Implementing NASA SPoRT Data Sets and Techniques within a “SPoRT-WRF” Forecast

In the past few months, the NASA SPoRT Center has acquired two new “desktop supercomputers” as part of NASA’s broader “Climate in a Box” program.  Locally, these machines are being configured to provide both real-time forecasting and research capabilities to the modeling and data assimilation team at SPoRT.  In real-time forecasting applications, the WRF model is being run over a CONUS domain with unique NASA/SPoRT Center data sets and contributions: inclusion of our high resolution sea surface temperature product, high resolution initialization of soil moisture and land cover characteristics via the Land Information System and vegetation composites provided by MODIS, and additional information from AIRS temperature and moisture profiles assimilated around 09 UTC.  Current plans are to compare this local run against a similar forecast produced as part of the NSSL Spring Program to identify changes between the forecasts, then to relate these changes to the unique initial conditions.  The second system will provide this research capability in an off-line mode and support other activities at SPoRT.

Some differences in forecasts were noted earlier this week in the prediction of a severe squall line moving through the Midwest.  In the SPoRT-WRF forecast, the line of thunderstorms appeared to bow out into a series of small segments and with faster propagation speed versus the NSSL run.  This case, and others, will be examined over the coming months to identify opportunities for further study.  Overall, the purpose is to identify the impacts of these data sets and to improve their use within high-resolution, short-term forecast models.

Simulated radar reflectivity for the 27th forecast hour (0300 UTC on April 20th) identifying a severe squall line with bowing segments in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, based upon SPoRT-WRF output.

Radar reflectivity from the current NSSL WRF, valid at the same time period.

One thought on “Implementing NASA SPoRT Data Sets and Techniques within a “SPoRT-WRF” Forecast

  1. This is a great example of how initial conditions can impact a forecast, and it’s absolutely something we don’t see enough of as operational forecasters. Just a minor difference in something such as speed is critical. We are always asked about timing when we brief emergency managers, and it’s always a little off.

    For what it’s worth, I found a national radar mosaic from this time period, and I think it’s a “win” for the SPoRT WRF:

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