Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

In Midst Of Drought, Scientists Hunt For Water Vapor

Date:
May 13, 2002
Source:
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Summary:
Humidity doesn't guarantee rainfall, especially in a drought. Chasing a target that's not only moving but invisible, over 100 researchers will profile the water vapor that feeds heavy rain and thunderstorms across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as part of the large, complex International H20 Project (IHOP2002). Although drought conditions in parts of the study area may make water vapor even more elusive than usual, scientists expect to find it nevertheless.

BOULDER -— Humidity doesn't guarantee rainfall, especially in a drought. Chasing a target that's not only moving but invisible, over 100 researchers will profile the water vapor that feeds heavy rain and thunderstorms across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as part of the large, complex International H20 Project (IHOP2002). Although drought conditions in parts of the study area may make water vapor even more elusive than usual, scientists expect to find it nevertheless.

Related Articles


Over two years of planning have gone into IHOP, which runs from May 13 to June 25. This planning is being led by the Atmospheric Technology Division within the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR/ATD) and the Joint Office for Science Support (JOSS), part of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Because of IHOP2002's scope and complexity, JOSS teamed directly with the scientists and technical staff at NCAR/ATD to form a project office team that has tackled a wide range of issues, such as negotiating with farmers for the placement of soil moisture sensors to changing the scanning strategies of satellites.

JOSS has overseen logistics for some of the world's biggest weather experiments. Yet according to JOSS's Jim Moore, who coordinates facilities for field projects, "IHOP2002 is huge. It's a challenge as big as anything we've ever undertaken." Up to six aircraft could be flying at one time. On the ground, some 30 vehicles will carry Doppler radars and other instruments across dry lines and other boundaries where storms form.

The study's home base will be its Operations Center at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in Norman. Here, JOSS staff will be in communication with scientists, project aircraft, and ground-based crews from as early as 4:00 a.m. to as late as midnight. Project forecasters and researchers will meet at NSSL and the collocated Storm Prediction Center, both part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This teamwork will shape the project’s daily activities and help stimulate progress in water-vapor research and prediction. Each day's data will be analyzed by scientists stationed at the adjacent Norman office of the National Weather Service, then archived on the JOSS Data Management System.

Flight operations for IHOP2002 are especially complex. JOSS has met frequently with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Air Force (which operates two flight-training centers in Oklahoma), as well as with IHOP2002 scientists. Each day, project leaders will choose from among six flight patterns in coordination with FAA and military air-traffic controllers. Some patterns are keyed to quiet weather days, when the hour-by-hour evolution of water vapor will be sampled. Other patterns apply to days on which storms are predicted, when aircraft and ground crews may have to reposition themselves quickly as weather evolves.

The IHOP2002 aircraft will cover altitudes from 100 to 56,000 feet. Two turboprop craft--a P-3 operated by the Naval Research Laboratory and a King Air from the University of Wyoming--will make the lowest passes, sensing air flow, radiation, and moisture near the ground. Several aircraft will carry lidars, laser-based sensors that detect moisture and wind.

With dozens of scientists sharing resources during the study, part of JOSS's job is to foresee and prevent problems for pilots and other technicians. "We provide the reality check, then the scientists make the decisions," says Richard Dirks, associate director of JOSS. Toward the end of each day, JOSS and the lead scientists will guide the airborne and mobile crews back to Norman or an alternate base. "With six aircraft," says Moore, "the last thing you want is a big squall line developing between them and home base."

Other safety concerns have arisen since September 11. Foreign participants in IHOP2002 will be undergoing various background checks, and even U.S. participants may need several badges in traveling among the various staging points. Still, Dirks says, the scientific goals outweigh the inconvenience. "This is the first attempt to define the water-vapor field before rain develops. We’ll be trying to track the moisture in three dimensions over time and map its structure much more completely than ever before." If the IHOP2002 team is successful, its findings may hold the key to better predictions of when and where summertime storms develop.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "In Midst Of Drought, Scientists Hunt For Water Vapor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020510075440.htm>.
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). (2002, May 13). In Midst Of Drought, Scientists Hunt For Water Vapor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020510075440.htm
National Center For Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "In Midst Of Drought, Scientists Hunt For Water Vapor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020510075440.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins