Sea Fog Forecasting with Lagrangian Models

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:45 PM
John Maurice Lewis, National Severe Storms Lab, Desert Research Inst,, Reno, NV, United States
In 1913, G. I. Taylor introduced us to a Lagrangian view of sea fog formation. He conducted his study off the coast of Newfoundland in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster. We briefly review Taylor’s classic work and then apply these same principles to a case of sea fog formation and dissipation off the coast of California. The resources used in this study consist of: 1) land-based surface and upper-air observations, 2) NDBC (National Data Buoy Center) observations from moored buoys equipped to measure dew point temperature as well as the standard surface observations at sea (wind, sea surface temperature, pressure, and air temperature), 3) satellite observations of cloud, and 4) a one-dimensional (vertically directed) boundary layer model that tracks with the surface air motion and makes use of sophisticated turbulence-radiation parameterizations. Results of the investigation indicate that delicate interplay and interaction between the radiation and turbulence processes makes accurate forecasts of sea fog onset unlikely in the near future. This pessimistic attitude stems from inadequacy of the existing network of observations and uncertainties in modeling dynamical processes within the boundary layer.