Genesis of Atlantic Lows Experiment
Project DescriptionScience Objectives:
-Describing the airflow, mass and the moisture fields in East Coast
winter storms with special emphasis on mesoscale and air-sea interaction
processes contributing to cyclogenesis.
-Understanding the physical mechanisms controlling the formation and
rapid development of East Coast storms.
-Developing and testing numerical models for the prediction of East Coast
The Genesis of Atlantic Lows Experiment (GALE) was an extensive study
of the atmospheric processes involved in the development of winter storms
on the East Coast of the United States. GALE was originally initiated in
September 1982 by a group of university scientists representing Drexel
University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State
University, State University of New York and the University of Washington.
This project was mainly supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF),
Office of Naval Research (ONR), National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Other
contributors included the Army Research Office and the Corps of Engineers, Air
Force Office of Scientific Research, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and
the Department of Energy (DOE). Local support was supplied by the
Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and Army Reserve National Guard and by the
North Carolina State University Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric
Sciences. The field phase of GALE was conducted from 15 January through 15
March 1986. The GALE Operations Center was located at Raleigh-Durham Airport
with the main observing network deployed throughout Virginia, the Carolinas,
Georgia and the Atlantic coastal waters. The GALE project office is located at
the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado. The
experiment was designed to focus on three areas: the Inner, Regional and Outer
GALE areas. The Inner GALE area, 500 km wide, was centered on the coast and
extended 1000km from Virginia to Georgia. It examined for convection, boundary
layer fluxes and micro-physical processes. The Regional GALE area, which was
1000km wide from the Appalachian Ridge to 500km offshore and stretched 1500km
from Florida to New Jersey, was studied for cyclogenesis and frontogenesis. The
Outer GALE area extended from the Great Plains to east of the Regional area and
from New England to the Gulf of Mexico, with synoptic features of cyclones and
jet stream circulations being the main points of interest.
The GALE observing region covered the eastern half of the United
States in order to incorporate continental and marine effects. Data was
collected west of the Appalachians in order to evaluate the orographic
effect on modifying large-scale systems or establishing mesoscale systems.
Data was also collected near the coast and offshore where cyclogenesis
occurs; consequently this was the main area of interest. Rawinsonde
observations were supplied by the National Weather Service (NWS) and NCAR
along with dropwindsondes from NOAA measuring standard meteorological
parameters (temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction).
Meteorological satellites GOES-6, NOAA-9, NOAA-6, DMSP F-6, DMSP F-7
and NIMBUS-7 were available to provide radiance measurements. Surface
observations were taken from a special GALE ground-station network (PAM,
Portable Automated Mesonet), NOAA buoys and platforms, micro-met towers,
military stations, lightning detectors, current meters and tide gauges to
measure standard parameters along with rainfall, sea surface temperature (SST)
and sea-level height. Two research vessels, the Cape Hatteras and the
Endeavor, patrolled the waters off the North and South Carolina coasts
respectively, collecting surface and atmospheric sounding data as well as SST
and sub-surface data. NOAA, NASA and NCAR aircraft gathered measurements of
air motion, cloud physics, air chemistry and thermodynamics in the boundary
layer. The NWS provided a standard radar network while NASA, NOAA, NCAR, MIT
and the University of Washington supplied a doppler-radar network to measure
air motions and distribution of precipitation.
Drexel University is the central archive and distribution center for
GALE data. The GALE Data Center (GDC) is funded by the National Science
Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.
1. AIRCRAFT: NCAR (turbulence, flight level, cloud physics), NOAA (flight
level, doppler radar reflectivity, cloud physics, dropwindsonde,
turbulence), University of Washington (flight level), NASA (microwave
moisture sounding, lidar), MIT (flight level) and AIR FORCE (flight
level) data are available in digitized form. Microfilm of NCAR
parameter plots and video recordings of aircraft missions as well as
hardcopy logs of all aircraft missions are also available.
2. SOUNDING: Master sounding file containing 10mb interval data is
available in digitized form. Other products include the Regional
Analysis Forecast System (RAFS) (initalized and forecast model fields,
soundings, observed/model difference soundings and statistics),
National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) Upper Air Products (NWS, SRRS
soundings), NCAR CLASS soundings, Special Rawinsonde Data (Navy
and Canadian soundings), dropwindsonde and minisonde data are also
in digitized form. Skew-T diagrams for selected soundings,
constant pressure charts and RAFS difference file tables are available
3. RADAR: NCAR CP-3 and CP-4, MIT WR-73, NASA SPANDAR and University
of Washington TPQ-11 Doppler data as well as NWS data is available
in digitized format. NWS and NMC radar charts on microfilm, along
with color slides of NWS radar images and a hardcopy of the NWS
radar summary are also available.
4. SATELLITE: GOES-6 (VAS imagery, soundings, SST), NOAA-9 (TOVS and AVHRR
imagery, soundings and NMC SST), NOAA-6 (TOVS imagery), DMSP F-6,
F-7 (imagery and soundings) and NIMBUS-7 (TOMS) data are available
in digitized form. GOES-6 images are are also available on videotape
and hardcopy, along with SST Analyses, TOMS Data Atlas and NOAA
Polar Orbiter Data User Guide.
5. BOUNDARY LAYER: NWS, NCDC and PAM surface observation network, NWS
precipitation network, military observations, snowfall observations,
TVA wind energy, met-tower, lightning network and surface marine,
ship and buoy data are available in digitized form. NMC surface
analyses are on microfilm while ship, PAM, NWS snowfall and surface
marine data are on hardcopy.
6. OCEANGRAPHIC: Hydrographic data from R/V Endeavor and Cape Hatteras,
current temperature/pressure mooring data, bathythermograph and
coastal tide gauge data are available in digitized form. The CORE
preliminary data report is available on hardcopy.
*** The GALE Compact Disc containing Aircraft, Sounding, Satellite and
Surface data is available from the University of Washington. Access
software is also available for IBM PC computers and the DEC Microvax II.
For more information, contact:
University of Washigton
Atmospheric Sciences Dept. AK-40
Seattle, WA 98195
Project Archive Contact:
GALE Data Center
Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science
Philadelphia, PA 19104
OMNET > GALE.DAT
Project Director Contact:
Dr. Richard Dirks
GALE Project Office
National Center for Atmospheric Research
PO Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Dirks, R.A. J.P. Kuettner, and J.A. Moore, 1988: Genesis of Atlantic Lows
Experiment(GALE): An Overview. Bulletin of the American Meteorological
Society, 69, 148-160.
Hartnett, Ed, 1988: GALE Data Users Guide.