CIMMS DDRF Proposal Winners

nwcThe Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Studies at the University of Oklahoma is pleased to announce the winners for the inaugural CIMMS Director’s Directed Research Fund. The DDRF emphasizes high-risk and high-payoff-potential projects leading to significant scientific advances for CIMMS. A CIMMS Principal Investigator is required on each project proposal, but collaboration with National Weather Center partners is encouraged. Each project is scheduled for completion within one calendar year (by June 2017), but unfunded extensions are permitted if additional time is needed. Six CIMMS employees were selected as recipients of FY16 funding based on their outstanding project proposals.

Katie Crandall, a CIMMS research scientist at the NWS Operations Proving Ground in Kansas City, was chosen for her proposal, “Evaluation of Multiple Spectral Bands and RGB Imagery for the GOES-R Era by NWS Forecasters with Color Vision Deficiencies.” She will be investigating challenges faced by NWS forecasters with color vision deficiencies and exploring potential solutions. Color blindness can cause significant difficulty for an affected forecaster when attempting to analyze and interpret weather data. During this project, researchers will determine if vision enhancing technology might improve forecasters’ abilities to interpret RGB imagery.

Darrel Kingfield, a CIMMS scientist and collaborator with NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, submitted his proposal on “Operational Implementation of a Polarimetric Thunderstorm Initiation and Longevity Algorithm.” In this project, investigators will present a new radar algorithm for thunderstorm detection and bring that algorithm to operational readiness. Thunderstorms have major impacts on the U.S. economy, particularly in sensitive industries like aviation. Unexpected thunderstorm development can lead to delayed and cancelled flights, with cascading effects nationwide. This new radar algorithm has demonstrated good skill in predicting storm trends on a scale of 5-20 minutes, and Kingfield’s project aims to transfer the technology to public and private sector partners.

Corey Potvin‘s proposal on “Comparing WRF-ARW and NMM-B Capabilities for Simulating and Predicting Convection” was also chosen as a funding recipient for FY16. His project evaluates next-generation convective-allowing models, leading to improved understanding of the capabilities of the WRF-ARW and NBB-B. This will ultimately improve hazardous weather forecasts and warnings.

Erik Rasmussen submitted his proposal, called “A Next-Generation Particle Imager,” in which he lays out the need for a research instrument to better assess size, shape, species, and fallspeed of hydrometeors. He proposes to develop a multi-camera instrument capable of imaging the entire surface of a hydrometeor. Two designs will be tested during the project period.

Lin Tang was awarded funding for her project, “Update the Blockage Data for WSR-88D Radars Used in the MRMS System.” She aims to update blockage files for all 144 WSR-88D radars in the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor system and refine blockage calculation methods for dual-pol radars. This work will improve performance of MRMS, which was transitioned to NWS operations in 2014.

Finally, Mark Weber was chosen as a winner for “Geo-Fence Radar for Small UAS Weather Observations.” Researchers are currently exploring the use of small unmanned aerial systems for improved atmospheric boundary layer sensing. This proposal promotes development, testing, and performance analysis of new radar-based concepts to support future migration to an operational 3D-Mesonet.

Stay tuned to the CIMMS wesbite and follow along with our researchers as their work progresses this year!