Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The DREAMS Project

This summer is a special one for Dr. Brian Colle's Coastal Meteorology and Atmospheric Prediction (COMAP) Group because Stony Brook University is home to an exciting field campaign, the Doppler Radar for Education and Mesoscale Studies (DREAMS) Project. A team of scientists including a post-doc and a National Weather Service (NWS) employee put their ideas together to write a proposal to have the Doppler On Wheels (DOW) travel to Long Island to study various phenomena. Their venture was successfully funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and yesterday kicked off the start of the campaign which will run through the first week of July.

High school students, undergraduate students (not just from Stony Brook U), graduate students, and recent graduates/weather enthusiasts are teaming up with Dr. Brian Colle, Post-Doctoratal Researcher Kelly Lombardo, and NWS Science Operations Officer (SOO) Jeffery Tongue to investigate mesoscale, or small-scale phenomena. Such phenomena include strong thunderstorms (i.e. convection) as they travel near NYC, sea breezes that develop along the South Shore, the marine boundary layer with any large marine particulate matter suspended near the surface, and a strong low-level jet called the New York Bight Jet that develops near NYC due to the strong regional temperature gradients between the sea and the land. All of these phenomena have been looked at using conventional radar located at the NWS NYC Office in Upton, NY (KOKX), surface observations, and even numerical models, but this will be the first time a high-resolution Doppler radar will be brought up-close to the action to really zoom in on what is going on.

The first day of student training took place on Monday, June 17. Eager students crowded around the DOW and learned the basics of how it works. A group of scientists and engineers traveled with the DOW to provide training, to drive it around, and to make sure that it operates properly during its visit. Convection was firing up to our north and traveling south-southeast so the students were eager to see the DOW in action. They brought the DOW from the Stony Brook University campus to a location on the North Shore and saw some

Keep a lookout for the DOW across Long Island.
interesting data from the storm. The first day concluded with an open house and seminar at the Wang Center where the DOW was parked and in motion for the public to see. A light dinner and refreshments were provided by the NYC/LI Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and a great seminar was given by Dr. Joshua Wurman and Dr. Karen Kosiba of the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, CO (and of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers fame)! The seminar provided more information about how the DOW radars work and how they are usually used out on the Great Plains to study tornado motion and evolution and also used on the coast to study small-scale wind structures within hurricanes. There was a Q&A period after their talk concluded during which really interesting questions were asked, especially about their thoughts on the recent controversy regarding storm chasing and storm chaser safety. After the event ended, a thunderstorm was traveling towards us from over the Sound which couldn't have possibly been better planned to spark a sense of enthusiasm for weather!

Since this field campaign has just begun and will last for a few weeks, blog posts will be provided with updates on radar basics, what phenomena are being measured, and hopefully some great data that the students measured themselves of these phenomena. If you see the DOW traveling on the LIE, give us a wave! If you see us parked and taking measurements at one of our main sites (Jones Beach, Smith Point Park, Sunken Meadow, etc.) don't be shy- we'd love to share what we are doing with you.

- For more information about the DREAMS Project, please visit this website: http://dreamsproject.weebly.com/index.html
- For more information about the Doppler On Wheels (DOW), please visit the Center for Severe Weather Research's website: http://www.cswr.org/dow/

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