ESRL Global Systems Division

NOAA Invited to Implement LAPS for a Helsinki Mesoscale Experiment

Research meteorologist Paul Schultz represented NOAA as a guest lecturer at the Finnish Meteorological Institute's (FMI) Cloud and Precipitation Workshop held January 24-26, 2005 in Tartu, Estonia. From there he traveled to Helsinki to consult with scientists who are interested in using NOAA's Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS), developed at the Forecast Systems Laboratory, as the basis of their high-resolution weather modeling. The LAPS Hot Start initialization scheme is ideal for applications in local weather offices where accurate short-term cloud and precipitation forecasts are needed.

FMI, in cooperation with Vaisala Inc. of Boulder, CO, is planning the Helsinki Four-Season Mesoscale Testbed, scheduled to begin in summer 2005. The Helsinki testbed will help to develop, refine, and test instruments and methods for observing and forecasting mesoscale weather phenomena in high-latitude locales, such as on the southern coast of Finland. Massive amounts of observations, available from high quality instruments in existing and new networks, will include temperature profiles, wind profilers, ceilometers, and more. The LAPS software is designed for exactly this purpose: real-time integration of disparate datasets onto uniform grids of basic atmospheric fields, such as temperatures, winds, and clouds. LAPS will be used for diabatic initialization of FMI's High Resolution Limited Area Model (HIRLAM), which will be configured for a 2.5-km grid mesh covering southern Finland, the Gulf of Finland, and parts of Estonia and the Baltic Sea. The main scientific challenges for the LAPS group are to achieve the proper treatment of stratus and marine stratocumulus clouds, and ingest data from polar-orbiting satellites.

NOAA's participation in this international project offers another opportunity to contribute to potential breakthroughs in the atmospheric sciences and better understand the global environment.

Contact information
Name: Paul J Schultz
Tel: 303 497 6997