Figure 18. Depiction of a PV streamer from an MM5 12-hour forecast, valid 1200 UTC 28 June 1999, showing levels
of PV (units 1,2,3,8, etc.) as warm colors and negative values in blue. The storm is situated over Kansas at this time.
GAINS Website (http://www-frd.fsl.noaa.gov/mab/sdb/) Results
from recent experiments and discussion of future plans have been added this year to the GAINS Webpage. A section
discussing global drift simulations is also new. Links to the Fiscal Year 2000 and Fiscal Year 1998 GAINS Technical
Review materials and recent conference presentations give additional information on the project's process.
National Hourly/Daily Precipitation Website
(http://precip.fsl.noaa.gov/hourly_precip.html) Staff continued to develop a Website that displays
hourly and daily precipitation data from NCEP. Data are displayed on a national map that optionally shows rivers
and county boundaries. Moving the cursor across the map reveals the available data, and a mouse click provides a
daily time series of the data. Users can zoom and roam on the map for detailed local structure of precipitation
events. Years of precipitation observations are available at the site. Simplified scripts were written to
reconstruct the display datastreams for days when data delivery is delayed. The updating of metadatasets
necessary for accurate plotting of precipitation observations has been automated, with help from the Facility Division.
Hourly Precipitation Data CD-ROM Utility Website
(http://precip.fsl.noaa.gov/hpd/) With release of two CDs of the hourly precipitation data (HPD) gauge
observations, a local Website was opened. This Website provides utility programs to download HPD data from the CD
and display these data via Web-based browsers. The site was enhanced to include in the graphics such features as
examples of the potential output products and geographical displays available to plot the observations.
North American Radiosonde Database
(http://raob.fsl.noaa.gov/Raob_Software.html) This site provides access to the most recent two years
of radiosonde data from the North American Radiosonde Database. Upgrades last year included the provisional data
from 714 international sites that are accessible from a list of specific countries. Data can now be accessed by
specific states within the U.S.
ACARS Website (http://acweb.fsl.noaa.gov/) The following
upgrades were made to this site, which displays weather data from automated sensors on commercial aircraft:
- The zooming function was completely rewritten so that each zoom generates a new Lambert conformal conic
projection with one standard parallel. The standard parallel is taken as the center of the zoomed region;
thus, north will always be directly up in the center of any map.
- A long-term error in wind directions was corrected both on the Java and non-Java displays. Previously, wind
directions were not corrected for the angular deviation of compass directions away from the center of the projected
map; for example, north winds always pointed straight up, whereas the north direction varied with longitude. With
the correction, wind directions are consistent with geographic directions everywhere.
- Color coding by wind speed was added as an option, as was an additional slider bar that controls the range of
wind speeds displayed.
- For soundings, the flight track is optionally shown instead of the hodograph in the soundings window.
- It is now possible to select the display of only aircraft reporting vertical gust data.
- Loading of data is more robust, and loading no longer stops when encountering a missing hourly report.
Though access to real-time data is restricted at the airlines' request, use of the site has continued to increase.
In a recent month, the site was accessed by more than 80 sites, such as airlines, United States and foreign forecast
offices, and research institutions. These sites requested more than 2,200 data loads, and looked at more than 4,600
Interactive Soundings Website
(http://www-frd.fsl.noaa.gov/mab/soundings/java/) This Website was upgraded, and interactively displays
past and forecasted soundings from a variety of sources. Data as high as 10 hPa may be displayed, and the sounding
plots can be zoomed to provide a detailed look at smaller altitude ranges. Soundings from analyses and forecasts
are available for the past 36 hours, and for up to 36 hours into the future.
Radiosonde data from the past two years may also be displayed, and so can current profiler data and ACARS data (
for authorized users).
Data from multiple sources, times, and stations may be overlaid. To facilitate forecasting of severe weather events,
thermodynamic stability indices are generated for all soundings that include humidity information. Also, interactive
parcel trajectories may be generated which provide information about Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and
Convective Inhibition (CIN) for any expected maximum temperature and humidity. This page is becoming increasingly
popular, with more than 25,000 accesses from 249 sites in January. The easily adaptable Java code that runs this site
has been requested by several organizations, and has been released to them under FSL's new open-source software
National Real-Time Precipitation Website
(http://precip.fsl.noaa.gov/hourly_precip.html) Development and upgrades continue on this Website, which
displays data that are provided by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). Data are displayed on
a national map that optionally displays rivers and county boundaries. Data under the cursor are revealed as the
cursor is moved across the map, and daily time-series of the data are available with a click of the mouse. The user
can zoom and roam on the map to observe detailed local structure of precipitation events. Currently, several years
of precipitation observations are available at the Website. Simplified scripts were written to reconstruct the
display datastreams for days when data delivery is delayed. The updating of metadatasets necessary for accurate
plotting of precipitation observations was automated, with help from the Facility Division.
National Mesonet Website Using Java, a national mesonet Website was developed to interactively display
observations from six mesonets and the METAR network. More than 3,000 stations are typically reporting from an area
that covers Mexico, Canada, and the United States. At the request of the mesonet operators, this site is currently
restricted. The site displays weather data and quality control information from FSL's Meteorological Assimilation
Data Ingest System (MADIS).
The Java code that supports the geographic mapping on this site was upgraded from FSL legacy code to include the
entire world, and uses the Lambert conformal conic projection in every case except when the entire world is displayed,
when it uses a cylindrical equidistant projection. The maps are fully zoomable, including across the dateline and
over the poles, and rivers are optionally shown in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Background map data are
compressed for faster downloading. The code is compliant with Java version 1.1; Java version 1.2 was not chosen
because it is not yet supported by most browsers. The code has also been modularized for easier use in other display
Quasi-Nonhydrostatic Model Website
(http://www-frd.fsl.noaa.gov/fsl/qnh/) QNH model results are available on the Web. Plans are to store
up to two years of output from this model on the Web, thereby creating an online equivalent of the traditional weather
map room. The user can select a desired date and a run type to bring up an extensive menu of available products for
that day. Products consist of static maps as well as time-lapse loops. This page was upgraded to include forecasts
for every 3 hours out to 36 hours.
(http://www.fsl.noaa.gov/publications/index.html) FSL publications are now supported by a maintained
database and a search engine. This Website, run by perl cgi scripts, allows searching for FSL's publications based
on specific criteria. Data entry functions for the database are performed over the Web via a restricted site, and
several enhancements have been made to streamline the entry of new publications.
During Fiscal Year 2001, the Meteorological Applications Branch will be involved in the following activities and studies.
GAINS The GAINS PIII balloon will be demonstrated in a 48-hour flight, and laboratory tests of an
experimental pump will be completed. Software will be developed to verify trajectory forecasts. Balloon
trajectory software based on RUC-2 winds will be completed.
Forecasting of Clear-Air Turbulence Investigations will continue of the meteorological conditions under
which the DTF algorithms did not predict turbulence. A field program in 2001 will be conducted using research
aircraft, sounding data, and additional operational weather data to characterize the atmosphere around jets and
fronts that produce clear-air turbulence.
Research Quality Datasets Additional software corrections will likely be added as further error reports
are received. When these changes reach a substantial amount, a revision description will be posted to the CD-ROM
Website. At that time, more discussions will be initiated with NCDC to locate a mirror website there to provide
access to the HPD utilities when either Website is disabled. Depending on available resources (possibly an ESDIM
proposal during 2001), an updated CD with recent observations may be produced, and additional options for data
display may be developed and incorporated into the CD software. The HPD CD-ROM Website will link a page with
software revisions and corrections to the existing user Website to present information about changes and fixes in
the access and display software. In addition, revisions to the Website will be made to 1) indicate the timing of
release of a hoped-for updated CD with observations after July 1998 and 2) add display capabilities for observations
in Hawaii, Alaska, and Pacific and Caribbean Islands.
Radiosonde Data Archive Complete radiosonde data processing for 2000 and incorporate these data into
the North American Radiosonde Data archives.
PV Streamers The concept of a dynamical linkage between PV streamers and heavy-rain-producing MCCs with
high-resolution numerical simulations will be tested. Staff will continue diagnostic studies of mesoscale convective
systems that form in association with PV streamers.
GAINS Website This site will be updated with recent experimental and field tests results.
National Hourly Precipitation Website A page of software revisions and corrections will be linked to
the existing user Website to present information about changes and fixes in the access and display software. In
addition, revisions to the Website will be made to 1) indicate the timing of release of a hoped-for updated CD with
observations after July 1998 and 2) add display capabilities for observations in Hawaii, Alaska, and the Pacific and
ACARS Website The Java display will be enhanced to include a world map for displaying ACARS data over
Europe and Asia. Impact studies will continue regarding the robustness of ACARS soundings during inclement weather.
National METAR Website The translation of raw METAR reports will be improved, and user suggestions for
general enhancements to the site will be incorporated.
Interactive Soundings Website The color coding will be changed to support users with color-impaired
vision, and user suggestions to enhance the site will be implemented.
National Satellite Image Looper Website Additional satellite image channels will be implemented as
they come online.