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RAMMB Scientific Quarterly Report - 1st Quarter FY07

Tropical Cyclone Research

  • Tropical Cyclone Product Development

    The PSDI Tropical Cyclone Formation Probability product is currently operational and has been running at SAB throughout the 2006 Atlantic & E. Pacific hurricane seasons  Verification for the 2006 season is currently underway.  Data collection and quality control have been completed for the PSDI Tropical Cyclone Formation Probability project extension, which expands the original product domain of the Atlantic and E. Pacific to include the Central and Western N. Pacific.  Complete Best Track data for the Central & Western N. Pacific basins from 1949-present was acquired in Fall 2006, from which monthly climatological tropical cyclone formation probabilities were developed.  Plots of this climatology can be found at  Water vapor imagery from the GMS-5, GOES-9 and MTSAT-1 satellites  over the Western N. Pacific from 2000-present and from the GOES-10 satellite over the Central N. Pacific have been obtained from various sources.  With data collection complete, product development has begun and first experimental tests are planned for the 2007 typhoon season. (A. Schumacher, M. DeMaria, J. Knaff)

    Last quarter much progress has been made in the development of a tropical cyclone web page.  The purpose of this web site is to provide real-time information on tropical cyclones with particular emphasis on products that were developed by RAMMB.  Current products that are displayed for all active tropical cyclones 1) Current information about the storm, 2) the latest forecast, 3) earth fixed java loops of IR imagery that are part of the automated tropical cyclone IR image archive 4) 1km mercator remapped  visible and IR images from the suite of NOAA satellites and NASA aqua and terra, 5) a six hourly multi-platform satellite-only tropical cyclone wind analysis, 6)  Forecast tracks overlaid upon maps of ocean heat content from NOAA/AOML 7) Temperature and tangential wind radial-height cross-sections derived from AMSU temperature retrievals, 8) Time series of current intensity with AMSU-based intensity estimates overlaid, and 9) Comparisons of current intensity with intensities estimated from the original digital Dvorak methodology.   It is important to note that the web page is integrated with a MS Access database, which allows access to products created for past storms and that the web site is still under construction.  (J. Knaff)

    Three new automated products have been created for the aforementioned web page this quarter.  Two of these are derived from the CIRA/NESDIS AMSU-based intensity and structure estimates that are now run at NCEP Central Operations and disseminated via ftp. The first AMSU-based product is the azimuthal mean radial-height cross sections of temperature and derived tangential winds (assuming gradient balance) as shown in Figure 1.  The second a time series of warning intensity versus the AMSU derived intensities (Figure 2).  The final new product shows intensity estimates by the Digital Dvorak technique.  This product produces a current intensity estimate (CI) in terms of T-numbers and storm intensity (kt) using the latest position and motion vector to estimate the center location.  Figure 3 shows the graphic associated with this product.  At the top are comparisons of the Digital Dvorak intensity vs. the operational intensity estimate and at the bottom the raw T-numbers, a six-hour running mean of the raw T-numbers and the CI-number.  (J. Knaff)

    Click on images to enlarge.

    Figure 1:  An example of the radial-height cross sections of temperature and tangential wind for Typhoon Utor on 10 December at 09 UTC.

    Figure 2: An example of the time series of warning intensity vs. AMSU-based intensity estimates NOAA-15, -16, and -18 for Typhoon Durian.

    Figure 3: An example of the time series plots created from the Digital Dvorak Technique for Typhoon Utor.

    Based upon research presented in Knaff et al. (2003) a new class of hurricanes with a very large and symmetric eyes and little precipitation outside of the eye was discovered. These storms, termed “annular hurricanes”, have intensity change characteristics that are different than the larger sample of storms in that they are more stable, and do not fluctuate in intensity as much as typical hurricanes. Although fairly rare (an average of about one per year in the Atlantic), the identification of these storms provides valuable input to the forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. An annular hurricane index that provides a quantitative method for real-time identification of these storms was developed and implemented on NCEP computer systems utilized by NHC, as part of their operational Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme. The index first identifies whether annular structure is possible, and, if so, provides an index value between 1 and 100 (100 is best) that determines how well the storm fits the annular structure based upon GOES imagery and supplemental information about the storm environment. The index was tested on all Atlantic and east Pacific tropical cyclones from the 2006 hurricane season, and will be run in real time beginning in 2007, or if there is a late season storm in the remainder of 2006. Figure 4 below shows an example of Hurricane Daniel from the 2006 eastern Pacific season that was identified by the index as having strong annular characteristics.

    This new product will provide guidance for helping to improve the operational hurricane intensity forecasts of the National Hurricane Center. Improved intensity forecasts have the potential to benefit the general public in hurricane prone areas. The research for the work was partially supported by the NOAA “Hurricane Initiative” that followed the very active 2004 Atlantic season.  (M. DeMaria, A. Schumacher, J. Knaff)

    Click on image to enlarge.

    Figure 4: GOES infrared imagery of Hurricane Daniel at 0000 UTC on 22 July 2006 when it was identified by the new annular hurricane index as having strong annular characteristics.

    A paper discussing an updated AMSU-based intensity and structure estimation algorithm was published.   Previous work, in which Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) data from the Atlantic Ocean and east Pacific Ocean basins during 1999–2001 were used to provide objective estimates of 1-min maximum sustained surface winds, minimum sea level pressure, and the radii of 34-, 50-, and 64-kt (1 kt 0.5144 m s−1) winds in the northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest quadrants of tropical cyclones, is updated to reflect larger datasets, improved statistical analysis techniques, and improved estimation through dependent variable transforms The developmental regression models resulted in greatly improved intensity and structure estimates.  These algorithms have been running since May 2006 at NCEP Central Operations and provide tropical cyclone intensity estimates for global tropical cyclones being monitored by (NOAA/TPC, NOAA/CPHC, and DOD/JTWC).  (J. Knaff, M. DeMaria)

  • Tropical Cyclone Satellite Studies

    High resolution IR image data sets:  In support of the GOES-R Algorithm Working Group (AWG) project, data sets are being assembled with 1-km Mercator remapped 2560×1920 images.  All available good quality IR window images are being collected for the following Atlantic hurricanes: Lili-02, Isabel-03, Emily-05, Katrina-05, Rita-05, Wilma-05, Stan-05, Alpha-05, Beta-05, and Ernesto-06; along with 2005 eastern Pacific hurricane Hilary.  The data sets are nearly complete and include data from the two MODIS satellites (Terra and Aqua), and AVHRR from satellites NOAA-12, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18.  Not all passes provide good quality images since coverage at the limb is not satisfactory and 1-km resolution data from AVHRR does not have global coverage.  Nevertheless, with hurricanes near the US, 8-12 good quality images per day are often available.  The 1-km IR resolution provides feature detail not well depicted in lower resolution geostationary images.  One example of Hurricane Rita is shown in the figure, with the entire image along with a zoomed in view.  (R. Zehr)

    Figure 1a

    Figure 1b

    Figure 1.  1-km resolution IR image of Hurricane Rita at 1835 UTC, 20 September 2005, from MODIS Aqua.

    Automated methods have been developed to retrieve, decode and archive COSMIC (Constellation Observing System for Meteorological, Ionosphere and Climate) GPS-based soundings produced via radio occultation, which are derived from the Taiwanese FORMOSAT-3 Satellite.  Example coverage is shown in Figure 2 and example soundings of temperature and water vapor pressure from 14.5N 123.4E on 8 November 2006 are shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4. It is hoped that these data will be useful for the study of the thermodynamic environment of tropical cyclones and other studies that need high vertical resolution sounding. These data are freely available in netcdf format from NCAR once the user has registered.  (J. Knaff)

    Figure 2: Locations of COSMIC GPS-based soundings 8 November 2006

    Figure 3: Temperature sounding example at 14.5N, 123.4E taken at 13UTC on 8 November.  Note the x-axis is log scale.

    Figure 4: Same as Figure 3 except for water vapor pressure and the vertical axis extends only to 100 hPa.  

  • Tropical Cyclone External Interactions

    J. Knaff participated in a Risk Management Solutions sponsored expert elicitation.  The purpose of the elicitation was to sample tropical cyclone experts from a variety of backgrounds to determine an expert consensus estimate of Atlantic hurricane activity in the next 5 years. (J. Knaff)

    J. Knaff and R. Zehr attended the WMO 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones in San Jose, Costa Rica.  This invitation-only international meeting of tropical cyclone experts in the forecast and research community (125 delegates from 34 different countries) provided an overview of present tropical cyclone forecasting capabilities and research understanding.  J. Knaff presented results of a multi-author report discussing current capabilities of tropical cyclone intensity and structure forecasting; discussing guidance methods used and verification of operational forecasts.  R. Zehr presented a special session on the use of IR satellite data in forecasting and diagnosing tropical cyclones.  Other duties included leading discussion groups and making/approving WMO recommendations in the area of tropical cyclones.  One of the major accomplishments of the meeting is the ratification by meeting attendees of a WMO endorsed statement on tropical cyclones and global warming which can be found at  (J. Knaff and R. Zehr)

    ENSO forecasts made with the ENSO CLIPER (climatology and persistence) model for the period JFM 1993 – DJF 2006 were supplied to A. Clarke at The Florida State University.  These independent forecasts will be published in a book he is writing for Academic Press (Elsevier).  (J. Knaff)

    M. DeMaria gave two invited presentations on satellite applications to tropical cyclone analysis and forecasting at the fall AGU meeting held in San Francisco, CA.  He also participated in the press conference.

    M. DeMaria gave a seminar at CREST in New York City on satellite applications to tropical cyclone intensity forecasting.
    A manuscript discussing the effects of environmental vertical wind shear and storm motion on the distribution of TRMM-based rainfall within tropical cyclones was published in Monthly Weather Review (PDF).  Co-authors include S. Chen (U. of Miami) and F. Marks (NOAA/AOML/HRD).  Results show that the wavenumber-1 maximum rainfall asymmetry is downshear left (right) in the Northern (Southern) Hemisphere. The rainfall asymmetry decreases (increases) with storm intensity (shear strength). The rainfall asymmetry maximum is predominantly downshear left for shear values > 7.5 m s−1. Large asymmetries are usually observed at greater distance from the TC centers. As TC intensity increases, the rainfall asymmetry maximum shifts upwind to the left. The analysis is further extended to examine the storm motion and the vertical wind shear and their combined effects on TC rainfall asymmetries. It is found that the vertical wind shear is a dominant factor for the rainfall asymmetry when shear is >5 m s−1. The storm motion–relative rainfall asymmetry in the outer rainband region is comparable to that of shear relative when the shear is <5 m s−1, suggesting that TC translation speed becomes an important factor in the low shear environment. The overall TC rainfall asymmetry depends on the juxtaposition and relative magnitude of the storm motion and environmental shear vectors in all oceanic basins.  Figure 1 shows these effects schematically. 

    Figure 1:  Schematics illustrating the observed wavenumber-1 TC rainfall asymmetry (gray shading) in relation to the environmental vertical wind shear (wide white arrow) and TC motion (narrow black arrow) for the Northern Hemisphere. The length of the white arrow indicates the magnitude of shear. (a), (b) The strong shear environment (>7.5 m s−1), where the shear is a dominant factor in determining the rainfall asymmetries. (c)–(f) The relatively weak shear environment, where the TC motion becomes more important in determining the rainfall asymmetries.  (Figure 14, from Chen et. al. 2006)

Mesoscale Research*

  • Mesoscale Research Product Development

    Processing of the large sector U.S. climatologies continues.  Products completed include monthly large sector composites for September, October and November 2006. (C. Combs)

    Processing of wind regime products continues.  Monthly wind regime composites from both channel 1 and channel 4 for August, September and October 2006 have been completed.  Combined monthly products have also been completed for April, July, September and October 2006. We are now back on schedule. (C. Combs)

    A series of general, satellite cloud composites for the summer months of June, July and August have been produced over the Eureka, CA area. The main purpose is to begin studying the marine stratus layer’s movement. A new webpage has been set up displaying general summertime cloud composites time loops from this project. This enables the personnel at Eureka’s National Weather Service (NWS) to view the loops and make comments. The work is a collaboration between CIRA and Eureka’s Science and Operations Officer, Mel Nordquist. Future projects will stratify the composites according to parameters like cloud depth and look into burnoff rates. (C. Combs)

    Development continues on a severe weather nowcasting product which makes use of thunderstorm-top ice crystal size information.  A collaborative effort is underway with Dr. Andy Heymsfield (NCAR/MMM) to use a microphysics parcel model to better understand the relationship between updraft strength and cloud-top ice crystal size.  Some preliminary runs of the model have been completed; one result is shown in the figure below.  Parcel initiated at +16 ˚C resulted in significantly larger ice crystals than those initiated at -6 ˚C.  The model showed little sensitivity to updraft strength, but some important physical mechanisms are neglected.  (D. Lindsey)                                                          

    Figure 1.  Results from Heymsfield homogeneous nucleation model.  Curves indicate ice crystal growth as a parcel ascends at 2 different updraft speeds.  The Low Base parcel was initiated at +16 ˚C, the High Base at -6 ˚C.

    A journal article has been submitted to the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology: “An effective radius retrieval for thick ice clouds using GOES,” by D. Lindsey and L. Grasso (D. Lindsey and L. Grasso).

    As part of the GOES-13 Science Test, super rapid scan operations (SRSO) were conducted on Dec. 12 over the southeast U.S. (30-second imagery) and on Dec. 13 over central Argentina (1-minute imagery).  On both of these days convection was observed, some of it severe in Argentina.  Real-time loops were provided to the Argentina Weather Service for use in their operations, and the following day they provided us the following feedback: “[the GOES-13 data was] a very positive contribution to our forecasters (terrific!).”  Loops for these SRSOs are here: and  These data were saved, and may be used for future severe storm studies.  (D. Lindsey, D. Hillger, J. Knaff)

    Using temperature and moisture profiles from the ATOVS product suite, along with the assumption of hydrostatic and dynamical balance, the wind field was derived for an extratropical low over the Pacific Ocean.  Figure 2 shows the 300-hPa height, total wind speed, and ageostrophic wind barbs.  In this case, the nondivergent component of the wind was derived from the nonlinear balance equation, and the irrotational component from the quasigeostrophic omega equation.  The ageostrophic winds qualitatively agree with theory, for example, supergeostrophic flow in ridges, subgeostrophic flow in troughs, and cross-contour flow in the entrance and exit regions of the jet streak.  This example is part of the work on “atmospheric rivers,” strong poleward fluxes of moisture often associated with heavy rainfall on the U.S. west coast.  (J. Dostalek)

    Figure 2.  300-hPa height (white contours, m), wind speed (yellow contours, ms-1), and ageostrophic wind barbs (half barb 2.5 ms-1, full barb 5 ms-1, pennant 25 ms-1) for a wintertime extratropical cyclone over the Pacific Ocean.

    The trowal (trough of warm air aloft) is a feature of midlatitude cyclones, which can be responsible for considerable precipitation.  A study is underway that seeks to use satellite imagery in the study of trowals.  A McIDAS program which computes derived meteorological fields from the North American Regional Reanalysis data has been written (and will continue to be updated) to provide ancillary data to the satellite imagery. (J. Dostalek)

  • Mesoscale Research Future Satellite Studies

    A new and improved Severe Weather simulation from 8 May 2003 has been performed, and 9 synthetic ABI channels have thus far been created.  Using these, difference products can be formed from combinations of the various channels.  One example is the longwave difference product, or 10.35 µm – 12.3 µm.  Water vapor preferentially absorbs radiation at 12.3 µm compared to 10.35 µm, so this product provides information about the amount and depth of low level moisture.  In the example below (Figure 1), the darker blue areas in central Kansas indicate regions of enhanced moisture convergence, a sign that convective initiation is possible.  Products of this sort are valuable for short-term severe storm forecasts.  All of these new simulated ABI loops were added to the GOES-R webpage.  (D. Lindsey, L. Grasso, and J. Dostalek)

    Figure 1.  Simulated 10.35 µm minus 12.3 µm product from 8 May 2003 at 1835 UTC.

    D. Lindsey is serving as a member of the Aviation Algorithm Working Group (AWG).  A meeting was held in November, during which plans for current and future algorithms relating to aviation were discussed.  RAMMB is involved with several AWGs, including the proxy data group.  This proxy data will also be useful for development of aviation-related algorithms.  (D. Lindsey)

    The creation of synthetic satellite images from RAMS model output continued this quarter.  In particular, further work was done on a severe weather outbreak that occurred on 8 May 2003.  Figure 2 shows a 2 km, 10.35 μm image from the outbreak.  The synthetic imagery is being created as part of the GOES-R risk reduction project. (J. Dostalek, L. Grasso, M. Sengupta, M. DeMaria)

    Figure 2.  Synthetic 10.35 μm image from a RAMS simulation of the 8 May 2003 severe weather outbreak.

    The simulations of the 8 May 2003 severe weather event and the 12 February 2003 lake effect snow event were redone. In each case, code modification was needed; as a result, both simulations have produced more realistic results. (L. Grasso)

    Synthetic GOES-R ABI imagery for the 8 May 2003 severe weather case was sent to Iliana Genkova of CIMSS last quarter. She is using the synthetic imagery to test a “water vapor derived winds” algorithm. Her work continues while preliminary results look promising. (L. Grasso)

    As part of the Algorithm Working Group activities at CIRA, synthetic fire hotspots were added into a synthetic 3.9 µm GOES-R ABI image from the severe weather event (see Figure. 3). This scene has a footprint of 400 m and will be used to generate synthetic GOES-R ABI fire hotspots with a footprint of 2 km with the aid of a prescribed point spread function. (L.Grasso, M. Sengupta, R. Brummer)

    Figure 3: Synthetic 400 m GOES-R ABI at 3.9 µm for the 8 May 2003 simulation. The 400 m footprints will be combined with a point spread function to build a new image with a 2 km footprint.

  • Mesoscale Research External Interactions


    J. Dostalek and CSU Atmospheric Science graduate student Brant Dodson traveled to Boulder to meet with Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) members Jian-Wen Bao, Gary Wick, Paul Neiman, and Sara Michelson.  They discussed research relating to atmospheric rivers and ways to incorporate data from CloudSat to further understand atmospheric rivers.  (J. Dostalek)

    J. Dostalek attended the 13th Cyclone Workshop, held in Pacific Grove, CA on October 23-26.  He gave a presentation entitled “Analysis of Midlatitude Cyclones and Fronts Using ATOVS Soundings.”  (J. Dostalek)



    During this quarter 38 VISIT teletraining sessions have been delivered.  There were 148 teletraining signups, 447 students participated.

    D. Bikos and J. Braun have completed development of a new VISIT teletraining session titled “Satellite Interpretation of Orographic Clouds / Effects”.  Objectives include 1) Identification of various orographic clouds and 2) satellite interpretation for various events where orography played a significant role.  The teletraining will be administered beginning in January.

    New VISIT teletraining that debuted this quarter:

    • MODIS Products in AWIPS (instructed by Scott Bachmeier / CIMSS).
    • CRAS Forecast Imagery in AWIPS (instructed by Scott Lindstrom / CIMSS).

    The following table shows a breakdown of the metrics for each VISIT teletraining session valid April 1999 – December 8, 2006.  For a complete list and description of each VISIT session see this web-page:

      (D. Bikos, J. Braun)

  • SHyMet

    A needs assessment was conducted this quarter in which an email was sent to the NWS “All Hands” list, asking them to fill out (on a voluntary basis) this survey:

    The results of that survey are shown here:

    Statistics / comments from the survey will allow SHyMet (and VISIT) to determine what training is needed the most and be able to develop a SHyMet course that suits the needs of forecasters.

    SHyMet Metrics (through November 2006): 

    CIRA/VISIT Registered:

    95 total NOAA/NWS employees/participants have registered here at CIRA (2 registered since November 1, 2006, 19 since July 1, 2006 – when SHyMet online started). 

    14 total Non-NOAA participants have registered here at CIRA (1 registered since November 1, 2006).

    52 of the 95 (55%) individuals registered here at CIRA have completed the NOAA version of SHyMet since April 1, 2006 (10 of the 19 that have signed up for SHyMet since July 1, 2006 – all online version – have completed SHyMet.  2 have completed SHyMet since November 1, 2006 – one of these is included in the 10 that have finished the online version since July 1, 2006). 

    8 of the 14 (57%) individuals registered here at CIRA have completed the Non-NOAA version of SHyMet since April 1, 2006 (3 have completed this version of SHyMet since November 1, 2006)

    NOAA-LMS Registered:

    Overall NOAA (LMS tracking) SHyMet individual session breakdown through November 2006 (for “online” training only). 

    1. Orientation:  157 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (3 in November), 107 completed – 68%
    2. GOES Intro…:  139 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (2 in November), 89 completed – 64%
    3. GOES Channel Selection…:  137 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (3 in November), 79 completed – 58%
    4. POES…:  137 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (2 in November), 76 completed – 55%
    5. GOES Sounder…:  71 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (3 in November), 24 completed – 34%
    6. High Density Winds…:  79 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (2 in November), 24 completed – 30%
    7. Cyclogenesis:  77 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (2 in November), 28 completed – 36%
    8. Severe Weather:  92 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (2 in November), 23 completed – 25%
    9. Tropical Cyclones:  173 have registered through the LMS for this session since April 1, 2006 (5 in November), 70 completed – 40%

    (D. Bikos, J. Braun)

  • International

    VISITview software was used to deliver presentations and weather briefings for the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) High Profile Training Event that took place October 16-27.  CIRA also provided support and coordination for this event. In what is described as a huge success internationally for training on the use of data and products from meteorological and environmental satellites, the WMO estimated that over 4000 participants from 100 member countries around the globe took part in lectures and weather briefings via the Internet during this period ( (D. Bikos, J. Braun, B. Connell, D. Coleman)
    Four key lectures and two weather briefings were presented in both Spanish and English for the participants in the Americas and the Caribbean.  More information on the event can be found at .  In NOAA’s region of responsibility, the first weather briefing and lecture drew 128 participants from 21 countries. (Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela).  During the 2-week period, it is estimated that a total of 380 participants from the Americas and the Caribbean were trained in the various sessions. (D. Bikos, J. Braun)

    CIRA partnered with NOAA NESDIS, the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, the National Weather Service’s Training Division and International Desk of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, and the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training.  Internationally, NOAA’s Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training (VISIT) partnered with the Bureau of Meteorology Training Center in Australia, the WMO Centers of Excellence in Costa Rica, Barbados, Argentina and Brazil, and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.  The success of the WMO HPTE was made possible by the extensive use of the VISITview software to deliver the presentations and weather briefings in real-time around the globe through the Internet ( ).  (B. Connell, D. Coleman)

    The WMO Virtual Laboratory Task Team conducted 3 monthly English and Spanish weather briefings through VISITview using GOES and POES satellite Imagery from CIRA ( and voice via Yahoo Messenger.  There were participants from the U.S.: CIRA, COMET, SAB at NESDIS, the International Desk at NCEP, as well as outside the U.S.: Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany (EUMETSAT), Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Panamá, Peru, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.  The discussions were well attended with more than 25 computer connections (40 connections during October) and multiple participants at many sites.  Mike Davison at the NCEP International Desk started the sessions by providing an overall synoptic analysis.  Throughout the sessions, participating countries offer comments on the features of interest for their local weather.  Added discussion featured during December included imagery for a tornado along the coast in Northern Colombia in September.  The sessions lasted 75-90 minutes.  (B. Connell, D. Coleman)

    GOES-12 imagery for September 2006 through November 2006 was processed for 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 examples for use in satellite focused training efforts. 
    The monthly cloud frequency composites for September through November 1997-2006 from the 10.7 µm temperature threshold technique for Costa Rica are presented in Figure 1. Click on images to enlarge.

    Figure 1. Monthly cloud frequency composites for September through November 1997-2006 by 10.7 µm temperature threshold technique for Costa Rica.

    A comparison of cloud frequency derived by the temperature threshold of 10.7 µm imagery for September through November 1999-2006 for Barbados is shown in Figure 2. 

    Figure 2. Comparison of cloud frequency derived by temperature threshold of 10.7 µm imagery for September through November 1999-2006 for Barbados

    The following web pages continue to provide on-line imagery in jpg format over Central and South America and the Caribbean.  (for imagery over Costa Rica and Barbados)
    The imagery from these sites is also available for the international weather briefings through VISITView RAMSDIS Online:
    The following site continues to display satellite precipitation estimates and fire products:   (B. Connell, D. Coleman)

Infrastructure and Administration

  • Cal/Val and Satellite Check Out

    See the GOES-13 NOAA Science Test web site ( for the results of analysis on GOES-13 data that has been collected prior to the actual tests.  Also on the Science Test page is an extended abstract on the GOES-13 Science Tests, prepared for the January 2007 AMS Annual Meeting in San Antonio TX. (D. Hillger)

    It appears from preliminary GOES-13 data that there is significant detector-to-detector striping in the Sounder measurements.  The GOES Sounder contains 4 detectors which are scanned simultaneously across the earth.  In order to not show striping, the individual detectors need to be well calibrated.  The striping problem was noticed first by Tim Schmit at ASPB/CIMSS and confirmed by analysis at RAMMB/CIRA.  The plots below compare GOES-13 Sounder striping for band-7 (12.0 μm) to that for the same time and band from the GOES-12 Sounder.  The GOES-13 Sounder has about twice the striping seen in GOES-12.  For additional details on this and other issues see the GOES-13 NOAA/Science Test page  Fred Wu, the GOES calibration lead, has been notified of this problem.  (D. Hillger)

    Figure 1: Detector-to-detector striping for GOES-13 Sounder band-7 (12.0 μm) on 14 October 2006 at 1746 UTC.

    Figure 2: Same as Figure 1, and using the same vertical scale, but for data from the GOES-12 Sounder, showing about half as much detector-to-detector striping as GOES-13.

    In preparation for the GOES-13 Science Tests, software for statistical analysis of GOES data (both Imager and Sounder) has been upgraded to use new and more flexible front-end McIDAS routines to better capture the data in any of several different scales (raw counts, radiances, and temperatures).  A special RAMSDIS (Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Team Advanced Meteorological Satellite Demonstration and Interpretation System) is also being finalized for display of GOES-13 data during the Tests. (D. Hillger)

    The GOES-13 Science Test began on 7 December 2006 and will continue for three weeks through 28 December.  Of the available test schedules, continuous 5-minute continental U.S. images were called for the first day (Thursday) to cover lake-effect snows, a GOES-east emulation schedule was called for the second day (Friday), and 30-minute full-disk images were called for the weekend (Saturday and Sunday).  A Science Lead team of CIRA and CIMSS personnel have been helping with the daily decisions on which schedules are preferred, with the final decision to be made by 1530 UTC for 1630 UTC implementation daily, except on weekends when the schedule will be decided on Friday.  Satellite Operations in Suitland has been very helpful in implementing the Science Test.  The only major problem has been a glitch in the Colorado State University/CIRA ground station software, causing a loss of visible images (IR only being received) when the GOES-13 spacecraft is operating in inverted mode, as is the current situation.  Hopefully, the software problem will be solved soon.  Otherwise the GOES-13 Science Test data are also available on servers at CIMSS and SAB.  See the GOES-13 NOAA Science Test page ( for the available schedules, as well as a table of what schedules are being implemented on a daily basis.  The web page will be updated whenever new information is available.  (D. Hillger, D. Lindsey, J. Knaff)

  • System Administration

    New mass storage and data archive hardware for AWIPS ingest and for general research have been installed. (D. Molenar)

  • Publications



    Chen, S.S., J.A. Knaff, and F.D. Marks, Jr., 2006: Effects of Vertical Wind Shear and Storm Motion Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Asymmetries Deduced from TRMM. Monthly Weather Review. 3190–3208.

    Demuth, J., M. DeMaria, and J.A. Knaff, 2006:  Improvement of Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit Tropical Cyclone Intensity and Size Estimation Algorithms, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 45:11, 1573–1581.

    Mueller, K.J., M. DeMaria, J.A. Knaff, T.H. Vonder Haar:, 2006: Objective Estimation of Tropical Cyclone Wind Structure from Infrared Satellite Data. Wea Forecasting, 21:6, 990–1005.


    DeMaria, M., 2006:  Has there been any progress in tropical cyclone intensity forecasting?  AGU Fall Meeting, 11–15 December 2006, San Francisco, CA.

    DeMaria, M., K.S. Maclay, and J.A. Knaff, 2006:  Tropical cyclone structure analysis: a multi-sensor approach.  AGU Fall Meeting, 11–15 December 2006, San Francisco, CA.



    DeMaria, M., J.A. Knaff, and C. Sampson, 2006:  Evaluation of Long-Term Trends in Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts.  Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics.

    Doesken, N.J., J.F. Weaver, and M. Osecky, 2006:  Microscale aspects of rainfall patterns as measured by a local volunteer network. National Weather Digest.

    Knaff, J.A., and R.M. Zehr, 2006: Reexamination of Tropical Cyclone Pressure Wind Relationships. Monthly Weather Review.

    Kossin, J.P., J.A. Knaff, H.I. Berger, K.J. Mueller, D.C. Herndon, T.A. Cram, C.S. Velden, R.J. Murnane, and J.D. Hawkins, 2006: Estimating Hurricane Wind Structure in the Absence of Aircraft Recconnaissance. Weather and Forecasting.

    Sampson, C.R., J.A. Knaff, and E.M. Fukada, 2006: Operational Evaluation of a Selective Consensus in the Western North Pacific Basin, Wea. Forecasting.

    Tuleya, R.E., M. DeMaria, and R.J. Kuligowski, 2006: Evaluation of GFDL and Simple Model Rainfall Forecasts for U.S. Landfalling Tropical Storms.  Weather and Forecasting.


    Hillger, D.W., and M. DeMaria, 2007: GOES-R Color Product Develoopment.  3rd Symposium on Future National Operational Environmental Satellites, 14-18 January 2007, San Antonio, TX.

    Hillger, D.W., T. Schmit, D.T. Lindsey, J.A. Knaff, J. Daniels, 2007:  An overview of GOES-13 science test.  3rd Symposium on Future National Operational Environmental Satellites, 14-18 January 2007, San Antonio, TX.

    Lindsey, D.T., and L.D. Grasso, 2007:  Modeling GOES-R 6.185-10.35 µm brightness temperature differences above cold thunderstorm tops. 3rd Symposium on Future National Operational Environmental Satellites, 14-18 January 2007, San Antonio, TX.

    Sengupta, M., L.D. Grasso, D.T. Lindsey, and M. DeMaria, 2007:   Validation of mesoscale model output with satellite observations.  3rd Symposium on Future National Operational Environmental Satellites, 14-18 January 2007, San Antonio, TX.



    Hillger, D.W., 2006:  GOES-R advanced baseline imager color product development. J. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.

    Knaff, J.A., C.R. Sampson, M. DeMaria, T.P. Marchok, J.M. Gross, 2006: Statistical Tropical Cyclone Wind Radii Using Climatology and Persistence. Weather and Forecasting.

    Landsea, C., J. Beven, J. Callaghan, B. Harper, K. Hoarau, J.A. Knaff, J. Kossin, M. Mayfield, A. Mestas-Nunez, M. Turk, 2006: Global Warming and Extreme Tropical Cyclones:  Can We Detect Climate Trends from Existing Tropical Cyclone Databases?   Science.

    Lindsey, D.T., and L.D. Grasso, 2007:  An effective radius retrieval for thick ice clouds using GOES, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

    Setvak, M., D.T. Lindsey, R.M. Rabin, P.K. Wang, and A. Demeterova, 2007: Possible moisture plume above a deep convective storm on 28 June 2005 in MSG-1 imagery. Monthly Weather Review.

    Zehr, R.M. and J.A. Knaff, 2006:  Atlantic major hurricanes, 1995-2005 – Characteristics based on best track, aircraft, and IR images.  J. of Climate.

  • Travel and Presentations
    Destination Purpose
    K. Maclay San Francisco, CA AGU Fall Meeting GIMPAP 12/10 to 14
    M. DeMaria San Francisco, CA AGU Fall Meeting Base 12/10 to 14
    R. Zehr San Jose, Costa Rica WMO 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones N/A 11/19 to 29
    J. Knaff San Jose, Costa Rica WMO 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones GIMPAP 11/20 to 30
    B. Connell Denver, CO Remote sensing presentation at Metro State College GIMPAP 11/13
    M. DeMaria New York, NY CREST Technical Review Base 11/1 to 3
    J. Dostalek Pacific Grove, CA Cyclone Workshop ATS Rivers 10/23 to 27
    M. DeMaria Corvallis, OR CIOSS Review Base 10/16 to 19
    J. Knaff New York, NY Risk Managment Solutions Workshop RMS 10/11 to 13
    J. Dostalek Boulder, CO Atmospheric Rivers Collaboration ATS Rivers 10/5
  • Visitors

    Four scientists from the JMA Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) visited CIRA on 30 October. Each visitor gave a 20-minute talk as part of a “mini” conference on tropical meteorology. The visitors were also given a tour of the CloudSat Data Processing Center and several informal meetings were held. Arrangements were made for scientific interaction on the development of tropical cyclone formation products for the western Pacific, and datasets of mutual interest will be exchanged.

  • Media Interaction

    M. DeMaria participated in a press conference at the fall meeting of the AGU:  Information on satellite applications to tropical cyclones.

    Quantitative feedback has been given and incorporated into the Wild Weather Adventure game ( on NASA’s Space Place for kids (  The feedback involved the improper use of measurement units and symbols, as well as rounding of dual units using improper numbers of significant figures.  The game carries the NOAA logo, so feedback from NOAA was thought to be important.  The feedback to the game’s questions and answers was readily accepted by Diane Fisher, Writer and Webmaster for The Space Place, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  (D. Hillger)

    Figure 1: Starting image of Wild West Adventure game on NASA’s Space Place Website for kids.