NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory
U.S West Coast Phase I: January - February 2001
Phase II: January - February 2002
Status Report | Profiler Schedule

PACJET Status report issued at 3 PM PST on 1 March 2001

As aircraft operations in PACJET-2001 wind down today and tomorrow, and the operations center is closed, it is clear that we have accomplished much of what we set out to do, and that we will be better prepared for a possible PACJET-2002 next year. It is also important to note that several key components of PACJET ( profilers, enhanced GOES winds, PACJET-RUC model runs, etc...) will remain active through March 2001 (see summary below). It has been both, successful, challenging, and ultimately effective, to have invested much energy in making the data and experiment available via the web where these remaining experimental components can be found and where updates on future meetings, etc..., will be posted.

In a broad sense we have accomplished one of our greatest goals, that of bringing research and operations together to address west coast storm prediction. The linkages and the synergy were evident in many ways, from the fact that operational forecasters participated fully in the experiment, to the fact that science objectives relating to the physics of air-sea interaction, coastal orographic rain, and blocking were addressed.

One of the major outcomes already in hand is the demonstration of the potential for new observations, models, and physical understanding to make a difference in real-time operational weather prediction on the west coast. This includes examples from our third flight where the P-3 reports of strong convection offshore of San Francisco led directly to the issuance of a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the Bay Area, to the improvement in numerical model initial conditions in yesterday's storm in the NE Pacific where dropsondes from the G-IV led to a 10 mb improvement in the analysis of the strength of a major cyclone. In addition to these successes, were examples where the data had marginal impact, examples that we can learn from for the future. Clearly the experiment demonstrated the value of addressing the direct forecaster use of data, i.e., a "forecaster-in-the-loop" strategy that feeds new data to people who issue forecasts, and it also demonstrated potential to improve model guidance that is critical to forecasting.

From a purely scientific perspective it is apparent that many of our science goals will be met, and that the analysis of the data gathered and of model performance will pay dividends in the years to come. Some of the many preliminary impressions of success in this area include evidence that the "warm rain" found in CALJET data occurred much less frequently in this non-El Niño year, and that the P-3 microphysics data confirmed that ice was not present in the one case where we saw the same warm rain signature this year. Initial impressions of the air chemistry data suggest that air pollution is drawn out from the Central Valley of California to the coast and that this can act as a source for cool air trapped against the coast in cases of blocking. Observations were made of air-sea interaction farther into the warm sector than were done in CALJET, and, as expected, they include the potentially critical zone where the moisture fluxes may be enhanced by large differences in sea surface temperatures and dew-point temperatures. Several objectives relating to satellite validation/calibration now also have the critical and rare oceanic and coastal data needed to begin analysis.

Finally, it is our team of talented people who make the technology work and who have made the experiment a success. To all involved, please accept my heartfelt congratulations and appreciation for you hard work, perseverance, and creativity (and for whatever you may have done to help bring the storms we needed this winter)!

Sincerely, Marty Ralph, PACJET Chief Scientist, NOAA/Environmental Technology Lab.

Status report highlights for 1 March, 2001

Several key aspects of the experiment will continue through March 2001, including

  • GWINDEX will continue providing high spatial and temporal coverage winds as part of the GOES rapid scan winds experiment.

  • Most of ETL's wind profilers will remain in place through March, 2001 *.

  • The experimental real-time melting level estimates from Bodega Bay and Grass Valley, CA will continue at these ETL profiler sites through March 2001.

  • FSL's PACJET-RUC will continue with assimilation of satellite and profiler winds.

  • Assessment of these tools in operational situations will continue through March.

The PACJET web page will continue to post new data from the above sensors and models, and will act as a focal point for information on data, for comments, and for announcements concerning future activities, such as Workshops and for information on the status of the proposed PACJET-2002 field effort.

PACJET-2002 has been proposed to be conducted again out of Monterey, CA from roughly 18 January to 5 March 2002. Requests have been submitted to NOAA for use of a P-3 aircraft and the Research Vessel the Ron Brown. Conduct of the experiment depends critically upon funding decisions and several other factors in the coming months.

* PACJET profiler, GPS, surface met, and S-band radar site removal/installation schedule for March/April 2001

March 5: Remove Westport, WA 915 MHz radar/RASS/met/GPS
March 7: Remove Cazadero, CA S-band radar/met
March 8: Remove Bodega Bay, CA S-band radar/ceilometer
April 2: Remove Goleta, CA 915 MHz radar/RASS/met
April 5: Remove Grass Valley, CA 915 MHz radar/RASS/met/GPS
April 7: Remove Bodega Bay, CA 915 MHz radar/RASS/met/GPS
April 8: Remove Eureka, CA GPS
April 10: Install Newport, OR 915 MHz radar/RASS and replace 3-m met tower with 10-m tower

Note: By mid April fully operating NOAA/ETL 915 MHz radar/RASS/met sites will be located at:

  • Bakersfield, CA,
  • Lost Hills, CA,
  • Angiola, CA,
  • Chowchilla, CA,
  • Waterford, CA,
  • Richmond, CA,
  • Chico, CA,
  • Eureka, CA and
  • Newport, OR.
325 Broadway R/ETL
Boulder, CO 80303
Updated: January 22, 2001