Fred Sanders' Roles in the Transformation of Synoptic Meteorology, the Study of Rapid Cyclogenesis, the Prediction of Marine Cyclones, and the Forecast of New York City's “Big Snow” of December 1947

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  • 1 National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Camp Springs, Maryland
  • | 2 Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Camp Springs, Maryland
  • | 3 Ocean Prediction Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Camp Springs, Maryland
  • | 4 Meteorological Development Laboratoiy, Silver Spring, Maryland
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Abstract

Fred Sanders' career extended over 55 yr, touching upon many of the revolutionary transformations in the field of meteorology during that period. In this paper, his contributions to the transformation of synoptic meteorology, his research into the nature of explosive cyclogenesis, and related advances in the ability to predict these storms are reviewed. In addition to this review, the current status of forecasting oceanic cyclones 4.5 days in advance is presented, illustrating the progress that has been made and the challenges that persist, especially for forecasting those extreme extratropical cyclones that are marked by surface wind speeds exceeding hurricane force. Last, Fred Sanders' participation in a forecast for the historic 1947 snowstorm (that produced snowfall amounts in the New York City area that set records at that time) is reviewed along with an attempt to use today's operational global model to simulate this storm using data that were available at the time. The study reveals the predictive limitations involved with this case based on the scarcity of upper-air data in 1947, while confirming Fred Sanders' forecasting skills when dealing with these types of major storm events, even as a young aviation forecaster at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Louis Uccellini, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, md 20726. E-mail: louis.ucceltini@noaa.gov

Abstract

Fred Sanders' career extended over 55 yr, touching upon many of the revolutionary transformations in the field of meteorology during that period. In this paper, his contributions to the transformation of synoptic meteorology, his research into the nature of explosive cyclogenesis, and related advances in the ability to predict these storms are reviewed. In addition to this review, the current status of forecasting oceanic cyclones 4.5 days in advance is presented, illustrating the progress that has been made and the challenges that persist, especially for forecasting those extreme extratropical cyclones that are marked by surface wind speeds exceeding hurricane force. Last, Fred Sanders' participation in a forecast for the historic 1947 snowstorm (that produced snowfall amounts in the New York City area that set records at that time) is reviewed along with an attempt to use today's operational global model to simulate this storm using data that were available at the time. The study reveals the predictive limitations involved with this case based on the scarcity of upper-air data in 1947, while confirming Fred Sanders' forecasting skills when dealing with these types of major storm events, even as a young aviation forecaster at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Louis Uccellini, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, md 20726. E-mail: louis.ucceltini@noaa.gov
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