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Warning Decision Training Division
Professional Development Series

Severe Convection Forecasting and Warnings

PCU 3: Assessing the Synoptic Environment: Identifying Patterns and Synoptic-Scale Features

Producer: TBD


Click here first for an Introduction



Specific Job Task Skills and Knowledge:

Task 3.1: Using a knowledge of severe convective patterns, perform an analysis of initial synoptic-scale data to evaluate the potential for severe convection in the forecast region:

  • Diagnose the current state of the atmosphere by analyzing the regional RAOBs in order to assess buoyancy, vertical wind shear, and other convective parameters.
  • Analyze surface and upper air data for the presence of salient features such as shortwave troughs, thermal troughs, low-level thermal/moisture axes, mid-level dry intrusions, upper- and lower-level jet streaks, and static stability.
  • Use the above data sources to evaluate buoyancy, vertical wind shear, and convective parameters.
  • Using compositing techniques, superimpose the salient features listed above.
  • Understand the significance of the particular juxtaposition of these features to severe thunderstorm development.
  • Know how to utilize remote sensing data to augment "initial conditions."

Task 3.2: Using a knowledge of severe convective patterns and known model biases, perform an integrated 4-D analysis of future (or expected) synoptic parameters to evaluate the large-scale threat of severe convection in the forecast region in the next 12 hours:

  • Evaluate changes in convective potential using numerical model data.
  • Determine expected (or forecast) sounding/hodograph parameters based on modifying the sounding using gridded model data.

Task 3.3: Forecast general type of severe weather based on evaluation of patterns and parameter values.

Instructional Components:

Training 3.1: Review the various modules based on varying categories provided below.

Skew-T Diagrams

Review the Skew-T Mastery training module from COMET, and/or download and review the NWSTC Remote Training Module 230 Skew-T Log P Diagram and Sounding Analysis manual.

Synoptic Patterns

Review the NWSTC Synoptic Pattern Database to become familiar with synoptic patterns associated with severe thunderstorm occurance (tornadic outbreaks, derechos, MCSs, etc.). This database will serve to improve pattern recognition skills of specific severe weather types.

Severe Weather Parameters

Review the Convective Season Environmental Parameters and Indices page by the Louisville, KY WFO for an overview of commonly-used indices for evaluating severe weather potential.

WOC Severe Track: Outlook and Short-Term Assessment

RAC Convective Storms - Pre-Requisite: Operational Severe Weather Diagnostic Parameters

Training 3.2: Practice the skills learned through WES training sessions using the Interval or Situational Awareness simulation methods.




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