Basemap showing the locations of two television station purchased radars (KPIX and KGO), as well as HMT instrumentation deployed as part of this project to help calibrate the KPIX radar and evaluate the benefit of incorporating KPIX radar data into a precipitation estimation tool used by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Monterey, California.
The current minimum temperature forecast grid (left) is too coarse to support a vintner's specific frost protection sprinkling actions. A downscaled and bias corrected minimum temperature grid (right) is designed to provide improved guidance for frost protection actions for individual wineries.
Improving Precipitation and Frost Information for Sonoma County
Sonoma County, California, in the Russian River Basin, is well-known for its wine production.
Its environmental conditions are optimum to support growth of a variety of wine grapes. But because the vines are sensitive to
weather changes, crops can be at risk, especially if there is too much rain or if frost shows up early.
A new project focused on this region will demonstrate two aspects of HMT technology advances.
The project, approved by the primary sponsor – the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA),
will involve development of high resolution precipitation and frost
information products needed for improved water management in the basin.
The Russian River basin is located in a radar "shadow", which limits the
accuracy of rainfall estimations. HMT has previously demonstrated that
installing additional gap-filling radars and other precipitation sensors,
along with high resolution numerical weather modeling and information
systems can improve tracking and forecasting of heavy precipitation events
coming from the ocean and across the coastal mountains. Research and
product development for this project will help provide improved
precipitation estimates and forecasts. These advances could be implemented
regionally with current National Weather Service watch and warning systems,
and would support SCWA efforts to deal with storm runoff, river flooding
and water supply management issues.
In addition to improved precipitation information, HMT will develop a high
resolution frost forecast 'proof-of-concept'. Improved monitoring and
prediction of frost conditions will help the agricultural community and
SCWA to better determine the need for crop protection and help manage water
resources more effectively.
NOAA Hydrometerology Testbed
Contact: Dr. F. Martin Ralph
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory
R/PSD2 · 325 Broadway · Boulder, CO 80305
303-497-7099 (phone) · 303-497-6101 (fax)