Most of the research performed under the auspices of the Space Science and Engineering Center, chiefly in its Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, focuses on different aspects of Earth’s atmosphere. Over the past year, SSEC affiliates made several advances that positively impact the general public and open doors for further potential.
Retrieval products: Eva Borbas found success attempting to combine GPS data and AIRS measurements for atmospheric sounding. This study found significant temperature retrieval improvement adding GPS data to the AIRS data especially near the tropopause, but that GPS has small effect at the surface on humidity retrieval.
New global training sets: Eva Borbas and Suzanne Seemann report a new global training database for hyperspectral and multispectral atmospheric retrievals with new, more physical emissivity and skin temperature measurements.
Fast models: The first year of the Toward Passive Microwave Radiance Assimilation of Clouds and Precipitation project produced two very fast radiative transfer models, including linearized versions of one model, and a validation of microwave temperatures simulated by the National Center for Environmental Prediction’s global forecast system using satellite observations.
Up in the Clouds: Sarah Bedka used cloud phase Lidar measurements from the Atlantic THORPEX Regional Campaign (ATReC) to validate cloud top heights obtained from the GOES-12 imager and sounder.
Figuring out relationships: Using data gathered from September 2003 through August 2004, CIMSS scientists Erik Olson and Steve Ackerman determined the relationship between cloud fraction and the detectable optical depth limit of an instrument, as a function of altitude.
Investigating Uranus: Using the Keck II telescope on the top of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, Lawrence Sromovsky (SSEC) with a team of researchers produced some of the best imagery ever obtained of Uranus. Sromovsky and colleague Patrick Fry (SSEC) believe that the planet’s orientation contributes to the large storms visible in the images. Scientists hope to use Uranus images to study the planet’s atmosphere. Sromovosky’s images were used in numerous publications.
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Navy support: The Navy Multi-disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) continues to advance hyperspectral applications using simulated numerical modeling data sets. SSEC received two additional years of funding for this program.
A big year for nowcasting: Nowcasting team member Kris Bedka reported a busy year for the convective storm nowcasting effort including: three submitted refereed journal articles to major publications (Monthly Weather Review IHOP special issue, Journal of Applied Meteorology, and the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) and nine conference publications and presentations.
Data for evaluations: The convective storm nowcasting team began producing real-time data that is currently being transferred to both NCAR for evaluation in their “AutoNowcaster” thunderstorm nowcasting system and the National Weather Service for display and evaluation via the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) in the Huntsville, AL office.
Continuing ASAP: The Advanced Satellite Aviation weather Products (ASAP) effort will continue into 2005. Using satellite data, ASAP provides aviation hazard interest fields to research groups for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) collaborating with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
Finding turbulence: Researchers with the ASAP program developed a product that uses gradients in a water vapor channel taken from combined GOES and numerical weather data to locate areas of tropopause folding that can cause turbulence. A web-based java animation compares the product in real time with turbulence reports from aircraft pilots.
Checking out turbulence and volcanic ash: Under the ASAP program, two UW graduate students are researching turbulence and volcanic ash data sets derived from satellite data. Nathan Uhlenbrock studies the turbulence created around mountain ranges in hopes of developing an algorithm that incorporates model data and satellite imagery to automate the forecasting of turbulence induced by mountain waves. Mike Richards uses MODIS data to study cloud-top retrieval of volcanic ash.
Special products for field campaign: CIMSS produced special GOES rapid-scan winds data sets for THe Observing system Research and Prediction EXperiment (THORPEX) Atlantic field campaign.
Preparing for hyperspectral: Winds derived from simulated GIFTS (Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer) moisture retrieval fields, demonstrated by the CIMSS winds team, proved the theorized concept and paved the way for deriving winds from future hyperspectral sensors.
Morphing with MIMI: In fall 2004, the Tropical Cyclones Group developed a new satellite-based tool: Morphed anImated Microwave Imagery (MIMI). MIMI morphs sequential images of hurricanes from low earth-orbiting satellites into an animation, helping scientists and forecasters observe eyewall dynamics and trends in storm intensification.
Award nomination: Sue Medaris (with UW’s WhyFiles), Tom Whittaker and Steve Ackerman (CIMSS) made an interactive module of a twister for the UW’s Why Files. This module earned them a Pixie award nomination for the Best Web Design that Incorporates Motion. Pixie awards honor outstanding online films and animations.
Hitting up the Cyclones group: During the peak of the busy 2004 hurricane season, the Tropical Cyclones group’s Web site had over 50 million hits.
Operational algorithms: The National Hurricane Center began to use CIMSS’s Tropical Cyclones group’s hurricane intensity estimation algorithms, Advanced Objective Dvorak Technique (AODT) and Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU).
Front page news: Chris Velden and Jason Dunion’s study on Saharan air layer and hurricanes made the cover of Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). Dunion, a former UW student, now works for the National Hurricane Center.
Evidence for a theory: Jim Kossin published a key paper on mesocyclones observed in GOES. The paper details the supporting evidence for his theory. The hurricane feature he discussed later appeared in Hurricane Isabel. Isabel exhibited mesovortices, shown in a starfish pattern, in the hurricane’s eye. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society noted the occurrence in their February 2004 issue.