Monday, January 17, 2011

Analyzing winter storms

We are in the middle of winter and as storms develop and move across the Pacific, the government has decided to investigate the storms long before they reach us here in Kansas. The aircraft in the picture is actually stationed in Japan through February, but in March, they will move it to Hawaii. The twin engine Gulfstream 4 jet will fly through storms to collect data such as temperature, pressure, wind speed, and humidity. That data will be fed into computer models (ones we look at in the Storm Center) to help increase the accuracy of the forecast with respect to precipitation, temperature, and wind. Without data from over the ocean, we have to rely on satellite data and land based weather balloons that are launched in the morning and at night all across the country. But because the prevailing wind direction across the US is west to east, those weather balloons almost never travel west to sample the approaching winter storms. The aircraft is based in Japan in an effort to collect as much data upstream as possible as the storms approach the west coast of the United States.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The January thaw is nice!

Susan W.

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