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Winter Storm Research Gets a Local Helping Hand

Winter snow in the Northeast is quickly catching up with death and taxes in terms of guarantees. We may catch a lucky break every now and then (see: c...

Winter Storm Research Gets a Local Helping Hand

New NASA 'Snow Chaser' Plane Prepares for Takeoff to...

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – It is pretty to look at, but at times, treacherous to encounter: when snowstorms wreak havoc on the ground, it can come with a...

New NASA 'Snow Chaser' Plane Prepares for Takeoff to Improve Weather Forecasts

NASA Snow-Chasers Fixed to Travel Into Winter Storms to Inquire...

With snow undermining access to streets, work, and school, snowfall is one of the essential winter climate marvels on the U.S. East Coast. It’s like...

NASA Snow-Chasers Fixed to Travel Into Winter Storms to Inquire The Inner Workings

NASA Taps Snowstorm-Chasing Team To Improve Forecasting

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Lynn McMurdie, a University of Washington professor and principal investigator for IMPACTS, NASA's new project to more a...

NASA Taps Snowstorm-Chasing Team To Improve Forecasting

NASA Wallops to Help in Study to More Accurately Predict Snow...

This month NASA is sending a team of scientists, a host of ground instruments, and two research aircraft to study the inner workings of snowstorms. Th...

NASA Wallops to Help in Study to More Accurately Predict Snow Storms

NASA Snowstorm Study Will Send Planes Inside of East Coast Storms

For many of us, a few inches of snow can be a nuisance, or at the very least keep us from getting to work on time. The worst part about impending snow...

NASA Snowstorm Study Will Send Planes Inside of East Coast Storms

NASA Near-Space Airplane Touches Down in Savannah

A high-flying NASA research plane arrived Wednesday at Hunter Army Airfield to begin a two-month mission of collecting data on East Coast snowstorms. ...

NASA Near-Space Airplane Touches Down in Savannah

IMPACTS

Winter snowstorms are frequent on the eastern seaboard and cause major disruptions to transportation, commerce, and public safety. Snowfall within these storms is frequently organized in banded structures that are poorly understood by scientists and poorly predicted by current numerical models. Since that last study on snowstorms, the capabilities of remote sensing technologies and numerical weather prediction models have advanced significantly, making now an ideal time to conduct a well-equipped study to identify key processes and improve remote sensing and forecasting of snowfall.

The Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS) will fly a complementary suite of remote sensing and in-situ instruments for three 6-week deployments on the ER-2 and P-3 aircraft. IMPACTS will address three specific objectives, providing observations critical to understanding the mechanisms of snowband formation, organization, and evolution. IMPACTS will also examine how the microphysical characteristics and likely growth mechanisms of snow particles vary across snowbands. IMPACTS will improve snowfall remote sensing interpretation and modeling to significantly advance predictive capabilities.


INSTRUMENTS AND AIRCRAFT

The IMPACTS airborne instrument suite provides a synergistic range of measurements for snow process studies. It combines advanced radar, lidar, and microwave radiometer remote sensing instruments on the ER-2 with state-of-the-art microphysics probes and dropsonde capabilities on the P-3 to sample US East Coast winter storms. By flying the two aircraft in an approximately vertically stacked coordinated pattern, with flight legs generally orthogonal to the snowband orientation, the instrument suite provides approximately collocated dynamical and microphysical measurements that advance our understanding of processes in winter storms.

IMPACTS collects data from a “satellite-simulating” ER-2 and in-situ measurements from a cloudpenetrating P-3, augmented by ground-based radar and rawinsonde data, multiple NASA and NOAA satellites [including GPM, GOES-16, and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)], and computer simulations. The ER-2 and P-3 provide the flight-altitude and long-endurance capabilities and payload capacity needed for the combined remote sensing and in-situ measurements.