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When Weather Matters Most
  • When Weather Matters Most: timeline
  • In their own words: Richard Reed
  • UCAR at 40
    Who We Are
    Introduction
    One Planet, One Atmosphere
    Between Sun and Earth
    Measuring and Modeling
    When Weather Matters Most
    Spreading the Word
    Knowledge for All
    Looking toward the Future
    UCAR at a Glance
    List of acronyms

    Richard Reed is a professor emeritus in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Washington (UW). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Geophysical Union. Reed has received numerous awards and honors, including the AMS's Rossby Research Medal. (Photo courtesy Mary Levin, University of Washington)

    During 1985–86, I was on sabbatical at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, England. I worked with ECMWF scientists, particularly Tony Hollingsworth, to evaluate their operational model's performance in identifying and predicting African easterly waves and the occasional hurricanes they spawn. I also made a personal evaluation of how well the model predicted extratropical weather systems. My conclusion was that on most occasions the model did a highly realistic job, just as it did for the tropical systems we were investigating. I became convinced that such models could provide a rich source of data for studies of midlatitude synoptic systems, particularly rapid cyclogenesis. However, I had no immediate way of introducing model data into my NSF-sponsored research.

    Earlier, on a visit to UW, Rick Anthes had suggested that I extend a research project by teaming up with NCAR's Bill Kuo to apply the Pennsylvania State University/NCAR Mesoscale Model. (Bill had led much of the model's development after its creation at Penn State.) After my ECMWF sabbatical, it was natural to proceed with Rick's suggestion. Let me highlight some of the benefits that have flowed from this ongoing collaboration—some of them straightforward and anticipated, others unforeseen.

    Joint research. Ten coauthored papers have been published on a variety of topics related to marine cyclogenesis. NCAR scientists have provided valuable assistance; Simon Low-Nam, a coauthor on some of the papers, especially deserves credit. Two visiting scientists from China, Yubao Liu and Kun Gao, also participated in the research and coauthored papers.

    Ph.D. training. Warren Blier, Mark Stoelinga, and Jordan Powers became NCAR graduate research assistants. Not only did this provide them with ready access to vital facilities, it afforded the opportunity for interaction with NCAR scientists having a wide range of expertise.

    Postdoctoral appointments. Georg Grell and Jim Bresch took part in the collaborative research, with financial support from the Office of Naval Research and NSF, respectively. With Jimy Dudhia of NCAR, Grell made important contributions to the development and documentation of version 5 of the Penn State/NCAR model (MM5). Bresch conducted fruitful research on polar lows and other subjects in collaboration with scientists and forecasters at UW, NCAR, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    Meteorological practice. The arrival at UW of the MM4 and MM5 excited the interest of my colleague Cliff Mass and his students. Jim Steenburgh and Brian Colle adapted the MM5 for local use as part of their Ph.D. research, aided by NCAR's Wei Wang. The adaptation has continued under UW staff members David Ovens, Mark Albright, and others.

    The MM5 now provides high-resolution forecasts twice daily for the Pacific Northwest. It has also become the centerpiece of an environmental modeling system, through a consortium organized and directed by Cliff. MM5 forecasts drive a distributed hydrological model that predicts streamflow for eight watersheds in western Washington. State and local agencies use MM5 output to model air quality.

    The spread of the MM5 to an ever-widening circle has been a remarkable phenomenon. With only a small, dedicated staff and an annual workshop and tutorial, NCAR has catalyzed interactions that have had a huge impact on mesoscale modeling. In doing so, it has provided a striking example of the mutual benefits that can derive from cooperative efforts.

    UCAR at 40
    Who We Are
    Introduction
    One Planet, One Atmosphere
    Between Sun and Earth
    Measuring and Modeling
    When Weather Matters Most
    Spreading the Word
    Knowledge for All
    Looking toward the Future
    UCAR at a Glance
    List of acronyms


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    Executive editor Lucy Warner, lwarner@ucar.edu
    Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
    Last revised: Fri Jan 26 17:18:32 MST 2001