Regional   Atmospheric   Soaring   Prediction
BLIPMAP FORECASTS
For Sierra Nevada mountain range, CA, USA
Using a locally-run WRF model with 4.0km/1.3km horizontal resolution and 52 vertical levels
BLIPMAP = Boundary Layer Information Prediction MAP.  
Created by Dr. John W. (Jack) Glendening, Meteorologist 
Configured and maintained by Dmitry Chichkov, NCSA, Byron, CA. 


printable current day wall poster; XCSoar Weather Datafile;
Next day (+1) and (+2) 3km forecasts (available at ~9:30AM PST).
Nov, 19, 2016, the service will be down until Apr 15, 2017 for the winter season. Please mail suggestions to dchichkov at g mail.

Last update was at:  Please check the forecast dates at the top of each plot for currency ! 

Next day 1300/1600 PST 3km and 750m forecasts are available around 8:30PM PST; Morning updates are available around 8:30AM PST;
Forecasts result from model initializations with 0Z (and 12Z moring update) data.

PARAMETER   LATEST FORECASTS       PREVIOUS FORECASTS
[descriptions] 4km 4km 4km   1.4km 1.4km       4km 4km 4km   1.4km 1.4km
Thermal Parameters:
Thermal Updraft Velocity & B/S Ratio 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Thermal Updraft Velocity  (W*) 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Buoyancy/Shear Ratio 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Height of Critical Updraft Strength  (Hcrit) 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Depth of Critical Updraft Strength  (AGL Hcrit) 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
BL Top 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
BL Depth 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Thermal Height Uncertainty 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Sfc. Heating 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Normalized Sfc. Sun 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Sfc. Temperature 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Wind Parameters:
Sfc. Wind 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
BL Avg. Wind 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Wind at BL Top 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
BL Wind Shear 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
BL Max. Up/Down (Convergence) 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Cloud Parameters:
Cu Potential 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Cu Cloudbase (Sfc.LCL) [MSL] 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Cu Cloudbase where CuPotential>0 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
OD Potential 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
OD Cloudbase (BLcl) [MSL] 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
OD Cloudbase where ODPotential>0 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
BL Explicitly-predicted CloudWater 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
BL Cloud Cover 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Sfc. Dew Point Temperature 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
CAPE 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Wave/Upper-Level Parameters:
Vertical Velocity at 850mb 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Vertical Velocity at 700mb 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Vertical Velocity at 500mb 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Vert.Velocity Slice at Vert.Vel.Max 1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Soundings:
SIERRA
(Sounding 1)
1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Discovery Bay
(Sounding 2)
1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
---
(Sounding 3)
1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Mt.Peak Wind-Parallel Cross-Sections (NOT IMPLEMENTED!):
Gabilan Mts.
1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Three Sisters
1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Mt. Hamilton
1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
Loma Prieta
1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
      1000 PST
1300 PST
1600 PST
  1300 PST
Loop
 
Model Topography (note - inner frame borders might be wrong) 12km 4km 1.4km
Identified Locations
Not yet implemented



User comments and discussion can be viewed and/or posted on the  RASP Forum:
Or if you have comments specific to this site use: dchichkov at gmail.

INFORMATION  

Links to Further Information:
Parameter descriptions  
BASIC thermal forecast parameters  - a short and simple list of the parameters most important for thermal soaring
July 2002 SOARING magazine BLIPMAP article - a descriptive "first thing to read" for potential BLIPMAP users, giving an overview of BLIPMAP predictions
Additional information but intended for users of traditional RUC and ETA BLIPMAPs, not these RASP BLIPMAPs, so allowances must be made

Overview  
      These forecasts are intended to help the meteorology-minded pilot better evaluate soaring conditions.  The maps are particulalry useful to cross-country soaring pilots, since they allow evaluation of conditions away from the home field.  Utilizing the forecasts can require some self-education (though that can't be too hard since over 2000 US pilots actively use BLIPMAPs in the US) as individualized assistance is not provided.  At first glance the website can seem intimidating since so many parameters are forecast - but most are "supplemental" forecasts to be used as needed and many users normally look only at the three or four they have found to be most useful, such as the expected lift strength or the maximum (dry) thermalling height or cloud potential/height forecasts, looking at additional parameters only under special conditions. 

How are RASP forecasts produced ?  
      RUC and ETA BLIPMAP forecasts are obtained by post-processing forecast files output from NCEP prognostic models, so horizontal and vertical resolutions are determined by those used in those models.  But here I am running a prognostic model myself, so am able to specify the vertical/horizontal grid (though of course subject to limits of practicality).  A WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) model is being initialized and marched forward in time at 30 second time intervals to produce forecasts at 3 hr increments.  Initial and boundary conditions come from the larger-scale models run by NCEP.  To increase accuracy, forecasts are produced for both a larger-domain coarse grid (12 km) and a smaller-domain fine grid (3 km) nested inside it, but only results for the latter are displayed.  To produce a 1300 PST 1km forecast, after the preceding forecasts are complete, the model is re-initialized from the 1000 PST 4km forecasts and a 4km/1.4km nested-grid forecast run for 3 hours.

Notes and Caveats: 
()  One is not supposed to believe all the details of these forecasts, particularly since the small-scale structure is constantly changing yet one a few snapshots at different times are shown.  Rather, one should be looking for patterns. 
()  Forecasts for points close to the boundary will be less accurate than for those located nearer the center of the domain, due to inevitable mis-matchings between the coarse and fine grids.  In particular, predictions of max/min BL vertical velocity are very noisy and inaccurate near the boundary (particularly where boundary condition problems exist).  To remind users of this, a dotted line marks the "frame" outside of which coarse-fine boundary interaction problems are most prevalent.