SPoRT Project is Expanding Coverage of Land Information System
A “new” version of the Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) project's Land Information System (LIS) model has been under development actually for several years now, and underwent initial testing and evaluation at the National Weather Service's Huntsville Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in spring 2015, followed by an evaluation by several WFOs and River Forecast Centers in summer 2015. The shows the differences in the domains. The new version of the SPoRT LIS encompasses the entire continental U.S. (CONUS) and surrounding areas of southern Canada and northern Mexico, albeit with some anticipated degradation especially in the border regions due to lack of consistent radar/precipitation coverage.
Not only does the CONUS version offer a geographic expansion over the previous version of the LIS, but new variables are a part of the new SPoRT LIS, including 0-200 cm relative soil moisture changes on several timescales (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, seasonal, semi-annual and annual) soil moisture percentiles and soil temperatures. The soil moisture percentiles and change values can be especially useful for the drought designation and analysis process, and have been used in this capacity at the Huntsville WFO since their inception. There are other applications for hydrology, fire weather and blowing dust. SPoRT is planning to explore more of these latter unique and interesting applications with several of SPoRT’s collaborative Western CONUS WFOs next spring and summer. The SPoRT LIS soil temperature data have shown promising application for impacts during winter weather events during evaluation of a few events in the previous winter, with more evaluation expected during the upcoming winter. In addition to the new variables, the new version of the SPoRT LIS is using the National Severe Storms Laboratory's Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor data for precipitation forcing in the near term and is also solely incorporating the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) green vegetation fraction over the legacy Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) green vegetation fraction.