Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Doppler On Wheels' To Intercept Eye Of Hurricane Isabel, Future Weather Model Zooms In For Forecast

Date:
September 17, 2003
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Three "Doppler On Wheels" (DOW) mobile radars developed partly at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are heading toward the mid-Atlantic coast to intercept the eye of Hurricane Isabel as the powerful storm hits land. Meanwhile, the nation's next-generation weather model, developed at NCAR and other labs, is training its electronic "eyes" on a virtual Isabel at NCAR's supercomputing center in Boulder.

Arlington, Va -- Three "Doppler On Wheels" (DOW) mobile radars developed partly at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are heading toward the mid-Atlantic coast to intercept the eye of Hurricane Isabel as the powerful storm hits land. Meanwhile, the nation's next-generation weather model, developed at NCAR and other labs, is training its electronic "eyes" on a virtual Isabel at NCAR's supercomputing center in Boulder.

The DOWs will deploy at or near the coast in the direct path of the storm. "From a head-on position," says NCAR affiliate scientist Josh Wurman, "the DOW can collect unprecedented high-resolution data and rapid-scan Doppler radar data from inside the eye."

At close range the scans will observe fine-scale but potentially damaging storm features as small as 40-feet across, including wind streaks, gusts and other structures. The DOWs are a collaborative effort between NCAR and the Center for Severe Weather Research. Wurman operates the vehicles through the CSWR, with support primarily from the National Science Foundation.

"This is an exciting opportunity to improve our understanding of the finer scale structure of one of nature's most powerful phenomena," says Cliff Jacobs, program director in NSF's division of atmospheric sciences. "Federal support for national centers and university researchers has allowed the nexus of people, tools, and ideas to converge to gain new knowledge about hurricanes."

The newest of the radar systems, called the Rapid-DOW, sends out six radar beams simultaneously. By raking the sky six times faster than traditional single-beam radars, Rapid-DOW can visualize three-dimensional volumes in five-to-ten seconds and observe boundary layer rolls, wind gusts, embedded tornadoes and other phenomena as they evolve.

Back in Boulder, NCAR scientists are running the nation's future Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model on NCAR's IBM "Blue Sky" supercomputer, testing the model's skill at predicting Isabel's intensity, structures and track. Operating on a model grid with data points only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles miles) apart, Blue Sky hums with calculations all night as WRF zooms in on Isabel, bringing into focus the storm's internal structure, including eyewall and rain bands. The result is a high-precision, two-day forecast. In the morning, the model starts over to create a new five-day forecast using a 10-kilometer grid and updated conditions.

NCAR's primary sponsor, the National Science Foundation, supported the development of both WRF and the DOW at NCAR. The WRF model is a cooperative effort by NCAR and several federal agencies and military branches.

"It's an exciting opportunity," says scientist Jordan Powers, a WRF development manager at NCAR. "Resolving a hurricane's fine-scale structures in real time with this next-generation weather model is breaking new ground for forecasters and researchers."

The DOW is pushing technological limits of its own. "The DOW has revolutionized the study of tornadoes and other violent and small-scale atmospheric phenomena," says Wurman. The large, spinning, brightly-colored radar dishes have intercepted the eyes of five hurricanes: Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, Georges and Lili. Data from the retired DOW1 resulted in the discovery of entirely new phenomena in hurricanes, called intense boundary layer rolls, which contain the highest and most dangerous wind gusts.

Though Powers won't be using DOW data for WRF's forecasts this week, he and others may compare Wurman's real-world observations with the model results in the future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "'Doppler On Wheels' To Intercept Eye Of Hurricane Isabel, Future Weather Model Zooms In For Forecast." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030917071834.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2003, September 17). 'Doppler On Wheels' To Intercept Eye Of Hurricane Isabel, Future Weather Model Zooms In For Forecast. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030917071834.htm
National Science Foundation. "'Doppler On Wheels' To Intercept Eye Of Hurricane Isabel, Future Weather Model Zooms In For Forecast." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030917071834.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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