COMET-Funded NWS-FSU Study
Improving Mimimum Temperature Forecasts in the Tallahassee Area

The Florida State University (FSU) Department of Meteorology and the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tallahassee have successfully collaborated on a number of COMET-supported cooperative research studies. These projects have emphasized techniques that can improve forecasting skills in the Tallahassee area. Currently, one study is entitled Improving Mimimum Temperature Forecasts in the Tallahassee Area. This project, lead by Ron Block, senior forecaster at NWS Tallahassee, and Professor Henry Fuelberg of the FSU Meteorology Department, will investigate minimum temperatures across Leon County. Most people realize that the official airport minimum temperature is not representative of where many people live. This creates concerns from residents who question temperatures disseminated from the NWS and the media as to their representativeness, especially when freezing temperatures are expected. At present, little is known about spatial minimum temperature differences in Leon County and this study will attempt to provide appropriate answers. As a city that has experienced rapid growth, especially north and east of downtown, Tallahassee provides an ideal environment to study urban heat island meteorology.

Currently we have around twenty observers spread across Leon County and are always looking to expand this network with individuals that are willing to consistently collect and disseminate minimum temperatures. Local meteorologists, the media, schools and government agencies collect data, but we would like to include as many people as possible. Participants would be required to archive and disseminate minimum temperatures at their residence. If you already collect this type of information, we would ask you to participate in the project. Digital thermometers may be provided to those involved in the study. We envision this to be a minimum two to three-year study. Emphasis during the initial year has been on establishing a statistically and spatially significant observer network. With the preliminary data, we hope to begin to develop hypotheses and strategies to be tested in the following years of this study. You need not necessarily expect to be in the Tallahassee area two years from now to participate.

Monthly reports, that discuss the study in general, and your site in particular, will be disseminated to all participants. These reports will also be posted as attachments (see below) to this page and input from everyone is encouraged. Each report will include information on how various physical and meteorological factors influence the minimum temperature distribution. These factors include soil type, topography, location, sky condition, wind direction and speed, and the relative warmth and cold of the particular days. For those interested in urban meteorology, this project affords and ideal opportunity for weather enthusiasts to participate in a NWS-FSU study that will help everyone better understand an important local weather phenomenon. Appropriate recognition will be accorded all participants.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Fuelberg (fuelberg@met.fsu.edu) and/or Ron Block (ron.block@noaa.gov or (850) 942-8999).

 


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