Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Beating The Radar: Getting A Jump On Storm Prediction

Date:
June 21, 2009
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Satellite observation of cloud temperatures may be able to accurately predict severe thunderstorms up to 45 minutes earlier than relying on traditional radar alone, say researchers.

Sample meteorological satellite images like those analyzed during this year's annual Hazardous Weather Testbed, held from May 4 through June 5. The HWT is organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to accelerate the transition of new meteorological technologies into advance forecasting and warnings for hazardous weather events throughout the U.S.
Credit: UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center

Satellite observation of cloud temperatures may be able to accurately predict severe thunderstorms up to 45 minutes earlier than relying on traditional radar alone, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center.

Scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) have developed a way to measure temperature changes in the tops of clouds to improve forecast times for rapidly growing storms.

"The value of detecting and analyzing these changes is that we can get up to a 45-minute jump on radar detection of the same storm system. A 'nowcast' becomes a 'forecast,'" says CIMSS scientist Wayne Feltz.

Clouds start cooling long before radar can identify them as storms. As a warm cumulus cloud grows and expands upward into higher altitudes, it will rapidly cool. Rapid cloud-top cooling indicates that a cloud top is rising into the frigid upper reaches of the atmosphere and can reveal the formation of a severe storm.

Cloud temperatures can be measured by the wavelengths of light they radiate in the near-infrared and infrared frequencies. Current geostationary satellites — satellites that stay over the same location on Earth — over the U.S. can discern five different bands in these frequencies, each band revealing a different state of cloud development. Looking down from space, the satellite can determine whether the cloud top consists of liquid water, supercooled water or even ice.

By running high-speed five-minute satellite scans through a carefully designed computer algorithm, the scientists can quickly analyze cloud top temperature changes to look for signs of storm formation. "We are looking for transitions," says Feltz. "Does the cloud top consist of liquid water that is cooling rapidly? That could signal a possible convective initiation."

Feltz and other CIMSS colleagues, including Kris Bedka and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist Tim Schmit, demonstrated their "Convective Initiation Nowcast" and "Cloud Top Cooling Rate" products at NOAA's annual Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT), held May 4-June 5 at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

The HWT is designed to accelerate the transition of promising new meteorological insights and technologies into advance forecasting and warnings for hazardous weather events throughout the United States.

"The Hazardous Weather Testbed brings in outside experts in all areas, a melting pot of people to encourage collaboration and interactions and proposal opportunities," Feltz says. "The point of this is working with forecasters in the field — the Weather Service, the Storm Prediction Center, the Hurricane Center — whoever is interested in looking at more advanced satellite products."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Beating The Radar: Getting A Jump On Storm Prediction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617123702.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2009, June 21). Beating The Radar: Getting A Jump On Storm Prediction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617123702.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Beating The Radar: Getting A Jump On Storm Prediction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617123702.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Balloon Descends to Bottom of Croatian Cave

Raw: Balloon Descends to Bottom of Croatian Cave

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) An Austrian balloon pilot has succeeded in taking a balloon deep underground, a feat which he believes is a world first. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bodies Recovered from Japan Volcano Eruption

Bodies Recovered from Japan Volcano Eruption

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Rescue crews finished recovering the remaining 27 bodies from atop Japan's Mount Ontake Monday. At least 31 people were killed Saturday in the mountain's first fatal volcanic event in modern history. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan's Mount Ontake Erupts

Raw: Japan's Mount Ontake Erupts

AP (Sep. 27, 2014) A volcano erupted in central Japan on Saturday, sending a large plume of ash high into the sky and prompting a warning to climbers and others to avoid the area. (Sept. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
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