The National Weather Center houses a unique confederation of University of Oklahoma, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and state organizations that work together in partnership to improve understanding of events occurring in Earth’s atmosphere over a wide range of time and space.
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The National Weather Center is a proud Adventure Road Travel Partner. Explore the Chickasaw Nation's Adventure Road today and create your own personalized itinerary including the National Weather Center, Sam Noble Museum, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art and other attractions on Oklahoma's Adventure Road.
These 130 miles of Oklahoma highway are built for explorers and travelers, individuals and families, whether looking for amazing day trips or spectacular week-long getaways. The notion of breaking free and hitting the road is a time-honored tradition – Adventure Road helps to ensure that tradition is kept alive.
LIFESAVING FORECASTS START HERE: INSIDE THE STORM PREDICTION CENTER
NORMAN, Okla. — The atmosphere was in turmoil before sunrise one day last week, and more than 58 million people were at risk.
A tornado threat was stalking the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Damaging winds were a danger along the entire length of Interstate 70 in Missouri. A possibility of quarter-size hail lurked as far north as Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The following day would bring even more menaces in more places. By the weekend, at least five people would be dead as storms raged, trees splintered and homes and businesses were destroyed.
But before the funnel clouds and cracks of thunder struck, a handful of government meteorologists huddled at the Storm Prediction Center, just south of Oklahoma City, to divine the future. Inside a quiet second-floor room, they studied dozens of computer monitors, drew maps with lime-green Sharpies and colored pencils and looked for the atmospheric ingredients that could turn clouds into killers.
TARGETED OBSERVATIONS BY RADAR AND UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS OF SUPERCELLS
More than 50 researchers and students are deploying a wide-ranging suite of instruments to collect data on supercell thunderstorms across the Great Plains during 2019 and 2020. The TORUS project, or Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells, aims at understanding the relationships between severe thunderstorms and tornado formation.
NOAA'S HAZARDOUS WEATHER TESTBED
The NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed is a joint project of the National Weather Service and the National Severe Storms Laboratory. The HWT provides a conceptual framework and a physical space to foster collaboration between research and operations to test and evaluate emerging technologies and science for NWS operations. The HWT was borne from the “Spring Program” which, for the last decade, has been used to test and evaluate new forecast models, techniques, and products to support NWS Storm Prediction Center forecast operations.
ADVANCED RADAR RESEARCH CENTER INSTALLS CPPAR AT THE RADAR INNOVATIONS LABORATORY
On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, the Advanced Radar Research Center installed the Cylindrical Polarimetric Phased Array Radar, or CPPAR, atop the Radar Innovations Laboratory.
Working closely with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partners at the National Severe Storms Laboraotyr, the ARRC designed and built this radar over the last year! Using it's unique design, pulses of radiation can be electronically steered using the different elements on the radar to look at the size, shape, and orientation of particles in clouds! It is a demonstration of the capabilities of a polarimetric phased array platform and furthers the polarimetric weather radar mission!
To learn more about the Advanced Radar Research Center and how electrical engineers and radar meteorologists are working together on developing new radar platforms and radar techniques to study weather, click below!
OU RESEARCHERS IN NORTH CAROLINA STUDYING HURRICANE FLORENCE
NORMAN, Oklahoma - Researchers from the University of Oklahoma are in North Carolina to study Hurricane Florence.
OU doctoral student Addison Alford and Professor of Meteorology Michael Biggerstaff are part of a group setting up weather instruments in the field before the storm arrives.
They'll gather data about the torrential rainfall, rotation in the storm and extreme wind gusts, helping local authorities during landfall. Once it's all over, their work will also help speed up the recovery process.
“It’ll really help with the timing of when the winds occurred relative to the surge and things like that for people who had losses,” said Biggerstaff. “It’ll help them understand was it wind- or water-driven type losses. It’s a sad thing to think about – the destruction that’s going to occur. But also, afterwards, you’re dealing with a lot of litigation with the insurance and all that and hopefully by these data sets being available, it’ll help mitigate some of that as well.”
The event also serves an opportunity for the students to strengthen their skills and apply what they've learned in the classroom
To see more, click here:
NSSL RESEARCHERS TRACK HURRICANE FLORENCE TO IMPROVE PREDICTIONS FOR THE NEXT STORM
WILMINGTON, N.C. — Scientists are already gathering data from Hurricane Florence to better predict the next one.
To Sean Waugh, a research scientist at NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory, hurricanes like Florence are an opportunity.
"We've been down here for a couple days so we've kind of looked around and have a couple of good spots in mind," Waugh said.
His job on Thursday was to start monitoring the upper atmosphere by launching high-tech weather sensors inside balloons, right into the middle of Florence. CBS News caught up with him at the Wilmington airport, not far from the Carolina coastline, as he prepared for liftoff.
"Every bit of data we collect helps," Waugh said.
We got the chance to launch a balloon ourselves, which could reach 120,000 feet.
"The goal is looking at Hurricane Florence as it moves on shore, where the winds are and where it occurs on the ground, transitioning from a hurricane all the way down to a tropical depression. It's the whole picture is basically what we're after," Waugh said.
Waugh said he's studied five hurricanes in real time and the data gathered from each one have helped people prepare for the next.
To watch the story, click here:
DR. PETRA KLEIN RECEIVES AN AMS FELLOWSHIP AWARD
A SCIENTIST'S FINAL PAPER LOOKS TOWARD EARTH'S FUTURE CLIMATE
A NASA scientist's final scientific paper, published posthumously this month, reveals new insights into one of the most complex challenges of Earth's climate: understanding and predicting future atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases and the role of the ocean and land in determining those levels.
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO FORECAST WEATHER IN THE WORLD'S TORNADO HOT SPOT
From blizzards to tornadoes, Rick Smith has seen and forecast it all. He’s the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norman, Okla. — one of the busiest weather forecast offices in the nation.
Every year, the Norman office issues hundreds of severe-weather alerts, including dozens of tornado warnings, meticulously predicting and tracking Mother Nature’s every move. It’s no easy job, but Smith and his colleagues have taken innovative and unique steps to streamline the process. It’s like “doing weather in the future,” he says.
OU'S NEWEST SMART RADAR DEPLOYS TO LOUISIANA AS PART OF STARR PROJECT
The University of Oklahoma’s newest Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radar, SR3, today deployed to Monroe, Louisiana, where a slight risk of tornadic storms exists. An upgrade of the original dual-polarimetric SMART radar, the SR3 just completed its first mission on March 19 to New Market, Alabama, in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory and the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.
“The SR3 and NOAA’s P-3 aircraft collected data on a rapidly evolving severe hailstorm that preceded a series of tornadic supercells. The SR3 collaborated with the University of Alabama Huntsville and National Weather Service Hytop radars in southern Tennessee on sampling a tornadic storm that produced significant damage as it crossed the border into northern Alabama. Multi-radar observations were captured over a three-hour period from the initial organization to tornadic dissipation,” said Michael Biggerstaff, professor of meteorology and director of the OU SMART radar program.
The SR3 observed a second tornadic storm to the south that produced five tornadoes and hailstones as large as 5.25 inches. The P-3 aircraft flew ahead of the southern tornadic storm and measured winds within the storm during all five tornadoes. The SR3 and P-3 aircraft will continue to work together near Monroe tonight. The project is part of the Southeastern Tornadogenesis and Risk Reduction Exercise, which runs until April 13. The STARR project is part of the larger VORTEX-Southeast research project funded by NOAA.
OU PROFESSOR RECEIVES NASA EARTH SCIENCE FUNDING FOR FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND RESEARCH
NORMAN, Okla.—A University of Oklahoma professor, Cameron Homeyer, is a recipient of a NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science grant for new, early career investigators. Homeyer’s research is the first concept of its kind to take ground-based radar observations of storms and link them to satellite observations of trace gases to better understand the characteristics of storms and how they modify the atmospheric composition.
“NASA’s Early Career Investigator Award goes only to the best of the best. We are thrilled and honored that NASA has selected Professor Homeyer to receive this award,” said Berrien Moore, vice president of Weather and Climate Programs, dean of the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and director of the National Weather Center.
“We are applying methods to discriminate between air masses that recently have been modified by storms and those air masses that have not been impacted by storms,” said Homeyer, assistant professor and associate director for undergraduate studies, School of Meteorology, OU College of Atmospheric Sciences. “This is the first time anyone has applied these methods in this way to understand this problem.”
The impact of storms on atmospheric composition is not well understood and changes in water vapor and ozone from these storms can have important impacts on Earth’s climate and human health. Storms move air masses with certain chemical characteristics around, and these air masses can impact the atmosphere’s radiation budget, pollution and air quality.
“We don’t understand how these storms modify Earth’s upper atmosphere, particularly in the stratosphere, the layer of the Earth’s atmosphere where the ozone lies and absorbs the ultraviolet radiation; and the troposphere, the layer of the Earth’s atmosphere where human activity takes place,” said Homeyer.
Homeyer will use a trajectory model and information on winds in the atmosphere, then put particles or little air bubbles in places where the storms occur, move them around with the winds and watch as they move downstream to find locations where air masses from storms coincide with satellite observations. Satellite observations from around the world then can be linked to recent storms and compared to air masses that have not been influenced by storms.
Funding for the three-year, $284,000 grant supports the NASA Earth Science mission by advancing the use of satellites and providing data that contributes to understanding the climate system.
EARTH SCIENCE DECADAL REPORT RECOMMENDS MIX OF LARGE AND SMALL MISSIONS
WASHINGTON — A report setting priorities for the next decade of Earth science missions recommends that NASA pursue a mix of large and small missions to help better understand the changing nature of the planet.
The report, released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in an event here Jan. 5, includes a portfolio of proposed missions that it believes can fit within NASA’s Earth science budget assuming it grows at the rate of inflation, but with “decision rules” for delaying missions should those budgets fall short.
The proposed missions, along with the existing “program of record” of missions in service today or under development, are intended to help scientists better understand the ways that the climate, water cycle, soil and other resources are changing, research the report argues can be uniquely done with satellites.
“Earth science and applications are a key part of the nation’s information infrastructure, warranting a U.S. program of Earth observations from space that is robust, resilient, and appropriately balanced,” the report states.