AOML Director provides overview of NOAA observing system sensitivity experiments (OSSE) to the Israeli Meteorological Society, Jerusalem, Israel – 23 March 2015

AOML Director Robert Atlas presented a seminar to the Israeli Meteorological Society (IMS) titled “The Application of Observing System Simulation Experiments to Optimize the Global Observing System and Improve Weather Prediction”. The slides from Dr. Atlas’ presentation are available on the anonymous ftp site:

Atlas' presentation

Atlas’ presentation

HRD researchers at 69th Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference/Tropical Cyclone Research Forum, Jacksonville, FL – 2-6 March 2014

HRD and AOML scientists participated in the 69th Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference/Tropical Cyclone Research Forum. HRD scientists presented or were coauthors on 5 of the 51 presentations and 2 of the 10 posters. Shirley Murillo and Eric Uhlhorn co-chaired two sessions and Frank Marks participated in a panel discussion on the “Tropical Cyclone Research Plan Mid-Course Assessment – Operational Needs and Research Priorities”.
  1. NOAA’s Intensity Forecast Experiment (IFEX): Progress and Plans for 2015. – Robert Rogers (NOAA/AOML/HRD)
  2. Improved SFMR Surface Winds and Rain Rates. – Eric W. Uhlhorn (NOAA/AOML/HRD) and Bradley W. Klotz (UM/RSMAS/CIMAS and HRD)
  3. The Basin-Scale HWRF System: Verification and Analysis. – Sundararaman G. Gopalakrishnan (NOAA/AOML/HRD), Gus Alaka and Xuejin Zhang (UM/CIMAS and NOAA/AOML), Thiago Quirino (NOAA/AOML/HRD), Vijay Tallapragada (NOAA/NCEP/EMC), and Frank Marks Jr. (NOAA/AOML/HRD)
  4. NOAA’s Use of the Coyote UAS in Hurricane Edouard to Enhance Basic Understanding and Improve Model Physics. – Joseph J. Cione (NOAA/AOML/HRD at the Earth System Research Laboratory), Kristie Twining NOAA/OAMO), Drew Osbrink and Eric Redweik (Sensintel Corporation), Jim Etro and Dave Downer (ItriCorp), Evan Kalina (University of Colorado), Ligia Bernardet (NOAA/DTC), and Tony Brescia (Naval Air Systems Command)
  5. Identifying and Understanding Ocean Model Impacts on Coupled HWRF Forecasts. – Hyun-Sook Kim (NOAA/NCEP/EMC) and George Halliwell (NOAA/AOML)


  1. Upper Ocean Observations in Hurricane Edouard. – Eric W. Uhlhorn (NOAA/AOML/HRD), Benjamin Jaimes (UM/RSMAS), Joseph J. Cione (NOAA/ AOML/HRD) and Lynn K. (Nick) Shay (UM/RSMAS)
  2. Impact of CYGNSS Data on Hurricane Analyses and Forecasts in a Regional OSSE Framework. – Brian McNoldy (University of Miami/RSMAS), Bachir Annane (UM/RSMAS/CIMAS and HRD), Javier Delgado (UM/RSMAS/CIMAS and HRD), Lisa Bucci (UM/RSMAS/CIMAS and HRD), Robert Atlas (NOAA/AOML), and Sharanya Majumdar (University of Miami/RSMAS)

Panel discussion on the “Tropical Cyclone Research Plan Mid-Course Assessment – Operational Needs and Research Priorities”

Dr. Frank Marks, Jr., WG/TCR Co-Chair and Director, Hurricane Research Division (NOAA/AOML)

The agenda and links to all presentations are online at

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 5.33.33 PM

HRD Director provides NOAA hurricane research overview at Indian Meteorological Society TROPMET 2015, Chandigarh, India – 15 February 2015

HRD Director Frank Marks attended TROPMET 2015 National Symposium on Climate and Weather Extremes organized by the Indian Meteorological Society (IMS) held at Panjab University, Chandigarh to present an overview of NOAA’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project. Dr. Marks also represented the Council of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) to further the collaboration of the two national meteorological societies under the recently signed memorandum of understanding. The slides from Dr. Marks’ presentation “NOAA’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project – HFIP” are available on the anonymous ftp site:

HRD Director provides NOAA hurricane research overview to the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, India – 5 February 2015

The slides from HRD Director Frank Marks’ presentation “NOAA’s Hurricane Research – HFIP” to the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) are available on the anonymous ftp site:

Marks presentation

Marks presentation

Paper on using aircraft data in hurricane models to improve forecasts published in Monthly Weather Review

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 12.24.03 PM

NOAA and U. S. Air Force aircraft have been gathering wind, temperature, humidity and pressure information inside hurricanes for more than 30 years. The NOAA aircraft have been fitted with Doppler radars that can see the entire hurricane’s rain and wind from near the ground to the top of the clouds. All the information is sent from the aircraft to the National Hurricane Center so they can see what the hurricane looks like. However, until now, we have not yet had the computer power to get the information into the models that are used to forecast where the hurricane will go and how strong the wind and rain will be. This study marks the first time that this information has been used in NOAA’s Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast (HWRF) model. It shows that there is hope for making better forecasts using the information from flights into hurricanes.

Important conclusions:

  1. Forecasts of where the hurricane will go using the information from the aircraft are about 10% better than those that do not use it.

  2. Forecasts of the fastest wind speed in the hurricane using the aircraft data are up to 23% better than those that do not use it.

  3. Forecasts of the winds surrounding the hurricane center are also better when they use the information from the flights.

The paper can be accessed at

HRD Monthly Science Meeting of January 2015

January’s Science meeting consisted of 7 of the 9 presentations made by AOML/HRD researchers at the 95th AMS Annual Meeting held in Phoenix, AZ from 4-8 January 2015:

  1. Bachir Annane (from a poster):  Impact of CYGNSS Data on Hurricane Analyses and Forecasts in a Regional OSSE Framework
  2. Javier Delgado: Improving the Performance of the Basin Scale HWRF System
  3. Xuejin Zhang: Targeting on the Research to Operational Transition with the Basin-scale HWRF Modeling System
  4. Xuejin Zhang (for Gopal): A Global to Local-Scale Hurricane Forecasting System
  5. Lisa Bucci (from a poster): OSSE Evaluation of a Hyperspectral Sounder and its Potential Impact on Hurricane Prediction
  6. John Gamache: Real-time Airborne Radar Data Quality Control and transmission from NOAA Aircraft for assimilation into HWRF
  7. Frank Marks: NOAA’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project – HFIP

Two other presentations from the conference were:

  1. Jason Dunion (for Mike Black): Tropical Cyclone Research Utilizing the Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft
  2. Robert Atlas: Observing System Simulation Experiments to Assess the Potential Impact of Proposed Observing Systems on Hurricane Prediction

The two posters presented were:

  1. Bachir Annane:  Impact of CYGNSS Data on Hurricane Analyses and Forecasts in a Regional OSSE Framework
  2. Lisa Bucci: OSSE Evaluation of a Hyperspectral Sounder and its Potential Impact on Hurricane Prediction

All the presentations and posters are available on the anonymous ftp site at:

HRD seminar – Lidia Cucurull, ESRL/GSD – 16 December 2014

Dr. Cucurull presented a seminar on “An overview of the Radio Occultation Technology and its impact in Operational Numerical Weather Prediction”.

During the talk, a review of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Radio Occultation (RO) technology and its impact in global NWP will be presented. Furthermore, current activities within the Global Observing Systems Analysis (GOSA) Group related to OSEs and OSSEs, particularly in support of the Data Gap Mitigation activities, will be discussed. Finally, areas of collaboration between GOSA and AOML to quantitatively evaluate the complementarity of different observing systems will be emphasized.

A copy of the presentation is available on the anonymous ftp site:

Cucurull presentation

Cucurull presentation

HRD seminar – Amitabh Nag and Ryan Said, Vaisala, Boulder, CO– 8 December 2014

Dr. Nag presented a seminar on “Performance Characteristics of Lightning Locating Systems with Focus on U.S. NLDN”.


Ground-based or satellite-based lightning locating systems are the most common way to geolocate lightning. Depending upon the frequency range of operation, such systems can also report a variety of characteristics associated with lightning events (channel formation processes, leader pulses, cloud-to-ground return strokes, M-components, ICC pulses, and cloud lightning pulses). We will summarize the various methods to geolocate lightning, both ground-based and satellite-based, and discuss the characteristics of lightning data available from various sources.

Updates were made in 2013 to the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) that has led to performance improvements. Vaisala’s LS7002 sensors have been deployed, replacing the older generation LS7001 and IMPACT sensors. The detection efficiencies, location accuracy, and other performance characteristics of the updated NLDN will be discussed.

 A video recording of the presentation is available on the anonymous ftp site:

Dr. Said presented a seminar on “The GLD360 Dataset: Methodology and Performance Preview”.


The Vaisala GLD360 dataset is generated by a global network of sensors sensitive to the Very Low Frequency (VLF; 3–30 kHz) range. Using a combined time-of-arrival and magnetic direction finding technique, the location, time, peak current, and polarity are reported for individual lightning flashes. Challenges intrinsic to long-range lightning detection are discussed in the context of the methodology behind this long-range network. An upcoming refinement to the location algorithm is previewed. Estimates of the detection efficiency, location accuracy, and peak current estimation performance using precision network data as a reference are given using real-time data and reprocessed lightning data generated with the new location algorithm.  

 A video recording of the presentation is available on the anonymous ftp site:

Highlights from the 2014 hurricane season

The Atlantic hurricane season will officially end November 30, and will be remembered as a relatively quiet season as was predicted.  Still, the season afforded NOAA scientists with opportunities to produce new forecast products, showcase successful modeling advancements, and conduct research to benefit future forecasts.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 9.06.40 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 9.06.29 AM

Despite the quiet Atlantic season, NOAA, and especially HRD, had an extremely productive research year.  With the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center, they conducted 34 P3 and 15 G-IV missions in the Atlantic, East Pacific and Central Pacific Oceans.  The data collected in Hurricanes Arthur, Bertha, and Cristobal will be useful in better understanding the problem of hurricane intensification in storms that are undergoing shear, something previously thought to be relatively uncommon.  Extensive oceanographic data were collected in Hurricanes Edouard and Ana that will help us to understand how the ocean fuels hurricanes and how the hurricane in turn impacts the ocean.  One highlight was the first-ever successful release of the Coyote, an unmanned aircraft system released from hurricane hunter manned aircraft, to collect wind, temperature and other weather data in hurricane force winds during Edouard.  The Coyote flew into areas of the storm that would be too dangerous for manned aircraft, sampling weather in and around the eyewall at very low altitudes.

NOAA also participated 11 missions with the NOAA Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) and NASA Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Global Hawk aircraft, and with the Office of Naval Research and NASA HS3 high-altitude manned WB-57 aircraft.  These missions provided valuable real-time data that was used by forecasters at the National Hurricane Center and will also be studied by NOAA, NASA, and university researchers to help advance the prediction and understanding of tropical cyclone track, intensity change, and storm structure.  The data will be used to assess the impact of the data on forecast models and design aircraft sampling strategies that optimize model forecasts of tropical cyclone track and intensity.  These strategies will be used during NOAA SHOUT Global Hawk missions that are planned for the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.   The WB-57 missions sampled Hurricane Gonzalo’s upper-level outflow with a prototype dropsonde system, its 3-dimensional wind field with a dual-frequency radar, and its surface winds with an advanced microwave radiometer.  These observations will help advance the understanding and modeling of the rarely sampled hurricane upper-level outflow layer.

HRD scientists participate in HFIP RI Workshop and Annual Review, University of Miami/RSMAS – 18-20 November 2014

The HFIP Workshop on Prediction of Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensity Change (RIC) and Annual Review Meeting were held at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), Miami, FL from 18-20 November, 2014. The agenda, presentations, and background information are available at

The goals of the Workshop on Prediction of Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensity Change (RIC) were to:

  1. Assess current capabilities for numerical and statistical prediction of RIC, including emphasis on rapid intensification
  2. Identify short-term (0-1 year) and long-term (1-3 year) potential improvements of RIC prediction

HRD scientists Rob Rogers, John Kaplan, Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan, and Jun Zhang provided invited talks.

The HFIP Annual Workshop consisted of three parts:

  1. Reports from each of the strategic and tiger teams on activities and results from 2014 and plans for 2015
  2. A couple of reports on activities relevant to the later discussions
  3. A discussion of priorities for a reduced project