AquariusRadar Gulf of Mexico Operation
Hydrology tool for Water Managers
Hydrology Concept
Test Proposal for Georgia and Florida Low pressure storms that approach the far Southeast region of central Georgia suffer a reduction in intensity as the storm tracks north around the Bermuda high. The traditional name "Bermuda high" should be renamed the "Savannah high", as the high pressure now sets closer onshore to the Atlantic coast. It has done so for several decades, creating drought conditions for Georgia and the Carolinas. Global warming has weakened Polar Highs and strengthened the "Horse Latitude" Highs, forcing temperate low pressure cyclones on a far Northern track. Far from the Atlantic shore, the Gulf provides energy in the form of abundant water vapor for the storm's continued maintenance. Frequently, good bands of rain cells are strung out for hundreds of miles along the cold front that trails southwest over the Gulf. As the storm approaches from the Northwest towards the Alabama/Georgia border, the air becomes increasingly stable as the principal source is the air of the Savannah high, barren of any moisture. The dominant high pressure, incapable of lifting moisture to altitude, "pinches off " the flow of Gulf moisture. Hence, the stable air of the high pressure and the storm's weakened intensity resulting from the storm's northerly track, are unable to produce adequate rainfall. This situation is aggravated by the negative mode of a powerful radar operating in NW Florida that produces a rain shadow for downwind areas. The Georgia Test Proposal page outlines how this negative mode may be easily mitigated. AquariusRadar, operating in a positive mode, can provide more moisture at higher altitude for the storm system. By operating from ships at sea, the AquariusRadar can limit rainfall at sea and deliver more moisture to North Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. NOAA/NWS
Ideal Candidate Radar Exactly how could this be achieved? Given a frontal system which is predicted to pass through Georgia as a "dry" front, and by operating the Aquariusradar upon developing storm cells in the Gulf, moisture is held aloft. All rain cells go through a life cycle of early developement, completely developed, maturity, and old age or dissipation. Normally the storm life cycle is such that most of the rain falls during full developement and maturity. The cold downrush of rain and air eventually stop any further developement. The cell quickly stops raining. With the microwave heating, the storm cell never reaches full maturity. Moisture is held aloft as competing rain cells take up the added available moisture. In turn, AquariusRadar targets the competing cells to prevent them from reaching full maturity. The microwave heating slows the growth of all rain cells within it's range, except embryonic cells which are not targeted, but does not stop growth completely. The combined result is an area of higher moisture contend than the same area if the initial rain cell were allowed to complete it's life cycle in the normal way and rain several hundred acre feet of water upon the Gulf surface. This added atmospheric moisture, either as water vapor or water droplets at high altitude, acts as a packet of moisture that moves along the frontal boundry. When this packet of moisture, embedded along the line of the cold front, encounters sufficient instability, rain is produced. Because North Florida and SW Georgia suffer drought at the same time, both could get additional rainfall In the presence of adequate instability. The chance for Georgia is higher because Georgia is closer to the temperate cyclone instability. The shipboard AquariusRadar tracks northeast along the edge of the front and allows the storm system to transport more moisture along the frontal boundry. The moisture that squeezes through the pinch point spirals into the storm center and will act to fuel the low pressure system and maintain it's intensity. The added rain improves the overall river flow in the Chatahoochee/Flint/Appalachicola system and can help alleviate the tri-state water war between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
Hail Suppression A hypothetical front may approach from the Northwest at 14Kts and individual cells along the trailing cold front are traveling to the Northeast at 23 Kts. The center of the cyclone has just passed north of Nashville and is declining in intensity as stable and drier air from the Savannah high is drawn in to the storm center. Ohio and the Tennessee Valley receives adequate moisture from such a system but the far Southeast will be denied rainfall because of the choking of the fuel supply, even though the trailing cold front extends well passed Appalachicola, Fl. Some rain shadow effect is created by the Appalachia Mountains. At this point in the scenerio, the shipborne AquariusRadar(s) begin operating on developing rain cells as their growth approaches maturity along the front. The ship is located 230 miles Southwest of Pascacoula. With two AquariusRadars on deck, about 4 rain cells per hour are "tempered" and the rainfall from each is reduced by 15% on average. The ship tracks the front on a ENE bearing at 10 Kts for 24 hours and arrives at the coastline near Steinhatchee, Fl. where the operation ends. Twenty four hours after tempering by the AquariusRadar, the moisture "packet" associated with each tempered cell arrives in Southwest Georgia. Daytime heating through the clear skies in advance of the front and the feeble cold front lifting initiates rain clouds and the intense moisture packet provides the energy for continued growth to produce rain. During the early morning hours, some additional moisture may fall in Western Florida and Southern Alabama associated with normal cold front lifting. The principal target area is the Chattahoochee drainage basin. Some portion of moisture may squeeze through the pinch point and feed the storm center and maintain the cyclone intensity. Altogether, the equivalant of 4 X 30 X 15% = 18 storms of equal magnitude as those initially targeted by AquariusRadar at sea are added to the rainfall total upon the land. Assuming that the initial storms at sea were of small to medium size, providing about 500 acre feet each, then the total captured by AquariusRadar operation would equal 9000 acre feet. While small by water management gauges, if such a rate could be maintained for 20 or more storm systems per year, then the total would equate to 180,000 acre feet annually. Consider a cost of $4 million each year for the ships operation, then water cost would be a little more than $20 per acre/foot. While high by some standards, this price represents a bargain during drought years. The long term drought has impacted the oyster harvest of Apalachicola Bay. The low water flow of the river is unable to deliver enough nutrients under these saltier conditions and unable to dilute the herbicides and other pollutants from urban lawns and cotton fields. The herbicide residues kill the green algae so necessary for oyster growth. The climate of Georgia has changed to become drier. Not only the rainfall records and re-occurring drought, but also the condition of the Chattahoochie River System indicate a dramatic shift in the river's drainage basin climate. Prior to the 20th century, steamboat traffic moved up and down the river unimpeded between Apalachicola and Columbus with shallow packet boats with cargo and passengers moving over the falls all the way up to Atlanta. With oceangoing steamboat transport and a robust cotton textile industry, Columbus and Atlanta were the hub of King Cotton. Old time residents characterize the Chattahoochee as a trickle of it's former self. Today, occasional shallow barge traffic is maintained by extensive and costly dredging. But the river carrying capacity is still present as witnessed by the ease with which the recent "100 year" flood in the western suburbs of Atlanta was swallowed by the river. Below the Flint River entry and the dams at Eaufula and Seminole, the Apalachicola flood plain broadens and just below Blounstown and Fort Gasden, the natural flood levees were barely crested and the streams and sloughs feeding wetlands saw little back flow. "Tates Hell" and neighboring swamps can absorb millions of acre feet of water. Most flood gauges reached minimum flood and soon retreated. Below the swamps and nearer the coastline, the barely perceptible rise in the river was lost in the to and fro of the tides at Apalachicola.
Southern California Operations
Frequent Questions The big DoD radar in NW Florida creates a rain shadow that accentuates the periodic drought of SW Georgia. See the rain shadow map here