Multi-year examination of dense fog at Burlington International Airport
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Multi-year examination of dense fog at Burlington International Airport
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    "An examination of the occurrence of dense fog at Burlington International Airport (KBTV) is performed in an effort to understand the synoptic signals that favorits formation, and to improve aviation forecasts of low instrument flight rule conditions at the site. Hourly weather data at KBTV from January 1979 through December 2003 (24 years) is used to identify all dense fog events (surface visibility less than 1/2 statute mile ). Each event is then classified by type, reflecting the mechanism responsible for its formation. Six fog types are identified, with data indicating that 94% of all events may be categorized as radiation fog, precipitation induced fog, or fog resulting from lowering cloud bases. From this, frequency distribution and wind rose plots are constructed, showing distinct time periods within each year in which the three dominant fog types are favored. For precipitation induced fog and fog occurring from the lowering of cloud bases, clear directional wind trends from the northwest are observed. For radiation fog events directional wind trends are noted from the northeast. Further, analysis of mean sea level pressure (mslp) across the eastern United States is performed at the time of onset for each dominant fog event using National Weather Service, North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data. Several synoptic patterns are identified that favor each type, including 1) a mean anticyclone center to the north or west during radiation fog events, 2) the approach of a warm front, the passage of a cold or occluded front, and 3) the track of a surface cyclone south and east of KBTV. Finally, antecedent precipitation data for KBTV is analyzed before each radiation fog event to ascertain whether moist ground conditions played a supportive role in its formation. The results are encouraging, indicating 58% of events are preceded by precipitation within 24 hours. Using these results, it is argued that proper identification of the synoptic signals favorable to the formation of the three dominant fog types will aid the operational forecaster in identifying the potential for dense fog at Burlington International Airport, and thereby improve short term aviation forecasts at this site"--Abstract.
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