8.1 An Overview of NOAA’s Improving Forecast and Assimilation (IFAA) Portfolio for Supplemental Appropriations.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020: 3:00 PM
153C (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Segayle Thompson, Cherokee Nation, Silver Spring, MD; and N. Lett and T. L. Battle

An Overview of NOAA’s Improving Forecast and Assimilation (IFAA) Portfolio for Supplemental Appropriations.

Authors: Segayle Thompson1, Nysheema Lett2, Tamara Battle1

The 2017 hurricane season was devastating to the United States. In particular, the impacts from hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria were significant to life, property, infrastructure and fisheries. As a result of these impacts, congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 on February 9, 2018. This Bill appropriated funds to NOAA for four portfolio areas:

  1. Repair and Replace - to allow construction and repair infrastructure that was damaged during the storms
  2. Marine Debris - to remove the debris caused by the storms
  3. Fisheries - to restore fisheries impacted as a result of the storms
  4. Improving Forecasting and Assimilation (IFAA)- to accelerate the planned research on hurricane forecasting, track, and intensity

This paper will discuss the four focus areas of the IFAA portfolio:

  • Accelerate Improvements in Weather Forecasting
  • Accelerate Improvements in Flood Forecasting and Mitigation
  • Accelerate Improvements in Hurricane Intensity Forecasting
  • Accelerate Data Assimilation from Observations to Improve Forecasting

The improving weather forecasting focus area funded eight projects to accelerate development of the Unified Forecast System (UFS) including model physics, infrastructure, convective allowing modeling and improvements to the communication of forecasts to the general public. The accelerating flood forecasting and mitigation focus area funded five projects to develop coupled models and better observations for impact of inland flooding due to storm surge and heavy precipitation. The accelerating hurricane forecasting focus area funded seven research and development projects that addresses rapid intensification, builds the next generation hurricane model, extend storm surge model prediction out to 72 hours, and improve hurricane products for the public. Finally, the accelerating improvements in data assimilation focus area funded seven projects which utilizes data from ocean observing platform to improve the model initialization for severe weather including hurricanes and flooding conditions. These research efforts were largely built on NOAA’s established Hurricane Forecasting Improvement Project and aims to accelerate by 2-3 years hurricane forecast, track and intensity.

The programmatic for the IFAA portfolio was managed by a three-tiered, cross line office team that consisted of members from Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), National Weather Service (NWS), National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), National Ocean Service (NOS), and the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO). The executive and program management teams consist of the directors and program managers respectively, from three offices participating in the IFAA Research: OAR/Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ), NWS/Office of Science and Technology Integration (OSTI), and NESDIS/Satellite Application and Research (STAR). These two teams worked with the support team to track the obligation and execution of funds and the status of the 27 projects that are building a weather-ready.

1 Cherokee Nations Strategic Plans, Silver Spring, MD

2 Science and Technology Corporation, Silver Spring, MD

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