Academic Minute Podcast
Jerry Brotzge, University at Albany – Improving Weather Operations
On University at Albany Week: Predicting the weather remains tricky.
Jerry Brotzge, research scientist, explores how to make it a bit easier for forecasters.
Dr. Jerry Brotzge is a Research Scientist and Program Manager of the New York State Mesonet (NYSM; http://nysmesonet.org) at the University at Albany. Jerry completed his undergraduate work in meteorology at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO, and his MS and PhD graduate work in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. Upon graduation in 2000, he began work for the OU Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS), which assimilates data from new systems in an effort to improve storm- to mesoscale numerical weather prediction. Jerry moved to the University at Albany in fall 2014 to lead the design, deployment and operation of the New York State Mesonet. Dr. Brotzge has over forty formal publications, with a focus on observations, high-impact weather, and warning operations.
Improving Weather Operations
Those of us living in cold weather climates have all experienced a similar scenario… anticipating a large snowstorm, only to awaken to a dusting on the ground, or the opposite, more snow than expected.
Winter storms are among the trickiest weather events to monitor and predict. Each is unique and even the slightest temperature variation can quickly lead to a different outcome, including the precipitation type – snow, sleet, or freezing rain – and the totals of each.
Researchers at the New York State Mesonet are partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on a new project that aims to improve winter storm operations by leveraging the network’s surface and upper air weather data.
The NYS Mesonet is an advanced weather network that features 126 standard observation stations located throughout the state. The stations offer continuous updates of various localized weather variables with updates every five minutes and real-time camera images.
Our new project will demonstrate, at a statewide level, how local winter weather operations can be improved using NYS Mesonet measurements, such as snow depth, snowfall rates, freezing rain and precipitation type.
It will also produce a new suite of customizable winter weather products to improve situational awareness, in turn, making New Yorkers more resilient to snowy conditions. For example, the transportation industry can use the products to assist in timely snow removal, salt deployment and road closures. Utilities can improve monitoring of ice conditions, enabling a faster response for power restoration. School districts can make more informed decisions around class cancellations.
Partners stand by ready to apply these products next winter.
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