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RAMMB Scientific Quarterly Report - 4th Quarter FY 99


  • Severe Storm

    Severe Storms

    Weaver, Dostalek, Grasso, Hilgendorf, Bikos, Motta

    A paper entitled “Examples of nowcasting in Central Plains and southeastern United States severe thunderstorm environments using satellite and Doppler radar,” by J. Weaver, E, Hilgendorf, L. Grasso, and K. Pence (NWS) has been submitted to Weather and Forecasting.  The paper demonstrates how the combination of satellite imagery and Doppler radar data together produce much more accurate severe thunderstorm nowcasts than either one alone.

    Material from the satellite/radar paper has been included in the new VisitView teletraining module on the use of RSO data. (see VISIT)

    The data collection segment of the Lubbock, TX dryline experiment is complete.  Several interesting cases of severe weather in the Texas panhandle have been documented.   Research on a severe weather outbreak that occurred on 25 May 1999 has begun.  In this case, a weak flow, severe envirnoment resulted in multiple splitting thunderstorms each of which caused severe weather.  This work will culminate in a journal article by J. Dostalek, J. Weaver, L. Grasso, and L. Phillips (NWS/SOO at Lubbock, TX).

    Click on image to enlarge

    Reviewer’s comments for the 31 May 1996 Kansas and Colorado severe weather case study have been addressed, and the paper is awaiting publication.  No publication date has been given as yet.

  • Tropical Cyclones

    Tropical Cyclones

    DeMaria, Zehr, Hilgendorf, Knaff, Phillips

    A paper documenting a dramatic difference in the thermal structure of two similar looking cyclonic weather systems was submitted to Weather and Forecasting.   In this short case study one storm system had tropical origins and a warm core throughout the depth of the troposphere, while the other originated in the subtropics and a very strong warm core in the upper troposphere with a cold core below. The paper is entitled “Temperature structures of two similarly appearing cyclone systems from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit.”  The authors are J. Knaff, R. Zehr, M. Goldberg, and S. Kidder.

    Work continues on tropical cyclone convective asymmetries in mature tropical cyclones due to translation and vertical wind shear.  Understanding these asymmetries will lead to better interpretation of environmental wind conditions from IR satellite imagery alone.

    A rainfall archive has been prepared and software was developed to create hourly rainfall datasets coincident in time and location with 33  hurricanes and 33 tropical storms which made US landfall from 1947-1997.   These special datasets are being analyzed in detail in order to gain insight into whether a pattern exists in the relative amount of rainfall measured, with respect to the track of land-falling tropical cyclones.  Additional software was developed to sort, display and temporarily archive the results of these analyses.

    Super Rapid Scan Operations (SRSO) were requested and the data were archived for the 1999 Hurricane Season.  The 1-minute interval images are to be used to derive high density wind sets and analyses of upper core wind fields for use along with aircraft observations to investigate intensity change.  This year’s data sets were improved due to the capability to define the sector with a latitude-longitude center as opposed to predefined sectors.  Unprecedented data coverage was obtained with Hurricane Floyd with SRSO on eight consecutive days capturing most of its life cycle.  Other objectives include support of Hurricane Research Division research flights and investigation of cloud patterns within the hurricane eye. SRSO data sets were also archived with Atlantic Hurricanes Bret and Dennis and eastern Pacific Hurricane Dora.

    A tropical cyclone genesis experiment, which utilizes the super rapid scan capabilities of the GOES satellites was conducted .in which an SRSO sector will be centered on a targeted developing wave.  The high-resolution imagery will be used to create high density wind data sets once a day prior to and during aircraft reconnaissance.

    A new project is underway to archive IR images with tropical cyclones in a common format on CD-ROM.  Images are saved in MCIDAS format as 4 km resolution Mercator remaps.  Image availability is somewhat variable but coverage will be nearly complete for the Atlantic beginning in 1995, and the Eastern Pacific cases beginning in 1997.  Best Track data and aircraft reconnaissance observations are to be added.  When complete, the archive will contain over 20,000 images.

    Research continues on a quantitative assessment of the vertical wind shear forcing on Hurricanes Opal, Bertha, and Erika. The final set of computations are nearly complete and an outline of a paper has been completed.  Preliminary analyses of 1999 Hurricanes Bret and Floyd were completed to assess vertical wind shear influences in addition to investigation of minimum sea level pressure – maximum wind relationships.  Aircraft reconnaisance center fix data were archived for the 1999 flights.

    A project continues to document 3 to 6 hour oscillations of deep convection associated with the inner core region of tropical cyclones.  This is a new discovery that is in addition to the more commonly known diurnal cycles of deep convection that occur in tropical cyclones and deep oceanic convection.  Work is continuing to improve the documentation of this phenomenon with hopes of submitting results for publication next quarter.

    Information concerning the likelihood of tropical cyclone genesis in the tropical Atlantic Ocean is now updated daily and available on the world wide web.  Parameters include a measure of zonal vertical wind shear and instability derived from the NCEP Aviation Model Analysis and GOES water vapor brightness temperatures calculated in a box 8 to 18  N and 35 to 55  W.  These parameters are combined into a single index that is positive when environmental conditions are favorable for tropical cyclones to form.  In addition several parameters related to the probability for tropical Atlantic hurricane activity have been derived solely from the GOES-8 soundings.  Parameters include Lifted Index, 900 hPa – 700 hPa precipitable water, Maximum Potential Intensity (given as minimum eyewall pressure), and two experimental thermodynamic genesis potential products. 

    Research has begun to create an algorithm based on satellite imagery to predict rapid intensification of hurricanes.

  • Extra Tropical Cyclones

    Extra Tropical Cyclones


    Planning and literature review of extratropical cyclones has begun in preparation for PACJET.  PACJET will not occur until the winter of 2000/2001, but preliminary work, particularly with the use of the AMSU instrument algorithms, will occur during the 1999/2000 Pacific coast winter storm season.

  • Natural Hazards

    Natural Hazards

    Zehr, Weaver, Connell

    Following the Fort  Collins flood of 28 July 1997, a glaring lack of training was identified in the local 9-1-1 dispatch staff regarding severe weather.  Further research showed that this lack of training in catastrophic weather-related incidents was common to many natural disasters which have occurred across the country over the past eight years (period researched).  J. Weaver designed a set of Natural Disaster response cards aimed at in-service training and guidance in real-time for 9-1-1 dispatchers.  The cards were reviewed by NWS staff, scientists, emergency managers, as well as FEMA and Red Cross staff.  The cards are now on the web, and initial reviews from emergency managers around the country is positive.  Cards may be viewed at:

Applications Development

  • GOES Product Improvement and Development

    GOES Product Improvement and Development

    Hillger, Campbell, Combs, Dostalek

    A new 4PANEL program for McIDAS was developed to take any 4 image channels and generate an AREA that displays all 4 channels in quadrants with earth-location maps.  The program works on either 1-byte or 2-byte data, thus generating a display without any loss of data precision when used in 2-byte mode.  The 4PANEL program is being used to display up to 4 Principal Component images on one frame on the new SAB RAMSDIS to look for volcanic ash, fires, and snow/ice detection by concentrating on GOES channels 2, 4, and 5.  The program can also be used to display any 4 GOES Sounder channels in a 4-panel display and is being used on the Sounder RAMSDIS to display multi-level water vapor imagery.  Development of 4PANEL was necessary because the standard McIDAS version of PANEL does not work on RAMSDIS units.

    Progress has been made on a paper entitled “GOES Derived Product Imagery: Statistical Comparison to Radiosonde Observations and Use in Forecasting Severe Convection along a Dryline” in preparation for its submission to Weather and Forecasting.

    The GOES Autoestimator rainfall estimation product was added to RAMSDIS systems in the CIRA computer lab. This product was added in preparation for upcoming GOES Assessment Activities.

  • Soundings


    Hillger, Campbell, Ruston

    Developed new multi-band McIDAS digital value program, a version of the McIDAS D command that works for all areas including multi-band areas such as those from the GOES 19-band Sounder and NOAA 5-band AVHRR.  The new program saves having to load each band and then run D on each frame to see the digital values under the cursor!  It also works on single-band AREAs and on McIDAS-X.  This command could substitute   for D in all applications.

    Temporal Variation in Vapor Radiances:  Two GOES Sounder channels are being used to examine the temporal variation of water vapor in the middle to lower troposphere.  Synoptic scale instabilities due to a relative warming or cooling aloft are observed.  Synoptic scale dynamic features such as jet streaks or large scale gravity waves are apparent in the vapor radiance field. A brief description can be found online (

  • Satellite/Radar


    Weaver, Motta, Hilgendorf

    A journal article entitled “Examples of nowcasting in central Plains and southeastern United States severe thunderstorm environments using satellite and Doppler radar,” by J. Weaver, E, Hilgendorf, L. Grasso, and K. Pence (NWS) has been submitted to Weather and Forecasting.  (see Severe Storms)

  • Precipitation


    Grasso, Hilgendorf

    A preliminary algorithm to predict the maximum potential rainfall for single thunderstorms is under revision to account for variable storm motion.  The algorithm currently uses only surface and upper air data, but future versions will be tested for their applicability to the GOES sounder products.

    A manuscript entitled “Observations of anvil reflectivity at 3.9 µm as viewed from GOES imagery” has been accepted as a Note with major revisions by Monthly Weather Review.   Based on reviewers comments it was decided to expand the Note into a full article.  The 3.9 micron reflectivity research is therefore continuing.  Research on the use of radar and satellite images for precipitation estimation are listed under the heading Satellite/Radar.

  • Climatology


    Connell, Combs

    Processing of the US climatologies continued on schedule.  These included large sector composites for June, July and August 1999, and wind regime composites for May, June, and July 1999.  Combined products cover 1998 and 1999 for GOES channels 1 and 4 were processed for April, May, and June.

    Collection of PCGRIDDS – ETA 12 UTC model data continues daily.  The gridded data  are being used to generate a mean boundary layer (~1000-700 mb) wind speed and a resultant boundary layer wind direction to designate a wind regime for specific AWIPS sites for use in the  monthly satellite CONUS climatologies.  Wind regimes have been determined for May, June, July, and August 1999.

    Full disk water vapor imagery (3 hour interval) from GOES-8 has been used to calculate 5-day running averages on pixels warmer than -35 C.  The imagery from June through September, 1999  are being examined over the Atlantic basin for trends in dry/moist  periods and their relations to hurricane formation.   October imagery will also be collected and processed as it becomes available.

    See NWS Interaction for an update on the Florida Summer Sea Breeze Satellite Climatology Project.

    See RMTC Interaction for an update on the Costa Rica and Barbados Satellite Climatology Projects.

  • Mesoscale Modeling

    Mesoscale Modeling


    The Colorado State University Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (CSU-RAMS) was used to study dryline sensitivity to soil moisture.  Results suggest that dryline development may depend on the underlaying soil wetness. Sensitivity runs were conducted and show that as the soil moisture is reduced, the horizontal water vapor gradient at the dryline decreases.  The figure shows the low-level water vapor in simulations where the soil moisture amplitude was 75, 50 and 25% of the observed values.

    A manuscript that was submitted to Monthly Weather Review entitled, “A numerical simulation of dryline sensitivity to soil moisture” is pending review.

  • Winds and Cloud Heights

    Winds and Cloud Heights


    G.G. Campbell visited Eumetsat, collaborating with K. Holmlund.  The standard cloud tracking software of Eumetsat was adapted to include the geometric calculation of cloud height with stereo.  Using the 5 km resolution IR imagery of Meteosat 7 and Meteosat 5, we were able to match the temperature to height algorithm in a majority of cases to plus/minus 100mb.  Certain groups of cloud had inconsistent heights and these could be traced to problems (or areas of improvement) in the algorithms.  The semi-transparency correction failed to correctly recognize some thin cirrus clouds, assigning middle cloud levels to these high clouds.  For inhomogeneous cloud situations, the temperature retrievals select the coldest pixels for the cloud height, where as the stereo scheme estimates the height of the most common cloud.  Comparisons were also made between the visible stereo estimates with 2.5 km resolution data.  The height matching with the temperature method was not as good, because inhomogeneous clouds have a bigger effect on the visible, than IR radiances.  Click on figures to enlarge

    Figure 1
    IR Stereo Heights from Meteosat-7 plus Meteosat-5:
    All possible objects with correlation > .4; Green 4 km < Z < 7 km; Blue < 4 km
    From G.G. Campbell and K. Holmlund, 1999

    Figure 2 
    Temperature to Pressure  vs  Stereo to Pressure algorithm results:
    Str = Semi-transparent Temperature Corrected Cloud Tops
    Stereo = Geometric Pressures

    Failures of the Temperature Method (BLUE) show area where the temperature algorithm needs tuning.  The temperature algorithm is designed to select the coldest cloud pixel so the clouds shown in RED are mismatching because the stereo method uses all pixels of the cloud edge.  This indicates that the stereo analysis should select only uniform cloud types for tracking.

    Figure 3
    Semi-transparent clouds with matching stereo heights
    The colors match the previous figure.  The organization of the matches lends credence to the conclusions.

Outside Interaction

  • National Labs

    National Labs

    Weaver, Motta, Zehr

    B. Motta worked with a mentor in the NCAR Autonowcaster group.  Information was obtained on the processing/algorithms that are used to process the Doppler radar data to generate the autonowcasts.  These will be used as part of SCAN by the NWS in AWIPS.  Possible applications and current efforts involving GOES satellite data and Rapid Scan Operations imagery were also discussed.

    Interaction continues with Hurricane Research Division (HRD) at AOML on use of Tropical RAMSDIS and collaborative research projects.

    M. DeMaria and D. Molenar met with C. Matsumoto, Deputy Director of CIRA, and two programmers at the Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL) in Boulder to discuss possible interactions in the development of applications for the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). The FSL personnel are extremely busy with the next few builds and will probably have little time for interaction in the next few months. They agreed to provide lists of available on-line documentation to aid in the establishment of the AWIPS at CIRA. They suggested that we continue to learn about the system in the next few months, but wait until Build 5, which is scheduled to be delivered late this year, before beginning application development. Build 5 should have extended capabilities for the development of user applications.

  • Universities


    Zehr, Grasso, Molenar, Weaver

    J. Weaver and L. Carey (CSU Research Associate, Department of Atmospheric Science) completed their work on  the Fort Collins flood, including a 15-minute accumulating rainfall total, derived from the CSU-CHILL radar.  Both the accumulations and the E-911 graphs have been added to Weaver’s web presentation on the flood.  The new material can be accessed at:   Choose “Flash Flood” from the menu, choose Weaver presentation, then go to “Late Evening Rain” for the accumulations loops, or “Runoff and Rain Totals” for the E-911 graphs.

    An empirical method for predicting the 24-hour intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes, is being run in real time for evaluation with 1999 Atlantic and Eastern Pacific cases.  This is a new version of the technique which  combines qualitative input based on animated GOES imagery with quantitative information on vertical wind shear and sea surface temperature from operational models. This work is supervised by Ray Zehr, and is being done by Todd Kimberlain and Eric Blake, Colorado State University graduate students.

    As in past years during the “hurricane season” daily briefings are presented in the CIRA Lab with participation by CSU faculty and graduate students.  Briefings were presented by CIRA personnel and CSU graduate students.  A short article regarding the briefings was submitted for the CIRA Newsletter.

    L. Grasso continued to collaborate with doctoral students on the numerical simulations of convective storms.

  • Other NESDIS

    Other NESDIS

    DeMaria, Hillger, Molenar, Zehr

    M. DeMaria attended the GIMPAP Science Review meeting and presented a summary of RAMM Team research.

  • NWS


    Dostalek, Motta, Molenar, Weaver, Bikos, Connell, DeMaria, Zajac

    J. Dostalek and J. Weaver began a study of a multiple splitting thunderstorm events that occurred in the Texas panhandle on 25 May 1999.  Loren Phillips (SOO, LBB, NWS) is a partner in the study, which includes satellite radar and gridded surface and upper air data.

    D. Bikos has brought in some AWIPS cases for the HP machines at CIRA. He has also provided satellite data to FSL for the May 3, 1999 case, so they can make it available to NWS offices as AWIPS cases.

    D. Bikos, B. Motta, B. Zajac attended the High Plains Severe Weather Conference in Goodland, KS

    B. Motta made a presentation at  the Southern Region NWS/Global Hydrology and Climate Center regional analysis and prediction workshop.

    CIRA collected visible, 3.9  um and 10.7  um imagery for June, July, and August 1999 in support of the NWS Tallahassee, Summer Sea-breeze climatology project.  This year the analysis of the imagery has shifted from a qualitative averaging approach to a quantitative cloud frequency approach.  The following image shows an example of the visible cloud frequency composites for 2115 UTC for 4 different regimes for 1996-1998.  The data from 1999 are being processed and quality checked and will be added to the composites in the future.  A short paper entitled “GOES-8 visible cloud frequency composites of the convectively active sea breeze under stratified synoptic flow over the Florida Panhandle” was prepared and submitted for the AMS annual meeting in January 2000.  Click on image to enlarge

    M. DeMaria is collaborating with the NCEP Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) to assess the impact of AMSU-A data on their global data assimilation system (GDAS) in the vicinity of tropical cyclones.  The GDAS will be run with and without the AMSU observations for a few cases from the 1999 hurricane season.

  • WMO



    Interaction continued with the Costa Rica and Barbados Regional Meteorological Training Centers focusing on analysis and use of the developing satellite climatology archives.  (For more on these activities, see text under Technology Transfer and Training –  RMTC/WMO)

  • Miscellaneous

    Reference material and satellite imagery describing how tropical cyclones that are close together can interact (the “Fujiwhara Effect”) was provided to USA Today the week of August 27.  A brief explanation of this process and an example from the 1995 hurricane season was provided. A loop of GOES infrared imagery was prepared to demonstrate how hurricane Iris affected the track of tropical storm Karen in 1995.

    The week of September 17, M. DeMaria provided a telephone interview on the possible inland effects of tropical cyclones for a newspaper story on Hurricane Floyd. Output from a surface wind prediction model for a hypothetical storm similar to Floyd, but with a more westerly track was provided for the report.

    Loops of Rapid Scan and Super Rapid Scan GOES visible imagery were provided  to The Weather Channel for use in training and on-air promotions. Five tropical cyclone loops, a severe weather case, and a lake effect snow case were included in the examples. A brief description was also provided for each case.


    The week of July 9, M. DeMaria meet with Dr. Tom Vonder Haar, CIRA and Dr. Steve Rutledge from the Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science to discuss possible research collaboration. Dr. Rutledge is interested in adapting the Virtual Laboratory concept used by CIRA to disseminate satellite data to distribute radar observations. He is also interested in joint research to combine radar and satellite observations to diagnose and forecast precipitation. A joint CIRA/CSU proposal may be submitted to the U.S. Weather Research Program early next year.

    D. Hillger participated in the Suomi AMS Tenth Radiation Conference in Madison WI, June 28 – July 1.  A poster was presented at the conference on “Using the New 1.6 um Channel on NOAA-15 in Satellite Product Development.”  On the same trip, a visit was made to CIMSS to discuss work on two on-going projects.

    Several RAMM team members made presentations at annual Pingree Park Retreat , July 27-29.  Presenters included B. Connell, M. DeMaria, E. Hilgendorf, J. Dostalek, D. Hillger, and R. Zehr.  The retreat also had representatives from non-RAMM team CIRA staff , CIMSS, and ORA.

    J. Dostalek attended the PACJET (Pacific Landfalling Jets Experiment) Planning Workshop held on August 31 and September 1 in Monterey, CA.  PACJET is a follow-on experiment to CALJET (California Landfalling Jets Experiment ) in which mid-latitude Pacific Cyclones affecting the U.S. west coast will be studied during the 2000/2001 winter season. He gave a talk concerning the use of AMSU (Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit) data during the PACJET experiment.  CIRA will play a primary role in the satellite support of PACJET.

    The week of August 13, a planning meeting was held for the SAB RAMSDIS development.  A preliminary version will have the following image products – Tropical: 24-hr GOES-East 14 km water vapor (WV) loop; 24-hr AVG IMG loop of the 14 km WV; movable matching 4-km Mercator loops of IR, VIS (Ch2 at night) and most recent SSMI 85Ghz and AMSU Channel 7 images; 6-hr motion-relative AVG IMG IR loop; motion-relative, full-resolution visible loop; and a sea surface temperature product. Volcanic ash and snow/ice applications: movable GOES principal component and multispectral images for two locations.


    Kevin Maschoff of Lockheed Martin Space Instruments visited CIRA on September 14 to discuss Advanced Baseline Imager concepts with several CIRA personnel.  Dr. Maschoff was given a tour of CIRA’s RAMSDIS Central showing prototypes of several of the different types of RAMSDIS units that utilize satellite data for research purposes.

    Gary Ellrod of ARAD visited CIRA on September 21 to discuss joint work on an extended abstract for the upcoming Satellite Conference.

    Mr. Selvin Burton from the Regional Meteorological Training Center (RMTC) in Barbados visited CIRA, July 12-23.  He spent a busy two weeks reviewing archived climatology imagery, and focused on temperature threshold techniques for the 10.7  m imagery to derive cloud frequency composites for the various rainy months.  Since rainfall data is sparse in the region, these composites, along with other information will help in rainfall estimates.  An example of 10.7  m cloud frequency composites for a threshold temperature of 280 K for October, November and December, 1998 is shown.  October is one of the rainy months and December a drier month.  November 1998 was drier than normal.

    J. Dostalek and J. Weaver hosted Loren Phillips, (SOO at the Lubbock, TX NWSFO) from September 13 to 15 to begin collaboration on a study of  the severe weather outbreak which took place in the Texas panhandle on 25 May 1999.

Field Experiments

  • HRD and CAMEX 3

    HRD and CAMEX 3

    Zehr, Watson

    Several RSO and SRSO data sets were collected in coordination with HRD field program activities during the 1999 hurricane season.

  • RAMM/CSU Northeast Colorado Severe Weather Experiment

    RAMM/CSU Northeast Colorado Severe Weather Experiment

    Zajac, Weaver, Dostalek

    Field data are no longer being recorded for the RAMMT/CSU Northeast Colorado Severe Weather Experiment.  Three significant cases were observed (i.e., 17 June, 10 August, and 2 September) and are pending further study.

  • Lubbock Dryline Experiment

    Lubbock Dryline Experiment

    Weaver, Dostalek

    The data collection of the Lubbock Dryline has been successfully completed.  Future results based on this data will appear in the Severe Storms section of  “Research – Meteorological.”

Technology and Training

  • Web Pages

    Web Pages

    DeMaria, Phillips, Dostalek, Hillger, Motta, Weaver, Knaff

    Progress continues on the production of real-time tropical cyclone products using temperature retrievals derived from the Advance Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU).  Current AMSU products include the surface pressure field, cloud liquid water, and azimuthally-averaged temperature and gradient winds.  This project has been so successful that an effort to re-analyze the 1998 hurricane season data has begun. 

    Information concerning the likelihood of tropical cyclone genesis in the tropical Atlantic Ocean is now updated daily and available on the world wide web. 

    A loop showing 15-min accumulations and a graph showing the corresponding number of E-911 phone calls for the night of the Fort Collins flood have been added to J. Weaver’s web presentation on the flood.  The new material can be accessed at: Choose “Flash Flood” from the menu, choose Weaver presentation, then go to “Late Evening Rain” for the accumulations loops, or “Runoff and Rain Totals” for the E-911 graphs.


  • Satellite Interpretation Discussion


    The on-line, training and discussion effort known as the “Satellite Interpretation Discussion” continues to be well received by the user community and continues as a regular activity of the RAMMT. 



    Molenar, Connell, Dostalek, Gosden, Smith, Hillger

    A new and unique system for SAB (Satellite Analysis Branch) RAMSDIS has been developed, and was delivered in September 1999.  The main purpose is for evaluation of experimental products.  Support will be provided with refinements and additions, along with interaction on product evaluation.  New products include: SSMI and AMSU display to match a floating sector with GOES images for hurricane analysis, 24-hour average water vapor image loop, a center relative IR average image loop for hurricanes, PC images, and 3.9 micrometer images for volcanic ash analysis.

    Tropical RAMSDIS was expanded to 350 frames with additional products and ingest.  It is used for IR image archiving, product development and evaluation, and for daily hurricane briefings.  Sea-surface temperature loops, AMSU Channel 7 images, and a Meteosat-5 (at 63E longitude) floater loops, were added.

    Ongoing RAMSDIS support has been provided to the NWS sites.

    The In-house RAMSDIS systems have updated with the Y2K compliant McIDAS version 7.5 and OS/2 Warp version 4.0.

    Preparation and planning are taking place for a trip to Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica to determine the feasibility of installing RAMSDIS workstations in the meteorological offices of each country (hurricane Mitch restoration project).

    Work has begun on converting climatology processing and display programs to run under McIDAS 7.5 and McIDAS 7.6 NT.

  • RAMSDIS Online

    RAMSDIS Online

    Watson, Hillger

    Two RAMSDIS Online (ROL) servers for four new image products were upgraded during the conversion to a Y2K-compliant version of McIDAS software.  The new products are generated and displayed continuously on “ROLEX” and are available to numerous users.



    Motta, Bikos, Zajac, Weaver, Zehr

    Twenty-five teletraining sessions were administered this quarter, and three new teletraining sessions introduced.  Three RAMM team personnel have  also become VISIT instructors.  These include; R. Zehr, for the Tropical Satellite Imagery and Products session; B. Zajac, for the session on CONUS CG Lightning activity; and J. Weaver for the new session on using RSO imagery.  In addition to administering the many teletraining sessions, D. Bikos worked with B. Motta and  J. Weaver in preparing material for, and editing, the first RSO teletraining session.  Bikos also worked on the VISITview session and the web-page version of this material.

    The first VISIT teletraining session on lightning, entitled “CONUS CG Lightning Activity,” was delivered to over 50 NWS WFOs during the 4th quarter.  The session discusses the operations and performance of the National Lightning Detection Network and the spatial, annual, and diurnal variations in CG lightning activity over the CONUS and the County Warning Areas of the participating WFOs.

    D. Bikos collected evaluations for the teletraining sessions and prepared certificates of completion.  To date there have been over 600 certificates sent out to NWS employees for VISIT teletraining sessions.

    A training module was developed by R. Zehr and B. Motta.  It was presented July 21 by R. Zehr.  The topic is satellite applications for tropical cyclone satellite analysis, with emphasis on new products and analysis procedures.  It includes discussion and illustrations on the use of GOES, SSMI, AMSU, scatterometer, and TRMM data. The SAB and two NWS offices (Houston, TX and Key West, FL) participated.   T. Mostek of the NWS/OM also participated.  Additional sessions are scheduled for September, 1999.

    D. Bikos, B. Motta, and B. Zajac attended the IST/PDS working group at NWS/WRH in Salt Lake City, UT, September 14.



    DeMaria, Hillger, Knaff, Zehr, Motta

    M. DeMaria, R. Zehr, J. Knaff, and D. Hillger gave presentations at the COMET Mesoscale Analysis and Prediction (COMAP) course on September 17 and 22.

    B. Motta attended COMET Mesoscale Analysis and Prediction (COMAP) courses, August 2 – 27 and September 7 – 24.

  • Community Outreach

    Community Outreach


    J. Weaver continues as the NOAA representative on the City of Fort Collins’ Project Impact steering committee.  Project Impact is a FEMA-funded effort which provides “seed money” to several cities  in each state to develop innovative ideas for disaster mitigation.  Weaver’s thrust is aimed at getting FEMA to think of weather  information as a potential mitigation tool.

    J. Weaver gave two presentations to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the Fort Collins flood.  The talk was entitled  “The Fort Collins Flood of 28 July 1997 — What happened, and what have we learned?”  The first presentation was to a group of about 40 members of a local volunteer precipitation reporting network, and the second was to 87 members of a local Lions club.




    Mr. Selvin Burton from the Regional Meteorological Training Center (RMTC) in Barbados visited CIRA, July 12-23.  He spent a busy two weeks reviewing archived climatology imagery, and focused on temperature threshold techniques for the 10.7  m imagery to derive cloud frequency composites for the various rainy months.  Since rainfall data is sparse in the region, these composites, along with other information will help in rainfall estimates.  An example of 10.7  m cloud frequency composites for a threshold temperature of 280 K for October, November and December, 1998 is shown.  October is one of the rainy months and December a drier month.  November 1998 was drier than normal.

    Click on image to enlarge

    Mr. Burton tried out McIDAS-X NT after it was successfully loaded to a new system that will be shipped to Barbados in October for further support of the RMTC efforts.  He also became familiar with McIDAS commands to overlay model data on satellite imagery and received ideas on putting together a web example for a heavy rain case that has been analyzed.  He presented a seminar on the training and research being done at the Caribbean Meteorological Institute and included the benefits of increased usage of satellite imagery for the region.  Barbados received CDs of archived monthly climatology imagery for April through August 1999.

    The Costa Rica RMTC received CDs of archived monthly climatology imagery for March through August 1999.  Like Barbados, they are also looking into ways to use the satellite imagery to better identify regions with heavy precipitation.  The imagery are also being used in conjunction with model output for student projects such as seasonal tracking of the Intertropical Convergence Zone.  An example of cloud frequency compositing by the 10.7  m threshold temperature technique for June of 1997, 1998 and 1999 is shown in the following image.

    Click on image to enlarge

    Preparations have begun for the WMO sponsored 2-week satellite meteorology training to be held in Costa Rica December 6-17, 1999.  CIRA will be presenting 12 lectures and 6 lab sessions.

    Groundwork continued to be laid for introducing  RAMSDIS Online and RAMSDIS systems into WMO Region III and IV countries.

  • Training


    B. Motta completed COMET Mesoscale Analysis and Prediction (COMAP) courses, August 2 – 27 and
    September 7 – 24.

    D. Molenar attended training at Unidata in Boulder, CO on July 26 and 27.  The training pertained to the Unidata Local Data Management system, currently being used at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) to ingest NOAAPORT products which are then displayed on the CIRA Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS).

  • Publications


    DeMaria, M., 1999: Contributions to Tropical Cyclone-Related NWP Products and Their Guidance, Report No. TCP-41, WMO, Geneva, 49 pp.

    Landsea, C.W., R.A. Pielke, Jr., A.M. Mestas-Nunez, and J.A. Knaff, 1999:  Atlantic basin hurricanes: Indices of climatic change. Climatic Change, 42: 89-129.

    Weaver, J.F., 1999: Delayed Disaster in Fire Chief Magazine, September, 34-40.



    Campbell, G.G. and J.F.W. Purdom, 1999:  Asynchronous stereo height and motion retrieval from satellite observations. J. of Atmos. and Oceanic Technology.

    Chase, T.N., R.A. Pielke, J.A. Knaff, T.G.G. Kittel, J.L. Eastman, 1999: A comparison of Regional Trends in 1979-1997 depth-averaged tropospheric temperatures.  Int. J. Climatol.

    Grasso, L.D., 1999: The differentiation between grid spacing and resolution and their application to numerical modeling.  B. Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Weaver, J.F., 2000:  Chapter 23: Windstorms associated with extratropical cyclones in Storms.  Routledge Limited. In press

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



    Bernardet, L.R., L.D. Grasso, J.E. Nachamkin, C.A. Finley, and W.R. Cotton, 1999: Simulating convective events using a high-resolution mesoscale model. Journal of Geophysical Review.

    Grasso, L.D., 1999: The dependence of dryline formation on soil moisture.  Mon Wea. Rev.

    Grasso, L.D., 1999: A numerical simulation of dryline sensitivity to soil moisture. Mon. Wea. Rev.

    Grasso, L.D., 1999: The dissipation of a left moving cell in a severe storm envirnoment.. Mon. Wea. Rev.

    Knaff, J.A., R.M. Zehr, M.D. Goldberg, and S.Q. Kidder, 1999:  Temperature structure differences of two similarly appearing cyclone systems derived from the Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit. Weather and Forecasting.

    Landsea, C.W., and J.A. Knaff, 1999:  How much skill was there in forecasting the great 1997-98 El Nino?, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.

    Molenar, D.A., K.J. Schrab, and J.F.W. Purdom, 1999: RAMSDIS contributions to NOAA satellite data utilization. Amer. Meteor. Soc. Bulletin.

    Pielke, R.A., T.N. Chase, T.G.F. Kittel, J.A. Knaff, and J. Eastman, 1999: Analysis of 200 mb wind and 1000-200 mb depth-averaged temperature trends for the period 1958-1997. J. Geophysical Research.

    Weaver, J.F., E.R. Hilgendorf, L.D. Grasso, K. Pence, 1999:  Examples of using satellite and Doppler radar data for nowcasting during severe thunderstorm outbreaks: Focus on training. Weather and Forecasting.

  • Seminars/Presentations



    J. Dostalek gave a presentation on the use of AMSU data during the PACJET (Pacific Landfalling Jets Experiment) Planning Workshop, August 31 and September 1, Monterey, CA.

    D. Bikos, B. Motta, and B. Zajac gave talks on recently developed VISIT training sessions at the 3rd High Plains Conference in Goodland, KS, July 28-29.

    B. Motta gave an electronic poster  presentation at the AMS 29th International Conference on Radar Meteorology, Montreal, July 12-16.

  • Instrument Planning

    New software was obtained to access MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS) data on McIDAS-X at CIRA.  Initial testing of MAS data for a selected flight line showed some useful wavelengths that are not available in current GOES data.


  • Systems Administration

    Systems Administration

    Molenar, Gosden

    D. Molenar attended a special NOAA training session at Unidata in Boulder, CO on July 26 and 27.  The training was designed to address the special needs of NOAA sites using the Unidata Local Data Management (LDM) system, currently being used at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) to ingest NOAAPORT products which are then displayed on the CIRA Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) workstation.   The LDM will be distributed as part of the AWIPS 5.0 release, making this a viable platform for transferring experimental products to the Weather Service.

    All RAMM Team HP workstations have been upgraded with the latest network security and Y2K compliance patches.

    The VISIT HP workstation has been reconfigured to support a larger system drive, logical volumes,  and more efficient disk space utilization.  Version 4.2 of the AWIPS D2D software has been installed.

    A HP-J280 Workstation was added to RAMMT’s Infrastructure for the VISIT project.  The system is being used to enhance the RAMM team research and VISIT training session by utilizing the AWIPS software.

  • Data Infrastructure

    Data Infrastructure

    Watson, Smith

    A McIDAS 7.5 system has been made available to the Meteorological Staff for testing of locally developed programs.  This system is fully Y2K compliant and ADDE compatible.

    A McIDAS system is being configured to display Rapid Scan Operation data in real-time.

  • Hardware/Software


    Gosden, Smith, Watson, Molenar

    The Rapid Scan Operation (RSO) RAMSDIS has been fully tested and is now acting as a server for RAMSDIS On-Line to provide near real-time imagery during rapid scan operations.

    A RAMSDIS system has been configured for the Satellite Applications Branch (SAB), was tested by our meteorological staff, and shipped to SAB.

    A new (used) HP J210 workstation was procured.  The workstation was updated with all security and y2k patches and configured to support the ingest of the Unidata NOAAPORT realtime data feed that had previously been running on an old HP 715.

    New software to access MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS) data and the National Severe Storms Laboratory WSR-88D Algorithm Testing And Display System (WATADS) has been installed on RAMM team UNIX workstations.   In addition, several new applications have been installed on workstations to support analysis of Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) data.

    Software to convert GRIB files to McIDAS GRID format has been installed on the RAMM Team  test McIDAS-NT workstation.

    McIDAS-X has been upgrade to version 7.6.

  • Administration


    DeMaria, Molenar, Fryer, Grasso, Phillips

    A proposal was submitted to the NOAA High Performance Computing Committee to obtain funding for the switches needed to upgrade the CIRA WAN connection to CSU.  The switch upgrade will allow CIRA workstations to access the Internet2 at maximum capacity speeds.

    Information was collected and organized for a quarterly report and a yearly review of the Team’s contributions to the GOES I-M Product Assurance Plan’s (GIMPAP’s) work requirements.

  • Travel




    Team Member
    Motta, B. Montreal, Canada AMS Radar Meteorology Confer.
    July 10-16 
    Burton, S. Fort Collins, CO RAMM-CIRA Interaction
    July 10-23
    Molenar, D. Boulder, CO Unidata Workshop
    July 26 & 27
    Motta, B. Goodland, KS NWA High Plains Conference
    July 27-29
    Bikos, D. Goodland, KS NWA High Plains Conference
    July 27-29
    Zajac, B. Goodland, KS NWA High Plains Conference
    July 27-29
    Motta, B. Boulder, CO COMAP Course (COMET)
    August 2-27
    Dostalek, J. Monterey, CA PACJet Workshop
    August 28-September 1
    Motta, B. Boulder, CO COMAP Course (COMET)
    September 7-24
    Motta, B. Salt Lake City, UT IST/PDS Planning Meeting
    September 13 & 14
    Bikos, D. Salt Lake City, UT IST/PDS Planning Meeting
    September 13-15
    B. Zajac Salt Lake City, UT IST/PDS Planning Meeting
    September 13-15
    DeMaria, M. Washington, DC GIMPAP Review
    September 20-22

  • List of Acronyms

    List of Acronyms


    AMS:  American Meteorological Society

    AMSU:  Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit

    AOML:  Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

    ARAD:  Atmospheric Research and Applications Division

    AVHRR: Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer

    AWIPS: Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System

    CALJET: California Landfalling Jets Experiment

    CIMSS: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies

    CIRA: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere

    COMAP: COMET Mesoscale Analysis and Prediction

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

    CONUS: Continental U.S.

    CSU:  Colorado State University

    EMC: Environmental Modeling Center

    FSL: Forecast Systems Laboratory

    FTP: File Transfer Protocol

    GDAS: Global Data Assimilation System

    GIF: Graphics Interchange Format

    GOES: Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

    GRID:  Gridded Data (McIDAS file type)

    HRD:  Hurricane Research Division

    HTML: Hypertext Markup Language

    IR: Infrared

    ISTPDS:  Integrated Sensor Training Professional Development Series

    MAS: MODIS Airborne Simulator

    McIDAS: Man Computer Interactive Data Access System

    NASA:  National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    NCAR: National Center for Atmospheric Research

    NCEP: National Center for Environmental Prediction

    NESDIS: National Environmental Satellite Data Information Service

    NHC: National Hurricane Center

    NOAA:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    NPOESS: National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System

    NWS: National Weather Service

    NWSFO: National Weather Service Forecast Office

    OM:  Office of Meteorology

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

    ORA:  Office of Research and Applications

    PACJET: Pacific Landfalling Jets Experiment

    PCGRIDDS: Personal Computer Based Gridded Interactive Display and Diagnostic System

    PCI:  Principal Component Imagery

    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

    ROLEX: RAMSDIS Online Experimental

    SAB: Satellite Applications Branch

    SOCC: Satellite Operations Control Center

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

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

    USWRP: United States Weather Research Program

    UTC:  Coordinated Universal Time

    VISIT: Virtual Institute for Satellite Integration Training

    WATADS: WSR-88D Algorithm Testing and Display System

    WMO: World Meteorological Organization

    WV:  Water Vapor

    Y2K: Year 2000