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Since the advent of the AWIPS II era, LIS data have been absent in AWIPS, beginning spring 2012 here at NWS Huntsville.  Forecasters at the Huntsville WFO had become somewhat accustomed to looking at the data/imagery online through the SPoRT website (http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/), which is still a great resource for data and information.  However, this limited the full functionality of the LIS data, especially when considering the lack of ability to overly with other data and make efficient forecast assessments.  The LIS data have been used at NWS Huntsville in the past to assess everything from flooding probability, to drought development, and to the potential for freezing precipitation accumulation.  Thanks to the hard work of the SPoRT team however, we now have LIS data flowing again in AWIPS II!  These data have become very useful operationally here at NWS Hun, and I’m going to be sharing a number of operational examples here on the blog in the days and weeks to come, in addition to some examples in my presentation at the upcoming SPoRT 2014 Virtual Workshop on Thurs, Feb 13th.

First, here is a sample of the SpoRT LIS depiction of shallow layer (0-10 cm) relative soil moisture (%) from the other day, Jan 27, 2014…

Image 1.  SPoRT LIS 0-10 cm Relative Soil Moisture (%), 27 Jan 2014

Image 1. SPoRT LIS 0-10 cm Relative Soil Moisture (%), 1200 UTC 27 Jan 2014

And, here is a sample of the Skin Temperature product from the same date/time…

SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature (C), 1800 UTC 27 Jan 2014

SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature (C), 1200 UTC 27 Jan 2014

Now, take a look at the LIS skin temperature the next day after a modified arctic airmass had moved into the deep South, and when a relatively rare winter precipitation event was unfolding across parts of the region.

Image 3.  SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature product 1200 UTC 28 Jan 2014

Image 3. SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature (C) 1800 UTC 28 Jan 2014.  Color shadings from dark blue to white indicate areas where surface skin temperatures are <0C.

As stated above, with the data in AWIPS II, the ability to overlay other data/imagery can be very beneficial for operational forecasters.  Below, is an image of the Skin Temperature product overlaid with a regional WSR-88D radar composite (0.5 reflectivity), along with surface METAR observations.

Image 4.  SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature overlaid with the regional WSR-88D radar composite and surface METAR observations, valid 1800 UTC 28 Jan 2014

Image 4. SPoRT LIS Skin Temperature overlaid with the regional WSR-88D radar composite (30% transparency-adjusted, 0.5 reflectivity) and surface METAR observations, valid 1800 UTC 28 Jan 2014

Together with other imagery and data, the value of this product, particularly when combined with other data, can be extraordinarily beneficial for operational forecasters.  Forecasters have the ability to sample the data in AWIPS II, with direct readout of Skin Temperatures in degrees Celsius as they mouse-over a location.  Combining the radar data with the skin temperature can provide further evidence and a more efficient assessment of locations where precipitation is likely occurring over a frozen surface.

Of course, there are numerous potential applications of these and other LIS data, and as stated earlier, I’ll be addressing more of those in future posts.  By the way, we are currently finalizing a LIS training module, and will have instructions for the ingest and display of these data in AWIPS II available soon.

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Brian Bernard runs a website in Southern Canada called Golden Horseshoe Weather.  Brian obtains near real-time sea surface temperature (SST) and green vegetation fraction (GVF) products from SPoRT for ingest into a version of the Environmental Modeling System (EMS) that he runs.  This model is a 4-km Advanced Research Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF-ARM) model that encompasses Southern/Central and part of Northern Ontario.  It uses 40 vertical layers, with most of the layers between 1013 to 650 mb in order to better resolve lake-breeze boundaries and lake effect areas.  As a result, use of the high-resolution SPoRT SST data is critical for resolving some of these boundaries.

Southern and Central Ontario is bounded by water on three-sides and one of the forecasting challenges for the meteorologist is the interaction of the marine layer and the land area. Most of our severe thunderstorm events occur during interactions with lake-breeze boundaries.  In winter, parts of Southern/Central and Northern Ontario are downwind in cyclonic flow events and are susceptible to lake-effect snows.  Areas downwind of Lake Huron can also be affected by multi-lake effect snows.

Brian posts numerous output fields from his real-time WRF runs to a modeling subsection of his website, which is frequented by Canadian, provincial, and U.S. government meteorologists, private sector and media meteorologists, as well as weather enthusiasts and storm chasers. The model is initialized daily at 00Z and run for 36 hours; output is generally available by 1:00 A.M. local time.

A recent lake-effect snowfall event in Southern Ontario was captured well by WRF with the inclusion of the SPoRT SST.  The 24 November 1200 UTC radar image from the King City radar in Ontario shows two distinct lake-effect snow bands (one southwest of Barrie and Midland; one near London).  The corresponding 36-hr WRF forecast (initialized at 0000 UTC on 23 November; valid at 1200 UTC on 24 November) of 900 mb omega shows that the strongest vertical motions associated with snow bands occurred almost exactly in the location of the two snow bands observed in the radar.

Radar reflectivity (dBZ) from the King City radar from 1200 UTC (left) and Exeter radar from 1210 UTC (right) on 24 November 2013 showing two distinct lake-effect snow bands over Southern Ontario.

Radar reflectivity (dBZ) from the King City radar from 1200 UTC (left) and Exeter radar from 1210 UTC (right) on 24 November 2013 showing two distinct lake-effect snow bands over Southern Ontario.

36-hr WRF forecast of low-level vertical velocities valid at 1200 UTC on 24 November 2013.  The larger magnitude vertical velocities are snow bands.

36-hr WRF forecast of low-level vertical velocities valid at 1200 UTC on 24 November 2013. The larger magnitude vertical velocities are snow bands.

In addition to his use of the SPoRT data for modeling applications, Brian also obtains satellite imagery products from SPoRT’s publically-accessible FTP server and generates relevant imagery over Southern Canada for his website users.  As an additional verification of this snow event, Brian used SPoRT’s MODIS false color snow cover product to compare with forecasted snow depth output from WRF.  In the false color image below, the red areas outline where there is snow on the ground, and the outline of the fallen snow matches very closely with the areas where snow was forecasted to fall in the 36-hr forecast.  While the MODIS false color product is unable to provide any quantitative information about snow depth, the MODIS image is annotated with reports from the two areas where the heaviest snowfall occurred.  The heaviest snowfalls in the 36-hr WRF forecast also match nicely with the bull’s eyes of where the heaviest snowfall was reported.

MODIS false color imagery from 1640 UTC on 24 November 2013 showing the extent of the snowfall that occurred during this lake-effect snowfall event over southern Ontario.  The red areas indicate snow on the ground.  The circled areas with annotations show the areas of the heaviest reported snowfall.

MODIS false color imagery from 1640 UTC on 24 November 2013 showing the extent of the snowfall that occurred during this lake-effect snowfall event over southern Ontario. The red areas indicate snow on the ground. The circled areas with annotations show the areas of the heaviest reported snowfall.

36-hr WRF forecast of model snow depth valid at 1200 UTC on 24 November 2013.  The spatial extent of the snow on the ground and largest snowfall areas over southern Ontario coincide with what is seen in the MODIS false color image and snowfall reports.

36-hr WRF forecast of model snow depth valid at 1200 UTC on 24 November 2013. The spatial extent of the snow on the ground and largest snowfall areas over southern Ontario coincide with what is seen in the MODIS false color image and snowfall reports.

 

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The SPoRT LIS soil moisture data have continued to be useful at NWS Huntsville, as a tool for assessing drought and flooding potential.  Recently, forecasters found utility in assessing the threat for flood potential leading up to a heavy rain event forecast for the area.  A “typical” 2-3 inch rainfall event, even in the cold season, can lead to some instances of localized flooding, especially if embedded convection exists.  Nevertheless, just stratiform rain events of this magnitude can cause gradual rises of streams and minor flooding if antecedent soil moisture values are relatively high.  So, in order to get a more quantitative understanding of soil moisture amounts, forecasters have come to rely on the SPoRT LIS data.  On Nov 25th, as moderate to heavy rain was approaching the area, one of the Huntsville forecasters consulted the LIS data to determine soil moisture values and the flooding threat.  In her forecast discussion, she noted, “THE AXIS OF HEAVIEST PRECIP IS CURRENTLY FORECAST TO EXTEND FROM AROUND TUSCALOOSA UP ACROSS THE SPINE OF THE APPALACHIANS…WITH AMOUNTS ACROSS OUR CWA RANGING FROM 1.5-3+ INCHES.  CULLMAN/MARSHALL/DEKALB COUNTIES WILL BE MOST LIKELY TO SEE THESE 3+ INCH TOTALS. WITH 3 AND 6 HR FLASH FLOOD GUIDANCE OVER 2 INCHES ACROSS THE CWA…AND DRY SOILS INDICATED IN THE NASA LIS DATA…THIS SUGGESTS WE WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE MUCH OF THIS RAINFALL SINCE IT WILL BE OCCURRING OVER THE ENTIRE DAY.”  The following grapics show the shallow and deep layer relative soil moisture on the morning of Nov 25th, before much of the heavy rain began to affect the area.

Image 1.  SPoRT LIS 0-10 cm relative soil moisture 0900 UTC Nov 25, 2013

Image 1. SPoRT LIS 0-10 cm relative soil moisture 0600 UTC Nov 25, 2013

 

Image 2.  SPoRT LIS Column-Integrated (0-200 cm) Relative Soil Moisture 0600 UTC Nov 25 2013

Image 2. SPoRT LIS Column-Integrated (0-200 cm) Relative Soil Moisture 0600 UTC Nov 25, 2013

 

Notice that values in much of north central Alabama, in the area of expected heaviest rainfall, were around 30 to 45%.  Although still somewhat anecdotal and subjective, local use has shown that values under 50% during a typical 1-3 inch stratiform rain event will not lead to flooding, or only very isolated instances of minor flooding.  Forecast rainfall amounts were on target, as about 1.5 to 3 inches resulted across the area.  No flooding was reported.  The next graphic shows the deep layer soil moisture as of this morning.  Soil moisture values even after the heavy rainfall of 2-3 inches in portions of north central Alabama only climbed to about 40 to 50%.

Image 3.  SPoRT LIS Column-Integrated (0-200 cm) Relative Soil Moisture 0600 UTC Nov 28, 2013

Image 3. SPoRT LIS Column-Integrated (0-200 cm) Relative Soil Moisture 0600 UTC Nov 28, 2013

 

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Strong winds have been occurring for the last several days in the Gulf of Tehuantepec of the eastern Pacific Ocean, to the south of eastern Mexico.  These strong gap winds result from cool high pressure systems that surge southward through the western Gulf of Mexico, with the air funneled through the relatively lower elevation of Chivela Pass in eastern Mexico (Fig. 1).  These high winds have been nicely depicted by the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model runs produced through a collaboration between SPoRT and NASA/SERVIR, as shown by the 30-h forecast maximum hourly 10-m wind speed in Fig. 2, valid on 1200 UTC 12 November.  A corresponding image of WindSat retrieved winds is shown in Fig. 3 for roughly the same time as the WRF model forecast.

The SPoRT/SERVIR WRF model forecasts over the Caribbean and Central America are unique in that the model runs are generated daily in real-time using cloud computing resources.  The model runs are initialized at 0600 UTC, ingest SPoRT sea surface temperatures in the initial conditions, and are integrated out to 48 hours.  The team is working to migrate the model output to a real-time web map service.

This latest surge of cold air impacting the U.S. Deep South today will continue unabated into the Gulf of Tehuantepec over the next day or so.  Today’s SPoRT/SERVIR WRF model run suggests a substantial increase in the wind speeds to over 20 m/s by 0600 UTC 14 November (Fig. 4).  Winds are forecast to exceed 20 m/s from about 1500 UTC 13 November through 1200 UTC 14 November.   The National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch put out an experimental graphic indicating this expected increase in wind speeds and accompanying high seas in the eastern Pacific Ocean (Fig. 5).

Figure 1.  Topography in Eastern Mexico leading to strong gap winds in the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

Figure 1. Topography in Eastern Mexico leading to strong gap winds in the Gulf of Tehuantepec.
Image credit: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/24hourprof/tehuantepecer.

Figure 2.  Thirty-hour forecast of maximum hourly 10-m wind speed (m/s) from SPoRT/SERVIR WRF model run, valid at 1200 UTC 12 November 2013.

Figure 2. Thirty-hour forecast of maximum hourly 10-m wind speed (m/s) from SPoRT/SERVIR WRF model run, valid at 1200 UTC 12 November 2013.

Figure 3.  WindSat image of wind vector valid 1200 UTC 12 November 2013, courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory.

Figure 3.  Image of retrieved WindSat winds valid 1225 UTC 12 November 2013, courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory.

Figure 4.  Twenty-four hour forecast of maximum hourly 10-m wind speeds from the SPoRT/SERVIR WRF model, valid 0600 UTC 14 November 2013.

Figure 4. Twenty-four hour forecast of maximum hourly 10-m wind speeds from the SPoRT/SERVIR WRF model, valid 0600 UTC 14 November 2013.

Fig. 5.  Experimental Graphical Forecast produced by NHC's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch, valid through 0000 UTC 14 November 2013.

Fig. 5. Experimental Graphical Forecast produced by NHC’s Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch, valid through 0000 UTC 14 November 2013.

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The latest version of the Advanced Research WRF (WRF EMS v3.4.1) is up and running at NWS Huntsville.  While we still have some adjustments to make, which primarily involve getting ALL of the desired forecast parameters into AWIPS II…the data are mostly available (example shown in image 1).  One of the primary advantages of outputting data to AWIPS II is the ability to overlay multiple fiorecast parameters (image 1), and to include other data sets such as regional METARs.  This can provide forecasters with the ability to make quick qualitative and quantative analysis of the model’s performance with real-time data sets.

Image 1.  HUN local WRF EMS nested 3km domain displayed in AWIPS II.  Shown are surface dewpoints (F, image), surface wind streamlines (knots, white lines), mean sea-level pressure (mb, yellow lines), and METAR plots valid 1500 UTC 14 Aug 2013.  This is the 3 hour forecast data from the 1200 UTC "SPoRT" model run.

Image 1. WFO HUN local WRF EMS nested 3km domain displayed in AWIPS II. Shown are surface dewpoints (F, color image), surface wind streamlines (knots, white lines), mean sea-level pressure (mb, yellow lines), and METAR plots valid at 1500 UTC 14 Aug 2013. Note that these are 3 hour forecast data from the 1200 UTC “SPoRT” model run.

Our office IT has created a new data viewer as well, which has some great features: capable of displaying data/imagery from archived model runs, can automatically generate animated .gifs, allows switching between the SPoRT and control models for quick, qualitative analysis between the two model runs.

Image 2.  New HUN WRF EMS Viewer. Data shown are 3km inner domain 3-hour forecast 2 m temperatures valid 1500 UTC 14 August 2013.

Image 2. New HUN WRF EMS Viewer. Data shown are 2m temperatures valid 1500 UTC 14 August 2013, from the 3km nested 1200 UTC SPoRT model run.

The HUN office is involved in a collaborative effort with SPoRT, configuring our local model to use MODIS-derived data (GVF, SSTs,) and the SPoRT Land Information System (land surface model) in our operational run.  A control model is also being run on the same system, using standard NAM and other climatological data sets in place of the SPoRT related data sets.  SPoRT is providing an updated version of the Meteorological Evaluation Tools (MET) which will make objective, quantitative analysis and verification of the model runs possible.  It is expected that the more representative, higher resolution SPoRT related data sets will translate to better overall accuracy of forecast parameters in the SPoRT model run vs those of the control run when compared with real-world in-situ observations.  We will be running the MET for specific events and perhaps to determine and compare longer term biases between the two model runs over the remaining summer and the upcoming fall/winter.

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We have another flooding event upon us at NWS Huntsville, giving 9 straight days now with measurable precipitation.  Moderate flooding is occurring or forecast along some of the Tennessee River tributaries such as the Big Nance and Paint Rock Rivers and minor flooding along the Tennessee River.  Over 5 inches of precipitation have been measured at the Huntsville International Airport during this time, while amounts around 6 to as much as 10 inches of rainfall have been reported or estimated by regional radars in some areas.  This type of rain can often lead to flooding here in the Tennessee Valley, but even heavier precipitation has fallen in the past with barely any flooding.  Such was the case with the passage of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee across the area in early September 2011.  One of the important factors to consider when assessing the potential for flash flooding or areal flooding is antecedent soil moisture conditions.  Historically, this has been difficult to do, and forecasters often have to make estimates based largely on in-situ observations from very few sites, or from anecdotal evidence and subjective experience.  This is the reason the SPoRT LIS has become a popular tool with forecasters, particularly in the past year, when trying to assess flooding potential.  As early as the 4 am discussion on January 8th, preceding the prolonged heavy rain event, forecasters noted that “the NASA LIS indicates that soil moisture [values] are already fairly high…”.

The SPoRT LIS images below show the 0-10 cm relative soil moisture (Image 1) and the 0-200 cm relative soil moisture (Image 2) on the morning of the 7th (which would have been the latest imagery available to forecasters at the time).

Figure 1.  SPoRT LIS 0-10 cm relative soil moisture, valid Jan 7, 2013 0700 LST

Figure 1. SPoRT LIS 0-10 cm relative soil moisture, valid Jan 7, 2013 0700 LST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2.  The SPoRT LIS 0-200 cm relative soil moisture valid Jan 7, 2013 0700 LST

Figure 2. The SPoRT LIS 0-200 cm relative soil moisture valid Jan 7, 2013 0700 LST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice that relative soil moisture values (wilting vs saturation point) in the 0-10 cm layer exceeded 60 percent across much of the area.  In the deeper 0-200 cm layer, values exceeded 65 percent across a large portion of the area.  Using these data so far (and this is still subject analysis at this point), forecasters have noticed that when values exceed about 60% and the area receives a “standard” 1-3 inch synoptic rainfall event, flooding issues often arise.   SPoRT LIS soil moisture values were referenced in the Area Forecast Discussion Product not only on the morning of the 8th, but also on the morning of the 9th and the afternoon of the 12th.  These data are quickly becoming a valuable situational awareness tool for forecasters here at the Huntsville NWS office.  Not only are the soil moisture values being used to assess flood potential, but also for drought monitoring and local modeling efforts.  For future efforts, we hope to work with the SPoRT team to conduct more case studies, and determine thresholds based on proper objective analysis.

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Effective 10 September, the real-time SPoRT-LIS running over much of the southern and eastern U.S. was upgraded with several improvements.

The upgrade is transparent to Environmental Modeling System (EMS) end-users, since file and data formats are the same and the EMS processing with the “lis” land surface model (LSM) option operates the same as before.  However, it is highly recommended that EMS end-users currently running the “lis” option consider changing to the land-use database described in the 2nd bullet below.

The most noteworthy modifications and improvements are:

  • Updated LIS software to support an upgrade from Noah LSM version 2.7.1 to version 3.2.  This upgrade includes an improved look-up table methodology for some static fields and improved handling of heat fluxes over snow-covered regions.
  • Changed land-use classification (vegetation type) from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 24-class database to the newer International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP)/MODIS 20-class database.  The IGBP/MODIS database is more up-to-date than the USGS database, especially with urban classifications.
  • Switched from a coarse-resolution surface albedo climatology to a look-up table methodology for surface albedo based on (a) input Green Vegetation Fraction (GVF) data from the high-resolution SPoRT-MODIS real-time product and (b) the newer IGBP/MODIS land-use database.  A sample real-time SPoRT-MODIS GVF map projected onto the 3-km LIS domain is given in Figure 1, showing a comparison between the monthly climatological GVF and the real-time MODIS GVF data from 30 August.  An example comparison between the original climatological specification of surface albedo and the newer look-up table methodology using real-time SPoRT-MODIS vegetation data is given in Figure 2 from the same day.  Both of these upgrades will improve the surface energy budget in the real-time LIS.
  • Modified the long-term atmospheric forcing (excluding precipitation) that drives the LIS-Noah LSM integration from the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) to NLDAS phase 2 (NLDAS-2).

Contact SPoRT for the official upgrade documentation for further details.

Figure 1. Comparison between the default monthly climatological Green Vegetation Fraction (GVF, in percent) time-interpolated to 30 August (left), and real-time SPoRT-MODIS GVF on 30 August 2012 (right). Note the much lower GVF over the Midwest in the SPoRT-MODIS dataset corresponding to the substantial drought. (Click image twice for full size)

Figure 2. Comparison between climatological surface albedo (%) time-interpolated to 30 August in the former LIS configuration (left), and surface albedo as a function of the real-time SPoRT-MODIS GVF in the upgraded LIS configuration (right). Note the higher surface albedo corresponding to lower SPoRT-MODIS GVF in the Plains and Midwest regions. (Click image twice for full size)

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For the past year, the SPoRT modeling team has been collaborating with the Mobile and Houston NWS Offices, incorporating SPoRT datasets such as the near real-time MODIS green vegetation fraction (GVF), Land Information System (LIS) soil moisture, and SPoRT SSTs into their local WRF EMS model.  Using the Model Evaluation Tools (MET) developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, objective verification is being conducted to compare model performance with SPoRT datasets versus that of a control configuration without SPoRT data.  SPoRT has developed a set of scripts that interface with MET and the WRF EMS output to generate objective verification statistics.  The improvement in some forecast parameters due to the use of the high-resolution SPoRT datasets have been documented in previous studies.  The collaborative modeling efforts are still ongoing with the Houston and Mobile offices.

Figure 1. 9 km domain from Huntsville WRF EMS. Parameter shown is precipitable water (inches) valid 06Z 23 August 2012. (click for larger image)

The Huntsville NWS office has entered into a new and similar collaborative phase with the SPoRT modeling team.  The Huntsville WRF EMS model is configured with a 9 km outer domain (shown in Figure 1) encompassing much of the southeastern U.S. and a part of the Ohio Valley and Midwest regions.  A 3 km resolution nested domain contains much of the Tennessee Valley region (Figure 2) and covers a slightly larger area than the previous WRF EMS local run at NWS Huntsville.  The model produces “standard” output parameters such as temperature/height/wind at 2m, 925mb, 850mb, 700mb, 500mb, and 250mb out to 36 hours.  However, other output  includes (but is certainly not limited to) composite reflectivity, SBCAPE, SBCIN,  0-3 km SR Helicity, 0-1 km shear vector, and precipitable water.  In addition, forecast soundings are produced for eight geographically diverse points within the forecast area.

Figure 2. 3 km nested domain from Huntsville WRF EMS. Forecast parameters shown are 2 meter temperatures (contoured) and 2 meter dew point temperatures (shaded) valid at 06Z 23 August 2012. (click for larger image)

Data and imagery are currently output to an internal web page for forecasters to use operationally, but model output files in grib-2 format will also make data and imagery available for inclusion in AWIPS II in the near future.  Due to the recent acquisition of a new modeling workstation with enhanced computing capability, NWS Huntsville will be able to run both experimental and control forecasts in real-time, with and without SPoRT datasets, respectively.  This will ensure a clean comparison of verification statistics from model runs made on the same computational platform, all performed in-house.  During this collaborative research period, we will be working with the SPoRT modeling team and using the MET tools to objectively determine model performance utilizing SPoRT datasets.

Figure 3. WRF EMS sounding for Huntsville, AL valid 21Z 23 August 2012. The inclusion of SPoRT datasets are expected to have positive impacts on near-surface heat and moisture fluxes, leading to improvements in the model forecast boundary layer temperature and dew point profiles.

With the inclusion of the SPoRT datasets, we expect to see improvements in the model’s handling of surface heat fluxes and associated improvements in low-level temperature/moisture fields and instability parameters.  In the future, we plan to do some case studies evaluating the experimental and control runs.  Using the SPoRT scripts and MET, this can be done in an objective manner in near real-time.

 

Thanks to Jon Case and Andrew Molthan of SPoRT for their help with this post.

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Figure 1. Column-integrated (0-200 cm) Relative Soil Moisture, SPoRT 3 km LIS SE CONUS domain at 0600Z July 19, 2012

 

The SPoRT modeling group has been producing a 3 km LIS over the SE CONUS and adjacent areas stretching into the Great Lakes and Great Plains for about two years now.  These data have been made available to collaborative NWS offices through the Southern Region LDM during that time.  However, imagery from the 3 km LIS runs are now being made available through the SPoRT web page.

http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/

From the SPoRT home page, mouse over the “Core Projects” menu and select the Modeling link.  In the page that opens select real-time AL data or real-time SEUS data in the Real-time Land Information System menu box near the top right.  For convenience, here is a more direct link to the SE CONUS graphics…  http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/case_studies/lis_SEUS.html

To see more information about the SPoRT LIS, follow this URL… http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/modeling/lis.html

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From Famine to Feast…

Here in northern Alabama we have gone from very dry and severe drought conditions to a surplus of rain recently.  To see this, take a look at relative soil moisture changes over the last week.  The first image is the 0-10 cm relative soil moisture valid this morning at 4 am CDT.

Figure 1. LIS 0-10 cm relative soil moisture valid 4am CDT July 13 2012.

Now. take a look at values at the end of the oppressive heat wave that brought days of 100F+ temperatures to the area and little to no rainfall.  The graphic below depicts the same soil moisture conditions on the morning of July 5th.

Figure 2. LIS 0-10 cm relative soil moisture valid 4am CDT July 5th 2012.

Significant changes can even be observed in the 0-200 cm integrated-relative soil moisture.  The plot below shows changes over the one week period ending at 4 am CDT this morning.

Figure 3. LIS weekly difference of column integrated (0-200 cm) relative soil moisture ending 4 am CDT July 13 2012.

These plots will continue to be very useful when assessing soil moisture for input to the U.S. Drought Monitor next week.

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