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Katherine McCaffrey, James M. Wilczak, Laura Bianco, Eric Grimit, Justin Sharp, Robert Banta, Katja Friedrich, H. J. S. Fernando, Raghavendra Krishnamurthy, Laura S. Leo, and Paytsar Muradyan


Cold pool events occur when deep layers of stable, cold air remain trapped in a valley or basin for multiple days, without mixing out from daytime heating. With large impacts on air quality, freezing events, and especially on wind energy production, they are often poorly forecast by modern mesoscale numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. Understanding the characteristics of cold pools is, therefore, important to provide more accurate forecasts. This study analyzes cold pool characteristics with data collected during the Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2), which took place in the Columbia River basin and Gorge of Oregon and Washington from fall 2015 until spring 2017. A subset of the instrumentation included three microwave radiometer profilers, six radar wind profilers with radio acoustic sounding systems, and seven sodars, which together provided seven sites with collocated vertical profiles of temperature, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction. Using these collocated observations, we developed a set of criteria to determine if a cold pool was present based on stability, wind speed, direction, and temporal continuity, and then developed an automated algorithm based on these criteria to identify all cold pool events over the 18 months of the field project. Characteristics of these events are described, including statistics of the wind speed distributions and profiles, stability conditions, cold pool depths, and descent rates of the cold pool top. The goal of this study is a better understanding of these characteristics and their processes to ultimately lead to improved physical parameterizations in NWP models, and consequently improve forecasts of cold pool events in the study region as well at other locations that experiences similar events.

Free access
Clark Evans, Heather M. Archambault, Jason M. Cordeira, Cody Fritz, Thomas J. Galarneau Jr., Saska Gjorgjievska, Kyle S. Griffin, Alexandria Johnson, William A. Komaromi, Sarah Monette, Paytsar Muradyan, Brian Murphy, Michael Riemer, John Sears, Daniel Stern, Brian Tang, and Segayle Thompson

The Pre-Depression Investigation of Cloud-systems in the Tropics (PREDICT) field experiment successfully gathered data from four developing and four decaying/nondeveloping tropical disturbances over the tropical North Atlantic basin between 15 August and 30 September 2010. The invaluable roles played by early career scientists (ECSs) throughout the campaign helped make possible the successful execution of the field program's mission to investigate tropical cyclone formation. ECSs provided critical meteorological information— often obtained from novel ECS-created products—during daily weather briefings that were used by the principal investigators in making mission planning decisions. Once a Gulfstream V (G-V) flight mission was underway, ECSs provided nowcasting support, relaying information that helped the mission scientists to steer clear of potential areas of turbulence aloft. Data from these missions, including dropsonde and GPS water vapor profiler data, were continually obtained, processed, and quality-controlled by ECSs. The dropsonde data provided National Hurricane Center forecasters and PREDICT mission scientists with real-time information regarding the characteristics of tropical disturbances. These data and others will serve as the basis for multiple ECS-led research topics over the years to come and are expected to provide new insights into the tropical cyclone formation process. PREDICT also provided invaluable educational and professional development experiences for ECSs, including the opportunity to critically evaluate observational evidence for tropical cyclone development theories and networking opportunities with their peers and established scientists in the field.

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Irina V. Djalalova, Laura Bianco, Elena Akish, James M. Wilczak, Joseph B. Olson, Jaymes S. Kenyon, Larry K. Berg, Aditya Choukulkar, Richard Coulter, Harinda J. S. Fernando, Eric Grimit, Raghavendra Krishnamurthy, Julie K. Lundquist, Paytsar Muradyan, David D. Turner, and Sonia Wharton


The second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2) is a multiagency field campaign held in the Columbia Gorge area (October 2015–March 2017). The main goal of the project is to understand and improve the forecast skill of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in complex terrain, particularly beneficial for the wind energy industry. This region is well known for its excellent wind resource. One of the biggest challenges for wind power production is the accurate forecasting of wind ramp events (large changes of generated power over short periods of time). Poor forecasting of the ramps requires large and sudden adjustments in conventional power generation, ultimately increasing the costs of power. A Ramp Tool and Metric (RT&M) was developed during the first WFIP experiment, held in the U.S. Great Plains (September 2011–August 2012). The RT&M was designed to explicitly measure the skill of NWP models at forecasting wind ramp events. Here we apply the RT&M to 80-m (turbine hub-height) wind speeds measured by 19 sodars and three lidars, and to forecasts from the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), 3-km, and from the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Nest (HRRRNEST), 750-m horizontal grid spacing, models. The diurnal and seasonal distribution of ramp events are analyzed, finding a noticeable diurnal variability for spring and summer but less for fall and especially winter. Also, winter has fewer ramps compared to the other seasons. The model skill at forecasting ramp events, including the impact of the modification to the model physical parameterizations, was finally investigated.

Free access
James M. Wilczak, Mark Stoelinga, Larry K. Berg, Justin Sharp, Caroline Draxl, Katherine McCaffrey, Robert M. Banta, Laura Bianco, Irina Djalalova, Julie K. Lundquist, Paytsar Muradyan, Aditya Choukulkar, Laura Leo, Timothy Bonin, Yelena Pichugina, Richard Eckman, Charles N. Long, Kathleen Lantz, Rochelle P. Worsnop, Jim Bickford, Nicola Bodini, Duli Chand, Andrew Clifton, Joel Cline, David R. Cook, Harindra J. S. Fernando, Katja Friedrich, Raghavendra Krishnamurthy, Melinda Marquis, Jim McCaa, Joseph B. Olson, Sebastian Otarola-Bustos, George Scott, William J. Shaw, Sonia Wharton, and Allen B. White


The Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)- and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-funded program, with private-sector and university partners, which aims to improve the accuracy of numerical weather prediction (NWP) model forecasts of wind speed in complex terrain for wind energy applications. A core component of WFIP2 was an 18-month field campaign that took place in the U.S. Pacific Northwest between October 2015 and March 2017. A large suite of instrumentation was deployed in a series of telescoping arrays, ranging from 500 km across to a densely instrumented 2 km × 2 km area similar in size to a high-resolution NWP model grid cell. Observations from these instruments are being used to improve our understanding of the meteorological phenomena that affect wind energy production in complex terrain and to evaluate and improve model physical parameterization schemes. We present several brief case studies using these observations to describe phenomena that are routinely difficult to forecast, including wintertime cold pools, diurnally driven gap flows, and mountain waves/wakes. Observing system and data product improvements developed during WFIP2 are also described.

Open access