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Tag: meteorology
  • The Influence of Mesoscale Atmospheric Convection on Local Infrasound Propagation

    Abstract: Infrasound—that is, acoustic waves with frequencies below the threshold of human hearing—has historically been used to detect and locate distant explosive events over global ranges (≥1,000 km). Simulations over these ranges have traditionally relied on large-scale, synoptic meteorological information. However, infrasound propagation over shorter, local ranges (0–100 km) may be affected by smaller, mesoscale meteorological features. To identify the effects of these mesoscale meteorological features on local infrasound propagation, simulations were conducted using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) meteorological model to approximate the meteorological conditions associated with a series of historical, small-scale explosive test events that occurred at the Big Black Test Site in Bovina, Mississippi. These meteorological conditions were then incorporated into a full-wave acoustic model to generate meteorology-informed predictions of infrasound propagation. A series of WRF simulations was conducted with varying degrees of horizontal resolution—1, 3, and 15 km—to investigate the spatial sensitivity of these infrasound predictions. The results illustrate that convective precipitation events demonstrate potentially observable effects on local infrasound propagation due to strong, heterogeneous gradients in temperature and wind associated with the convective events themselves. Therefore, to accurately predict infrasound propagation on local scales, it may be necessary to use convection-permitting meteorological models with a horizontal resolution ≤4 km at locations and times that support mesoscale convective activity.
  • Incorporating Advanced Snow Microphysics and Lateral Transport into the Noah-Multiparameterization (Noah-MP) Land Surface Model

    Abstract: The dynamic state of the land surface presents challenges and opportunities for military and civil operations in extreme cold environments. In particular, the effects of snow and frozen ground on Soldier and vehicle mobility are hard to overstate. Current authoritative weather and land models are run at global scales (i.e., dx > 10 km) and are of limited use at the Soldier scale (dx < 100 m). Here, we describe several snow physics upgrades made to the Noah-Multiparameterization (Noah-MP) community land surface model (LSM). These upgrades include a blowing snow overlay to simulate the lateral redistribution of snow by the wind and the addition of new prognostic snow microstructure variables, namely grain size and bond radius. These additions represent major upgrades to the snow component of the Noah-MP LSM because they incorporate processes and methods used in more specialized snow modeling frameworks. These upgrades are demonstrated in idealized and real-world applications. The test simulations were promising and show that the newly added snow physics replicate observed behavior with reasonable accuracy. We hope these upgrades facilitate ongoing and future research on characterizing the effects of the integrated snow and soil land surface in extreme cold environments at the tactical scale.
  • Meteorological Influences of a Major Dust Storm in Southwest Asia during July–August 2018

    Abstract: Dust storms can be hazardous for aviation, military activities, and respiratory health and can occur on a wide variety of spatiotemporal scales with little to no warning. To properly forecast these storms, a comprehensive understanding of the meteorological dynamics that control their evolution is a prerequisite. To that end, we chose a major dust storm that occurred in Southwest Asia during July–August 2018 and conducted an observation-based analysis of the meteorological conditions that influenced the storm’s evolution. We found that the main impetus behind the dust storm was a large-scale meteorological system (i.e., a cyclone) that affected Southwest Asia. It seems that cascading effects from this system produced a smaller, near-surface warm anomaly in Mesopotamia that may have triggered the dust storm, guided its trajectory over the Arabian Peninsula, and potentially catalyzed the development of a small low-pressure system over the southeastern end of the peninsula. This low-pressure system may have contributed to some convective activity over the same region. This type of analysis may provide important information about large-scale meteorological forcings for not only this particular dust storm but also for future dust storms in Southwest Asia and other regions of the world.
  • Understanding and Improving Snow Processes in Noah-MP over the Northeast United States via the New York State Mesonet

    Abstract: Snow is a critical component of the global hydrologic cycle and is a key input to river and stream flow forecasts. In 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched the National Water Model (NWM) to provide a high-fidelity numerical forecast of streamflow integrated with the broader atmospheric prediction modeling framework. The NWM is coupled to the atmospheric model using the Noah-MP land surface modeling framework. While snow in Noah-MP has been consistently evaluated in the western United States, less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing its performance in the Northeast US (NEUS). The newly installed New York State Mesonet (NYSM), a network of high-quality surface meteorological stations distributed across New York State, provides a unique opportunity to evaluate Noah-MP performance in the NEUS. In this report, we document the methodology used to perform single-column simulations using meteorological inputs from the NYSM and compare the point evaluations against baseline NWM performance. We further discuss how enhanced surface energy balance measurements at a selection of NYSM sites can be used to evaluate specific components of Noah-MP and present initial results.
  • Spatial and Temporal Variance of Soil and Meteorological Properties Affecting Sensor Performance—Phase 2

    ABSTRACT: An approach to increasing sensor performance and detection reliability for buried objects is to better understand which physical processes are dominant under certain environmental conditions. The present effort (Phase 2) builds on our previously published prior effort (Phase 1), which examined methods of determining the probability of detection and false alarm rates using thermal infrared for buried-object detection. The study utilized a 3.05 × 3.05 m test plot in Hanover, New Hampshire. Unlike Phase 1, the current effort involved removing the soil from the test plot area, homogenizing the material, then reapplying it into eight discrete layers along with buried sensors and objects representing targets of interest. Each layer was compacted to a uniform density consistent with the background undisturbed density. Homogenization greatly reduced the microscale soil temperature variability, simplifying data analysis. The Phase 2 study spanned May–November 2018. Simultaneous measurements of soil temperature and moisture (as well as air temperature and humidity, cloud cover, and incoming solar radiation) were obtained daily and recorded at 15-minute intervals and coupled with thermal infrared and electro-optical image collection at 5-minute intervals.