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Environmental Modeling and Monitoring Using a High-Resolution Weather Data System (HRWxDS)

LEGATES, David R. (legates@bayamo.srcc.lsu.edu), Louisiana State University, Southern Regional Climate Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803; NIXON, Kenneth R., QUELCH, Geoffrey E., and STOCKDALE, Thomas D., Computational Geosciences, Inc., 330 West Gray, Suite 500, Norman, Oklahoma 73069

Key Words: water resource management, WSR-88D weather radars, spatial interpolation

Surface observations have usually been the sole source of meteorological data for environmental modeling and monitoring applications. Development of a national network of Doppler weather radars, coupled with advances in GIS methodology and sophisticated spatial interpolation techniques, has provided improved, high-resolution weather data for use in a new generation of distributed (grid-based) environmental models. The High-Resolution Hydrometeorological Data System (HRHDS) is a real-time, site-specific, operational system that couples this new weather information with surface observations, hydrological modeling, and an interface to facilitate more informed decision-making tasks. Spatially and temporally distributed meteorological and hydrological fields produced by the HRHDS include precipitation (radar-based, gage-based, and a composite radar/gage product), wind velocity (speed and direction), air temperature, atmospheric humidity, soil moisture content, and runoff potential. Derived fields include crop stress factors (both temperature and moisture stress), soil water deficit, and streamflow modeling. Both digital and graphical products are produced that can be used for monitoring and analyzing meteorological and hydrological conditions for a particular location or region.

This system is designed to improve site-specific water resource management for a variety of purposes including river management for optimal hydroelectric power generation, soil moisture monitoring for optimal irrigation scheduling or for wildfire prediction, wind (speed and direction) estimation for pesticide drift applications, and rainfall/flood monitoring for enhanced emergency management. Presently, the HRHDS and its components have been used in a wide variety of applications. For example, it operates as the front-end of a river management system that models the real-time water flow for the Catawba River Basin in North Carolina (by Duke Energy Corporation) and has been successfully applied to assess the spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall for several flooding events in Texas. Applications of irrigation scheduling and pesticide drift in southwestern Oklahoma also are being developed.

The HRHDS was software engineered using the latest software development methodologies. As a spatial tool, it incorporates geographic information systems (GIS) tools and its products can be easily input to commercial GIS packages for further analysis and presentation. The HRHDS also incorporates a modular, extendible architecture so that it can easily accommodate the development of new products and incorporate new algorithms. Its research extends from a successful technology transfer project that first began in the Center for Computational Geosciences at the University of Oklahoma.