Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Cecelia A. Miner, PhD


During the period Jun-Aug 96, four Air Force installations suffered over $4.8 million in damage from convective winds. During the same summer, Air Force Space Command units issued nearly 65% of their weather warnings for convective winds, making the forecasting of convective winds the most frequent challenge to forecasters. This thesis seeks to assist Air Force forecasters at Peterson Air Force Base (PAFB), Colorado, in forecasting airmass thunderstorm downdraft wind speeds using the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D). To accomplish this purpose, several existing potential downdraft wind speed prediction techniques were evaluated against the observed wind speeds of nineteen airmass thunderstorms. The nineteen airmass thunderstorms studied accounted for all airmass thunderstorms occurring within 10.5 run of PAFB from 1 Apr-30 Sep 96 and 1 Apr-30 Sep 97 and for which archived WSR-88D data was available. The results of the evaluations suggested the prediction techniques in operational use are not accurate m forecasting downdraft wind speeds at PAFB. Moreover, it was discovered during this research that the technique developed by the Air Force's Air Weather Service (AWS) to predict wind gust potential has no scientific basis and its use by Air Force forecasters should be discontinued. A statistical analysis of these prediction techniques using WSR- 88D data collected from the airmass thunderstorms provided no accurate means by which to statistically modily these techniques for application at PAFB. Finally, 112 regression models were developed and tested to identily a possible relationship between WSR-88D

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DTIC Accession Number



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