Dr. Pat Welsh of the Division of Engineering at UNF and his collaborators in the Advanced Weather Information Systems Laboratory are working on realtime weather information systems, including realtime wireless data collection, assimilation and high-resolution mesoscale atmospheric modeling. Such data-intensive work requires high bandwidth communication like Lambda Rail as well as high performance computing technology and visualization of the results.
Not only do the field sensors (such as the Florida Road Weather Information System the Lab recently installed) and local datasets need to be rapidly assembled, but large gridded Global model results from the National Weather Service models are rapidly downloaded to initialize the high resolution model. The global model is then blended with added local data, satellite and Doppler radar data to start the high resolution run with the optimum state of the current atmosphere. Each model run produces a file so large it would nearly fill a CD-ROM, so Lambda Rail bandwidth is very important to the model output, as well as assembly of the input
These model results using the new Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have been shown to provide much better sea breeze and convective rain results in Florida than previous models, and performed very well for the 2003 and 2004 Hurricane seasons. The goal of this Laboratory data collection and modeling effort is to produce improved and timely data, analysis and forecasting tools to Florida weather forecasters, environmental managers, and other researchers such as hydrologic, coastal ocean and estuary modelers needing better wind and rain inputs to their models.
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