PROJECT OBJECTIVES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
A. The original project objectives, as stated in the proposal, are:
(1) understand the dynamic and thermodynamic processes by which extreme wintertime precipitation events occur in the Burlington, VT region
(2) to improve the predictions of these extreme cold-season events.
B. To achieve these objectives, the responsibilities of each of each of the partners, includes:
The Burlington, VT National Weather Service Office personnel has produced a complete documentation of 1,387 24-h precipitation events that have occurred during the 1963 to 1995 period.
The McGill University group has utilized these data to categorize precipitation events by 24-hour amount so that we may composite the cases. These composites are derived from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) global gridded re-analyses for the same 1963-1995 period as indicated above.
The NWS and McGill groups have worked together to produce regional climatologies associated with differing categories of 24-h precipitation amounts. The findings from our composite study research are being used in the Burlington Weather Forecast Office this winter season to test the techniques in the operational environment.
The responsibilities of each group may be summarized as follows:
The Burlington, VT NWS Forecast Office has been, and continues to provide the necessary station and radar data to support research on heavy cold-season precipitation events affecting the Burlington region. Additionally, the office has been providing the McGill group with valuable feedback concerning specific regional forecast problems.
The McGill group provides software for the analysis of large-scale meteorological environments associated with the Burlington precipitation events. This software includes sounding composite software developed by Chris Fogarty, and GEMPAK. Additionally, the McGill group has archived the global gridded reanalysis data from NCEP for the period from 1963 through 1996 in support of the composite and case study work being conducted.
C. Research/development activities and accomplishments
A paper, which documents the regional climatologies associated with Burlington's wintertime precipitation events, is being prepared for submission to Weather and Forecasting.
The findings of this research, including the documentation of large-scale circulation anomaly precursors, are being used in the Burlington WFO during the current cold season to determine its utility in improving warning times for especially heavy precipitation events.
Individual cases of extreme weather, including the January 1998 ice storm and the November 8-9, 1996 flooding event, are being studied in an effort to determine the unique meteorological conditions associated with each of these extraordinary events. Work is continuing on the Cooperative Precipitation Data Set in an effort to analyze the mesoscale precipitation structure in the Ice Storm.
For training purposes, a presentation of the results of the project was made by Paul Sisson to the staff of WFO Burlington. In addition, this presentation, including voice narration, slides, and a heavy precipitation matrix has been converted to be viewed on the Internet. This presentation with video, animations, and sound are available on the office Intranet and CD-ROM, so forecasters can review the presentation at a later time or even on a forecast shift compare real-time cases to a heavy precipitation composite.
In addition, an Internet web page for the partner's project has been constructed and is available at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/er/btv/html/comet.html.
2. SUMMARY OF UNIVERSITY/NWS EXCHANGES
Each group has benefited from interactions occurring in meetings and workshops during the past year. Paul Sisson has given two seminars at the McGill University Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. These meetings have provided the McGill students the opportunity to understand better the responsibilities of operational forecasters. John Gyakum has visited the Burlington office frequently during the past year, and has given presentations to the forecasters. During these visits, forecasters have provided feedback concerning the heavy precipitation forecast problem. Preparations were also made for the numerous presentations that have been produced as a result of this project. These presentations are summarized in the next section.
3. PRESENTATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
Presentations by Paul Sisson:
A. Northeast Storm Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY March 12-14, 1999: "The Ice Storm of January 5-9 1998 http://www.nws.noaa.gov/er/btv/html/projects/iceJan1998/index.html
B. 17th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting (Denver, Colorado): September 15, 1999: "Synoptic and planetary-scale precursors to heavy wintertime precipitation events in Burlington, VT (with John Gyakum)."
C. The Northeast Regional Operational Workshop, Albany NY: September 23, 1999: "Composites of wintertime precipitation events in Burlington, Vermont (with John Gyakum)."
D. WFO Burlington Staff Meeting, October 6. 1999: "Synoptic and planetary-scale precursors to heavy wintertime precipitation events in Burlington, VT"
Presentations by John Gyakum:
A. National Weather Service, Burlington, Vermont - March 24, 1998: "A synoptic climatology of heavy, moderate, and light precipitation events for southeastern Quebec."
B. University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee - August 4, 1998: "Moisture transports relating to the ice storm of January 1998 and to other important extratropical weather events"
C. SUNY/Brockport, - March 16, 1999: "Moisture transports relating to the ice storm of January 1998 and to other important extratropical weather events"
D. 17th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting (Denver, Colorado): September 15, 1999: "A comparison of heavy precipitation composites with individual extreme events such as the January 1998 ice storm and the November 1996 upstate New York and Quebec floods (with Paul Sisson)."
E. The Northeast Regional Operational Workshop (Albany, New York): September 22, 1999: "A comparison of heavy precipitation composites with individual extreme events such as the January 1998 ice storm and the November 1996 upstate New York and Quebec floods (with Paul Sisson)."
Sisson, P. A., and J. R. Gyakum, 1999: Synoptic and planetary-scale precursors to heavy wintertime precipitation events in Burlington, VT. Proceedings of the 17th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting. Denver, Colorado. 44-47.
Sisson, P. A., and J. R. Gyakum, 1999: Synoptic and planetary-scale precursors to heavy wintertime precipitation events in Burlington, VT. To be submitted to Weather and Forecasting.
4. SUMMARY OF BENEFITS AND PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED
The NWS Office did not receive some of the data requested from NCDC. The data were requested via email and followed up via email but still did not receive the data. These data although not critical to the success of the project would have served to strengthen some of the work with regard to surface cyclone and anti-cyclone tracks.
4.1: BENEFITS TO THE UNIVERSITY
A. Our students have been exposed to a range of forecast problems that are incurred at Burlington WFO.
B. Visits of Paul Sisson to McGill have provided valuable feedback to our graduate students concerning their research.
C. Our research group has benefited from the access to new long-term data sets including surface and sounding station data.
4.2: BENEFITS TO THE NWS OFFICE
A. The Burlington WFO has benefited by their access to software, and to the NCEP reanalysis data.
B. Benefits include access to the McGill archives of data on the Ice Storm and other cases of interest.
C. Our research results have sparked an interest among the Burlington WFO's meteorologists in operational-related scientific issues. Interest in our work from other meteorologists in other offices has also been positive.
D. Already early this winter, the research results have been used in operations to help identify large-scale features that could result in heavy precipitation at Burlington.