Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research forecasts better weather forecasts

01.03.2006


A Purdue University researcher and his team have used improved satellite imaging and powerful computer modeling to more accurately forecast the likelihood and intensity of storms and tornados.



The key to the new weather prediction model is its more precise simulation of the amount of moisture surface vegetation is releasing into the upper atmosphere to affect the weather conditions, said Dev Niyogi (pronounced Dave Knee-yoo-gee), an assistant professor of agronomy and earth and atmospheric sciences. Niyogi said that current weather prediction models represent vegetation at a very simplistic level.

"How well we are able to represent one leaf in a weather forecast model can be a key to predicting thunderstorms," he said. "In fact, the amount of moisture plants are emitting during photosynthesis may be considered the local trigger that trips fronts into violent weather."


Niyogi and his team based the research on two days in the 2002 International H20 Project, a large-scale, six-week field experiment that was a consolidated, coordinated effort funded by the National Science Foundation consisting of multiple researchers gathering huge datasets of weather information. Niyogi, who also is the Indiana state climatologist, was a participating researcher in the International H20 Project.

The research data were gathered on May 24-25, 2002, when a front moved southeast and met a cold front over western Texas, in what meteorologists call a "triple point." This condition often indicates severe thunderstorms and the potential for severe weather. Using the baseline data from this real weather event, Niyogi said the researchers "set out to assess how including the improved land-vegetation processes," along with winds, convection, soil moisture and other factors, would affect the weather prediction.

"The idea is to take the baseline data and the different simulations from Naval Research Laboratory’s Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System for systematic improvements in soil, plant photosynthesis and soil moisture models to forecast a May 25 severe weather event," he said.

The simulations also took advantage of the finer scale data from satellite imagery of smaller and smaller plots of land.

"We’ve gone from being able to observe and analyze 100 square kilometer plots in the past down to 10 kilometers and even 1 kilometer," Niyogi said. "The clarity of the picture we’re getting is analogous to a digital photograph becoming clearer as the pixels get smaller."

Niyogi said the actual weather on May 25 was "severe," with several thunderstorms occurring along a front.

"The standard ’default’ forecast did a reasonable job of predicting the storms, but the storms developed more slowly than predicted," he said. "The intensity and coverage of the storm were less than predicted, however."

When the photosynthesis vegetation model was added, Niyogi said there was a more accurate prediction of temperature and humidity, as well as the intensity, location and timing of the storms.

Thus, the major finding in the research is the extent to which plants releasing moisture into the atmosphere can become a major factor in triggering storms in the upper atmosphere. This finding holds the promise of more accurate prediction of storms and tornadoes in the future.

"Plants emit much more moisture into the atmosphere in a shorter time than does bare ground or even the lakes," Niyogi said. "Plant photosynthesis works like a jogger perspiring because the plant loses water as it makes food."

Niyogi’s team broke the plants down into types — such as mixed forest, grassland, shrubland, savanna and irrigated crops — because different plants release different amounts of moisture into the atmosphere at varying rates, in what’s called "photosynthesis-based transpiration."

The research was published in the January issue of the Monthly Weather Review, a publication of the American Meteorological Society.

Niyogi said future research will attempt "to enhance the land-vegetation model, which will improve forecasting the location, timing and intensity of storms, thunderstorms and tornados. We also can improve our ability to include satellite datasets, remote sensing and satellite mapping into weather forecast models as well as making the vegetation modeling more realistic."

Other members of the research team were Teddy R. Holt from the Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, Calif.; Fei Chen, Kevin Manning and Margaret A. LeMone from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.; and Aneela Qureshi, from the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University. The research was funded by the Office of Naval Research, National Science Foundation and NASA.

Niyogi does research through Purdue’s Discovery Park Center for Environment and Discovery Park Cyber Center and the Indiana State Climate Office.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, mlillich@purdue.edu

Source: Dev Niyogi, (765) 494-6574, climate@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Mike Lillich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>