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RAMMB Scientific Quarterly Report - 1st Quarter FY03


  • Severe Storms

    A formal comment on the GOES-11 satellite article entitled “Satellite Observations of a Severe Supercell Thunderstorm on 24 July 2000 made during the GOES-11 Science Test” by J. Weaver (NESDIS/RAMM), J. Knaff, D. Bikos (CIRA), G. Wade (NESDIS/CIMSS), and J. Daniels (NESDIS/ORA), along with a formal reply by the original authors, appears in the October 2002 issue of  Weather and Forecasting.  PDF versions of the original paper (PDF1), the Klimowski and Bunkers Comment (PDF2), and the formal reply (PDF3) can be viewed here.

    A paper describing the thunderstorm event of 25 May 1999 near Lubbock, TX has undergone in-house review, and reviewers’ suggestions/comments are now being addressed prior to its submission to the journal Weather and Forecasting.

    A WES (Weather Event Simulator) case covering the severe and tornadic thunderstorms that occurred in central Kansas on 07 May 2002 is being assembled by the Dodge City, Kansas NWS forecast office.  RAMM Team is supplying satellite data and image interpretation for the study. 

    RAMM/CIRA researchers continue to work with NWS forecasters at the Dodge City and Hastings, Kansas forecast offices on a case study for the WES (Weather Event Simulator).  The case involves a tornadic storm event that occurred on 7 May 2002 in central Kansas for which satellite and WSR-88D data were equally important during different portions of the event.  The team has acquired data for the case and completed a preliminary data analysis.

  • Tropical Cyclones

    (DeMaria, Zehr, Knaff, Dostalek)

    The recently developed Statistical Typhoon Intensity Prediction Scheme (STIPS) and Decay STIPS were installed in July of 2002 into the operational suite of products at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Pearl Harbor, HI with the assistance of B. Sampson at the Naval Research Laboratory.   STIPS, which is a statistical model that utilizes forecast synoptic and thermodynamic information along with climatology and persistence to provide 5-day tropical cyclone intensity forecasts in the western North Pacific, was developed under a grant from the Office of Naval Research.  Under the same proposed research a 5-day statistical typhoon intensity forecast derived from climatology and persistence (ST5D) was created.   ST5D was installed during July of 2001.  The forecasts made by both these models have outperformed any other intensity guidance available at JTWC.   The homogeneous verification of these models, the official JTWC forecast and persistence for 2002 is given in Table 1.  Note the verification is based upon preliminary best track intensity data and storms of all intensities are included. 

      12 (426) 24 (394) 36 (354) 48 (310) 72 (228)
    JTWC 5.9 8.8 11.9 14.5 17.4
    STIPS (decay) 6.4 10.6 13.5 16.3 21.3
    STIPS  6.6 11.0 14.5 17.4 22.8
    ST5D 6.6 10.5 14.7 17.3 21.2
    Persistence 8.8 16.2 22.3 27.1 36.3

    Table 1.   The  mean absolute tropical cyclone intensity forecast errors in the western North Pacific Basin for the period 11 July – 18 Dec 2002 for a homogeneous sample.  Listed are the official Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), STIPS, decay STIPS, 5-d STIFOR, and persistence at 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72-h.  The number of forecasts used in this verification is given in parentheses.  This verification is based upon preliminary best track information and includes tropical cyclones of all strengths. 

    A manuscript entitled, “Annular Hurricanes” by J. A.  Knaff, J. P. Kossin, and M. DeMaria, was accepted by Weather and Forecasting and is now in press. The paper documents the existence of  hurricanes, which are nearly symmetric with little outer rainband activity, and have large eyes. The environment in which annular hurricanes occur and objective method for identifying them in an operational setting is also described.  See and look in Weather and Forecasting for an abstract and the full text.

    A manuscript entitled “Statistical, Five-Day Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts Derived From Climatology and Persistence” has also been accepted by Weather and Forecasting and is now in press.  The paper describes the development and performance of statistical tropical cyclone intensity forecasting models designed to make forecasts in the Atlantic, eastern North Pacific and the western North Pacific, which utilized climatology and persistence (CLIPER) as a basis.  See and look in Weather and Forecasting for an abstract and the full text.

    Progress has been made on developing a method to obtain AMSU data at NHC in real time for a tropical cyclone analysis. J. Dostalek wrote code which converts the AMSU data from BUFR format to ASCII format, and code which generates input time and location information of tropical cyclones to the AMSU subsecting routine.

    Existing code was modified to allow retroactive processing of AVN model data for use in AMSU retrievals of tropical cyclones over the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.  The code performs a conversion from grib format to a packed ASCII format.

    Progress was made on updating a large dataset for verification of tropical cyclone rainfall forecasts.  Bob Kuligowski (NESDIS/ORA) provided satellite rainfall estimates for ground falling storms from 2001 and 2002, and Bob Tuleya (GFDL) is providing GFDL model rainfall forecasts for these same cases.  These new cases will be added to previously available cases from 1995-1999.  A manuscript for Monthly Weather Review will be prepared comparing the model and satellite rainfall estimates.

    A paper entitled “Environmental Vertical Wind Shear with Hurricane Bertha (1996),” by R. Zehr, was accepted for publication in Weather and Forecasting

    Research continues using IR asymmetries and numerical model initial analysis fields to evaluate environmental vertical wind shear.  Real-time analyses and images with this season’s tropical cyclones are being archived for later study along with the CIMSS real-time vertical wind shear analysis.  A larger sample study is planned as “follow on” research to the case studies with Hurricane Bertha and other 2001-2002 hurricanes. 

    The data processing for 2002 Atlantic hurricane season has been completed, and is about 90% complete for the 2002 Eastern Pacific season. The total archive now is comprised of about 250 tropical cyclones, with approximately 60,000 McIDAS images with 4 km resolution on a Mercator projection, which are stored on a set of 35 CDs. This data set continues to be extremely valuable for qualitative and quantitative tropical cyclone analysis. 

    A study is underway to investigate the effect of satellite spatial resolution on hurricane IR temperature measurements within the eye.  The purpose is to study the feasibility of doing temperature retrievals within hurricane eyes with an IR sounder.  A 38-channel, 1 km MODIS imagery  file with Hurricane Isidore’s eye, was obtained from the NASA’s on-line archive, and successfully ingested into MCIDAS.  Archived MODIS and AVHRR 1 km IR images are being used to complement the work done with GOES images. 

    Software developed at NOAA’s Forecast Systems Laboratory for advanced data compression has been applied to GOES satellite imagery, as a part of a project to make real-time GOES data available on the NOAA WP-3D aircraft that are used for hurricane research and reconnaissance. New workstations for the P-3 aircraft were purchased by HRD as part of this project, and the complete software package should be available by the start of the 2003 hurricane season. A preliminary test of these capabilities was performed by R. Zehr, who flew on the P-3 aircraft during a research mission into tropical storm Hanna on September 13, 2002. 

Applications Development

  • GOES Product Improvement and Development

    There has been recent discussion about the difference in albedo between GOES-8 and GOES-10 visible images.  The albedo difference is due to the fact that the GOES-8 Imager is older, resulting in slightly darker visible images than those captured by GOES-10.  This difference is easily seen when visible albedo images (corrected for variations in solar zenith angle) from the two satellites are merged into one.  This was done two ways: one image with GOES-10 overlapping GOES-8 and the other image with GOES-8 overlapping GOES-10.   Click on images to enlarge.


    Figure Caption: Merged GOES-8 and GOES-10 visible albedo images for near local noon over Colorado (~1900 UTC) on 1 November 2002.  In one image GOES-8 is written over GOES-10; in the other image GOES-10 is written over GOES-8.  In either image a contrast in brightness is seen along the entire line where the two GOES images meet.

    The surface/skin temperature product developed for the GOES Imager has been improved by generalizing the software so that a similar product can be generated for the GOES Sounder and for other satellite instruments with slightly different split-window bands.  Examples of the skin temperature product for both the GOES-8 and GOES-10 Sounder are available in the attached images. Click on images to enlarge. 


    Figure caption: Surface/skin temperature images generated from GOES-east and GOES-west Sounder split-window bands 7 and 8 at 12.0 µm and 11.0 µm respectively.  A color table emphasizing warmer temperatures has been applied to the images.  Colder cloud-top temperatures are represented by gray shades.

    Future GOES 

    The GOES-R Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) will have red and blue visible bands, but the inclusion of a green band (which would be required for true color imagery) is still being debated.  One suggestion by the GOES Users Group is to include a green band, but highly compress the data before transmission.  At the request of the GOES Users Group, the impact of high compression was evaluated using a green visible band (0.55 µm) from MODIS data.  The figures below show a 1 km resolution MODIS image for a scene over south Florida after compression factors of 1 (no compression), 10, 20, 30, 50 and 100.  Results indicate that imagery for qualitative use (such as true color) can be obtained for “lossy” compression factors of up to 30 to 1.  For compression rates higher than this, some of the small-scale features such as the cumulus field over Florida start to become obscured.  The advanced wavelet compression routine developed by NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory was used for this study.  See http://procyon/Weeklies/teams/cira/cira.htm

  • Climatology
    Processing of the U.S. climatologies continues on schedule.  Products completed include monthly large sector composites for September, October, and November 2002, and wind regime composites for August, September and October.  In addition, monthly wind regime composites covering the past five years has been completed for August, September and October.

    A percent cloud cover product determined from channel 4 (10.7 µm) was added to the large sector composite processing starting in October 2002, using the same method developed for the Cheyenne project. 

    On November 7, a presentation on various satellite cloud climatologies was given to CIRA visitors Dr. John Zapotocny from Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) and Ed Hume from University Partnering for Operational Support (UPOS).

  • Lake Effect Snow

    Bikos and Weaver completed development on a new VISIT teletraining session called “Lake-effect snow II.”  This is a follow-up on the first VISIT teletraining session called “Lake-effect snow,” also by Bikos and Weaver.  Other co-authors include Tom Niziol (NWS Buffalo), Greg Mann (NWS Detroit), Stephen Jascourt (COMET), and Randy Graham (NWS Grand Rapids).  


  • Mesoscale Modeling
    A paper entitled “Analysis of 10.7 µm brightness temperatures of a simulated thunderstorm with two-moment microphysics” by L. Grasso and T. Greenwald was submitted to Monthly Weather Review. 

    The submitted paper challenges the notion that the enhanced-V at the top of severe thunderstorms can be explained by 1) treating the overshooting top (OST) as something similar to a solid body obstacle within the environmental flow at anvil level, and 2) assuming that the V-shape is formed when slow-moving thin stratospheric plumes from the OST advect downstream to warm the center of the “V.”  Instead, modeling results suggest that 1) the OST creates a small bubble of high pressure with diverging flow at anvil level, 2) the source of the cold air along the edge of the enhanced-V actually originates within the OST, and 3) the cold air around the edge of the OST (that becomes the enhanced-V) is advected quickly down stream by accelerated flow which has been deflected around the larger high pressure associated with the anvil, while the air directly downwind from the OST advects more slowly and sinks.

    Click on image to enlarge.

    Figure 5.   Shaded and contoured values of 10.7 µbrightness temperature (degrees K) along with ground relative horizontal wind vectors at anvil level.  Thin lines are pressure contours showing the location of the larger, upstream region of high pressure associated with the thunderstorm anvil.

Field Experiments

  • GOES-12 Science Tests

    GOES-12 Science Test results are being compiled in a  NOAA Technical Report to be completed sometime in early 2003.

  • Brazil Fire Project
    A problem persists with the Brazil Fires RAMSDIS system, where system performance degrades considerably within a few days to a point where the system almost comes to halt.  After many failed attempts at troubleshooting the system, it was determined that the system be returned to CIRA for further diagnosis.  Our collaborators in Brazil are working to get an export license to ship the system back.  At that point, the system will be updated with the latest McIDAS software.
  • Lubbock Dryline Experiment

    A paper on the thunderstorm event of 25 May 1999 near Lubbock, TX has undergone in-house review, and reviewers’ suggestions/comments are now being addressed prior to its submission to the journal Weather and Forecasting.


    Automated ingest of ATOVS (Advanced TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder) data from NOAA-17 has been implemented.

Outside Interactions

  • National Weather Service

    D. Lindsey assisted Lance Bosart (SUNY/Albany) and Warren Snyder (NWS/ALY) in preparing and presenting an interactive winter weather discussion for Eastern Region NWS offices using VISITview. 

    D. Lindsey is collaborating with Steve Hodanish (NWS/PUB) on a study focusing on a thunderstorm which produced a deadly lightning strike near Pikes Peak.  CIRA is providing visible and IR satellite data for the study.  
    J. Weaver and D. Bikos completed their work with T. Niziol (NWS, Buffalo) and G. Mann (NWS, Detroit) on the new “Advanced Lake Effect Snow Forecasting” VISIT teletraining session.

    J. Weaver and D. Bikos continue their collaboration with NWS forecasters at the Dodge City and Hastings, Kansas forecast offices on a case study for the WES (Weather Event Simulator).  The case involves a tornadic storm event that occurred on 7 May 2002 in central Kansas for which satellite and WSR-88D data were equally important during different portions of the event.  The team is currently acquiring data for the case and beginning preliminary data analysis.

    Data from the Objective Dvorak Technique (ODT) (CIRA version) were provided on request for post analysis of tropical cyclones both at Tropical Prediction Center (TPC) and NWSFO Guam (through Mark Lander, University of Guam). 

  • Universities

    RAMM Branch members M. DeMaria, J. Knaff, and J. Dostalek are assisting with a paper to be submitted to a peer reviewed journal.  The paper’s lead author is Colorado State University student Rich Moore and is entitled “A Three-Dimensional Temperature and Wind Analysis of a Polar Low Utilizing the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit.”

    GOES RSO animations of meso-vortices in Tropical Storm Gustav, on September 9-10, 2002, were provided to Professor Michael Montgomery, Colorado State University Atmospheric Science Department, to aid in his research on the role of meso-vortices in tropical cyclone intensity and structure changes. 

  • World Meteorological Organization - WMO

    John Knaff attended the WMO International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones – V (IWTC-V) in Cairns, Australia 2- 12 December.  He served as a member of three sub groups that discussed 1) Tropical Cyclone Definitions, 2) Environmental Effects on Tropical Cyclone Structure and Structure change (including intensity), and 3) Seasonal Tropical Cyclone Prediction.  This input was summarized in a WMO Tropical Meteorology Research Program Report Series No. 67.  He also participated in the main purpose of the meeting, which was to develop operational, research and WMO specific recommendations to be the focus of the next four years until IWTC-VI.  A presentation also was made concerning the CIRA AMSU-based tropical cyclone intensity and structure algorithms. 

  • International Activities

    Brazil Project:

    A problem persists with the Brazil Fires RAMSDIS system, where system performance degrades considerably within a few days to a point where the system almost comes to halt.  After many failed attempts at troubleshooting the system, it was determined that the system be returned to CIRA for further diagnosis.  Our collaborators in Brazil are working to get an export license to ship the system back.  At that point, the system will be updated with the latest McIDAS software.

    Japanese Interaction:

    Mr. Kotaro Bessho from the Typhoon Research Division of the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) arrived at CIRA in early October. He will be working with RAMM Team on developing and improving AMSU tropical cyclone analysis algorithms for the western North Pacific basin.  He plans to use QuikSCAT data to help validate the AMSU-derived surface wind fields.  Mr. Bessho will be at CIRA for about one year. 

    MITCH Reconstruction Project:

    The transition from GOES-8 to GOES-12 requires an upgrade in the McIDAS software that was used in the Hurricane Mitch RAMSDIS systems.  The scope of this transition entails an upgrade of the McIDAS software from version 7.7 to 2002b, a packaging that includes the upgrade installation scheme with installation documentation, deployment of the package, and the installation of the software at each of the sites.  The McIDAS software upgrade is 70% complete and the packaging scheme has been determined to be an installation from a CD containing the new software and the updates.  The deployment phase is scheduled for late-January/early February with the completion of the upgrade by the end of February.

    The talk “Use of Operational Satellite Data in Central America to Support Disaster Management” by B. Connell, M. DeMaria, V. Castro, R. Alfaro, and J. Sessing, was presented at the Pecora 15/Land Satellite Information IV Conference held November 8-15 in Denver, Colorado.  The talk chronicled the efforts to distribute GOES digital satellite imagery and provide training on its use to Central American countries most affected by Hurricane Mitch.

    RMTC Project:

    GOES-8 imagery for September 2002 through November, 2002 were sent to the Regional Meteorological Training Centers (RMTCs) in Costa Rica and Barbados.  The archives are being used to look at cloud frequency during the rainy and dry seasons and detect local variations from year to year.  The archived imagery also provides access to examples for use in satellite training efforts.

    The monthly cloud frequency composites for September – November 1997-2002 by 10.7 µm temperature threshold technique for Costa Rica.  Click on above image.

    A comparison of cloud frequency derived by temperature threshold of 10.7 µm imagery for September – November 1998 – 2002 for Barbados.  Click on above image.

    The following web pages continue to provide on-line imagery in gif and jpg format over Central and South America and the Caribbean:

    SICA Project:

    The project officially ended on December 31, 2001, but a web page displaying satellite precipitation estimates and fire products continues to operate:

    Indo-US Workshop: 

    A summary of the collaborative tropical cyclone research with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) was prepared for presentation at the Indo-US Workshop to be held December 16-18 in Calverton MD.  Jaime Daniels (ORA) agreed to give the talk at the workshop.  As part of this project, Mr. S.R. Kalsi from IMD visited RAMM in March 2002.  Satellite applications and data sets were evaluated in detailed case studies of the three intense cyclones in the North Indian Ocean during 1999.  A 45-page Project Report was completed at that time.

Technology Transfer and Training

  • Web Pages
    The RAMM Team Infrastructure page has been upgraded to include Infrastructure Group goals, hardware procurement plans and status, and quarterly project status and human resource allocation.  The hardware procurement plans and status have also been sent to ORA.

    Web-based versions for all VISIT training sessions can be found at:

    The following web pages are still available:

    Hurricane Mitch:

    Wakefield Wind Climatology:

    Temporal and Spectral Differences of Water Vapor Radiances:

  • VISITView

    R. Zehr presented two training sessions for the WMO Tropical Cyclone Workshop, in Melbourne, Australia.  The workshop was organized by Australia Bureau of Meteorology Training Center (BMTC).  Mick Pope (BMTC) was the workshop leader.  Participants represented the following countries: Australia, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Zimbabwe, Niue, Mozambique, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, Tonga, and Madagascar. 

    Information on operational procedures for subtropical cyclones at the Tropical Prediction Center (TPC) was added to the VISIT session, in addition to other minor changes.  The information along with characteristics used to evaluate subtropical to tropical cyclone transition were provided by Rick Knabb (SOO TPC). 


    All sites have been notified of RAMSDIS-OS2 sunset March 31, 2003.  ETL and ORA have opted to purchase their own upgraded systems, which will be configured at CIRA in early 2003. 

    Work is currently underway to upgrade RAMSDIS systems in light of the GOES-12 transition.  Plans are to upgrade all in-house systems and supported outside systems to McIDAS 2002b.  Part of this plan is to upgrade hardware and consolidate some of RAMMT Research systems.  A new GOES-East/GOES-West was installed that combined two older RAMSDIS systems.  This system has 550 frames and handles all the GOES-East and GOES-West RAMSDIS Online product generations.  Also upgraded is our RMTC test system and RMTC product server.

    H. Gosden and D. Watson attended the 2002 McIDAS User’s Group meeting on October 9-10.  The SSEC presentations highlighted the improvements in the ADDE server, Graphical User Interface (GUI), and creation of new command, GEO, that simplified the image retrieval and display.  The MODIS HDF files are now included with the McIDAS-2002 installation, thus eliminating the need to install an additional module. 

    The Manager of McIDAS User Services (Dee) gave a talk on “MUG Information” and discussed the supported Operating Systems (OS), and particular interest for us was the supported systems under the PC systems.  Currently, SSEC supports Windows-NT 4.0, Solaris Intel 8, and Red Hat Linux 7.2, and will continue to do so in 2003.  Dee had indicated that SSEC will very likely sunset McIDAS-NT after 2003 because Microsoft is going to stop their support for Windows-NT in March of next year.  But with the sunset of Windows2000 by Microsoft not too far behind, she is not sure whether SSEC is going to support Windows2000 (Windows2000 is the platform we are using at this time).  The issue is not whether they’re going to support Windows OS, but rather to support Windows2000 or Windows XP.  I’ve made a comment to Dee that CIRA/RAMM would like to see them support Windows2000 after 2003, but that we will make an effort to try and run Windows XP OS and give them feedback afterwards.  I’ve also requested to her that she make an inquiry to the other MUG sites sometime next year before making their final decision, and she promised that she would do so.

  • AWIPS Development/FSL Interaction

    LDM 5.2 has been installed on the new Linux box.   Testing of ingest of NOAAPORT products and compatibility issues with D2D 5.2.2 is underway.   D. Molenar is working with CIMSS, COMET and Unidata staff to document system installation and configuration procedures.  An email list for exchange of information about the non-NWS D2D/AWIPS systems has been established, and efforts are underway to obtain new D2D releases in a more timely fashion.


    A multi-author paper describing the VISIT project was prepared this quarter.  The manuscript, entitled “VISIT — Bringing Training to Weather Service Forecasters Using a New Distance Learning Tool” will be submitted to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society for publication.

    Development of a new VISIT teletraining session entitled “Lake-effect snow II” was completed this quarter by J. Weaver and D. Bikos.  This is a more advanced, follow-up session to the first VISIT teletraining session entitled “Lake-effect snow,” also by Bikos and Weaver.  The authors have been working with Tom Niziol (NWS Buffalo), Greg Mann (NWS Detroit), Stephen Jascourt (COMET), and Randy Graham (NWS Grand Rapids) in a collaborative effort. 

    During this quarter 43 VISIT teletraining sessions were delivered to 796 students from 277 NWS offices.

    Here are two example comments taken from evaluation forms for this session:

    “This session has a lot of valuable information.  The information on the model schemes helps in determining which models to use as guidance for lake effect snow.  I like the emphasis on looking for disturbances that will enhance or disrupt the ongoing lake effect snow bands.  The case studies are excellent.”

    “We really appreciate the case studies.  They are very useful in understanding how to apply techniques and to know what we should be looking for in these types of events. Dan and John did a great job!!”

    New VISIT teletraining that debuted this quarter:  “Lake-Effect Snow II (taught by D. Bikos and J. Weaver),” “Anticipating Mesoscale Band Formation in Winter Storms” (taught by David Novak of NWS Eastern Region), and “TROWAL Identification” (taught by Scott Lindstrom at CIMSS).

    A training certificate of completion is sent out to participants who have returned evaluations.  The following graph shows the total number of certificates issued since April 1999.  As of December 16, the total is 9668 certificates.

    The following list shows a breakdown of the metrics for each VISIT teletraining session valid April 1999 – December 13, 2002.  For a complete list and description of each VISIT session see this web page:

    The following map illustrates VISIT participation for each NWS WFO with national centers and CWSUs in the list on the right:

    After each VISIT teletraining session an e-mail is sent out to the focal points with an evaluation.  Here is a portion of the evaluation:

    Rate questions #1-9 on a scale of 1 to 5:

    1  –>  strongly disagree
    2  –>  disagree
    3  –>  indifferent
    4  –>  agree
    5  –>  strongly agree

    If you rate a question as 1 or 2, please discuss why.

    1)  The session was easy to follow and the objectives were met.
    2)  The content of the session was appropriate.
    3)  Teletraining was an appropriate method for presenting the session.
    4)  The graphics contributed well to my understanding.
    5)  The instructor provided sufficient interactivity to keep me
        involved in the session and test my learning.
    6)  The instructor explained the material clearly.
    7)  My knowledge and/or skills increased as a result of this session.
    8)  The knowledge and/or skills gained through this session are
        directly applicable to my job
    9) Overall, the session was a good learning experience.

    Below is a graph that summarizes these evaluation questions (from December 2000 through the present):

    The graph shows that the vast majority of respondents answered 4 or 5, meaning they responded very positively to the above 9 questions.


    Web versions of most VISIT sessions can be found 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 I (basic):

    Lake-effect snow II (intermediate/advanced):

    Lightning Meteorology I:

    Lightning Meteorology II:

    Mesoscale Analyses and Techniques:


    Rapid Scan Operations:

    Tropical Satellite Imagery and Products:



    Pre-recorded audio versions of a number of VISIT training sessions are now available on the web.  The downloadable files can be found by going to the list of teletraining sessions at:

    then selecting from titles that have small, microphone-shaped icons preceding the listing.  Each link leads to a page that provides instructions for various aspects of participation in VISIT training, including instructions for downloading audio versions.

  • Community Outreach

    J. Weaver conducted a tour for high school science students interested in satellite meteorology.

  • Training
    M. DeMaria attended a lecture by Norman Schwarzkopf at Colorado State University entitled “Leadership in the 21st Century.” 

    M. DeMaria gave a lecture on tropical cyclones in the Introduction to Meteorology class at CSU being taught by Dr. Tom Vonder Haar. About 40 undergraduate students were in attendance. 

  • Publications

    Weaver, J.F., J.A. Knaff, D.E. Bikos, G.S. Wade, and J.M. Daniels, 2002: Reply to Comments on: Satellite Observations of a Severe Supercell Thunderstorm on 24 July 2000 made during the GOES-11 Science Test. Wea. Forecasting, 17:5, 1118-1127.

    Koyama, T., and D.W. Hillger, 2002:  Verification of GMS-5 VISSR infrared detector using structure function analysis.  3rd International Asia-Pacific Environmental Remote Sensing Symposium.  23-27 October, Hangzhou, China, SPIE, 4895-32. 

    To Submitted


    Chase, T.N., R.A. Pielke Sr., J.A. Knaff, and E. Kalnay, 2003: Changes in global monsoon circulations: evidence for a diminishing hydrological cycle? Natural Hazards.

    Combs, C.L., 2003:  Examining high wind events using satellite cloud cover composites over the Cheyenne, WY region.  AMS 12th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography, 9-13 February, Long Beach, CA.

    DeMaria, M., R. M. Zehr, J.P. Kossin, and J.A. Knaff, 2003:Improvements in Real-Time Statistical Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts Using Satellite Data.  AMS 12th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography, 9-13 February, Long Beach, CA.

    Ellrod, G., B.H. Connell, and D.W. Hillger, 2003: Improved detection of airborne volcanic ash using multi-spectral infrared satellite data. J. Geophys. Res.

    Hillger, D.W., and G.P. Ellrod, 2003: Detection of Important Atmospheric and Surface Features by Employing Principal Component Image Transformation of GOES Imagery. J. Appl. Meteor.

    Hillger, D.W., and S.Q. Kidder, 2003:  A simple GOES skin temperature product.  AMS 12th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography, 9-13 February, Long Beach, CA.

    Knaff, J.A., M. DeMaria, C.R. Sampson, and J.M. Gross, 2003: Statistical, Five-Day Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts Derived from Climatology and Persistence. Wea. Forecasting.

    Knaff, J.A., J.P. Kossin, and M. DeMaria, 2003: Annular Hurricanes. Wea. Forecasting.

    Knaff, J.A., N. Wang, M. DeMaria, J.S. Griffin, and F.D. Marks, 2003:  A demonstration of real-time transmission and display of GOES imagery aboard the NOAA P-3 aircraft during the 2002 hurricane season.  AMS 12th Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography, 9-13 February, Long Beach, CA.

    Zehr, R.M., 2003: Environmental vertical wind shear with Hurricane Bertha (1996). Wea. Forecasting. 


    Demuth, J.L., M. DeMaria, J.A. Knaff, and T.H. Vonder Haar, 2003:  Validation of an Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit (AMSU) tropical cyclone intensity and size estimation algorithm.  J. Appl. Meteor.

    Grasso, L.D., and T.J. Greenwald, 2003:  Analysis of 10.7 um brightness temperatures of a simulated thunderstorm with two-moment microphysics. Mon. Wea. Review.


  • Systems Administration
    The transition from HP RISC systems to PC-based Linux systems is underway.   D. Molenar and D. Watson are the focal points for Linux system administration for the time being, with M. Fassler providing consulting services.
  • Hardware/Software

    All individual workstations have been upgraded according to FY02 goals.  All hardware required for upgrade of CIRA Lab RAMSDIS capabilities has been procured.  Conversion of lab OS/2 RMTC, Sounder, and RSO RAMSDIS systems will begin in Jan. 03.

    Three new systems were procured for RMTC use.  Two systems will remain at CIRA to replace the failing RMTC server and research systems, and the third system has been configured to send to Costa Rica.

    Efforts are underway to update all remote RAMSDIS sites (Mitch, Brazil, and RMTC systems) for GOES-12 ingest. Projected installation completion at all sites is 2/15/03.  The status of the GOES-12 upgrade can viewed at:

    A new laptop was purchased and configured for M. DeMaria.  

    Hardware/software support contracts for 3 HP workstations have been procured for 2003.   The goal is to transition to Linux PC’s in 2004 so that the expensive support for the HPs can be discontinued.

  • Data Infrastructure

    Efforts are underway to streamline large-scale data archive and storage capabilities for the HP and Linux systems.  One 400 GB snap drive has been allocated to VISIT and one 400 GB drive has been allocated to general research.  Access to the drives is extremely slow, as is large data set archive to DLT tape.  New technologies will be evaluated next quarter.

  • Administration

    Quarterly resource allocation statistics indicate that IT staff is making progress towards the goal of focusing less on external system support and more on internal applications development.  Hardware/software upgrades bringing all PC systems to W2K Service Pack 3 and McIDAS 2002b and phase out of OS/2 workstations will provide a standard platform for future projects.  

    M. DeMaria attended the CIRA Advisory Council Meeting on November 20, 2002. This council provides input to CIRA on various issues, including research directions, employee recognition programs, and long term planning. Input was providing on methods for increasing the pool of candidates for CIRA Post Doctoral Fellows. Preparations for the next CIRA review by the NOAA Science Board were also discussed. 

    A proposal to continue the project to make real-time GOES imagery available to the NOAA WP-3D hurricane aircraft was submitted to NESDIS Administrators Fund. 

    The 2002 COMMS Progress Report has been completed, and input has been provided to the 2003 COMMS proposal.


  • Travel

    Travel (Fryer)

    Team Member Destination Purpose Funding Dates
    H. Gosden
    D. Watson
    Madison, WI McIDAS Users Group Meeting
    10/8 – 11
    J. Knaff Miami, FL Hurricane Research Division Visit HRD/P-3 10/12 – 14
    D. Bikos
    D. Lindsey
    Madison, WI IST/VISIT Meeting VISIT 11/7 & 8
    J. Knaff Cairns, Australia 5th WMO International Tropical Cyclones Workshop GIMPAP 11/29 – 12/13

  • Acronyms

    AMS: American Meteorological Society 

    AMSU: Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit 

    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. 

    CoRP:  Cooperative Research Programs

    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 Analysis System 

    MODIS: Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer 

    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 

  • Internal Seminars/Presentations

    All RAMM Team members gave short overviews of their current and near future reseach plans during a visit from Frances Holt, Director CoRP, November 21.

  • Visitors/Meetings
    Date of Visit
    RAMMT Contacts
    Air Force Academy Cadets
     October 25
    U.S. Air Force Academy 
    Colorado Springs, CO
    M. DeMaria
    John Zapotocny
    Ed Hume
    November 7 A.F. Weather Agency (AFWA)
    University Partnering for Operational Support (UPOS) 
    C. Combs
    Fran Holt November 21 NOAA/NESDIS/ORA/ARAD
    Camp Springs, MD
    M. DeMaria


     J. Knaff
    December 2 through 13 
    5th WMO International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones
     Cairns, Australia

    D. Watson attended the McIDAS Users Group meeting in Madison, WI.  Of interest to the RAMMT was news on McIDAS for Windows, which RAMMT uses heavily.  There was a lot of interest in finding a solution to using a UNIX subsystem/x-server that’s free.  Currently we use Exceed and Microsoft Interix.  Progress has been made in the McIDAS community on using the free Cygwin/Xfree86 for McIDAS.  Also of concern are the upcoming GOES satellite changes.  The GOES-12 transition has caused RAMMT to focus on upgrading RAMSDIS systems to a newer version of McIDAS that will support GOES-12.

    A VISIT meeting was held in Madison, WI on November 8.  D. Bikos gave a brief update on plans for future VISIT training sessions, such as fire detection using GOES imagery, as well as an outline for the transition that will take place next year from handling registration/metrics at CIRA to the GeoLearning Learning Management System.  Also, a request was made to have improved collaboration on new AWIPS upgrades/procedures between CIRA, CIMSS, WDTB and COMET.  In order to meet this goal, an email list from individuals at each site was created at CIMSS.  At CIRA, the list includes Bikos, Lindsey and Molenar.  It’s especially important to keep up with AWIPS software upgrades as GOES-12 replaces GOES-8 in the spring.  VISIT instructors will need to know how this new data from GOES-12 will be displayed in AWIPS (in the menu as well as the imagery, and any problems that arise).


    Papers reviewed:
    A manuscript was reviewed for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) and the review was sent electronically to the editor’s staff.