9.1 Evaluating the Role of the Mesoanalyst in Severe Weather Impacts-Based Decision Support Services: Part I—Science Focus

Wednesday, 15 January 2020: 10:30 AM
252A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Ariel E. Cohen, NWS, Miami, FL; and R. L. Thompson, M. Foster, K. L. Crandall, C. M. Gravelle, J. M. Laflin, and K. J. Runk

During 2019, the National Weather Service (NWS) Operations Proving Ground (OPG) conducted three week-long, proof-of-concept experiments focused on evaluating the potential for expert mesoanalysis to enhance impact-based decision support services (IDSS) at NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). NWS forecasters evaluated capabilities to convey precise, targeted IDSS associated with high-impact convective weather events by leveraging high-resolution satellite imagery and other meteorological observations, science-based conceptual models and cutting-edge numerical weather prediction datasets. The workshops were comprised of job-relevant simulations involving real weather events, supplemented by instruction from subject matter experts and facilitated group discussions. Real-time feedback from participating core partners was also incorporated, along with reflection and solution-oriented discussions on evolving NWS culture to embrace and infuse mesoanalysis for enhancing its services. This initiative represents a strong collaboration between the OPG, the Storm Prediction Center, WFOs across the NWS, and the NWS Office of Learning Officer.

This presentation will address the science-based components of the evaluations. Topics explored throughout each week were selected based on their potential value to improve a forecaster’s ability to anticipate convective hazards and communicate associated impacts to core partners. Examples include satellite interpretation, sounding and hodograph analysis, determining timing/location of convective initiation, assessing convective mode, and diagnosing inflow layer placement. Facilitators provided one-on-one and group instruction to participants, followed by interactive problem-solving exercises. Through displaced real-time simulations, participants were exposed to a diverse array of operational datasets in order to apply the principles of mesoscale meteorology to maximize the spatiotemporal precision and accuracy of corresponding hazardous weather information. The collection of these efforts is intended to provide NWS meteorologists with a physical-sciences foundation for performing detailed convective-threat assessment up to two or three hours prior to its occurrence. Once developed, these skills will serve to enhance IDSS capabilities by bridging the gap between convective outlook or watch, and warning, issuances. Moreover, these efforts are intended to facilitate improvements to science-based collaborations throughout the NWS – particularly between WFO forecasters and the SPC.

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