MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: what kind of equipment is used to track and predict a blizzard?

Date: Sat Mar 27 12:08:42 2004
Posted By: Nezette Rydell, forecaster,National Weather Service
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 1080002420.En

Winter storms, blizzards, all winter type weather and most summer weather regimes are observed and forecast using the same sets of observational data and forecasting tools. Observations may come from federal, state, local and private sector observing systems; upper air observations from radiosonde balloons, wind profilers, and aircraft observations; and remote sensing platforms for satellite imagery and radar. Forecasts are based on observations, knowledge of meteorology, and output from numerical forecast models from the National Weather Service Center for Environmental Prediction, the Navy, Europe, and Canada.

In special situations, strong winter storms and tropical cyclone activity, additional data may be gathered from windsondes launched from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft or from NOAA Gulfstream IV...a special research plane that flies into the area of interest to take non-routine observations. Research projects over the last few years have sought ways to improve winter storm forecasts using special observation data. Check out these USATODAY links to FASTEX, NORPEX, CALJET, IPEX, and PACJET.

For more information check out these links:
National Weather Service Wind Profilers
USATODAY's Understanding Weather Forecasting
USATODAY's Numerical Models Page
NOAA Gulfstream IV

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