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-list of highlights

Testament to Success

-list of highlights

Storms and Turbulence

-list of highlights


-list of highlights

Tropical Cyclones

-list of highlights


Accumulation of Data

- Retrieval products

- New global training sets

- Toward microwave

- Validation of cloud top heights

- Relationship between cloud fraction and detectable optical depth limit

- Collaborating with NASA Langely

- Storms on Uranus


A Testament to Success


- Money from NOAA


Storms and Turbulence

- Nowcasting

- Real-time data

- ASAP to continue

- Looking for turbulence

- Grad students' research


Studying Winds

- Automated winds tracking code goes operational

- Special GOES products for Thorpex

- Preparing for hyperspectral

- Winds team pioneers MODIS winds products in use globally

- Meteosat Second Generation


Tropical Cyclones


- Pixie nomination

- Popular Web site

- Hurricane intensity estimation algorithms

- BAMS cover story

- Theory displayed in reality


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.

Accumulating Atmospheric Data

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.

MODIS TPW product improvment over the U.S.A. region by using the new training dataset.

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.

validaition of GOES-12 imagercourtesy of Sarah Bedka
Validation of GOES-12 imager and sounder cloud top measurements

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.

Working with LaRC: Collaborating with NASA’s Langley Research Center, the Regional Air Quality Monitoring System (RAQMS) group provided daily global meteorological and chemical forecasts from May 11 to August 10 to the science team for DC-8 planning under the 2004 Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment-North America (INTEX-NA). The CIMSS team provided a daily global chemistry forecast.



One of Lawrence Sromovsky's images

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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A Testament to Success

Brightness temperature fields created using numerical weather prediction profiles - a result of MURI work

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.

Money for research: In May, CIMSS received an additional $2.5 million from NOAA to cover new research over the next few years.

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Storms and Turbulence

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.

courtesy of Kris Bedka
Nowcasting data ... click to view larger slide

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.

courtesy of Tony Wimmers

ASAP developed a product that detects areas of tropopause folding that can cause turbulence.

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.

volcanic eruptions
This image shows two distinct parts of a volcanic eruption

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.

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Studying Winds

Code goes operational: CIMSS automated winds tracking code successfully went operational at the Air Force Weather Agency.

The Winds group created polar tropospheric winds products using automated cloud and water vapor tracking with MODIS

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.

Pioneering prediction products: Several global numerical weather prediction centers are now using MODIS winds products in operational forecasting. The CIMSS winds team pioneered these products.

Collaboration with the Data Center: The CIMSS winds team successfully integrated and produced Meteosat Second Generation products with the SSEC Data Center.

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Tropical Cyclones

courtesy of Chris Velden

An aqua image of Hurricane Ivan taken Sept. 12, 2004

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.

hurricane montage

courtesy of Chris Velden

A montage of the summer 2004 hurricane season

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.

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