Atmospheric River Reconnaissance

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Atmospheric River Reconnaissance 2021 Workshop

28 June – 1 July 2021

Virtual – Zoom Meeting

Hosted by the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Atmospheric River Reconnaissance Strives to Improve Predictions of Land-falling Atmospheric
Rivers and Their Associated Impacts in the Western U.S.

From 2015 to 2021, AR Recon grew from a concept to a field demonstration to an operational requirement and mission. It has gone from 3 storms flown over 2 weeks in 2016 to 29 flown over 10 weeks in 2021. The AR Recon mission continues with similar pace in 2022 and beyond, following the guidelines established in the NWSOP as a Research and Operations Partnership. It uses two Air Force C-130s and the NOAA G-IV to carry out dropsonde missions and has partnered with the Global Drifter Program to deploy roughly 100 drifting buoys with pressure sensors. Airborne Radio Occultation methods are being tested to expand spatial coverage of observations. Flight planning and calling of missions is carried out by a diverse team of scientists and forecasters, who consider targeting fundamental atmospheric structures and targets identified from adjoint and ensemble sensitivity methods. A steering committee for modeling and data assimilation consisting of a multi-agency team of global modeling and science centers is working together to document and enhance impacts of the data. In addition, new initiatives using high-resolution regional modeling systems are being undertaken emphasizing local impact assessments and potential R2O efforts.

Workshop Purpose: Document Impacts and Envision AR Recon in 2025

The goals are to share results, to coordinate and inspire future work on data collection, data assimilation, metric development and impact assessment, and to discuss the research and operations partnership approach being developed in AR Recon.

The Workshop will bring together current participants and interested experts to share results of modeling, data assimilation and impact studies and to consider next steps for future field seasons. It will cover the following topics, using invited presentations as well as panel discussions:

  • Research and Operations Partnership (RAOP)
  • AR Recon Sampling Strategy: Essential atmospheric structures
  • AR Recon Sampling Strategy: Sensitivity tools
  • Data Assimilation and Impact Studies
  • AR Recon Vision: Sampling strategies 2022 and beyond


F. Martin Ralph (Workshop Co-Chair), Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UC San Diego/Scripps Institution of Oceanography (CW3E)

Vijay Tallapragada (Workshop Co-Chair), NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center (EMC)

Jim Doyle (Workshop Co-Chair), Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

Chris Davis, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Luca Delle Monache, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, UC San Diego (CW3E)

Florian Pappenberger, European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF)

Carolyn Reynolds, Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

Aneesh Subramanian, University of Colorado Boulder