NSSL Hot Itemshttp://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/en-usSciencenssl.webmaster@noaa.gov (Vicki Farmer)nssl.outreach@noaa.gov (Susan Cobb)Mon, 21 Apr 14 00:00:00 -0500<![CDATA[NOAA Releases software upgrade to experimental weather radar in time for storm season]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=206http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=206Mon, 21 Apr 14 00:00:00 -0500As severe weather approaches central Oklahoma this spring, NSSL/Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies researchers will be using a new version of the operational software that runs on the National Weather Radar Testbed Phased Array Radar (NWRT PAR) to study fast-changing storms. The MPARSUP (MPAR Software Upgrades Project) team has released Spring 2014 upgrade that enables multifunction capabilities, and adds new signal processing and adaptive scanning functionalities.

Highlights for the spring 2014 release include:
- Aircraft detection and tracking algorithms that are robust in the presence of weather and ground clutter
- Adaptive scheduling of weather and aviation functions using interlaced scans
- Integrated radar data displays that show both aircraft and weather information
- Adaptive vertical sampling of storms based on how far they are from the radar
- Radial-by-radial pulse-repetition-time adjustment based on how far storms are from the radar
- Adaptive definition of focused weather scans based on how far storms are from the radar
- Improved performance of range oversampling techniques that lead to radar update time reductions of 50% while maintaining the precision of the data
- Development of Staggered Pulse Repetition Time (SPRT) processing mode to improve wind velocity measurements (non-operational)
- Significant improvements to the radar user interface
- Radar-data-distribution infrastructure to process returns from weather and aviation scans in real-time

These software upgrades will continue to improve the capabilities of the NWRT and demonstrate the benefits of PAR technology for improved weather observations in a multifunction environment.

<![CDATA[2014 Severe-Best Practices Experiment]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=205http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=205Tue, 08 Apr 14 00:00:00 -0500Monday 7 April 2014 began the first week of the two-week Multiple-Radar/Multiple-Sensor-Severe Best Practices (MRMS-SBPE) experiment in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed at the National Weather Center in Norman, OK. NSSL’s MRMS system quickly and intelligently integrates data streams from multiple radars, surface and upper air observations, lightning detection systems, and satellite and forecast models.

The MRMS-SBPE is designed to include forecasters in the process of developing training for the Warning Decision Training Branch in how to best use MRMS severe weather products to improve warning decision making. Through a series of controlled experiments using archive and real-time data, forecasters will also help provide data to prove several hypotheses that MRMS products will provide better warnings for the public. Operational activities will take place during the week Monday through Friday.

Specific goals for MRMS-SBPE are:

Determine which MRMS products are the most useful for warning decision making.

Develop optimal AWIPS2 procedures for hail, wind, and tornado warning decision making

Determine how MRMS products can be integrated into traditional severe weather diagnosis.

Suggest new MRMS products and display ideas.

This collaboration will help aid the NWS Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) in developing their training and educational materials for the MRMS-Severe weather products, which are planned for release by October 1, 2014.

<![CDATA[NSSL to host 5th Warn-on-Forecast Workshop]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=204http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=204Thu, 27 Mar 14 00:00:00 -0500The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory will host the fifth annual Warn-on-Forecast Workshop April 1-3, 2014 at the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla. NSSL’s Warn-on-Forecast research project aims to increase accuracy and lead times for warnings of storm-specific hazards through high-resolution weather prediction models.

The three-day event gives researchers an opportunity to share progress reports on a variety of operational and experimental models, techniques, and decision-making tools in support of the Warn-on-Forecast project.

Researchers will share results from models that attempt to use satellite, lightning, targeted observations, and radar data, including phased array radar data to predict individual thunderstorms. They will report on how these data impact the model by using case studies of past events, and show comparisons with what actually happened. The group will also address the challenge of how to predict the birth of a storm, and share results using various new techniques.

Warn-on-Forecast collaborators include NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory and Earth System Research Laboratory’s Global Systems Division, NOAA National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center, and The University of Oklahoma’s Center for the Analysis and Prediction of Storms.

<![CDATA[NSSL scientists awarded an NSF grant to improve convective-scale weather prediction]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=203http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=203Wed, 19 Mar 14 00:00:00 -0500NSSL scientists Jidong Gao, David Stensrud and the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology professor Xuguang Wang have received a significant research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop new techniques that will help improve convective-scale (1km) weather prediction.

Currently, most convective-scale data assimilation rely on techniques that were developed for larger-scale weather, where the rules of the atmospheric dynamics are usually different from those of thunderstorm events. To make convective-scale data assimilation more realistic and able to predict individual storms, they must effectively use Doppler radar data as a jumping off point.

The scientists propose to explore new techniques to feed (assimilate) operational WSR-88D radar data into convective scale models, and evaluate the results. This research will help improve our understanding of storm-scale data assimilation and dynamics, and lead to better detection and prediction of thunderstorm hazards. The award continues to draw upon NOAA’s critical investment in the WSR-88D network, and will provide synergistic support to NOAA’s Warn-on-Forecast project.

<![CDATA[NSSL scientists invited editors for special journal issue]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=202http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=202Thu, 13 Feb 14 00:00:00 -0600NSSL scientists Jidong Gao, David Stensrud, and Louis Wicker were among five invited guest editors for a special issue of Advances in Meteorology, an open access international journal. This special issue focuses on high-resolution storm-scale computer models that ingest or assimilate radar data.

With the steady increase in computing power, operational centers throughout the world are preparing to run their weather computer models at resolutions high enough to predict individual thunderstorms. To do this, the models will be required to ingest observations.

This opportunity increases the demand for using radar data in storm-scale data assimilation in order to insert storm structures into model initial conditions.

The potential for successfully assimilating radar data into storm-scale numerical weather prediction (NWP) models is challenged by data quality control, proper estimation of the background error statistics, and the estimation of atmospheric state variables that are not directly observed by radar.

This special issue focuses on progress in some of these important areas. There are 12 papers published in this special issue, including seven papers from NSSL and five papers from other institutions. This special issue can be found at: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/amete/si/567170/

<![CDATA[NSSL/CIMMS researchers to present at AMS annual meeting]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=201http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=201Tue, 28 Jan 14 00:00:00 -0600NSSL and CIMMS staff are preparing to receive honors and present recent research at the 2014 American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga., February 1-6.

NSSL’s Doug Forsyth, retired Chief of the Radar Research and Development Division, has been elected an AMS Fellow and will be honored at the meeting.

Presentations and poster topics include the first real-data demonstration of the potential impact from an MPAR observing capability for storm-scale numerical weather prediction, using cloud top temperatures in numerical weather prediction models to forecast when thunderstorms will form, and crowdsourcing public observations of weather. Real-time flash flood modeling, understanding forecasters’ needs to improve radar observations using adaptive scanning, and aircraft detection and tracking on the National Weather Radar Testbed Phased Array Radar will also be presented.

Preliminary analyses of research data collected during the 2013 May tornado outbreaks in Oklahoma will be a special focus at the meeting.

NSSL staff will also serve as session chairs.

<![CDATA[NSSL scientists receive NOAA and OAR awards]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=200http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=200Mon, 16 Dec 13 00:00:00 -06002010 NOAA Distinguished Career Award

For Sustained Career Excellence

Robert Davies-Jones

For scientific achievements in the application of observations and theory to the understanding of the dynamics of severe convective storms and tornado genesis mechanisms.

Davies-Jones (retired) has had an impactful 38-year career with the lab, sharing his tornado expertise with the world.

Davies-Jones emigrated to the U.S. from England in 1964, started his career with NSSL in 1970, and obtained U.S. citizenship in 1983. He is a world-renowned expert on tornadogenesis, tornado flows, thunderstorm updrafts, short-term mesocyclone prediction, estimation of maximum tornado parameters, and vorticity dynamics of larger-scale meteorological flows. Davies-Jones’ has contributed to the profession as a meteorological journal editor, co-chair of conferences, student advisor, expert consultant, Principal Investigator on projects, and has served on scientific committees. He has the rare ability to simplify research results communicated in newspaper interviews, magazines, encyclopedias, popular articles, and on TV.

Davies-Jones’ colleagues have this to say:

“He came in as a gifted theoretician and continued to make important contributions to our understanding of tornadogenesis, in particular, from a theoretical perspective. On top of that, he became really good at the technical aspect of collecting data in field projects. DJ wasn’t a storm chaser who became theoretically gifted; he was a gifted theoretician who became a storm chaser to collect data to help him and others in their theoretical work. “(Harold Brooks)

“Bob has been an important member of the Lab in many ways (theoretician, storm intercept leader, solid citizen, and friend to student and scientist alike) for many years. I greatly respect Bob for his scientific/mathematical understanding and his ability to communicate complicated dynamic/mathematical concepts to those with lesser understanding. Bob’s expenditure of effort, his calm-amid-chaos leadership, and his patience and understanding have been huge components in NSSL’s Storm Intercept Program over the many years. The level of respect he enjoys within the severe storm community has long been a part of NSSL’s position as leader in scientific research.” (Don Burgess)

“I am especially impressed that, as a theoretician, Bob wants to find out about the phenomena that he models. Consequently, he has taken a very active role in storm intercept field programs so he can see first-hand how nature behaves. He will be missed because he is NSSL’s primary resource person for explaining the theoretical underpinnings of severe storm phenomena, especially tornadoes.” (Rodger Brown).

“Bob is a complete scientist in that he contributes to the advancement of science in multiple ways. He develops new theory, enhances understanding through observations he participates in collecting, and provides the scientific underpinning for applications that improve operational meteorology. His article on tornadoes in Scientific American was a masterpiece in helping the non- meteorologist understand the complexity of tornado genesis. We at NSSL are grateful for the 38 years he has spent among us.” (Jeff Kimpel, former NSSL Director)

2011 Outstanding Scientific Paper

Mr. M.R. Kumjian and Dr. A. V. Ryzhkov

Storm-Relative Helicity Revealed from Polarimetric Radar Measurements. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 66, 667-685

The dual-polarization radar variables are especially sensitive to the microphysical processes of melting and size sorting of precipitation particles. In deep convective storms, polarimetric measurements of such processes can provide information about the airflow in and around the storm that may be used to elucidate storm behavior and evolution. Size sorting mechanisms include differential sedimentation, vertical transport, strong rotation, and wind shear. In particular, winds that veer with increasing height typical of supercell environments cause size sorting that is manifested as an enhancement of differential reflectivity (ZDR) along the right or inflow edge of the forward-flank downdraft precipitation echo, which has been called the ZDR arc signature. In some cases, this shear profile can be augmented by the storm inflow. It is argued that the magnitude of this enhancement is related to the low-level storm-relative environmental helicity (SRH) in the storm inflow.

To test this hypothesis, a simple numerical model is constructed that calculates trajectories for raindrops based on their individual sizes, which allows size sorting to occur. The modeling results indicate a strong positive correlation between the maximum ZDR in the arc signature and the low-level SRH, regardless of the initial drop size distribution aloft. Additional observational evidence in support of the conceptual model is presented. Potential changes in the ZDR arc signature as the supercell evolves and the low-level mesocyclone occludes are described.

<![CDATA[NSSL and NSSL/CIMMS at AGU]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=199http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=199Thu, 05 Dec 13 00:00:00 -0600NSSL and NSSL/CIMMS scientists will be presenting their work at the 46th annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union next week in San Francisco, Calif. They will also be available in the NOAA booth to answer questions and display their research data.

Topics include:

Simulating storm electrification with bin and bulk microphysics

Electrical Discharges in the Overshooting Tops of Five Storms

Balloon-borne electric field and microphysics measurements in the 29-30 May 2012 supercell storm in Oklahoma during DC3

Evaluating Snowfall Detectability of NASA CloudSat with NOAA/NSSL Ground Radar-Based National Multi-sensor Mosaic QPE (NMQ)

Raman Lidar Observations from the ARM Site in Darwin, Australia: A Water Vapor and Aerosol Climatology

Retrospective Analysis of High-Resolution Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor QPEs for the Unites States
A real-time automated quality control of rain gauge data based on multiple sensors

Evaluating Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Precipitation Products in Real-Time
Uncertainty in Quantitative Precipitation Estimates and Forecasts in a Hydrologic Modeling Context

More than 22,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders gather for the meeting each year to present groundbreaking research and connect with colleagues.

<![CDATA[NSSL at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=198http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=198Tue, 03 Dec 13 00:00:00 -0600NSSL’s Bob Rabin was a volunteer judge at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference in Denver, Colo., earlier this month. Rabin judged both oral and poster presentations.

The AISES National Conference is a one-of-a-kind, three day event to connect graduate, undergraduate, and high school junior and senior students, teachers, workforce professionals, corporate and government partners and all members of the “AISES family.” This is the premier event for Native American Science, Engineering & Math (STEM) professionals and students attracting more than 1,600 attendees from across the country.

Rabin also talked to students about opportunities in atmospheric and environmental science at the NOAA booth during the AISES Career Fair. The booth was also staffed by NOAA/ESRL’s Georgia Madrid, Debra Dailey-Fisher and Ann Reiser.

Dr. Roger S. Pulwarty of NOAA Climate Assessments & Services Division was a speaker at the event, and Robbie Hood, Director of NOAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program
was honored with the 2013 Professional Award of "Executive Excellence."


<![CDATA[National Weather Association annual meeting awards]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=197http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=197Thu, 24 Oct 13 00:00:00 -0500NSSL/CIMMS researchers were in Charleston, SC last week to share recent research with the weather community at the National Weather Association (NWA) annual meeting. The theme of the event was, "High-Impact Weather Communications: Finding Calm in the Eye of the Storm." The main goal of the conference was to share physical and social science to determine how the weather enterprise can encourage people to take appropriate action during high-impact weather events, while realizing there are still limitations of each discipline.

Two University of Oklahoma-CIMMS and NSSL graduate students received NWA awards:

Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation: Robert "Race" Clark, University of Oklahoma-CIMMS and NOAA/OAR/NSL, Norman, OK, for A CONUS-wide analysis of flash flooding: simulations, warnings, and observations. His co-authors were JJ Gourley, Yang Hong, Zac Flamig, and Ed Clark.

Best Graduate Student Oral Presentation: Benjamin Herzog, Univ of Oklahoma/CIMMS, Norman, OK, for Total Lightning Information in a 5-Year Thunderstorm Climatology. His co-authors were Kristin M Calhoun and Donald R. MacGorman.

We also wanted to celebrate our retired scientist Charles A. Doswell III (CIMMS) who received the Special Lifetime Achievement Award “For his exceptional service and contributions to the operational forecasting and research communities through high–quality scientific research, educational workshops, and mentorship of colleagues and students.”

There were two other NWA successes from our partners in the National Weather Center:

Operational Achievement Individual Award
Richard Smith – National Weather Service Forecast Office Norman, OK
For outstanding service through the advancement of social media and other visionary tools to save lives, and for selfless service in support of NWS operations before, during and after Oklahoma's deadly tornadoes of May 2013.

The Larry R. Johnson Special Award
Oklahoma Mesonet
For operating a comprehensive observing network with a 20–year legacy of exemplary service for the residents of Oklahoma that earned the title of America's ‘gold standard ’ network from the National Research Council.

<![CDATA[Latest weather radar research on display this week]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=196http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=196Thu, 19 Sep 13 00:00:00 -0500Weather radar research is a key part of NSSL’s mission in support of the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS). This week, NSSL/CIMMS scientists will share the latest in weather radar research at the American Meteorological Society’s 2013 Conference on Radar Meteorology in Breckenridge, Colo.

Phased array radar research presentations include:
- An overview of the latest improvements to the National Weather Radar Testbed
- Phased Array Radar (NWRT PAR) capabilities to demonstrate Multi-function
- Phased Array Radar (MPAR) program weather and aviation requirements
- How NWS forecasters’ responded to rapid, adaptive phased array radar
sampling and if it increased their ability to effectively cope with tough tornado
warning cases
- New techniques to increase the NWRT PAR scan rate and reduce observation
- NWRT PAR observations of microburst events
- A method to detect and characterize storm merges and splits using rapidly updating NWRT PAR observations in thunderstorm models

NSSL/CIMMS researchers also work with current weather radars in operation and will present:
- A new algorithm that combines output from a forecast model with dual-polarized radar data to more accurately estimate what winter weather is occurring between the lowest scan of the radar and the ground.
- A study of how NSSL’s products that estimate precipitation amounts improved using dual-polarized radar data
- Evaluation of existing hail size estimation algorithms
- Crowdsourced reports precipitation types at the ground using the “meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground” (mPING) smart phone app
- Development of a database of U.S. flash flood events using NSSL’s Severe Hazards Analysis and Verification Experiment, and mPING reports
- Improvements in radar wind data quality control
Other presentations include mobile radar observations of a tornadic supercell and rainfall in the Mediterranean region and airborne radar observations of precipitation in the Indian Ocean.

<![CDATA[NSSL/CIMMS team receives 2013 NOAA Technology Transfer Award]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=195http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=195Wed, 04 Sep 13 00:00:00 -0500An NSSL/CIMMS team has been honored with the 2013 NOAA Technology Award for the development of the Warning Decision Support System - Integrated Information On Demand (WDSS-II: On Demand).

The citation reads: "For leading the development of an on-demand, near real-time, web-based tool for tracking severe weather and hail swaths across the continental US."

The NOAA Technology Transfer Award recognizes NOAA scientific, engineering, and technical employees for achievements that are developed further as commercial applications, or that advance the transfer of NOAA science and technology to U.S. businesses, academia, other government and non-government entities.

WDSS-II: On Demand uses near-real time WSR-88D radar data provided by the NOAA National Weather Service, as well as satellite imagery, surface weather observations, and lightning data, to automatically identify and track radar signatures associated with severe thunderstorms that can produce tornadoes and large hail. The web-based tool provides a simple user interface to request specific times and areas to search for severe storm tracks.

After demonstrating the system to first responders, the tool has proven to be widely popular with the American Red Cross, emergency managers and the insurance industry in providing prompt service to their constituents.

The web-based system is not available to the general public but is freely available to
users on a .gov, .edu, or .mil domain. Other non-commercial users who are involved in the protection of life and property can easily obtain permission to use it by contacting NSSL. The tool is a component of the multi-radar, multi-sensor (MRMS) Warning Decision Support System-Integrated Information (WDSS-II) system that has been licenced by the University of Oklahoma to many commercial vendors and .com users.

Congratulations to: Travis Smith (CIMMS), Kiel Ortega (CIMMS), Greg Stumpf (CIMMS), Kevin Manross (CIMMS), Valliappa Lakshmanan (CIMMS), Karen Cooper (INDUS), Madison Miller (CIMMS), Dave Jorgensen (NSSL) and John Cintineo (University of Wisconsin - Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies).

<![CDATA[FLOCAST: Flood Observations - Citizens As Scientists using Technology project]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=194http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=194Tue, 13 Aug 13 00:00:00 -0500NSSL, CIMMS and University of Oklahoma researchers have launched a new project to collect public observations of flooding that will help improve flash-flood prediction and warning tools in the US.

The Flood Observations - Citizens As Scientists using Technology project (FLOCAST) will first use crowdsourced data about flooding and its severity collected through the already successful mPING (meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground) app available on smart phones. Crowdsourced reports have the potential to provide a large and independent database flood events at fine spatial resolution.

The FLOCAST team will then target the local emergency management community, who tend to provide the most accurate and detailed reports of flooding, and ask them to respond to a 5-minute web-based questionnaire. As time permits, participants will provide details of the timing and location of flash flooding impacts in their areas of responsibility shortly following the event. They will also be able to submit a photo documenting the flooding event.

This same group of expert witnesses will be asked to identify victims, those directly impacted by the flooding, to volunteer their participation in a telephone interview. Researchers will use the information to better understand how society perceives, behaves and responds during flash-flood events, and improve the design, utility, and communication of information about impending flash floods to reduce loss of life.


<![CDATA[NSSL grad student awarded 2013 Chateaubriand Fellowship]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=193http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=193Tue, 23 Jul 13 00:00:00 -0500NSSL’s Zachary Flamig has been awarded the prestigious 2013 Chateaubriand Fellowship. The merit-based grant is offered by the Embassy of France in the United States and aims to encourage collaborations, partnerships or joint projects between France and the U.S. Flamig is a Ph.D. student in the School of Meteorology at The University of Oklahoma and works at NSSL with advisor J.J. Gourley.

Flamig will conduct his fellowship at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France and will work with the Hydrometeorology, Climate and Impacts (HCMI) team at the Laboratoire d’etude des Transferts en hydrologie et Environnement (LTHE). His mission will be to explore a variety of hydrologic models with various physics representations, including the French Cevennes (CVN) distributed hydrologic model, to determine the surface runoff generation and routing mechanisms that are needed to yield accurate simulations of flash floods. Results from his research topic will be incorporated in the U.S. Flooded Locations and Simulated Hydrographs (FLASH) project at NSSL, which capitalizes on the high-resolution (1km/5min) radar-based inputs from the NMQ/Q2 system. The four-month fellowship begins in January, 2014.

NSSL collaborated with the French team during HyMeX (Fall 2012) and used the NOAA X-Pol mobile radar to complement the research radar network. NSSL/CIMMS previously hosted an LTHE graduate intern, Martin Calianno, and is presently hosting Prof. Celine Lutoff, a social scientist. Flamig’s fellowship will strengthen collaboration between the teams to advance the state-of-the-science of flash flood prediction and societal impacts.

<![CDATA[NSSL scientists heading to Florida to launch balloons into thunderstorms]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=192http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=192Wed, 17 Jul 13 00:00:00 -0500NSSL scientists heading to Florida to launch balloons into thunderstorms

NSSL scientists will launch instrumented balloons into north Florida thunderstorms as part of an ongoing University of Florida triggered lightning experiment for two weeks beginning July 28. The team hopes to characterize the microphysics and electrical structure of storms in which lightning is triggered and learn more about how lightning works.

NSSL will launch two balloons at a time. One balloon will carry a high-definition video particle imager and a Parsivel disdrometer to measure the number, size, and shape of liquid and frozen water particles, and the other will carry an electric field meter. Both will be tracked by GPS radiosondes which will also measure temperature, pressure, dewpoint and winds.

The University of Oklahoma’s Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radars (SMART-R) will be making polarimetric observations of the storms. NSSL’s data will be used to help interpret the SMART-R’s polarimetric observations.

Researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville have had an extensive long-standing program to launch wire-trailing rockets into storm clouds to trigger and study lightning initiation, lightning strikes, and radiation from lightning. This new effort will improve our understanding of lightning produced by thunderstorms, and provide an opportunity to study storms with more tropical characteristics than those observed in the southern Plains.

NSSL’s participation is part of a cooperative agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that sponsors the University of Florida triggered lightning experiment near Gainesville, Fla.

<![CDATA[The 2013 Flash Flood and Intense Rainfall experiment (FFaIR)]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=191http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=191Wed, 26 Jun 13 00:00:00 -0500A team from NSSL will partner with the NOAA Hydrometeorological Testbed at the Weather Prediction Center to host the 1st annual Flash Flood and Intense Rainfall Experiment (FFaIR). FFaIR will explore using high-resolution atmospheric and hydrologic models to improve short-term forecasts of both precipitation amounts and flash flooding. The project runs from July 8-26, 2013.

NSSL’s Flooded Locations And Simulated Hydrographs (FLASH) system will be one of several modeling systems evaluated during FFaIR. The FLASH system uses radar-estimated rainfall from NSSL’s National Mosaic and QPE System (NMQ/Q2) as input into the CREST (Coupled Routing and Excess STorage) hydrologic model. FLASH then creates real-time 6-hour forecasts on a 1km grid that is updated every 15 minutes.

The 2013 FFaIR experiment will provide, for the first time, a pseudo-real time environment where participants from across the weather enterprise can explore the interface of meteorology and hydrology. Working together through the forecast process will foster collaboration between National Centers for Environmental Prediction, National Weather Service Forecast Offices, NOAA labs, and the academic community.

<![CDATA[Bite-sized science: NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=190http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=190Wed, 19 Jun 13 00:00:00 -0500The latest video in the "Bite-Sized Science" series highlights the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed 2013 Spring Experiments. The short videos are produced for NSSL and other NOAA Weather Partners in Norman, Okla., to focus on specific activities in each of the NOAA units.

The NOAA HWT Spring Experiments occur each spring during Oklahoma’s severe weather season and are hosted by NSSL, the SPC and the NWS Norman. During the experiments, visiting NWS forecasters and researchers evaluate a variety of new forecast and warning capabilities and techniques being developed at NSSL.

Other videos in the series include the mPING app, Multi-function Phased Array Radar, the NWS Storm Prediction Center and Dual-pol radar technology.


<![CDATA[CI-FLOW total water level system prepared for test by Tropical Storm Andrea]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=189http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=189Thu, 06 Jun 13 00:00:00 -0500Researchers with the Coastal and Inland Flooding Observation and Warning (CI-FLOW; http://nssl.noaa.gov/ciflow) project are preparing for Tropical Storm Andrea to test their total water level system on Friday in North Carolina. The CI-FLOW system captures the complex interaction between rainfall, river flows, waves, tides and storm surge, and how they impact water levels in the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse Rivers and the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina.

CI-FLOW collects data from a computing system that combines radar and rain gauge information to create estimates of rainfall. This information is passed on to water quantity models that simulate freshwater flows from the headwaters of the basins into the rivers; taking into account soil type, slope of the land and vegetation patterns. Finally, water flow data is passed from river models to a coastal circulation and storm surge model that provides simulations of waves, tides and storm surge.

National Weather Service forecasters will have access to CI-FLOW during Tropical Storm Andrea to help them evaluate the system for application in the flood and flash flood warning process.

The CI-FLOW project is motivated by NOAA’s critical forecast need for detailed water level predictions in coastal areas and has a vision to transition CI-FLOW research findings and technologies to other U.S. coastal watersheds.

The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory with support from the NOAA National Sea Grant Office leads the unique interdisciplinary team including the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas Sea Grant Programs, University of Oklahoma, Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Seahorse Consulting, NWS Forecast Offices in Raleigh, and Newport/Morehead City, NWS Southeast River Forecast Center, NOAA’s Coastal Services Center, NOAA in the Carolinas, NOAA Southeast and Caribbean Regional Team (SECART), NOAA-Integrated Ocean Observing System, Department of Homeland Security, Center of Excellence-Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure and Emergency Management, Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence SouthEast, Coast Survey Development Laboratory and NWS Office of Hydrologic Development.

<![CDATA[2013 European Conference on Severe Storms]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=188http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=188Tue, 04 Jun 13 00:00:00 -0500Two NSSL scientists are presenting severe storm research at the European Conference on Severe Storms June 3-7 in Helsinki, Finland. NSSL’s Harold Brooks is chair of the conference committee. Researchers, operational forecasters and risk emergency managers will be speaking on all aspects of severe convective storms including impacts, convective storm and tornado dynamics, numerical modeling, storm-scale data assimilation, floods and flash floods, forecasting and nowcasting, and storm electrification. The bi-annual conference is sponsored by the European Severe Storms Laboratory.

<![CDATA[The 40th anniversary of the Union City, OK tornadic storm]]>http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=187http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/news/hotitems/display.php?id=187Fri, 24 May 13 00:00:00 -0500May 24, 2013, is the 40th anniversary of the Union City, Okla., tornadic storm. Researchers from the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory collected data on the Union City storm using experimental Doppler radar. When they were able to process the data, they discovered a unique pattern now known as the Tornadic Vortex Signature (TVS).

“The TVS revolutionized the NWS ability to warn for tornado activity with sufficient lead time to save lives,” said former National Weather Service Director Joe Friday.

What follows is a narrative by NSSL’s research meteorologist Rodger Brown describing the activities that took place on the day of the Union City tornado.

On May 24, 1973, the darkened National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) radar room was a typical beehive of activity. Meteorologists, aircraft controllers and coordinators, radar technicians and visiting scientists were monitoring several radar scopes, including one from an experimental Doppler radar. Excitement rose in the room when a phone call was received from members of the Tornado Intercept Project (TIP) team reporting that a large tornado was touching down to their northwest.

They were positioned 5 km south of the small farming community of Union City, 47 km west-northwest of NSSL.

As word quickly spread throughout NSSL, a number of staff crowded onto the observation platform atop the building. The tornado was visible in the distance next to a dark rain shaft. With time, the tornado became obscured by the rain.

An hour earlier, the Doppler radar meteorologist, engineer and technician in the nearby Doppler radar building began sampling the storm at 2:46pm.

When the radar data were processed months later, the data revealed the presence of a vortex about 5km in diameter at heights of 5 to 8km above the ground. By 3:15, there was clear Doppler velocity evidence that a smaller tornado scale vortex was present at mid-levels near the storm’s southwest edge. Researchers compared the data with time-stamped photos and movies. They found at the same time, the NSSL TIP team observed funnel-like protrusions extending beneath the more rapidly rotating lowered cloud base.

With time, what is now known as the Doppler Tornadic Vortex Signature (TVS) descended to the ground and at the same time, a funnel appeared below the cloud base. From 3:38 to 3:48, while the funnel descended and retracted several times as it moved eastward, a dust cloud continuously was evident on the ground. The TIP team, racing eastward during this development stage, arrived at their final photography site—9km southeast of the tornado—just before the visual funnel made continuous contact with the ground.

The tornado caused fatalities and extensive damage as it passed through the heart of Union City. The newly commissioned Doppler radar at NSSL observed this tornado, and the Tornado Intercept Project researchers photographed the tornado’s life cycle. The radar, coupled with the photographic evidence of the tornado’s development, revealed previously unknown information about motion inside thunderstorms with a persistent rotating updraft, a type known as supercells.
This event played a major role in the decision to develop and deploy a nationwide network of WSR-88D/NEXRAD radars. The NSSL TIP also proved its scientific worth and paved the way for all the tornado intercept research that goes on today.

The discovery of the TVS and other Doppler velocity signatures led to dramatic improvements in accuracy and lead-time in forecasting severe storms nationwide, and as a result, the ability to save lives and prevent serious storm-related injuries.