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RAMMB Scientific Quarterly Report - 1st Quarter FY01


  • Severe Storms

    Weaver, Dostalek, Grasso, Bikos, Coleman

    An abstract entitled  “Observations of a Severe Supercell Thunderstorm on 24 July 2000 using GOES-11 Sounder and Imagery”  by J. Weaver,  J. Knaff, D. Bikos, J. Daniels (NESDIS), and G. Wade (CIMSS)  was submitted for presentation at the 11th Conf.  on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography to be held in October 2001.

    The 24 July case study is particularly interesting because it involves a severe supercell storm that occurred during the GOES-11 science test on a day when SRSO and 30-min sounder data were both being collected.  Preliminary examination suggests that the storm’s southward movement in west-northwest flow may in part be due to the development of a north-south tongue of unstable air (Fig 1) to the south of the storm.  The line that the storm propagated along also had relatively low values of convective inhibition (Fig. 2).

    Figure 1: Convective Available Potential Energy (J/kg) at 2116 UTC 24 July 2000 derived from the GOES-11 Sounder channels (left) and from ETA model (right).  Note the large north-south orientated instability region in central Nebraska.

    Figure 2:  Convective Inhibition (J/kg) at 2116 UTC 24 July 2000 derived from the GOES-11 Sounder channels (left) and from ETA model (right).  Note strength of the relative minimum in the sounder derived image.

    Further discussion and data for this case can be found at:

    An abstract titled “Left-moving thunderstorms in a high Plains, weakly-sheared environment” by John Weaver (NOAA), Jack Dostalek (CIRA), and Loren Phillips (NWS) was submitted for presentation at the 18th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting in July 2001.

    A listing of all RSO days is being prepared as the first step in building a data archive.  The EXCEL file lists which satellite, date and times of RSO, location and reason for the call, the agency requesting the special data, and what – if any – severe weather occurred during the collection.  The list begins with GOES-8 in November of 1996 and continues (currently) through October 2000.  There are over 600 dates listed so far.

    An article dealing with several emergency management issues appears in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.  Look for: Weaver, J.F., E. Gruntfest, and G.M. Levy, 2000:  Two Floods in Fort Collins, Colorado: Learning from a Natural Disaster.  Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 81 (10), 2359-2366.

    The paper titled “Severe Thunderstorms on 31 May 1996:  A Satellite Meteorology Training Case” by J. Weaver, J. Dostalek, B. Motta, and J.F.W. Purdom has finally appeared in the December 1999 issue of  National Weather Digest.  This is the most recent issue published, and was finally received in November 2000.

    D. Bikos is preparing a summary of the 11 May 2000 severe storm event over Iowa for a peer-reviewed paper by L. Grasso, J. Dostalek and D.  Bikos on left-moving thunderstorms.

  • Tropical Cyclones

    DeMaria, Zehr, Knaff, Dostalek

    A compilation of characteristics of 23 category 3 or higher Atlantic hurricanes since 1995, is being expanded to include additional information.  The data are listed and ranked in various categories of intensity, intensification rate, and size, based on aircraft, satellite, and “Best Track” data.  Enhanced GOES IR images in common formats along with eye and eye wall IR temperatures, have also been archived.  The RAMM tropical cyclone applications programs have been run on all 23 cases, and were recently completed for Year 2000 Hurricanes Alberto, Isaac, and Keith. Work is underway to add additional analyses from the ODT (Objective Dvorak Technique) algorithm and AMSU derived warm temperature anomalies to this data set.  The objectives of this research are to document the capabilities of objective IR satellite estimates, IR images, and AMSU data, in diagnosing tropical cyclone intensity and structure, as well as intensification rates and their timing.  Developing techniques to predict the onset of a rapid intensification event remains as a more specific goal.

    A project to archive IR images with tropical cyclones in a common format on CD-ROM continues.  Mercator (4KM) re-mapped images are saved in McIDAS format at 30-minute intervals. Due to improved  capability for including western Pacific and Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclones and an active Atlantic season, a large number of images were added to the archive during 2000.  With a small amount of additional processing, the 2000 data sets will include approximately 12,000 images from 49 tropical cyclones.  The entire data set is for the period 1995-2000 and includes 160 tropical cyclones, comprised of 72 Atlantic, 57 Eastern Pacific, and 31 from other  regions.  The McIDAS 4-km Mercator images now number over 38,000, stored on 22 CDs.  Applications and research topics under investigation with this data set include:  1) motion relative average images; 2) large sample composites; 3) IR cloud area vs. tropical cyclone size; 4) detecting rapid intensification; 5) cloud asymmetry measurements; and 6) input for statistical intensity forecasts.  Work has begun on quality control, data file archiving, and inclusion of “Best Track” data. CIRA student hourly support is being utilized for this work.

    GOES-8 Super Rapid Scan Operations (SRSO) one-minute interval images were successfully archived to support tropical cyclone research objectives.  SRSO images for 3-hour periods on three consecutive days were archived for Hurricane Keith, on September 30 through October 2.  In addition two SRSO data sets were obtained for Hurricane Isaac and one for Hurricane Joyce, during September 26-29.

    Documentation continues on a subclass of tropical cyclones which are symmetric with little or no rainband structure, have large eyes and maintain intensities of approximately 85% of that which would be expected given the sea surface temperature conditions.  Figure 1 shows IR images of the six storms used in this study.  This work includes collaboration with Jim Kossin of CSU, Mark DeMaria, and Vince Larson of CIRA.  A paper documenting the findings of this study has been submitted for publication.  Click on image to enlarge.

    Figure 1:  Color-enhanced IR images of Hurricane Luis at 2015 UTC 3 September (top left), Hurricane Edouard at 1345 UTC 25 August (top right), Hurricane Darby at 1530 UTC 25 July (middle left), Hurricane Howard at 0000 UTC 25 August (middle right), Hurricane Beatriz at 1830 UTC 12 July (bottom left), and Hurricane Dora at 0830 UTC 11 August (bottom right) during the period when they were doughnut hurricanes.  Each image projection is Mercator and has been magnified by a factor of two to a 2 km resolution. The resulting spatial scale is 1280 km X 960 km for each panel.

    A unique case study of Hurricane Floyd which utilizes wind field information derived from a modified version of the CIMSS wind code that utilizes 3-minute interval super rapid scan images continues.  The case study, in collaboration with C. Velden at CIMMS, focuses on two separate problems.   The first is structure changes related to tropical cyclone life cycle changes. The second focus of this study answers the question, how do changes in upper-level wind fields evolve during intensification?   An example of SRSO winds is shown in Figure 2.  Click on image to enlarge.

    Figure 2:  Example of super high density winds created from 3 minute interval image data over Hurricane Floyd on 14 September 1999 at 1404 UTC.  Winds sets were created for similar time intervals for an eight day period using a modified version of the CIMSS high-density wind code.

    Datasets for studying global tropical cyclones are being collected and archived in a real-time basis.  Routine datasets include high-density cloud drift winds, ERS-2 and QuikScat winds, hurricane reconnaissance, surface and upper air reports, and AMSU quick look data sets.

    Updates to the real-time AMSU-derived tropical cyclone products continue.  See:

    In addition, a new product to predict tropical rainfall potential has been created.  The product estimates the 24-hour precipitation potential of a tropical cyclone by integrating the AMSU-derived rainfall rate through a cubic spline derived from the past and current positions and the forecast track of a given tropical cyclone.  An example of the product for Hurricane Irene (1999) can be viewed in rainfall rate and 24-hour rainfall potential shown in Figure 3 and verification in Figure 4.  An evaluation of how well this method estimates rainfall potential is underway with preliminary results being presented at the annual American Meteorological Society meeting.  Click on images to enlarge.

    Figure 3: AMSU-derived rainfall rate valid 
    at 2359 UTC on 16 October 1999

    Figure 4:  AMSU-derived rainfall potential (top) and 
    observe 24-hour rainfall (bottom) for the period 
    ending 0000 UTC 18 October 1999

    A project to compare tropical cyclone rainfall forecasts based upon extrapolated satellite rainfall rates and GFDL model predictions has continued.  These forecasts will be compared for 20 cases of U.S. landfalling storms that have occurred since 1995.

    A paper entitled “A mesoscale low-level thunderstorm outflow boundary associated with Hurricane Luis” by J. Knaff and J.  Weaver appears in September 2000 issue of Monthly Weather Review, pages  3352-3355.

  • Extra Tropical Cyclones


    In preparation for the upcoming Pacific Landfalling Jets Experiment (PACJET), retrievals from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) are being processed for the Eastern Pacific Ocean, including the West Coast of the United States.  Figure 1 shows an example of a 500 mb analysis made from data retrieved from the AMSU aboard NOAA-15.  Such plots of atmospheric fields will be made available on the web in near real time during the experiment, which begins in the middle of January 2001.

    Figure 1.  500mb heights and absolute 
    vorticity (x10-5) from 1800 UTC on 
    21 Nov 2000 produced with data 
    retrieved from the AMSU aboard NOAA-15

Applications Development

  • GOES Product Improvement and Development


    A new GOES combined-image product was developed.  The product combines visible images corrected for solar zenith angle with specially-enhanced channel-2 data at night to create a continuous day/night image loop.  The new product is being tested on the Tropical RAMSDIS at CIRA and is a candidate for eventual distribution to other RAMSDIS units (see Figure 1).  Click on image to enlarge

    Figure 1.  Enhanced visible/channel-2 image product with the day/night terminator approximately bisecting the image.  The day (night) portion is on the left (right) side of the image.

    The GOES day/night visible/shortwave albedo product developed at CIRA has been made more robust by allowing flexibility in input files.  A problem occurs when visible data are missing at night.  The software was modified to account for missing visible images by substituting information from one of the infrared channels in order to calculate the needed solar zenith angles.  An example is shown in Figure 2. Click on image to enlarge

    Figure 2.  High/thick ice clouds are color-coded, high/thin ice clouds are black, low/water clouds are white, bare ground is gray, and ocean and snow-covered ground are darker gray.  Animation helps differentiate high/thin ice clouds and snow cover, both of which are quite dark in this image product.

  • Climatology

    Connell, Combs

    Processing of the U.S. climatologies is now back on schedule.  Noise levels in the GOES 10 imagery are back to normal and thus no longer require extra quality control.  Products completed include monthly large sector composites for September, October, and November 2000, and wind regime composites for July, August, September and October 2000.  Monthly wind regime composites covering the past three years has been resumed, with January through March 2000 and May through October 2000 completed so far.

    Preliminary composites of cloud cover percentage based on wind regimes for the Wakefield, VA area have been completed.   These composites include the time period of May through October for 1998 and 1999.  Time series loops of these composites for each wind regime may be viewed on the CIRA website at:

    Discussions with the Wakefield forecasters has produced new ideas for customizing and improving the cloud composites.  These ideas will be incorporated into the next set of composites that will include images from the summer of 2000.  Currently, the 2000 data is being sectorized and processed.

    GOES-8 visible and 10.7 µm imagery for the 2000 Florida Summer Sea Breeze Satellite Climatology project were being processed and checked for navigation errors.  Ken Gould with the Tallahassee WFO (TLH) continues to be the focal point for the project in Florida.  This season of data brings the total archive to 5 summers (1996-2000)  The project’s primary focus is on developing cloud frequency composites stratified by wind regime to be used as a tool in forecasting weather.  Monthly composites are also proving useful for identification of dominant synoptic weather patterns.  Figure 1 is a composite of 10.7 µm imagery which provides a quick look at the 5 seasons (1996-2000).

    Figure 1.  GOES-8 10.7 µm cloud frequency monthly composites for threshold (283 K).  Covers an area centered on Tallahassee, Fl. from 1996-2000.

  • Lake Effect Snow

    Bikos and Weaver

    A new VISIT teletraining session on Lake Effect Snow (LES) is complete and being offered as part of the VISIT suite of training classes.  Thus far, 34 NWS offices, for a total of 143 people, have already taken the course.  The material is also available on the web at:

    The web session contains a number of large loops that may be slow to load in real-time, so use during off-peak times is advised.

    AWIPS data for the 15 November 2000 case was collected (24″ of snow in 8 hours at Buffalo, NY) along with some other LES cases for future use in training and or research.

  • Mesoscale Modeling

    Grasso, Weaver

    Current modeling work is concentrating on left moving thunderstorms.  Documentation for left moving thunderstorms is rather sparse  in the literature.  Our goal is to improve the documentation by reporting on left movers, and in particular for those cases in which both GOES satellite imagery, and WSR-88D radar data are available.

Outside Interaction

  • National Labs

    Zehr, Motta

    B. Motta met with Dr. Mel Shapiro (NOAA ETL) to discuss studies relating to the January 2000 blizzard and the February 1999 Nor’easter cases which are being used to develop winter-season VISIT training. Dr. Shapiro provided access to special data sets and will continue interactions on the use of special MM5 model forecasts and in-situ aircraft data. He also informed me that P. Chang of NESDIS is also developing scatterometer products for at least one of these cases. Other discussion involved the mesoscale structures of synoptic scale systems and the evolution of cyclones through spatial scales.

    Dr. Steven Koch, Chief of the Forecast Systems Laboratory’s Forecast Research Division, visited CIRA on November 9 to discuss possibilities for future collaboration between FSL and CIRA scientists. Dr. Koch gave a seminar at CIRA, an “Overview of FSL Research,” as part of his visit. A second seminar was also given to the Department of Atmospheric Science on “Mesoanalysis and Modeling of the Forcing for Mesoconvective Systems in the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak.”

  • Universities

    Zehr, Grasso, Weaver, Motta

    Cooperative research and interaction continues with Dr. William Gray’s project at CSU. The focus is on providing satellite data information to aid in their ongoing hurricane research using aircraft flight level and GPS dropsonde data sets.

    J.  Weaver gave a seminar at the University of Wyoming entitled  “The Fort Collins Flood of 28 July 1997: Experiencing the Event and the Aftermath.”  The talk described the Fort Collins Flood from a meteorological, hydrological, and emergency response perspective.

  • Other NESDIS

    B. Motta participated in a review of the “Using AWIPS to Evaluate Model Initializations” session on Wednesday. The COMET Numerical Weather Prediction team requested the demonstration to learn about the design, content, and widespread interest in the model initialization topic. Scientists from CIMSS, NCEP, and the NWS participated.

  • NWS

    Weaver, Motta, Dostalek

    J. Weaver attended a three-hour, interagency review of a training course developed by the NWS and FEMA.  The material is an updated version of a course called “Hazardous Weather and Flood Preparedness” taught at the Emergency Management Institute, and is being designed for CD-ROM.   The primary applications exercise concerns the Fort Collins flood of 28 July 1997.  Presenters were B. Glancy (WCM, Denver/Boulder NWS) and Alan Bol (COMET).  Other reviewers were Glenn Levy (City of Fort Collins emergency manager), Marsha Hilmes (City of Fort Collins floodplain manager), and Bob Smith (chief, Fort Collins Stormwater Utility).

    A paper entitled “High Resolution GOES-8 Visible and Infrared Cloud Frequency Composites over Northern Florida During the Summers 1996-1999″ has been submitted  to Weather and Forecasting. This is the result of cooperative effort between CIRA and the WFO in Tallahassee, FL.   The paper highlights the wind regime stratified climatology comparing results of both the visible and infrared cloud frequency methods.

  • International Activities

    Connell, Smith, Knaff

    One RAMSDIS-OS/2 workstation was sent to the EUMETSAT in Darmstadt, Germany

    R. Zehr participated in the WMO / Australia Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Fourth Southern Hemisphere Training Course on Tropical Cyclones, as a “Course Presenter.” The main topics covered were: 1) scatterometer winds; 2) microwave image applications; 3) microwave sounder applications; 4) quantitative IR image analysis; 5) rapid interval image research; 6) surface wind analyses; and 7) tropical cyclogenesis.  The course was held in Melbourne, Australia, October 16-27, 2000, and included representatives from tropical cyclone warning agencies from Mozambique, La Reunion, Mauritius, Indonesia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Niue, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, and Tonga. In conjunction with the trip for the Training Course, the BOM provided additional funding for a lecture tour of their three Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers in Darwin, Perth, and Brisbane. Each of those visits comprised one to two working days, and also included informal discussions on their operational problems and technique development work.  The lectures at the warning centers were abbreviated versions of the material covered in the Training Course with some additional discussion of intensity forecasting.

    Richard Francis (the EUMETSAT User Service Manager) visited CIRA on August 21st to discuss possible collaboration on satellite training activities. CIRA personnel demonstrated a RAMSDIS system that will be shipped to EUMETSAT, and presented overviews of ongoing national and international training activities. The GOES satellite data archive for climatological studies was also summarized.

    RMTC Project:

    GOES-8 imagery for September 2000 through November 2000 were sent to the Regional Meteorological Training Center (RMTC) in Costa Rica.  This project is part of the cooperative effort between CIRA and the RMTC.  The archives started in December 1996 and are being used for cloud frequency studies during the rainy and dry seasons.  The archives are also being used as a training tool for student projects.  An example of monthly cloud frequency composites for September – November 1997-2000 by 10.7 µm temperature threshold technique is presented in Figure 1.  Click on image to enlarge

    Figure 1.  Monthly cloud frequency composites over Central America for September – November 1997-2000 by 10.7 µm temperature threshold technique (threshold=273 K).

    GOES-8 imagery for September 2000 through November 2000 were sent to the Regional Meteorological Training Center (RMTC) in Barbados to develop satellite climatology composites for the region.  A comparison of cloud frequency derived by temperature threshold of 10.7  µm imagery for September – November of 1998 – 2000 is shown in Figure 2.  The archived imagery also provides access to examples for use in satellite focused training efforts.   Click on image to enlarge

    Figure 2.  Monthly cloud frequency derived by temperature threshold of 10.7 µm imagery (283 K) for September – November of 1998 – 2000 for the eastern Caribbean.

    The Regional Meteorological Training Center (RMTC) RAMSDIS Online server was developed to provide GOES-8 imagery coverage over WMO Region III and IV countries.  This is in support of a cooperative project between the RMTCs in both Costa Rica and Barbados.  The imagery has already proven very useful for tracking Hurricane Joyce when it was east of Barbados in late September and also for tracking Hurricane Keith in the Caribbean around the same time.  

  • Miscellaneous


    Traveler Destination Meetings/Conferences Funding Dates Trip Reports
    B. Motta Gaithersburg, MD 25th Annual NWA Meeting VISIT Oct 16-20 x
    R. Zehr Melbourne,
    4th WMO Southern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Training Course WMO Oct 19-
    Nov 6
    B. Zajac San Francisco, CA AGU Meeting VISIT Dec 13-19
    x Report
    D. Hillger Fort Collins, CO GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Day 2000 Open House – Colorado State University x November 17 x


    Visitor(s) Date of Visit Affiliation RAMMT Contact
    Bridget Lemur
    Linda Wamboldt
    November 15 NOAA/MASC, Boulder, CO M. DeMaria
    Steve Koch November 9 NOAA/OAR/FSL, Boulder, CO M. DeMaria
    Rae Ann and Rich Dougherty November 3 R&R Strategies M. DeMaria
    Rosario Alfaro October 30 through November 3 NOAA/NESDIS/ORA/Hydrology Team, Camp Springs, MD B. Connell
    Indian Tech Team October 17 India Meteorology Department M. DeMaria
  • International Activities


    Mark DeMaria and Bernadette Connell provided lectures and laboratory sessions for the WMO Sponsored RMTC Training for WMO Regions II and V.   The training was held in Nanjing, China at the Nanjing Institute of Meteorology during December 5-15, 2000.  Lectures and laboratory sessions were given on the following topics: Tropical Overview of AMSU winds and applications, and the Dvorak technique, Quikscat winds and a demonstration of the Visit Virtual lab software, interpretation of water vapor imagery, satellite climatologies, fire detection, volcanic ash detection, and RAMSDIS.

Field Experiments

  • HRD and CAMEX

    Gosden, Watson, Zehr

    An improved version of Tropical RAMSDIS was used for this year’s hurricane season, at CIRA and HRD.  The reliability of this year’s Tropical RAMSDIS with respect to outages, has improved significantly.  During the 2001 Hurricane Season, Hurricane Research Division’s field experiment activities will be expanded and conducted in collaboration with CAMEX-4 (Convective and Mesoscale Experiment).  CIRA will again coordinate scheduling and collection of RSO and SRSO data sets.


  • Brazil Fire Project

    Connell, Gosden, Dostalek

    Upon request of researchers at the Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources and the Center for Weather Forecasts and Climate Studies, two Brazilian organizations partaking in a Brazil fire detection project, a number of changes to the GOES-8 fire detection algorithms supplied to the two groups by the RAMM Team were implemented and made available.

  • Lubbock Dryline Experiment

    Weaver, Dostalek

    An abstract titled “Left-moving thunderstorms in a high Plains, weakly-sheared environment” by John Weaver (NOAA), Jack Dostalek (CIRA), and Loren Phillips (NWS) was submitted for presentation at the 18th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting in July 2001.

  • GOES-11 Science Test

    Knaff, Weaver, Hillger

    Additional analysis was performed on special 10-minute interval Sounder data collected during the checkout period for GOES-11.  Basic conclusions include; 1)  temporal variability to the 72% level (0.85 correlation) requires that many Sounder bands be collected at least every 30 minutes, as opposed to the hour interval now employed by GOES, 2)  spatial variability to the 72% level (0.85 correlation) requires that many Sounder bands be collected (and retrievals produced) at 20 km or less resolution.  


    DeMaria, Dostalek, Zajac

    Motivated by PACJET and unique lightning activity along the Pacific Coast, Bard Zajac has started to examine lightning activity in land-falling extratropical cyclones using AWIPS.  Lightning along the Pacific Coast occurs mostly during the cold season and is presumably produced by these cyclones.  However, the exact source of lightning is unknown.  Research on other storm types suggests that lightning may be produced by strongly-sheered shallow, isolated convective cells, or broader areas of mesoscale ascent and stratiform precipitation, or possibly some combination of the two.  Zajac has already developed one AWIPS case from 29 November 2000 to determine the source of lightning and access the forecast value of lightning data.

    Figure 1.  a) Map showing percent of cloud-to-ground lightning produced during the winter months (Oct-Apr) 1995-1999, and b) the normalized production of cloud-to-ground lightning from 1995-1999 at Eureka, CA.

Technology Transfer & Training

  • Web Pages

    DeMaria, Gosden, Dostalek

    A Hurricane Mitch web page was added to the RAMM web site.  For more information, visit:

    A Wakefield Wind Climatology web page was added to the RAMM web site.  For more information, visit:

    A research web page regarding Temporal and Spectral Differences of Water Vapor Radiances were added to the RAMM web site.  For more information visit:

  • Satellite Interpretation Discussion



    Title Author Date Web site
    Doughnut Hurricanes
    J. Knaff October 17
    AMSU and the Pacific Land Falling Jets Experiment (PACJET) J. Dostalek November 30
    Volcanic Ash and Hot Spot Detection Using Multi-spectral Imagery D. Hillger December 20

  • RAMSDIS Online

    Watson, Hillger, Gosden

    Due to the poor performance, the Online image server, HADAR, was upgraded. This resulted in a significant improvement, but splitting the load from the current Online image server is being considered.


    Motta, Bikos, Zajac, Weaver, Zehr

    Two rounds of beta-tests were conducted on the VISIT training session for Medium Range Forecasting being developed by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.  The sessions will begin to be offered in January 2001.  An additional beta-test was held for a new session titled “An Ingredient -based Approach to Forecasting Winter Precipitation.”  A beta test was also conducted for a new session titled “dProg/dT.”  This session focuses on the evaluation and use of model and diagnostic trends.

    B. Motta reviewed a teletraining session entitled “Precipitation Type Forecasting” which was developed and presented four times this week by Dam Baumgardt (the Science and Operations Officer at LaCrosse, WI) to central region forecast offices. The training covers the microphysics and interpretation of observed and forecast data in precipitation type forecasting.

    A CD-ROM containing most of the VISIT teletraining sessions to date was sent to Ralph Petersen of the National Weather Service National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

    On 9 August, Bard Zajac presented a draft of the second VISIT lightning session using VISITview Internet software. Reviewers were from NWS Training Center, NWS Pueblo CO, OSF OTB, NESDIS headquarters, and VISIT. The session covered a number of lightning topics including physics, detection, storm electrification, lightning behavior of various storm types (AWIPS cases), and climatology.

    Bard Zajac is developing a two-part teletraining session on lightning meteorology.  Part One examines thunderstorm electrification and lightning activity in storms ranging in scale from isolated storms to mesoscale convective systems.  Part Two examines electrification at an advanced level and lightning activity in storms of varying intensity, including severe thunderstorms.  Part One has been successfully tested and will be offered as teletraining starting in January.  Part Two is in development and is planned for release for the spring 2000 severe weather season.

    The VISIT teletraining session on lake-effect snow developed by D. Bikos and J. Weaver was first delivered on October 25.  During the quarter the session was delivered 7 times to 34 offices and 143 people participated.  The VISIT teletraining session on using AWIPS to evaluate model initializations (IST PCU 7.2.1) developed by B. Motta and Richard Grumm (NWS State College, PA) was first delivered on November 14.  As of December 18, the session was delivered 7 times to 60 offices and 321 people have participated.

    The VISIT teletraining session on natural disaster information cards by J. Weaver was delivered 3 times to 6 offices and 32 people participated during this quarter.

    The VISIT teletraining session on using GOES Rapid Scan Operations (RSO) imagery in AWIPS  (IST PCU 7.4.1) was delivered 2 times to 9 offices and 38 people participated during this quarter.

    During this quarter 42 VISIT teletraining sessions were conducted (20 more than the previous quarter). There were 243 NWS offices participating in these sessions (some offices took more than one session). This is an increase of 151 offices compared to the previous quarter.

    IST PDS/VISIT Teletraining Sessions Summary
    April 1999 through November 29, 2000
    (* certificates through December 11)

    Number of offices
    Unique responses received
    Responses received (includes more than one reply from an office) 
    *Certificates Issued
    Total 170 731 453 728 2423
    Enhanced-V 26 88 56 93 271
    Boundaries 1 12 62 40 61 225
    LTO 17 67 46 67 185
    Lightning  16 86 53 90 283
    RSO 22 71 49 82 247
    Tropical 6 31 14 21 78
    Enhancements 9 47 27 47 108
    Meso Ascent 21 83 40 71 251
    Meso Tools 5 54 35 50 201
    Boundaries 2 8 40 26 45 140
    QuikSCAT 6 31 23 33 102
    5 26 13 20 86
    NDIC 15 29 17 27 59
    Model Init 2 16 14 21 187


    Figure 1.  Results of students evaluations for all teletraining sessions Apr 1999 – November 2000

    Web versions of certain VISIT sessions may be visited at the following addresses:

    Boundary Detection:

    CONUS Cloud to Ground Lightning Climatology:

    Convective Initiation by Low-Level Boundaries:

    Detecting Boundaries:

    Elevated Mesoscale Ascent:

    GOES enhancements/color tables in AWIPS:

    Lake-effect snow (student guide, web based session link temporarily on this page):

    Mesoscale Analyses and Techniques:


    Rapid Scan Operations:

    Tropical Satellite Imagery and Products:


  • VISITview

    Motta, Bikos

    The VISITview software was demonstrated in Nanjing, China as part of a WMO training course on satellite meteorology.  The QuickSCAT winds session was presented to the students in Nanjing, and representatives from Melbourne, Australia, Madison, Wisconsin, and Boulder, Colorado also joined in.

  • Community Outreach

    Weaver, Knaff

    J. Weaver continues as the NOAA representative on the City of Fort Collins’ Project Impact steering committee.  Project Impact is a FEMA-funded effort which provides “seed money” to several cities in each state to develop innovative ideas for disaster mitigation.  His goal is to get FEMA to think of weather  information as a potential mitigation tool.  Part of this effort includes the Natural Disaster Information Card series (see VISIT)

    J. Weaver provided information to a Discovery-Health channel video production team on the Fort Collins Flood of 28 July 1997.  He also reviewed their script for errors regarding flash flood safety advice to be offered on the show.

  • Publications



    Weaver, J.F., J.F. Dostalek, B.C. Motta, and J.F.W. Purdom, 1999:  Severe thunderstorms on 31 May 1996: A satellite training case.  National Weather Digest, 23:4, 3-19.

    Weaver, J.F., E. Gruntfest, and G.M. Levy, 2000:  Two floods in Fort Collins: Learning from a natural disaster. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 81:10, 2359-2366.


    Campbell, G.G. and J.F.W. Purdom, 2001:  Asynchronous stereo height and motion retrieval from satellite observations. J. of Atmos. and Oceanic Technology.

    DeMaria, M., J.A. Knaff, and B.H. Connell, 2001:A tropical cyclone genesis parameter for the Tropical Atlantic, Weather and Forecasting.

    DeMaria, M., and R.E. Tuleya, 2001:  Evaluation of quantitative precipitation forecasts from the GFDL hurricane model.  Precipitation of Extremes: Prediction, Impacts, and Responses81st Annual AMS Meeting, 14-19 January, Albuquerque, NM, Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Chase, T.N., J.A. Knaff, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2001:  Changes in global monsoon circulations: Evidence for a diminishing hydrological cycle?   Int. J. Climatol.

    Chase, T.N., J.A. Knaff, and R.A. Pielke, 2001: Trends in global monsoon circulations: Evidence for a diminished hydrological cycle? 12th Symposium on Global Change Studies and Climate Variations – 81st Annual AMS Meeting, 14-19 January, Albuquerque, NM, Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Kaplan, J., M. DeMaria, 2001: A note on the decay of tropical cyclone winds after landfall in the New England area. J. of Applied Meteorology.

    Kidder, S.Q., J.A. Knaff, and S.J. Kusselson, 2001:  Using AMSU data to forecast precipitation from landfalling hurricanes. Precipitation of Extremes: Prediction, Impacts, and Responses -81st Annual AMS Meeting, 14-19 January, Albuquerque, NM, Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Landsea, C.W., and J.A. Knaff, 2001:  How much “skill” was there in forecasting the strong 1997-98 El Nino and 1998-2000 La Nina events? Climate Variability, the Ocean, and Societal Impacts – 81st Annual AMS Meeting, 14-19 January, Albuquerque, NM, Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Motta, B.C., D.E. BikosB.A. Zajac, S. Bachmeier, T. Whittaker, B. Grant, J. LaDue, A. Mostek, P. Wolf, J.F. Weaver, and R.M. Zehr, 2001:  Recent training and results from the Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training. 17th International Conference on Interactive Information and Processing Systems (IIPS) – 81st Annual AMS Meeting, 14-19 January, Albuquerque, NM, Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Motta, B.C., D.E. BikosB.A. Zajac, S. Bachmeier, T. Whittaker, B. Grant, J. LaDue, A. Mostek, P. Wolf, J.F. Weaver, and R.M. Zehr, 2001:  Recent training and results from the Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training. 10th Symposium on Education – 81st Annual AMS Meeting, 14-19 January, Albuquerque, NM, Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Scofield, R.A., M. DeMaria, and R.M. Alfaro, 2001:  Space-based rainfall capabilities in hurricanes offshore and inland.  Precipitation of Extremes: Prediction, Impacts, and Responses81st Annual AMS Meeting, 14-19 January, Albuquerque, NM, Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Zajac, B.A. and S. A. Rutledge, 2001:  Cloud-to-ground lightning activity in the contiguous United States from 1995-1997.  Mon. Wea. Rev.


    Connell, B.H., K.J. Gould, and J.F.W. Purdom, 2001: High resolution GOES-8 visible and infrared cloud frequency composites over Northern Florida during the summers 1996-1999. Weather and Forecasting.

    Dostalek, J.F., and T.J. Schmit, 2001: GOES sounder derived product imagery: comparisons to radiosondes and use in forecasting severe convection. Weather and Forecasting.

    Grasso, L.D., 2001: Simulation of a left moving cell following storm splitting.  Mon. Wea. Rev.

    Grasso, L.D. and E.R. Hilgendorf, 2001: Observations of anvil reflectivity at 3.9 um using GOES imagery.  Weather and Forecasting.

    Grasso, L.D. and J.F. Weaver, 2001: Horizontal vorticity budget along a simulated supercell outflow boundary.  Mon. Wea. Rev.

    Hillger, D.W., 2001: Detection of important atmospheric and surface features by employing principal component image
    transformation of GOES imagery.  IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

    Knaff, J.A., and R.M. Zehr, 2001: Short-term oscillations of deep convection associated with tropical cyclones. Mon. Wea. Rev.

    Knaff, J.A., J.P. Kossin, M. DeMaria, V.E. Larson, 2001: Nature’s axisymmetric hurricane – “The Doughnut.” J. of Atmospheric Science.

    Nolan, D.S., M.T. Montgomery, and L.D. Grasso, 2001: The wavenumber one instability and trochoidal motion of hurricane-like vortices. J. of the Atmospheric Sciences.

    Pielke, R.A., T.N. Chase, T.G.F. Kittel, J.A. Knaff, and J. Eastman, 2001: Analysis of 200 mb zonal wind for the period 1958-1997.  Climate Dynamics.

    Weaver, J.F., J.F. Dostalek, and L. Phillips, 2001: Left-moving thunderstorms in a high plains, weakly-sheared environment.  18th conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting and the 14th Conference on  Numerical Weather Prediction, 30 July-2 Aug, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Amer. Meteor. Soc.

  • Training



    Participant Dates Place Course
    K. Fryer
    December 6
    Colorado St. Univ. Excel Charts and Graphs
    K. Fryer
    November 28
    Fort Collins, CO Management Skills for Secretaries, Administrative Assistants, and Support Staff 
    H. Gosden
    T. Smith
    November 5 & 6 Boulder, CO LDM/Unidata
    D. Hillger
    October 25
    Greenbelt, MD Training session for the Earth Observing System (EOS) Data Gateway at Goddard Space Flight Center
    J. Weaver
    October 4
    Fort Collins, CO Hazardous Weather and Flood Preparedness


    Participant Dates Place Course/Talk
    D. Hillger
    October 26
    Camp Springs, MD Satellite Analysis Branch Training – PCI software for volcanic ash and hot spot detection 
    J. Weaver December 1 University of Wyoming The Fort Collins Flood of 28 July 1997: Experiencing the Event and the Aftermath.
    M. DeMaria
    B. Connell
    December 5
    through 15
    Nanjing, China Satellite Meteorology Coursee
  • Internal Presentations
    Date  Presentor    Topic 
    December 11 L. Grasso Results from a Supercell Simulation Using RAMS3B, RAMS429, and RAMS4320
    November 28 B. Zajac Lightning Activity Along the Pacific Coast from 1995-99
    November 2 Rosario Alfaro Satellite-Based Precipitation Estimates and Application to Central America
    October 10 L. Grasso A Numerical Simulation of a Long Lived Left Moving Thunderstorm


  • Systems Administration

    Molenar, Gosden, Watson

    Additional circuits have been added in all computer labs.  An inventory of all systems has been completed.  Unused systems will be removed and an effort will be made to consolidate tasks on other systems to free up some desk space.

    Weaver and Dostalek will receive new systems capable of running McIDAS-NT.

    The testing of McIDAS on Linux will begin as soon as staff is available.  This platform is hopefully the replacement for OS/2 on systems that do not have enough resources to support McIDAS-NT.

    The Tropical HP C3000 has been configured.  Migration of all tropical applications will begin after Jan. 1.  The VISIT HP C3000 is currently being configured and will eventually be located in Brian and Dan’s office.

    A reconfiguration plan has been developed for the older HP’s (neptune, scorpio, and ulysses) to provide disk mirroring on all system and applications drives and for more efficient use of resources.  System reconfiguration will begin after Jan. 1.  Disk space quotas will be enabled at that time.

    A 240 GB SNAP drive has been ordered.  We will evaluate the disk performance to provide additional disk space to both PC and UNIX platforms.

    Three systems, including a laptop notebook, were upgraded to Windows 2000.  A plan to upgrade the other system Operating System is underway.  Due to a software incompatibilities, a few systems will still be running Windows NT operating system.  It is required to run McIDAS-NT for satellite image analysis.

    Two staff members from the Infrastructure group completed the LDM training at UNIDATA.  LDM is a data distribution software that is utilized to retrieve our AWIPS data.


  • Travel



    Team Member
    M. DeMaria Washington, DC USWRP Meeting/GIMPAP Review GIMPAP 10/1 – 6
    B. Motta Gaithersburg, MD NWA Annual Meeting VISIT 10/14 – 19
    T. Smith Madison, WI McIDAS Users’ Group Meeting GIMPAP 10/15 – 18
    H. Gosden Madison, WI McIDAS Users’ Group Meeting VISIT 10/15 – 18
    R. Zehr Melbourne, Australia 4th WMO Southern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone Training Course Australia
    Bureau of
    10/19 – 
    D. Hillger Washington, DC EOSDIS Training, Goddard Space Flight Center
    RAMSDIS, SOCC Updates, NOAA Science Center
    GIMPAP 10/24 – 27
    R. Alfaro Fort Collins, CO Annual CIRA Visit Mitch 10/30 – 11/3
    H. Gosden
    T. Smith
    Boulder, CO LDM, Unidata Class x 11/6 & 7
    M. DeMaria Miami, FL Tropical Cyclone Prediction Center Meeting TPC 11/8-10
    J. Weaver
    B. Motta
    D. Bikos
    Laramie, WY Atmospheric Science Department Meeting
    University of Wyoming
    x 12/1
    M. DeMaria Nanjing, China
    Tokyo, Japan
    Satellite Meteorology Training ORA 12/5 – 14
    B. Connell Nanjing, China Satellite Meteorology Training WMO 12/5 – 15
    D. Hillger Washington, DC Hyper-spectral Meeting OSD 12/11 & 12
    J. Dostalek Boulder, CO ETL, PACJET Meeting GIMPAP 12/13 & 14
    B. Zajac San Francisco, CA AGU Fall Meeting VISIT 12/13 – 20

  • List of Acronyms

    AMS:  American Meteorological Society

    AMSU:  Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit

    ARAD:  Atmospheric Research and Applications Division

    AWIPS: Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System

    CAMEX:  Convection and Moisture Experiment

    CG: Cloud to Ground

    CIMSS: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies

    CIRA: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere

    COMET: Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training

    CONUS: Continental U.S.

    CRAD:  Climate Research and Applications Division

    CSU:  Colorado State University

    EUMETSAT:  European Meteorological Satellite

    FEMA:  Federal Emergency Management Agency

    FTP: File Transfer Protocol

    GIMPAP: Goes I-M Product Assurance Plan

    GOES: Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

    HRD:  Hurricane Research Division

    IR: Infrared

    LAPS: Local Analysis and Prediction System

    LES:  Lake Effect Snow

    McIDAS: Man Computer Interactive Data Access System

    NASA:  National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    NCAR: National Center for Atmospheric Research

    NDIC: Natural Disaster Information Cards

    NESDIS: National Environmental Satellite Data Information Service

    NHC: National Hurricane Center

    NIDS: NEXRAD Information Dissemination Service

    NOAA:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    NWS: National Weather Service

    NWSFO: National Weather Service Forecast Office

    OM:  Office of Meteorology

    ORA:  Office of Research and Applications

    PACJET: Pacific Landfalling Jets Experiment

    POES: Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite

    POP: Product Oversight Panel

    RAMMT: Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Team

    RAMS:  Regional Atmospheric Modeling System

    RAMSDIS: Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Team Advanced Meteorological Satellite Demonstration and Interpretation System

    RMTC: Regional Meteorological Training Center

    ROL: RAMSDIS Online

    SAB: Satellite Applications Branch

    SOCC: Satellite Operations Control Center

    SOO: Science Operations Officer

    SRSO/RSO: Super Rapid Scan Operation/Rapid Scan Operation

    STEPS: Severe Thunderstorm Electrification and Preciptation Study

    TPC: Tropical Prediction Center

    USWRP: United States Weather Research Program

    UTC:  Universal Time Coordinated

    VISIT: Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training

    WMO: World Meteorological Organization

    WV:  Water Vapor