Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Research Forecasts Better Weather Forecasts

Date:
March 1, 2006
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
A Purdue University researcher and his team have used improved satellite imaging and powerful computer modeling to more accurately forecast the likelihood and intensity of storms and tornados.

A Purdue University researcher and his team have used improved satellite imaging and powerful computer modeling to more accurately forecast the likelihood and intensity of storms and tornados.

The key to the new weather prediction model is its more precise simulation of the amount of moisture surface vegetation is releasing into the upper atmosphere to affect the weather conditions, said Dev Niyogi (pronounced Dave Knee-yoo-gee), an assistant professor of agronomy and earth and atmospheric sciences. Niyogi said that current weather prediction models represent vegetation at a very simplistic level.

"How well we are able to represent one leaf in a weather forecast model can be a key to predicting thunderstorms," he said. "In fact, the amount of moisture plants are emitting during photosynthesis may be considered the local trigger that trips fronts into violent weather."

Niyogi and his team based the research on two days in the 2002 International H20 Project, a large-scale, six-week field experiment that was a consolidated, coordinated effort funded by the National Science Foundation consisting of multiple researchers gathering huge datasets of weather information. Niyogi, who also is the Indiana state climatologist, was a participating researcher in the International H20 Project.

The research data were gathered on May 24-25, 2002, when a front moved southeast and met a cold front over western Texas, in what meteorologists call a "triple point." This condition often indicates severe thunderstorms and the potential for severe weather. Using the baseline data from this real weather event, Niyogi said the researchers "set out to assess how including the improved land-vegetation processes," along with winds, convection, soil moisture and other factors, would affect the weather prediction.

"The idea is to take the baseline data and the different simulations from Naval Research Laboratory's Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System for systematic improvements in soil, plant photosynthesis and soil moisture models to forecast a May 25 severe weather event," he said.

The simulations also took advantage of the finer scale data from satellite imagery of smaller and smaller plots of land.

"We've gone from being able to observe and analyze 100 square kilometer plots in the past down to 10 kilometers and even 1 kilometer," Niyogi said. "The clarity of the picture we're getting is analogous to a digital photograph becoming clearer as the pixels get smaller."

Niyogi said the actual weather on May 25 was "severe," with several thunderstorms occurring along a front.

"The standard 'default' forecast did a reasonable job of predicting the storms, but the storms developed more slowly than predicted," he said. "The intensity and coverage of the storm were less than predicted, however."

When the photosynthesis vegetation model was added, Niyogi said there was a more accurate prediction of temperature and humidity, as well as the intensity, location and timing of the storms.

Thus, the major finding in the research is the extent to which plants releasing moisture into the atmosphere can become a major factor in triggering storms in the upper atmosphere. This finding holds the promise of more accurate prediction of storms and tornadoes in the future.

"Plants emit much more moisture into the atmosphere in a shorter time than does bare ground or even the lakes," Niyogi said. "Plant photosynthesis works like a jogger perspiring because the plant loses water as it makes food."

Niyogi's team broke the plants down into types — such as mixed forest, grassland, shrubland, savanna and irrigated crops — because different plants release different amounts of moisture into the atmosphere at varying rates, in what's called "photosynthesis-based transpiration."

The research was published in the January issue of the Monthly Weather Review, a publication of the American Meteorological Society.

Niyogi said future research will attempt "to enhance the land-vegetation model, which will improve forecasting the location, timing and intensity of storms, thunderstorms and tornados. We also can improve our ability to include satellite datasets, remote sensing and satellite mapping into weather forecast models as well as making the vegetation modeling more realistic."

Other members of the research team were Teddy R. Holt from the Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, Calif.; Fei Chen, Kevin Manning and Margaret A. LeMone from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.; and Aneela Qureshi, from the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University. The research was funded by the Office of Naval Research, National Science Foundation and NASA.

Niyogi does research through Purdue's Discovery Park Center for Environment and Discovery Park Cyber Center and the Indiana State Climate Office.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "New Research Forecasts Better Weather Forecasts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060228180053.htm>.
Purdue University. (2006, March 1). New Research Forecasts Better Weather Forecasts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060228180053.htm
Purdue University. "New Research Forecasts Better Weather Forecasts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060228180053.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) Organizers of the People's Climate March and other rallies taking place in 166 countries hope to move U.N. officials to action ahead of their summit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 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