This paper describes the capabilities and operational utility of a version of the Mesoscale Atmospheric Simulation System (MASS) that has been developed to support operational weather forecasting at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS). The implementation of local, mesoscale modeling systems at KSC/CCAS is designed to provide detailed short-range (< 24 h) forecasts of winds, clouds, and hazardous weather such as thunderstorms. Short-range forecasting is a challenge for daily operations, and manned and unmanned launches since KSC/CCAS is located in central Florida where the weather during the warm season is dominated by mesoscale circulations like the sea breeze.For this application, MASS has been modified to run on a Stardent 3000 workstation. Workstation-based, real-time numerical modeling requires a compromise between the requirement to run the system fast enough so that the output can be used before expiration balanced against the desire to improve the simulations by increasing resolution and using more detailed physical parameterizations. It is now feasible to run high-resolution mesoscale models such as MASS on local workstations to provide timely forecasts at a fraction of the cost required to run these models on mainframe supercomputers.MASS has been running in the Applied Meteorology Unit (AMU) at KSC/CCAS since January 1994 for the purpose of system evaluation. In March 1995, the AMU began sending real-time MASS output to the forecasters and meteorologists at CCAS, Spaceflight Meteorology Group (Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas), and the National Weather Service (Melbourne, Florida). However, MASS is not yet an operational system. The final decision whether to transition MASS for operational use will depend on a combination of forecaster feedback, the AMU's final evaluation results, and the life-cycle costs of the operational system.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Apr 5, 1996
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