Three "Doppler On Wheels" (DOW) mobile radars developed partly at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are heading toward the mid-Atlantic coast to intercept the eye of Hurricane Isabel as the powerful storm hits land. Meanwhile, the nations next-generation weather model, developed at NCAR and other labs, is training its electronic "eyes" on a virtual Isabel at NCARs supercomputing center in Boulder.
The DOWs will deploy at or near the coast in the direct path of the storm. "From a head-on position," says NCAR affiliate scientist Josh Wurman, "the DOW can collect unprecedented high resolution data and rapid-scan Doppler radar data from inside the eye."
At close range the scans will observe fine-scale but potentially damaging storm features as small as 40-feet across, including wind streaks, gusts and other structures. The DOWs are a collaborative effort between NCAR and the Center for Severe Weather Research. Wurman operates the vehicles through the CSWR, with support primarily from the National Science Foundation.
"This is an exciting opportunity to improve our understanding of the finer scale structure of one of natures most powerful phenomena," says Cliff Jacobs, program director in NSFs division of atmospheric sciences. "Federal support for national centers and university researchers has allowed the nexus of people, tools, and ideas to converge to gain new knowledge about hurricanes."
The newest of the radar systems, called the Rapid-DOW, sends out six radar beams simultaneously. By raking the sky six times faster than traditional single-beam radars, Rapid-DOW can visualize three-dimensional volumes in five-to-ten seconds and observe boundary layer rolls, wind gusts, embedded tornadoes and other phenomena as they evolve.
Back in Boulder, NCAR scientists are running the nations future Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model on NCARs IBM "Blue Sky" supercomputer, testing the models skill at predicting Isabels intensity, structures and track. Operating on a model grid with data points only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles miles) apart, Blue Sky hums with calculations all night as WRF zooms in on Isabel, bringing into focus the storms internal structure, including eyewall and rain bands. The result is a high-precision, two-day forecast. In the morning, the model starts over to create a new five-day forecast using a 10-kilometer grid and updated conditions.
NCARs primary sponsor, the National Science Foundation (NSF), supported the development of both WRF and the DOW at NCAR. The WRF model is a cooperative effort by NCAR and several federal agencies and military branches.
"Its an exciting opportunity," says scientist Jordan Powers, a WRF development manager at NCAR. "Resolving a hurricanes fine scale structures in real time with this next-generation weather model is breaking new ground for forecasters and researchers."
The DOW is pushing technological limits of its own. "The DOW has revolutionized the study of tornadoes and other violent and small scale atmospheric phenomena," says Wurman. The large, spinning, brightly-colored radar dishes have intercepted the eyes of five hurricanes: Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, Georges and Lili. Data from the retired DOW1 resulted in the discovery of entirely new phenomena in hurricanes, called intense boundary layer rolls, which contain the highest and most dangerous wind gusts.
Though Powers wont be using DOW data for WRFs forecasts this week, he and others may compare Wurmans real-world observations with the model results in the future.
NSF Program Officer: Cliff Jacobs, (703) 292-8521, email@example.com
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.3 billion. National Science Foundation funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards. The National Science Foundation also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
Cheryl Dybas | NSF
New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon
16.07.2018 | University of California - Santa Cruz
Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences