Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Beating the Radar: Getting a Jump on Storm Prediction

Satellite observation of cloud temperatures may be able to accurately predict severe thunderstorms up to 45 minutes earlier than relying on traditional radar alone, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center.

Scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) have developed a way to measure temperature changes in the tops of clouds to improve forecast times for rapidly growing storms.

“The value of detecting and analyzing these changes is that we can get up to a 45-minute jump on radar detection of the same storm system. A ‘nowcast’ becomes a ‘forecast,’” says CIMSS scientist Wayne Feltz.

Clouds start cooling long before radar can identify them as storms. As a warm cumulus cloud grows and expands upward into higher altitudes, it will rapidly cool. Rapid cloud-top cooling indicates that a cloud top is rising into the frigid upper reaches of the atmosphere and can reveal the formation of a severe storm.

Cloud temperatures can be measured by the wavelengths of light they radiate in the near-infrared and infrared frequencies. Current geostationary satellites — satellites that stay over the same location on Earth — over the U.S. can discern five different bands in these frequencies, each band revealing a different state of cloud development. Looking down from space, the satellite can determine whether the cloud top consists of liquid water, supercooled water or even ice.

By running high-speed five-minute satellite scans through a carefully designed computer algorithm, the scientists can quickly analyze cloud top temperature changes to look for signs of storm formation. “We are looking for transitions,” says Feltz. “Does the cloud top consist of liquid water that is cooling rapidly? That could signal a possible convective initiation.”

Feltz and other CIMSS colleagues, including Kris Bedka and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist Tim Schmit, demonstrated their “Convective Initiation Nowcast” and “Cloud Top Cooling Rate” products at NOAA’s annual Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT), held May 4-June 5 at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

The HWT is designed to accelerate the transition of promising new meteorological insights and technologies into advance forecasting and warnings for hazardous weather events throughout the United States.

“The Hazardous Weather Testbed brings in outside experts in all areas, a melting pot of people to encourage collaboration and interactions and proposal opportunities,” Feltz says. “The point of this is working with forecasters in the field — the Weather Service, the Storm Prediction Center, the Hurricane Center — whoever is interested in looking at more advanced satellite products.”

CONTACT: Wayne Feltz,, 608-265-6283

Mark Hobson | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>