Three-Dimensional Visualization for Support of Operational Forecasting at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games

        To support precision forecasting at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, a parallelized version of the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) was installed on a 30-node distributed memory supercomputer (IBM RS/6000 SP) at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, GA (Zaphiris, Edwards and Snook [1997]; Snook, Christidis and Edwards [1997]; and Edwards, Snook and Christidis [1997]). As an aid in the presentation and analysis of weather simulations at different resolutions (e.g., 8 km over the full domain and 2 km over specific Olympic venues) from this system, interactive three-dimensional visualization methods were introduced. This new capability of producing high-resolution, model data required a change in how operational meterologists utilized the results so that they might quickly assess whatever data were necessary for the forecast formulation, and still keep the media informed about potential effects of the weather on Olympics events. Since large volumes of complex data for each RAMS run are quickly produced, the use of traditional graphical representations of data for forecasters can be burdensome. Instead of static of simple flip-book animations of two-dimensional techniques like contour maps (as shown in Figure 1), novel three-dimensional visualization strategies were employed. These capabilities were implemented with a general-purpose, portable, data-analysis and visualization toolkit (IBM Visualization Data Explorer, Abram and Treinish [1995]).

By: Lloyd A. Treinish and Lans P. Rothfusz (National Weather Service Forecast Office)

Published in: RC20585 in 1996

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