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Pacific Jets Experiment 2003 (PACJET-03)

BACKGROUND

The Pacific Land-falling Jets Experiment (PACJET) is an ongoing study of land-falling winter storms on the U.S. West Coast. The project is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in collaboration with a number of universities and other government agencies. The field research is designed to increase the scientific understanding of these powerful and often destructive storms and to test the use of new observing systems and products to aid National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters.

Map of PACJET project area and close-up of microphysical array area.

PACJET-2003 FIELD OPERATIONS

As in past winters dating back to the 1997/98 El Niño, PACJET will again this winter operate a network of 915-MHz wind profiling radars along the Pacific coast from northern Oregon to southern California, as well as others in California's central valley and Sierra foothills. In Jan. and Feb. 2003, PACJET will also conduct focused observations in the vicinity of Fort Ross, CA, on the rugged coastline north of San Francisco, an area that has particularly poor coverage by the NWS's operational network of WSR-88D radars. These PACJET observations will employ additional advanced-technology instruments, including a polarimetric, Doppler X-band scanning weather radar, a pair of S-band precipitation profiling radars, raindrop disdrometers, and special high-resolution rain gauges.

PACJET-2003 GOALS

  • Examine the structure and kinematics of storms as they approach the coastline and ascend the coastal mountains, and determine the role of low-level wind jets in precipitation formation and location.
  • Document storm features that slip beneath coverage of the nearest WSR-88D radars, and send the PACJET radar images to NWS forecast offices via the Web.
  • Study the microphysical features and orographic precipitation mechanisms in storm clouds over the coastal mountains.
  • Continue testing experimental polarimetric radar estimations of rainfall rate.
  • Develop embryonic foundations for a regional Hydrometeorological Testbed as a conduit to infuse new observing technology to the NWS.
  • Evaluate a suite of operational and research models through comparison to radar wind profiler and surface meteorological data.

Data Collection Dates

Core Season January 10 - February 17 2003 Intensive measurements at Fort Ross (FRS) and Cazadero (CZC/CZD), California
Full Season December 11, 2002 - April 10 2003 Continuous operation of wind profilers and surface met stations at several West Coast sites

Intensive Operating Periods Within Core Season

1 11 JAN 03 - 14 JAN 03 5" rain at FRS; fluctuating periods of deep and shallow cloud
2 21 JAN 03 - 23 JAN 03 1.5" rain at FRS; warm front followed by cold front; many sondes
3 12 FEB 03 - 13 FEB 03 0.4" rain at FRS; disorganized showers
4 15 FEB 03 - 16 FEB 03 1.4" rain at FRS; cold front and convective cells; persistent mid- level dry layer

Other Intense Weather Events Outside of the Core Season

A1 13 DEC 02 - 16 DEC 02 20" rain at CZC
A2 26 DEC 02 - 31 DEC 02 10" rain at CZC
A3 13 MAR 03 - 15 MAR 03 6" rain at CZC

Instrumentation Operations Overview

Instrument Site Data Period Comments
X-band Polarimetric Radar (ETL) FRS 10 JAN 03 - 17 FEB 03 data collection mainly during precipitation
S-band Precip Profiler (ETL) FRS 10 JAN 03 - 17 FEB 03 amplifier problem 5 FEB 03 - 13 FEB 03
S-band Precip Profiler (ETL) CZC 10 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
JW Raindrop Disdrometer (ETL) FRS 10 JAN 03 - 6 FEB 03  
FRS-Fort 7 FEB 03 - 17 FEB 03 Call Ranch site
CZC 18 FEB 03 - 10 APR 03  
JW Raindrop Disdrometer (UW) CZC 10 JAN 03 - 10 APR 03 data problems until 23 JAN 03
Radiosonde Launches (ETL) FRS 10 JAN 03 - 17 FEB 03 28 launches, episodic
Hasse Ship Rain Gauge (UW) CZC 10 JAN 03 - 10 APR 03  
Qualimetrics 6" Rain Gauge (UW) CZC 26 JAN 03 - 10 APR 03  
Hot-Plate Precip Mass Gauge (DRI) FRS 15 JAN 03 - 17 FEB 03  
GWINDEX (CIMSS) Ocean 6 JAN 03 - 31 MAR 03 GOES Satellite Winds
8-inch Orifice Rain Gauges (ETL)
#1 FRS 10 JAN 03 - 17 FEB 03  
#2 SLP 10 JAN 03 - 17 FEB 03 Salt Point
#3 FRS-VC 10 JAN 03 - 17 FEB 03 Park Visitor Center
Surface Met Stations (ETL) FRS 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03 data outage 14 JAN 03
CZC 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
West Coast 915-MHz Wind Profilers + Surface Met Stations (ETL)
many sites operated beyond the Pacjet period
Newport, OR NPT 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
Eureka, CA ERK 22 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
Bodega Bay, CA BBY 11 DEC 02 - 01 MAR 03 Profiler data problems
Chico, CA CCO 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
Grass Valley, CA GVY 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
Pt. Piedras Blancas, CA PPB 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
Lost Hills, CA LHS 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
Goleta, CA GLA 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03  
San Nicholas Is., CA SNI 11 DEC 02 - 10 APR 03