Notes from the 31 May 2012 HSLC conference call

Participants – NCSU (Matt Parker, Jason Davis, Keith Sherburn), GSP (Justin Lane), RAH (Jonathan Blaes, Mike Strickler), RNK (Steve Keighton), LWX (Steven Zubrick), FFC (Steve Nelson, Trish Palmer), AKQ (Andrew Zimmerman), CAE (Hunter Coleman)

  1. JB from RAH got the call started by providing information related to a conference call he was on with Brad Grant among others from WDTB.  WDTB has been interested in working with ER offices on a training project and is very excited to work with our group on getting results from our project into some form of training (webinar, LMS module within DLOC/AWOC, etc.) in the not too distant future.  Unfortunately given their time restraints on when material must be submitted to them for timelines related to DLOC and AWOC it is unlikely that results from our project would be able to be incorporated to the training plans of FY13, but FY14 may be a more reasonable goal.  One suggestion that was brought up was that a less formal, 30-40 minute webinar format training be created for inclusion in Spring 2013 DLOC training which would introduce the topic of HSLC environments and possible preliminary results from our project.A next step for the group would be to come up with a team that would lead this transition of R2O training, working with WDTB to produce the webinar format training for Spring 2013.  It was decided that this did not need to be done on this call but the group for now could consider their possible involvement and time constraints.  It is recommended that there be representation from the NCSU side as well as at least one of the PIs from the NWS side be a part of this team.
  2. Next, Matt Parker briefly discussed interactions with SPC about the Mesoanalysis data and null data.  Andy Dean from SPC was very helpful and quickly fulfilled the additional data requests for the missing data noted from offices regarding their case studies as well as the null cases.  Everyone is encouraged to check to make sure the data that was missing for their cases is now there and if not, please let Matt know as soon as possible. Matt also noted that Keith is working on some comparisons of the environmental data between the events and the nulls.
  3. Progress Reports from WFO’s on the case studies – Each WFO represented on the call had the opportunity to share their progress on the high priority case study they were working on.  The consensus was that most have not had the time to make too much progress yet on their cases but have time planned over the summer to make strides to complete the task.  The goal remains to have each office complete at least one high priority case study by September/October.
  4. Finally to close the call, Keith and Jason briefly gave an update on the progress of their work.

    Keith has been focusing on two main priorities over the last month or so. The first is comparing the environments for differing convective modes. The modes he is focusing on are supercells embedded within clusters, discrete supercells, supercells embedded within lines, and linear non-supercells. For each, he has created mean soundings in order to compare the vertical thermodynamic and kinematic profiles of the four modes. He has noted considerable disparities in LFC to EL depth and more subtle differences in hodograph shape and wind magnitudes. He plans to write a blog post in the coming days providing additional information on the convective mode comparisons. The second priority is the nulls. They acquired data for the nulls last week from Andy at SPC. Through preliminary investigation, it seems that effective shear, low-level lapse rate, and existing composite parameters seem to be the best discriminators between tornado events and all nulls. However, further analysis will be required over the coming weeks to confirm this assessment.

    Jason is currently developing and testing algorithms to identify and track circulations, and to quantify key parameters like azimuthal shear, range-corrected azimuthal shear (like NROT), circulation diameter, etc.  He is searching multiple scan angles and, in at least one case so far, there appears to be some enhanced lead time if one watches for changes in the mid-level circulations.  Once the techniques are fully developed and tested, the goal will be to apply them to many tornadic circulations and also significant non-tornadic circulations (either identified by maxima in shear or culled from false alarm tornado warnings).  The idea will be to eventually identify key thresholds or behaviors that forecasters can use when making warning decisions.  He will also be looking subjectively at reflectivity signatures to try to quantify the POD and FAR associated with things like “broken S” patterns.

The next conference call is planned for Thursday June 28th at 10AM the usually scheduled time.

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