This study evaluates forecasts of thermodynamic variables from five convection-allowing configurations of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) with the Advanced Research core (WRF-ARW). The forecasts vary only in their planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme, including three “local” schemes [Mellor–Yamada–Janjić (MYJ), quasi-normal scale elimination (QNSE), and Mellor–Yamada–Nakanishi–Niino (MYNN)] and two schemes that include “nonlocal” mixing [the asymmetric cloud model version 2 (ACM2) and the Yonei University (YSU) scheme]. The forecasts are compared to springtime radiosonde observations upstream from deep convection to gain a better understanding of the thermodynamic characteristics of these PBL schemes in this regime. The morning PBLs are all too cool and dry despite having little bias in PBL depth (except for YSU). In the evening, the local schemes produce shallower PBLs that are often too shallow and too moist compared to nonlocal schemes. However, MYNN is nearly unbiased in PBL depth, moisture, and potential temperature, which is comparable to the background North American Mesoscale model (NAM) forecasts. This result gives confidence in the use of the MYNN scheme in convection-allowing configurations of WRF-ARW to alleviate the typical cool, moist bias of the MYJ scheme in convective boundary layers upstream from convection. The morning cool and dry biases lead to an underprediction of mixed-layer CAPE (MLCAPE) and an overprediction of mixed-layer convective inhibition (MLCIN) at that time in all schemes. MLCAPE and MLCIN forecasts improve in the evening, with MYJ, QNSE, and MYNN having small mean errors, but ACM2 and YSU having a somewhat low bias. Strong observed capping inversions tend to be associated with an underprediction of MLCIN in the evening, as the model profiles are too smooth. MLCAPE tends to be overpredicted (underpredicted) by MYJ and QNSE (MYNN, ACM2, and YSU) when the observed MLCAPE is relatively small (large).

Full access
Adam J. Clark, John S. Kain, Patrick T. Marsh, James Correia Jr., Ming Xue, and Fanyou Kong

Abstract

A three-dimensional (in space and time) object identification algorithm is applied to high-resolution forecasts of hourly maximum updraft helicity (UH)—a diagnostic that identifies simulated rotating storms—with the goal of diagnosing the relationship between forecast UH objects and observed tornado pathlengths. UH objects are contiguous swaths of UH exceeding a specified threshold. Including time allows tracks to span multiple hours and entire life cycles of simulated rotating storms. The object algorithm is applied to 3 yr of 36-h forecasts initialized daily from a 4-km grid-spacing version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) run in real time at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), and forecasts from the Storm Scale Ensemble Forecast (SSEF) system run by the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms for the 2010 NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Forecasting Experiment. Methods for visualizing UH object attributes are presented, and the relationship between pathlengths of UH objects and tornadoes for corresponding 18- or 24-h periods is examined. For deterministic NSSL-WRF UH forecasts, the relationship of UH pathlengths to tornadoes was much stronger during spring (March–May) than in summer (June–August). Filtering UH track segments produced by high-based and/or elevated storms improved the UH–tornado pathlength correlations. The best ensemble results were obtained after filtering high-based and/or elevated UH track segments for the 20 cases in April–May 2010, during which correlation coefficients were as high as 0.91. The results indicate that forecast UH pathlengths during spring could be a very skillful predictor for the severity of tornado outbreaks as measured by total pathlength.

Full access
Patrick T. Marsh, John S. Kain, Valliappa Lakshmanan, Adam J. Clark, Nathan M. Hitchens, and Jill Hardy

Abstract

Convection-allowing models offer forecasters unique insight into convective hazards relative to numerical models using parameterized convection. However, methods to best characterize the uncertainty of guidance derived from convection-allowing models are still unrefined. This paper proposes a method of deriving calibrated probabilistic forecasts of rare events from deterministic forecasts by fitting a parametric kernel density function to the model’s historical spatial error characteristics. This kernel density function is then applied to individual forecast fields to produce probabilistic forecasts.

Full access
William G. Blumberg, Kelton T. Halbert, Timothy A. Supinie, Patrick T. Marsh, Richard L. Thompson, and John A. Hart

Abstract

With a variety of programming languages and data formats available, widespread adoption of computing standards by the atmospheric science community is often difficult to achieve. The Sounding and Hodograph Analysis and Research Program in Python (SHARPpy) is an open-source, cross-platform, upper-air sounding analysis and visualization package. SHARPpy is based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Storm Prediction Center’s (NOAA/SPC) in-house analysis package, SHARP, and is the result of a collaborative effort between forecasters at the SPC and students at the University of Oklahoma’s School of Meteorology. The major aim of SHARPpy is to provide a consistent framework for sounding analysis that is available to all. Nearly all routines are written to be as consistent as possible with the methods researched, tested, and developed in the SPC, which sets this package apart from other sounding analysis tools.

SHARPpy was initially demonstrated and released to the atmospheric community at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting in 2012, and an updated and greatly expanded version was released at the AMS Annual Meeting in 2015. Since this release, SHARPpy has been adopted by a variety of operational and research meteorologists across the world. In addition, SHARPpy’s open-source nature enables collaborations between other developers, resulting in major additions to the program.

Full access
Adam J. Clark, Jidong Gao, Patrick T. Marsh, Travis Smith, John S. Kain, James Correia Jr., Ming Xue, and Fanyou Kong

Abstract

Examining forecasts from the Storm Scale Ensemble Forecast (SSEF) system run by the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms for the 2010 NOAA/Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Forecasting Experiment, recent research diagnosed a strong relationship between the cumulative pathlengths of simulated rotating storms (measured using a three-dimensional object identification algorithm applied to forecast updraft helicity) and the cumulative pathlengths of tornadoes. This paper updates those results by including data from the 2011 SSEF system, and illustrates forecast examples from three major 2011 tornado outbreaks—16 and 27 April, and 24 May—as well as two forecast failure cases from June 2010. Finally, analysis updraft helicity (UH) from 27 April 2011 is computed using a three-dimensional variational data assimilation system to obtain 1.25-km grid-spacing analyses at 5-min intervals and compared to forecast UH from individual SSEF members.

Full access
Richard L. Thompson, Bryan T. Smith, Jeremy S. Grams, Andrew R. Dean, Joseph C. Picca, Ariel E. Cohen, Elizabeth M. Leitman, Aaron M. Gleason, and Patrick T. Marsh

Abstract

Previous work with observations from the NEXRAD (WSR-88D) network in the United States has shown that the probability of damage from a tornado, as represented by EF-scale ratings, increases as low-level rotational velocity increases. This work expands on previous studies by including reported tornadoes from 2014 to 2015, as well as a robust sample of nontornadic severe thunderstorms [≥1-in.- (2.54 cm) diameter hail, thunderstorm wind gusts ≥ 50 kt (25 m s−1), or reported wind damage] with low-level cyclonic rotation. The addition of the nontornadic sample allows the computation of tornado damage rating probabilities across a spectrum of organized severe thunderstorms represented by right-moving supercells and quasi-linear convective systems. Dual-polarization variables are used to ensure proper use of velocity data in the identification of tornadic and nontornadic cases. Tornado damage rating probabilities increase as low-level rotational velocity V rot increases and circulation diameter decreases. The influence of height above radar level (or range from radar) is less obvious, with a muted tendency for tornado damage rating probabilities to increase as rotation (of the same V rot magnitude) is observed closer to the ground. Consistent with previous work on gate-to-gate shear signatures such as the tornadic vortex signature, easily identifiable rotation poses a greater tornado risk compared to more nebulous areas of cyclonic azimuthal shear. Additionally, tornado probability distributions vary substantially (for similar sample sizes) when comparing the southeast United States, which has a high density of damage indicators, to the Great Plains, where damage indicators are more sparse.

Full access
John S. Kain, Michael C. Coniglio, James Correia, Adam J. Clark, Patrick T. Marsh, Conrad L. Ziegler, Valliappa Lakshmanan, Stuart D. Miller Jr., Scott R. Dembek, Steven J. Weiss, Fanyou Kong, Ming Xue, Ryan A. Sobash, Andrew R. Dean, Israel L. Jirak, and Christopher J. Melick

The 2011 Spring Forecasting Experiment in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) featured a significant component on convection initiation (CI). As in previous HWT experiments, the CI study was a collaborative effort between forecasters and researchers, with equal emphasis on experimental forecasting strategies and evaluation of prototype model guidance products. The overarching goal of the CI effort was to identify the primary challenges of the CI forecasting problem and to establish a framework for additional studies and possible routine forecasting of CI. This study confirms that convection-allowing models with grid spacing ~4 km represent many aspects of the formation and development of deep convection clouds explicitly and with predictive utility. Further, it shows that automated algorithms can skillfully identify the CI process during model integration. However, it also reveals that automated detection of individual convection cells, by itself, provides inadequate guidance for the disruptive potential of deep convection activity. Thus, future work on the CI forecasting problem should be couched in terms of convection-event prediction rather than detection and prediction of individual convection cells.

Full access