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In tornado alley lies the National Weather Center research facility. An area with frequent mesoscale weather events would be perfect for this kind of storm research facility.
Is there anywhere else in the world where tornado research is done? This center is a collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Oklahoma, and the state of Oklahoma.
Why was it created?
- The NWC provides weather forecasts and warnings for severe weather events, like tornadoes, hurricanes, and flash floods. Americans can protect themselves, their families, and their property from severe weather by receiving accurate and timely information from the NWC.
- The NWC provides weather information and forecasts to the aviation industry. Air traffic controllers and pilots rely on accurate and up-to-date weather data to make decisions about flight routes, takeoffs, and landings to ensure safe and efficient air travel.
- For planting, harvesting, and managing their crops and livestock, farmers and ranchers rely on accurate weather forecasts and climate data. Using the NWC, farmers can make informed decisions about their operations based on current and future weather conditions.
- Wind and solar power production can be affected by weather conditions, especially for renewable energy sources. Weather forecasts are provided by the NWC
The focus is on mesoscale weather. There could be high levels of precipitation, wind, or other weather patterns. A research facility must also have access to equipment, like radar, to observe mesoscale weather patterns.
Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the like fall into the category of events under examination here. In terms of size, they're about a mile across to (maybe) a hundred.
Observation and prediction are the Center's main activities. The mesoscale and other smaller scales are also important to them. Short-term weather patterns, like storms, heat bursts, and other smaller events, are predicted by them. By understanding these scales, we can prepare for the immediate effects of weather.
While the larger-scale weather patterns are important for general forecasting, the mesoscale and other smaller weather scales provide us with more localized information that can help us to make more accurate predictions about short-term weather events, like thunderstorms or heavy rain.
Basically, how storms of this sort affect both big synoptic systems (spanning a state or two) and tiny microclimates (like parking lots).
A bit about scales: Microscale meteorology and mesoscale meteorology focus on different scales of atmospheric phenomena. The term mesoscale meteorology refers to weather events that happen on a scale of tens to hundreds of kilometers. To forecast these events, mesoscale meteorologists use numerical weather models, satellite and radar data, and other observations.
Microscale meteorology, on the other hand, deals with atmospheric phenomena on a much smaller scale. Turbulence, wind gusts, and local temperature variations are examples of microscale weather phenomena. Microscale meteorologists use field experiments and computer models to understand and predict these phenomena.
Radar is the fundamental tool meteorologists use to identify and track medium-sized storms. You can find heavy precipitation, distinguish its type (rain, hail, snow, etc.) and pinpoint its direction. The Dopplar radar can also help predict tornadoes by determining wind directions and vorticity (patterns of rotation).
We've been told the center uses radar output to feed its physical mesoscale models. Data is used to set initial and/or boundary conditions, among other things.
They're good at this. Research and prediction of storms, where specialized knowledge is accumulated and refined. Then they use existing infrastructure to distribute their findings.
According to the Center's website, it's good for:
Contact them at...
National Weather Center (NWC)
University of Oklahoma
100 East Boyd St.
SEC Suite 710
Norman OK 73019
Phone (405) 325-3101
As a summary, mesoscale meteorology focuses on large-scale weather phenomena, while microscale meteorology focuses on small-scale atmospheric processes. Understanding and predicting weather events require both, which is what the National weather center works to achieve.
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Are you familiar with the term "mesoscale" as defined by the National Weather Center?
Local and small area weather systems are the specialty of the National Weather Center. Someday, perhaps we will be able to predict tornadoes with precision.
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