Advances in the Observation and Computer Prediction of SevereDroegemeier Storms Kelvin K.

School of Meteorology Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms University of Oklahoma National Press Foundation Program “Understanding Violent Weather” 26 October 2005

Everyone is Familiar With This Person!!

Copyright © 2003 WGN-TV

Computer Models are the Primary Source of Information for All Weather Forecasts

Copyright © 2003 WGN-TV

Numerical Weather Prediction

The use of computer models of the atmosphere to predict the weather given a set of current observations

According to Webster…
s

pre·dict: To state, tell about, or make known in advance, especially on the basis of special knowledge.

According to Meteorologists…
s

pre·dict: To state, tell about, or make known in advance, trying not to lie and always keeping the coin concealed from curious onlookers.

The Prediction Process
Observe the Atmosphere

Compare and Verify

Identify and Apply Physical Laws Create a Mathematical Model Create and Run a Computer Model Analyze Results

The Prediction Process
Observe the Atmosphere

Compare and Verify

Identify and Apply Physical Laws Create a Mathematical Model Create and Run a Computer Model Analyze Results

Observe the Atmosphere
NEXRAD Doppler Radar

Upper-Air Balloons Satellites Commercial Aircraft

Automated Surface Networks

The Prediction Process
Observe the Atmosphere

Compare and Verify

Identify and Apply Physical Laws Create a Mathematical Model Create and Run a Computer Model Analyze Results

Identify & Apply Physical Laws
F=ma

The Prediction Process
Observe the Atmosphere

Compare and Verify

Identify and Apply Physical Laws Create a Mathematical Model Create and Run a Computer Model Analyze Results

Create a Mathematical Model

The Prediction Process
Observe the Atmosphere

Compare and Verify

Identify and Apply Physical Laws Create a Mathematical Model Create and Run a Computer Model Analyze Results

Create Computer Model

Create Computer Model

Run the Computer Model
s

Solve highly nonlinear partial differential equations
s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s

East/West Wind North/South Wind Vertical Wind Temperature Water Vapor Cloud Water Precipitating Water Cloud Ice Graupel Hail Surface Temperature Surface Moisture Soil Temperature Soil Moisture Sub-Grid Turbulence

Run the Computer Model
s

s

Over the course of a single forecast, the computer model solves billions of equations Requires the fastest supercomputers in the world -- capable of performing trillions of calculations each second

More Power!!!
s

s

Finer resolution allows the model to capture more detail Requires more computer power
– doubling the number of grid boxes in 3-D increases the computer requirements by a factor of 16!

The Prediction Process
Observe the Atmosphere

Compare and Verify

Identify and Apply Physical Laws Create a Mathematical Model Create and Run a Computer Model Analyze Results

Analyze the Results/Compare/Verify

In the Beginning… ENIAC

ENIAC Versus Today
s s

s

s

s

Weighed 30 tons Had 18,000 vacuum tubes, 1,500 relays thousands of resistors, capacitors, inductors Peak speed of 5000 adds/second and 300 multiplies/sec A 1.2 GHz Pentium IV processor is 500,000 times faster than the ENIAC A desktop PC with 1 Gbyte of RAM can store 5 million times as much data as the ENIAC

1950: The First Computer Weather Forecast Model

450 Miles

Today’s Models

A Typical Forecast From Today’s Models

What Causes the Major Problems?

Why the Lack of Detail in the Model?
This Thunderstorm Falls Through the Cracks

Why the Lack of Detail in the Model?

A Foundational Question
. . . explicitly predict this type of weather?

Can computer forecast technology. . .

Would This Capability Be Useful?
s s s s

Intense local weather causes economic losses in the US that average $300 M per week Over 30% of the $10 trillion US economy is impacted each year Commercial aviation loses $1-2 B per year due to diversions, delays, and cancellations (one diverted flight costs $150K) Agriculture losses exceed $10 B/year

Dutton (2002)

Dutton (2002)

Actual Losses – Extreme Events

Pielke and Carbone (2002)

Specific Examples
s

Cargo shipping
Most expeditious route can save $40,000 per voyage – thousands of ships travel continuously! – Examples –
s s

High temperature and humidity can cause grain to germinate in cargo holds Ships affected differently by wavelength of ocean swells

s

Commercial aviation
– – – – Single diversion averages $10,000 per domestic flight Not unusual for one carrier to have 70 diversions at a hub for a single weather event (1-2 hours) Cost is $700,000 per event Industry loses $1-2 B per year due to weather

Source: Weathernews, Inc.

About 50% of the loss is deemed preventable with better forecasts!

A Great Toll in Human Life
876 deaths annually due to severe weather s 7000+ weather-related traffic fatalities s 450,000 weather-related traffic injuries
s

Global (2 weeks)

Model Types

Global (2 weeks) Continental (few days)

Model Types

Global (2 weeks) Continental (few days)

Model Types

Special

Global (2 weeks) Continental (few days)

Model Types
Operational

Special

Global (2 weeks) Continental (few days) Regional (day)

Model Types

Special

Local (few hours) Experimental

Trends in Large-Scale Forecast Skill

Increasing Skill

Crossing the Divide
s

For global models, the predictability increases for all resolvable scales as the spatial resolution increases
– The improvement is bounded – Going finer than a few 10s of km in grid spacing gives little payoff

s

The next quantum leap in NWP will come when we start resolving explicitly the most 60 km energetic weather features, e.g., individual convective 30 km storms in 3-D 10 km

30 km 10 km 1 km

Importance of Finer Grid Spacing in Models

512 km
Courtesy NCAR

256 km

128 km

64 km

32 km

16 km

8 km

4 km
Each improvement requires 10X computer resources, total increase of 10,000,000!

Where Are We Today?
s

Tremendous advances are being made in the computer-based prediction of high-impact local weather, such as thunderstorms, owing to
– – – – – Increases in computer power and networking capacity Affordability of computers Availability of fine-scale observations (NEXRAD Doppler radar) Improved understanding of the atmosphere Societal need, especially that of weather impacted industries (aviation, energy, recreation, defense)

Example : March 28, 2000 Fort Worth Tornadic Storms

Tornado

CDT No Explicit Evidence of Precipitation in North Texas

6 pm

7 pm

8 pm

Radar

Hourly Radar Observations (Fort Worth Shown by the Pink Star)

6 pm

7 pm

8 pm

Computer Forecast

Radar

2 hr

3 hr

4 hr

7 pm

As a Forecaster Worried About This Reality…

7 pm

As a Forecaster Worried About This Reality… How Much Trust Would You Place in This Model Forecast?

3 hr

Uncertainty
s s s

s

We never know the complete state of the atmosphere everywhere, with perfect accuracy Small observation errors can grow with time in a forecast (chaos) Rather than run a single forecast from one estimate of the current conditions, we run several based upon equally plausible initial conditions to account for observational uncertainty This is “ensemble forecasting”

Actual Radar

Forecast #1

Actual Radar

Forecast #2

Forecast #3

Forecast #4

Forecast #5

Probability of Intense Precipitation

Model Forecast

Radar Observations

MUCH MORE Computing Power is Required!!
Forecast #1 Forecast #2

Forecast #3

Forecast #50

Recent Real Time Experimental Forecasts Run by OU for the National Weather Service

Actual Radar Observations

Recent Real Time Experimental Forecasts Run by OU for the National Weather Service

24 Hour Forecast

Actual Radar Observations

A Foundational Question
. . . explicitly predict this type of weather? The Answer Appears to be “Yes,” But New Methodologies May Be Needed… Can computer forecast technology. . .

Predicting Storms and Anticipating Tornadoes Requires Fine-Scale Observations
NEXRAD Doppler Radar Network

Current Operational Radar System in US
NEXRAD Doppler Radar Network

The Limitations of NEXRAD
#1. Operates largely independent of the prevailing weather conditions #3. Operates entirely independent from the models and algorithms that use its data

#2. Earth’s curvature prevents 72% of the atmosphere below 1 km from being observed

The Consequence

Source: NWS Office of Science and Technology

NEXRAD

New NSF Engineering Research Center for Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA)
s s s

UMass/Amherst, OU, CSU, UPRM Concept: inexpensive, phased array Doppler radars on cell towers and buildings Dynamically adaptive dynamic sensing of multiple targets while simultaneously meeting multiple end-user needs

Oklahoma Test Bed: Spring 2006

The $1M Question: Will Numerical Models Ever Be Able to Predict Tornadoes?

Schematic Diagram of a Supercell Storm (C. Doswell)

The Future
The National Weather Service will begin running models to explicitly predict thunderstorms s Private companies will play a major role in providing customized numerical forecasts for weather-sensitive industries, especially energy and aviation
s

The Future
s

Human forecasters will continue to be essential, though with changing roles

Contact Information
Kelvin K. Droegemeier University of Oklahoma Sarkeys Energy Center, Suite 1110 100 East Boyd Street Norman, OK 73019 Email: kkd@ou.edu Phone: 405-325-0453 Fax: 405-325-7614 Mobile: 405-413-7847

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful