Skip to Navigation Skip to content

Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch

Search the RAMMB website

RAMMB Scientific Quarterly Report - 2nd Quarter FY 98

RESEARCH (Meteorological)

  • Severe Storms

    Severe Storms

    Weaver, Combs, Dostalek, Grasso, Motta, Winston

    • Data from the 31 May 1996 SRSO case continues to be used in a variety of applications. Additional material has been added to the Convective Initiation segment of COMET’s SatMet course. Also, the first VISIT sub-module has been constructed based on this case. An electronic article highlighting the material used in this first VISIT sub-module (the identification of nighttime outflow) can be found on the web at —
    • 31 May 1996 GOES-8 sounder data were obtained and parts of this data set are being integrated into the ongoing case study. The sounding data were also provided to the other VISIT Participants at CIMSS, OSF, and COMET. Initial applications are focusing on the identification of the dryline using the 12.6 µm sounder channel.
    • J. Weaver presented the opening address at a conference on Emergency Preparedness for Flooding at Colleges and Universities which was held at the University of Colorado’s Colorado Springs campus. A paper on the Fort Collins flood of 28 July 1997 was accepted for presentation at the 8th conference on mountain meteorology, and a six-page manuscript for the preprint volume was completed. The City of Fort Collins’ web site featuring photos from this event continues to be the most frequently hit city site. To view these images, see
    • No new progress to report on the 25 May 1997 central Oklahoma tornado case study due to higher-priority tasks that took place this past quarter. Work has now resumed on measuring cloud drift winds for comparison with Oklahoma mesonet wind data.
    • Idealized CSU/RAMS model simulations of thunderstorm outflow interactions (testing the sensitivity of severe storms to vertical wind shear) continue using 26 April 1991 rawinsonde data from Oklahoma City. Preliminary results show that: 1) the physical size of the triggering bubble influences the magnitude and morphology of storm splitting (in fact, the splitting process can be eliminated by reducing the size of the storm’s initiation “bubble”); and 2) the horizontal vorticity vectors behind a storm’s outflow are very different from the pre-storm environment. They provide an environment that is more favorable for storm rotation.
  • Tropical


    Zehr, Hilgendorf, Knaff, Vaughn

          Three different methods are being used to study the influence of environmental vertical wind shear on hurricane intensity change.  These are:  1) The NCEP Aviation Model initial analysis mean wind (R=0-5 deg lat) at eight standard levels;  2) Tropical cyclone center-relative IR average images which are used to portray cloud asymmetries to generate a qualitative assessment of direction and magnitude of lower/middle level wind shear;  and 3) high density satellite wind vectors (from CIMSS) used to estimate an upper layer mean wind (R=0-5 deg lat), which gives a vertical shear estimate after the storm motion vector is subtracted.  Results using the three approaches will be combined with sea-surface temperature analyses, and observed intensity changes with data from four cases: Hurricanes Opal (1995), Bertha (1996), Erika (1997), and TD5 (1997).  A revised outline of a journal article describing this research has been completed.

         In recent months, CIRA’s support of tropical cyclone research has been expanded to support J. Knaff as a full time post-doc research associate, and some of the personnel in Dr. William Gray’s CSU project.  In addition, Dr. Stanley Kidder has been funded to investigate the new AMSU instrument’s applications to tropical cyclone analysis.  R. Zehr and W. Gray are coordinating the overall efforts of this expanded group.  Regular coordination meetings are being held to discuss group objectives and progress.  The overall objectives are: 1) Improve understanding of tropical cyclone intensity and structure change by extensive analysis of special observational data set analysis; and 2) Develop satellite products and techniques for tropical cyclone forecasting.

         Research is underway to examine the correlation between cold-cloud asymmetry about the storm center (as seen in GOES channel 4, 10.7 µm) and the intensity of the hurricane.  This research is focused on the early stages of the hurricane life cycle, specifically stages without eyes and having T-numbers that are less than 5.

         The structure of Hurricane Luis (on 6 Sep 1995) was examined using a combined data set approach which utilizes hurricane weather reconnaissance data, manually tracked winds derived from the SRSO imagery, and the satellite-derived winds produced at CIMSS.  The methodology of this approach is documented in a paper currently in review.

         Two data sets for tropical cyclone case studies were obtained.  The first is the 1995-1997 hurricane weather reconnaissance gathered by the Air Force Reserve stationed at Keesler AFB, MS.  Software has been written to better utilize this data in McIDAS.  In addition National Center for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis wind data at 12 pressure levels was obtained for the 1995-1997 hurricane season.   These data are available four times a day and have been converted into McIDAS GRID format.

  • Extra Tropical Cyclones

    Extra Tropical Cyclones

    Dostalek, Hilgendorf
        A set of satellite derived cloud drift winds was created for a North Atlantic cyclone which was the subject of IOP 17, 17-20 February 1997.

  • Natural Hazards

    Natural Hazards

    Weaver, Connell

         R. Zehr is serving as coordinator for Tropical Cyclones with the Disaster Management Support Project of the Committee on Earth Observing Systems / Integrated Global Observing Strategy (CEOS/IGOS).  This Project is chaired by Helen Wood (NESDIS).  A draft of an executive summary for the Tropical Cyclone Team has been completed in preparation for the Workshop to be held in Silver Spring, MD, March 31– April 2, 1998.

         The development of a volcanic ash detection product continues using visible imagery and a combination of the 3.9 µm, 10.7 µm, and 12.0 µm imagery.   Principal component analysis is being run on volcanic ash cases to determine what changes and/or patterns in the combined imagery can be detected and if these features will aid in producing a better volcanic ash detection product.

    The following are examples of Volcanic Ash detection over land. (Click on images for full size display.)


    Figure 1: Visible, 10.7 µm – 12.0 µm (4 minus 5 difference) product, reflectivity product, and the combined 3.9/10.7/12.0 product for an ash plume from the Popocatepetl Volcano in Mexico, 14 June 1997 1601 UTC.


    Figure 2:  Principal component imagery for the same scene as above.  Notice the similarity between the 3.9/10.7/12.0 product and PCI 4.

RESEARCH (Field Experiments)



        RAMM continued troubleshooting and maintenance support of the ETL RAMSDIS which was set up in September.  This unit was designed to be not only a research RAMSDIS, but also a real time ingesting system in support of the CALJET experiment.

  • Texas Dryline Experiment

    Texas Dryline Experiment

    Weaver, Dostalek

        Daily weather briefings are underway which include personnel from RAMMT, CIRA, the Lubbock, Texas NWSFO, and Texas Tech University.  The purpose of these discussions is to reach a daily decision on whether or not to request an SRSO in support of the West Texas dryline study.

        An automated FTP for obtaining sounder DPI was set up on a RAMM computer for use in the West Texas dryline experiment.  New color lookup tables were created for the lifted index and total precipitable water products. 

RESEARCH (Applications Development)

  • GOES Product Improvement and Development

    GOES Product Improvement and Development

    Hillger, Campbell, Combs

        GOES-10, 5-minute interval data are being collected and studied at CIRA as a part of the GOES-10 Science test which began on 16 March 1998.  Imagery collected during the pre-dawn, F-3 killer tornado which occurred in northern Georgia on March 20 are being used to assess whether the 5-min satellite data could have  provided more timely warnings of the event.  Other cases are being collected in conjunction with the west Texas dryline experiment.  Examples of the Georgia imagery can be found at:

        A new GOES surface skin temperature product is being generated routinely at CIRA.  This product uses twice the longwave channel 4-5 difference added back into channel 4 to eliminate the atmospheric effect on this channel.  The product is designed to see the surface without atmospheric absorption other than clouds.  In addition, the GOES channel 4-5 difference product has been improved by the addition of a gray bar overlay showing the temperature difference scale assigned to the gray bar values.  Temperature differences may range from single-digit negative values to occasionally over +15 K for thin cirrus clouds.  This gray bar annotation software can also display scales for brightness counts and GVAR counts on the gray bar for any image.

        A preliminary analysis of Imager and Sounder noise levels was performed on GOES-10 data collected at CIRA.  This analysis uses structure function analysis to statistically analyze the noise between adjacent fields-of-view from one line to the next for a horizontally-smooth earth scene.  Results were tabulated in GOES Variable (GVAR) counts, radiance units, and temperatures, and a table compares values to similar GOES-8 and GOES-9 values.  For the GOES-10 Imager, noise levels are similar to those for GOES-8 and GOES-9.  For the GOES-10 Sounder, a chart of radiance noise levels was made in comparison to similar GOES-8 and GOES-9 values.  GOES-10 Sounder noise levels are similar to those for GOES-8 and GOES-9.  The analysis of noise levels will continue during GOES-10 Science Testing in March.

  • Soundings


    Hillger, Campbell
        See GOES Product Improvement and Development.

  • Satellite/Radar


    Weaver, Motta, Winston, Hilgendorf
        GOES-9 fog product imagery was combined with radar data to study the evolution of the overnight outflow in northwestern Kansas on 31 May 1996.  This outflow is the key component to lesson #1 in the new VISIT training module under development at CIRA (see VISIT).

  • Calibration/Validation

         Examples of GOES visible and infrared (channel-4) images were created to show the non-linear differences between imagery displayed in GOES Variable (GVAR) counts and in 8-bit display (brightness) counts.  In addition, examples of GOES water vapor (channel-3) images were created to show the difference between imagery displayed in standard 8-bit brightness (display) counts and in GOES Ingest NOAA-Port Interface (GINI) 8-bit counts.  GINI counts are stretched between -10°C and -60°C, whereas the standard Look Up Table (LUT) covers a much larger temperature range, part of which is never used.  The temperature precision of GINI data is better than the standard LUT, but some high and low temperatures may be cut off by the conversion to GINI counts.  A Web page explaining this information are available at:

          Due to an upgrade of the McIDAS Operating System, new data collection software had to be sent to the Satellite Operations Control Center (SOCC) RAMSDIS.  Also, programs developed for SOCC had to be recompiled and tested on the Prototype SOCC RAMSDIS at CIRA before being sent to SOCC.  Software for image quality analysis must still be upgraded.

  • Cloud Classification

     Cloud Classification
          No activity this quarter.

  • Precipitation


    Grasso, Hilgendorf

            Observations and model data pertaining to floods and heavy rain events are being collected throughout the 1998 convective season. This data will be used to form a quantitative precipitation estimation algorithm for operational testing.

  • Climatology


    Connell, Combs
        The archival of 2-byte GOES-8 and GOES-9 Continental US (CONUS) sectors at 4 km resolution continues.  This effort is directed at developing consistent monthly climatologies for all AWIPS sites over the United States.   Average, maximum, and minimum image composites as well as collection and processing statistics were derived for December, January and February for GOES 8 and 9 CONUS sectors for the visible channel (every daylight hour), and for 3.9 µm, 6.7 µm, 10.7 µm and 12.0 µm channels (every other hour).  In addition, cloud frequency composites were created for the visible channel, every daylight hour.

        Collection of PCGRIDDS – ETA 12 UTC model data continues daily.  The gridded data are being used to generate a mean boundary layer (~1000-700 hPa) wind speed and a resultant boundary layer wind direction to designate a wind regime for use in the  monthly satellite climatologies.  Programs have been written to calculate the information once daily (12 UTC) for each of the AWIPS (108) sites.  This information is being used in the development of the CONUS monthly climatologies.   Wind regimes have been determined for December 1997, January 1998, and February 1998.
        Using the above data, a program was designed and tested to produce climatologies.  These climatologies cover a small sector (120 by 320 pixels) centered on each AWIPS site.  For each wind regime that occurs at a given site, a climatology is produced consisting of the average radiance values for the visible, 3.9 µm, and 10.7 µm channels. Wind regime climatologies were produced for December 1997 and January 1998.  For an example of these climatologies for the North and West wind regimes for December 1997 centered at the Fort Worth/Dallas station see the following GIF image.  (Click on image for full size display.)


        Developments currently under way include adding standard deviations to the CONUS sector climatologies, and adding visible channel cloud frequency composites to the wind regime climatologies.

  • Mesoscale Modeling

    Mesoscale Modeling
         No activity this quarter.

  • Winds and Cloud Heights

    Winds and Cloud Heights

    Vaughn, Campbell

        The general aim of the current wind/height analysis study is to develop a technique to estimate cloud motion and height from multiple satellite observations.  The technique merges the analysis of cloud motion from a sequence of satellite images with heights using stereo with two or more view points.  The method has been verified using cases having clouds which change slowly in time.  Case studies using GOES 8, GOES 9 and GOES 10 were analyzed.  These have allowed continued improvement in the analysis software.  In the analysis of a sequence of images, the program must decide when the cloud has changed so much from the reference cloud that it is no longer recognizable.  Continuing work will focus on the cloud recognition problem.

        A paper was accepted by Monthly Weather Review which highlights a verification technique using cloud shadows for height specification.  The paper is titled “Practical Satellite Cloud Heights from Shadows.”

        An informal presentation of the new wind/height analysis technique, with examples, has been made to the RAMM/CIRA staff.  A more formal presentation was made at the recent Winds Product Oversight Panel at NESDIS.

RESEARCH (Outside Interaction)

  • National Labs

    National Labs

    Weaver, Zehr
        GOES-8 Satellite imagery was provided to Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) for a project involving the detection of wind magnitude and rainfall rate with acoustic sensors deployed below the ocean surface.  A sector of  GOES-8 visible  and 3.9 µm imagery at night has been set up on the RAMSDIS at Hurricane Research Division to monitor the weather in an area of the ocean centered on  the Bahamas.

        Interaction continues with Hurricane Research Division (HRD) at AOML on use of Tropical RAMSDIS and collaborative research projects.  Implemented new product on Tropical RAMSDIS, which derives Sea Surface Temperatures using channels 4 and 5 on the GOES-8 imagery.

  • Universities


    Zehr, Grasso, Molenar
        J. Weaver is involved in a joint effort by the CSU Department of Atmospheric Science to document the Fort Collins flash flood of 28 July 1997.  Initial plans are focusing on a series of conference papers and journal articles.

        Continued cooperative work with Dr. William Gray’s project includes participation in project meetings, data management consultations,  real-time tropical weather discussions, and class lectures.  Daily weather briefings during the hurricane season using Tropical RAMSDIS are organized by CSU graduate students and attended by a diverse group of faculty, students and staff.

  • Other NESDIS

    Other NESDIS

    Hillger, Molenar, Zehr
        Two cases (liquid water cloud over snow and supercooled water cloud) were sent to Jane D’Aguanno and Pat Viets as examples of new uses of satellite imagery.  The examples were for press releases and congressional briefings

  • NWS


    Dostalek, Motta, Winston, Molenar, Weaver
         Collaboration on the May 31, 1996 case study with the DDC-SOO and satellite focal point continued  with examination of the GOES-8 imagery at 30-minute intervals.  Having reviewed those sequences, the DDC assessment was sent to CIRA and reviewed with DDC.  Good interaction and training exchange occurred as DDC and VISIT discussed the radar and satellite interpretation for the SRSO time period. Particularly interesting were the trends from both radar and satellite and how they may be used operationally.

        Interaction continued with K. Gould, NWS Tallahassee, FL, regarding the climatology project.  The supplemental HP drive was shipped to Tallahassee so that Ken can run RAMSDIS-X and the climatology programs independently of the ingest RAMSDIS.  Plans are in progress to put an example of Ken’s climatology work on the Web as an example to other forecast offices.

        Daily weather briefings are underway which include personnel from RAMMT, CIRA, the Lubbock, TX NWSFO, and Texas Tech University.  The purpose of these discussions is to reach a daily decision on whether or not to request an SRSO in support of the West Texas dryline study.

        A conference call was held with participants in the SCAN program to discuss progress on the development, testing, and implementation of an automated, satellite-based, thunderstorm identification and tracking algorithm.  All seems to be on track with the NSSL goal of completing work on the initial algorithm for delivery to CIRA/RAMM for testing during the upcoming convective season.  The algorithm will also be field tested at the Sterling, Virginia NWS WFO as part of the SCAN ’98 field experiment.

  • Product Oversight Panel

    Product Oversight Panel


        No activity this quarter.

  • WMO


    Connell, Vaughn
        R. Zehr has been invited to participate in the WMO International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones (IWTC-4), Haikou, China, April 21-30, 1998. He will serve as a Working Group Member for Topics on Tropical Cyclone Formation and Environmental Interaction.

        Hourly Climatology imagery for the month of February has been sent to the Barbados RMTC.  March data will be sent by the second week of April.  Three sectors which are centered on the Windward and Leeward Islands,  one for Visible, water vapor 6.7 µm, and IR 10.7 µm, have been chosen for the study.  An additional full resolution Visible sector is being added to the daily ingest to study changes due to island topography and diurnal influences.

        Raw surface reports from the Caribbean in METAR format can now be converted into MD data format  and plotted on satellite imagery using routines created by CIRA.   These comprehensive hourly reports, which are in international standard code format, can be used on collaborative projects with the Barbados RMTC. This capability was conceived as a means of  supplementing data lost due to transmission failures.

  • Miscellaneous


    Molenar, Watson, Dostalek, Weaver, Zehr

        For several weeks this quarter, RAMM/CIRA provided support for the Marine Applications Team’s  Marine Optical Buoy (MOBY) field exercise off the Hawaiian Islands.  RAMM/CIRA meteorologists consulted daily by telephone with D. Clark of the Marine Applications Team to help determine the most likely area for clear skies at the time of an overpass of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) “ocean color” satellite.  Support also included a special RAMSDIS On-line page which apparently proved extremely useful in the project’s daily decision-making.

        The Indo-US Workshop on Cooperation in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences was held February 10-12, 1998 in New Delhi, India.  The U.S. delegation was led by J. Purdom from NESDIS and James Dodge from NASA.  R. Zehr presented an overview of satellite applications for tropical cyclone research and forecasting, with emphasis on intensity change and tropical cyclone structure, and served as Co-chairman of Sub-group on Weather Analysis and Forecast Techniques (Short Range).  The Workshop was held to bring together invited participants from the US and four government agencies from India representing both the research and forecasting communities.  The Workshop was held in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by India and US in December 1997 which includes facilitation of satellite data exchange and cooperative research activities.



        D. Hillger participated as the Acting NOAA Representative (in lieu of J. Purdom) at the CIRA Advisory Council Meeting on February 27.  The purpose of the meeting was to draft a statement from the Council and make plans for the 5-year CIRA Scientific Review on April 21 and 22.  Council members also discussed CIRA’s Post Doctoral opportunities and the selection of one or more outside reviewers for the CIRA Scientific Evaluation.

        CIRA and CIMSS VISIT staff met at CIRA March 11 with T. Mostek and L. Spayd of the NWS/OM to review the strategic and operational plans for the project. Demonstrations of new distance learning tools and review of the current status of ongoing efforts complemented a conference call with the NWS Scientific Services Division Chiefs to discuss their comments about VISIT and the FY98 plans.

          R. Zehr participated in the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) / Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) Disaster Management Support Project Workshop, Silver Spring MD, March 31- April 2.  (R. Zehr is Hazard Team Leader for Tropical Cyclones.)  The workshop addressed satellite applications to hazard reduction issues related to wildfires, drought, oil spills, volcanoes, flash floods, earthquakes, and tropical cyclones.  R. Zehr presented a paper that summarized current satellite data contributions to global tropical cyclone disaster mitigation.


         J. Purdom, Office of Research and Applications (ORA) Director, visited RAMM Team Friday, January 16, to review staff meteorologists’ performance and goals.

         J. Purdom, Director of ORA and F. Holt, Chief of ORA’s Atmospheric Research and Applications Division, visited the RAMMT facility February 18 to review the team’s progress and performance in meeting the goals of its Operating Plans and Tasks for the Office of Research and Applications.  The presentations and the resulting question and answer sessions were accomplished in a professional manner with the participation of all team members.

  • FUTURE SYSTEMS and SENSORS - Instrument Planning

    Instrument Planning


         No activity this quarter.


  • Virtual Lab

    Virtual Lab

    Phillips, Weaver, Zehr, Watson

        Two new cases were added to the Virtual Laboratory’s inventory this quarter.  One of the cases illustrated a lake effect snow event, which was covered by 1-min. SRSO imagery.  Data from the killer tornado event of 20 March 1998 in northeast Georgia was introduced within a few days of the event.  This data set features 5-minute interval imagery from the new GOES-10 satellite.

  • Picture of the Day

    Picture of the Day

    Vaughn, Grasso
        The on-line, daily training and discussion effort known as Picture-of-the-Day has been well received by the user community and continues as an activity of the RAMMT. 

  • Tutorials


    Phillips, Dostalek, Hilgendorf, Motta, Weaver, Hillger
        Both the computer- and the web-based versions of the “Advanced GOES Imagery Analysis” tutorial are nearly complete.  This tutorial will serve as a training mechanism for those interested in advanced applications of satellite data.  All information available from the staff meteorologists was integrated into the respective tutorial module formats, with one remaining subject area’s contents due very soon.  After this is received an added to the modules, they will be put forth for local peer review.



    Molenar, Connell, Dostalek, Gosden, Smith, Hillger
        Implementation of the RAMSDIS-OS2 5.0 to the field sites have been completed.  The upgrade is a success and the field sites are now ingesting from the updated server more efficiently.  Recompilation of a few applications have been overlooked in this upgrade, but steps are being taken to update the application programs and push it out to all the system.  The next step in this project is to update all the application programs and to bring our research RAMSDIS systems up to date.

        RAMSDIS is participating in the GOES-10 science test by distributing the 5-minute rapid scan data out to the NWS forecast offices.  After the current RAMSDIS upgrade, the systems were loaded with a new set of programs that would enable the field sites to setup their systems to ingest the GOES-10 data.  Nineteen sites have agreed to participate in this test.  This project has spawned new discussions on the RAMSDIS bulletin board site among the meteorologists and the comments from the test sites are favorable.

        The RAMSDIS system at Pleasant Hill MO has been transferred to Riverton WI.  Pleasant Hill office received the AWIPS system and wanted to release the RAMSDIS system to the other offices that didn’t have the AWIPS system.

        A RAMSDIS system from NWS Training Center, Kansas City, has been returned.  They received an AWIPS system and didn’t see a need to keep the RAMSDIS system.  We’ll look into the possibility of sending it out to the other NWS offices.



    Motta, Winston
        An initial VISIT homepage was constructed for internal review to host the online materials.  Additional online web display tools are being developed in collaboration with the UW Space Science and Engineering Center. Content on the main site now includes a draft of the student guide for the nighttime outflow module.

        A meeting was held at CIRA to review progress in developing the first satellite distance learning training module for the  National Weather Services.  Participants included L.Spayd of the NWS Office of Meteorology, T. Mostek – NWS Remote Sensing Training Leader/VISIT Coordinator, S. Bachmeier, K. Winston, D. Zaras, and B. Motta.  Also in attendance from CIRA were J. Weaver, R. Phillips, D. Watson, and S. Kidder.

        CIRA staff reviewed the COMET METED (Meteorological Education) Website and the Forecasting Severe Convection Series training that is currently available. The VISIT plan calls for the modules to be usable in that type of a training series/format.

        The first lesson in the first VISIT module is nearly complete.  It focuses on the use of the GOES fog/stratus product in the overnight hours to determine areas where significant boundaries may exist later in the day.  This module will serve as a model for others being developed in this series. Radar reflectivity loops from Goodland KS were made to show the radar evolution and observations of the outflow which is also viewed from the GOES perspective.

        B. Motta coordinated with NESDIS/SAL on inclusion of the auto-estimator satellite estimates as a VISIT module for the 31 May 1996 case study. VISIT action item was suspended pending resource availability at SAL.

        The NWS OPTEL computer/voice distance-learning training system was installed, debugged, and tested successfully at CIRA.



    Weaver, Dostalek, Hillger, Molenar, Zehr
        J. Weaver,  D. Hillger,  J. Dostalek, D. Watson, B. Motta, and T. Smith gave presentations at the COMET-sponsored Satellite Meteorology course in Boulder, January 26 through February 5.

        R. Phillips, J. Weaver, and T. Mostek collaborated on a COMET Operation Plan for VISIT.



    Connell, Vaughn
         The Costa Rica RAMSDIS ingest system was upgraded to McIDAS 7.0.

        Hourly climatology imagery (Visible, 3.9 µm, 6.7 µm and 10.7 µm) for January and February 1998 were sent to Costa Rica.   We are into the second year of data collection and this has afforded the opportunity to start comparing imagery from both years.   So far, imagery from December 1997, January 1998, and February 1998 are indicating drier conditions than in December 1996, January 1997, and February 1997.  Examples of monthly comparisons can be seen on the Web:

                      December –
                      January –
                      February –

        Plans are in progress with Rosario Alferro to quantify the frequency of fires in Central American Countries during the dry months of January, February, March, and April.  The archived climatology imagery will allow us to look at 1997 as well as 1998.

        A CD containing daily imagery from February 1998 was sent to the Regional Meteorological Training Centre (RMTC) in Barbados.  The March 1998 imagery is being compiled and will be sent to Barbados by the first week of April 1998.  Minimum, maximum, and average brightness counts were computed from the hourly data for the month of February  in hopes of revealing preferred locations for convection or clouds at different times of the day.  Since February was a rather dry inactive month, we expect this ongoing project to be very worthwhile during the convective season.

        The following are examples of average images and products derived from the Goes-8 monthly imagery.  (Click on images for full size display.) 

    Figure 1.  Average image of the visible channel, compiled from imagery at 1815 UTC for the month of February,  showing the island wake clouds, which appear daily and are caused by convergence in the boundary layer.  The  “octopus” appearance of the clouds in this  image is due to shifting in the orientation of the Easterly Trade Winds on a day to day basis. 

    Figure 2.  Image derived by taking the maximum brightness count (minimum temperature) for each pixel that occurred at 1815 UTC during the month of February, in the longwave IR channel 4.  It reveals the lack of convective activity during the month of February for the Windward and Leeward Islands. 

    Figure 3.  Water Vapor average image, where the reddish and dark grey areas indicate warm temperatures in the upper levels,  showing evidence of sinking aloft and is likely to be the reason for the lack of deep convective activity found in the IR max image shown above.

  • Training Given

    Training Given

        See COMET.

  • Training Received

    Training Received

        T. Smith is currently attending a course at Colorado State University in C++ programming and will be taking a course in JAVA programming next semester.

  • RAMSDIS Online

    RAMSDIS Online

        RAMSDIS Online was used in support of  D. Clark of the Marine Applications Team and his MOBY/SeaWiFS Hawaiian “Clear Skies” Exercise (see Outside Interaction above).

        RAMSDIS Online was demonstrated in a poster session at the 1998 American Meteorological Society conference.  A RAMSDIS system and a Web browser system were set up to allow interested parties to view and work with the Web page.

        This past quarter RAMSDIS Online has been updated with new features including the addition of an archives/case studies page and GOES-10 images.  The archive page includes the Eclipse of ‘98 (Feb 26), and several GOES-10 5-minute loops covering the deadly March 20, 1998 tornado in Murrayville, GA.  Also, in support of the GOES-10 science and testing operations, 5-minute interval real time images have been added to RAMSDIS Online.  Currently being displayed are Channels 1 through 4 covering a sector over central USA.

  • Publications



        Motta, B.C. and P.N. Dills, 1998: Applications that adjust geolocation to account for parallax.  16th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting and 14th International Conference on Interactive Information and Processing Systems, AMS Annual Meeting, 11-16 January, Phoenix, AZ, Amer. Meteor. Soc., J5.7.

        Velden, C.S., T.L. Olander and R.M. Zehr, 1998:  Development of an objective  scheme to estimate tropical cyclone intensity from digital geostationary satellite infrared  imagery. Weather and Forecasting, March, Amer. Meteor. Soc., Boston, MA, 172-186.

         Zehr, R.M., 1998:  Use of satellite data to assess vertical wind shear forcing on hurricane intensity change. Symposium on Research Foci of the U.S. Weather Research Program, AMS Annual Meeting, 11-16 January, Phoenix, AZ, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 529-531.

        Zehr, R.M., 1998: Vertical wind shear analysis with hurricanes.  52nd Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference, 27-30 January, Clearwater Beach, FL.

        Zehr, R.M., 1998:  Vertical wind shear and tropical cyclone intensity.  Symposium on Tropical Cyclone Intensity Change, AMS Annual Meeting, 11-16 January, Phoenix, AZ, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 124-128.



        Weaver, J.F., W.A. Peterson, and N.J. Doesken, 1998: Some unusual aspects of the Fort Collins flash flood of 28 July 1997.  Accepted for presentation at the 8th Conference on Mountain Meteorology, Flagstaff, AZ, August 1998.

        Campbell, G.G., 1998: Practical satellite cloud heights from shadows.  Accepted for publication in Mon. Wea. Rev.

        R. Phillips, J. Dostalek, and B. Connell contributed input to the NESDIS, GOES Products and Services Catalog 1998.

  • Seminars/Presentations



         R. Zehr and B. Motta presented papers at the 78th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Phoenix, January 12-16.

        D. Watson and G. Gosden gave an electronic poster presentation on RAMSDIS Online at the 14th IIPS held in conjunction with the AMS meeting in Phoenix, January 12-16.

        J. Weaver gave a talk the week of January 16 on severe weather safety to a group of nearly one hundred members of a local church interested in developing a plan for natural disasters.  There were seven speakers who presented a wide range of topics such as preparing family disaster supply kits, helping others in time of need, and weather safety.

        R. Zehr presented an abstract entitled, “Vertical wind shear analysis with hurricanes” at the 52nd Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference, Clearwater Beach FL, January 27-30, 1998. A progress report on J.  Knaff’s research was included.

        R. Zehr traveled to New Delhi, India to give a presentation on satellite applications for tropical cyclones at the INSAT Technical Workshop, February 10-13.


  • Systems Administration

    Systems Administration

    Molenar, Gosden
        Nothing to report  this quarter.

  • Data Infrastructure

    Data Infrastructure

    Watson, Smith
        GOES-10 Science and Operations Test – Daily processing and archive is being done during the 5 minute interval test period of March 16 through April 12, 1998.

       A new virtual lab case was added to the RAMMT’s virtual lab server.  This data set focused on a deadly tornado event occurring in Murrayville GA on March 20, 1998.

  • Administration


    Molenar, Fryer, Grasso, Phillips
        Significant time and effort were expended in various administrative matters, including quarterly reporting and goal setting/performance reviews and preparing for and carrying out the one-day OPTORA review for the ORA Director and the ARAD Chief.  The latter activity involved several days time for nearly all members of the team.

         Arrangements continue to be made in anticipation of a visit to RAMM Team by two Chinese scientists from the National Satellite Meteorological Center in Beijing.  NOAA International Affairs has processed their visa papers and CIRA is researching insurance, transportation, and housing for their stay.  Their visit will be part of the US-PRC Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Atmospheric Science and Technology and both scientists will be involved in the development and transfer of new satellite data display and analysis capabilities for PC-based workstations.

        The Severe Weather Research Proposal, a.k.a. SWPI, for 1998-1999 was completed in late March.  D. Hillger, R. Phillips, R. Zehr, and J. Weaver worked on the text and budget of this proposal.

  • Hardware/Software


    Gosden, Smith, Watson, Molenar

        A P5-200 has been configured for use in the GOES-10 Science Test.  With more projects, we may need more systems.  An analyis for “needful” things will be performed and assessed.

        Received the P5-90 system from NTC.  It is now being used by our staff.

        Microsoft Visual Studio 97 has been purchased by CIRA.  RAMM will look into working with this software in porting the RAMSDIS system onto a different platform.

        T. Smith continued loading sample images for the Tape Archive Database.  These images will illustrate the data saved for each case.

        T. Smith is working on putting the RAMGIF Archive on the web.  Progress has been good and the project should be completed by the end of April.

  • Travel - RAMM Team



    Team Member
     Motta, Brian  Phoenix, AZ     AMS Annual Meeting
    1/12 to 16
     Zehr, Ray  Phoenix, AZ     AMS Annual Meeting
     1/12 to 16 
     Gosden, Hiro  Phoenix, AZ    AMS Annual Meeting
    1/12 to 16
     Watson, Dave  Phoenix, AZ     AMS Annual Meeting
    1/12 to 16
     Winston, Karen  Boulder, CO     COMET Sat Met Course 
    1/16 to 2/5
     Zehr, Ray  Tampa, FL     52nd Interdepartmental Conference 
    1/27 to 30
     Zehr, Ray   New Delhi, India     INSAT Meeting 
    2/9 to 13 
     Dostalek, Jack  Lubbock, TX    RAMSDIS Site Visit
      3/8 to 11
     Winston, Karen  Fort Collins, CO   VISIT Meeting at CIRA   FIRSTT   3/10 & 11
     Zehr, Ray  Silver Spring, MD  CEOS Disaster Management Workshop
      3/30 to 4/3

  • Acronyms List

    List of Acronyms


    AMS:  American Meteorological Society

    AMSU:  Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit

    AOML:  Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

    ARAD:  Atmospheric Research and Applications Division

    ASOS: Automated Surface Observing Stations

    AVHRR: Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

    AWIPS: Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System

    CALJET:  California Landfalling Jets Experiment

    CEOS:  Committee on Earth Observation Satellites

    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.

    CSTAR: Collaborative Science Technology and AppliedResearch

    CSU:  Colorado State University

    DPI:  Derived Product Imagery

    ETA:  Estimated Time of Arrival

    ETL: Environmental Technology Laboratory

    FASTEX:  Fronts and Atlantic Storm Tracks Experiment

    FIRSTT: Focus on Integrated Remote Sensing Technology and Training

    FPDT: Forecast Products Development Team

    FTP: File Transfer Protocol

    GIF:  Graphics Interchange Format

    GINI: GOES Ingest NOAA-Port Interface

    GOES: Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

    GRID:  Gridded Data (McIDAS file type)

    GVAR: GOES Variable

    hPa:  hectopascals

    HRD:  Hurricane Research Division

    IGOS:  Integrated  Global Observing Strategy

    INSAT:  India Satellite

    IOP:  Intensive Observing Period

    IR: Infrared

    IWTC-4: Fourth International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones

    LUT:  Look Up Table

    McIDAS: Man Computer Interactive Data Access System

    MD Meteorological Data (McIDAS file type)

    MET ED:  Meteorological Education

    METAR:  Meteorological Weather Code

    MOBY:  Marine Optical Buoy

    NASA:  National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    NCEP:  National Center for Environmental Prediction

    NESDIS: National Environmental Satellite Data Information Service

    NOAA:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    NPOESS: National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System

    NWS: National Weather Service

    NWSFO: National Weather Service Forecast Office

    OAT: Operational Algorithm Team

    OM:  Office of Meteorology

    OPTORA:  Operating Plans and Tasks for the Office of Research and Applications

    ORA:  Office of Research and Applications

    OSF: Operational Support Facility

    PCGRIDDS: Personal Computer Based Gridded Interactive Display and Diagnostic System

    PCI:  Principal Component Imagery

    POP: Product Oversight Panel

    PRC:  Peoples Republic of China

    RAMGIF:  Regional and Mesoscale Graphics Interchange Format

    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

    SCAN:  System for Convective Analysis and Nowcasting

    SeaWiFS: Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor

    SMC: Satellite Meteorology Center (Beijing, PRC)

    SOCC: Satellite Operations Control Center

    SOO: Science Operations Officer

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

    SSEC: Space Science and Engineering Center (University of Wisconsin)

    SWPI:  Severe Weather Prediction Initiative

    USWRP SAC: United States Weather Research Program Science Advisory Committee

    UTC:  Coordinated Universal Time

    VISIT: Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training

    WMO: World Meteorological Organization