3.4 The Experimental Warning Program's 2011 and 2012 Spring Experiments at the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed

Monday, 5 November 2012: 2:15 PM
Symphony I and II (Loews Vanderbilt Hotel)
Gregory J. Stumpf, CIMMS/Univ. of Oklahoma and NOAA/NWS/MDL, Norman, OK; and T. M. Smith, A. Anderson, D. L. Andra Jr., K. M. Kuhlman, J. Gao, G. S. Garfield, D. M. Kingfield, E. Mahoney, C. D. Payne, and C. W. Siewert
Manuscript (1.0 MB)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hazardous Weather Testbed's (HWT) Experimental Warning Program's (EWP) purpose is to integrate National Weather Service (NWS) operational meteorologists, and National Severe Storms Laboratory researchers to test new science, technologies, products, and services designed to improve short-term (0-2 hour) warnings and nowcasts of severe convective weather threats wherever they occur in the U.S. and worldwide. The EWP has been conducting these Spring Experiments at the National Weather Center in Norman, OK. The 2011 and 2012 experiments (EWP2011 and EWP2012) were the fifth and sixth years for EWP pseudo-operational (real-time) activities in the testbed. EWP2011 and EWP2012 were conducted over four- and five-week periods, respectively, in May and June to capitalize on climatological peak of severe weather for the U.S.

EWP2011 and EWP2012 were designed to test and evaluate new applications, techniques, and products to support Weather Forecast Office (WFO) and Center Weather Service Units (CWSU) severe convective weather nowcast and warning operations. There were three primary projects geared toward warning applications this spring, 1) evaluation of 3-dimensional variational (3DVAR) multi-radar real-time data assimilation fields being developed for the Warn-On-Forecast initiative, 2) evaluation of multiple Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R Series (GOES-R) convective applications, including pseudo-geostationary lightning mapper products when operations are expected within the Lightning Mapping Array domains (OK-TX, AL, DC, FL), and 3) evaluation of performance and forecast utility of the OUN Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model when operations are expected in the Southern Plains.

Several dozen NWS forecasters from WFOs and CWSUs, as well as some non-NWS and foreign operational meteorologists, participated in the experiments, along with personnel from the NWS Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB), several universities, and other federal and academic agencies. Operational activities took place during the week Monday through Thursday, with an end-of-week summary debriefing taking place on Friday. Feedback was obtained from the forecasters during operations through the use of live blogging, online surveys, and post-event discussions.

Feedback from visiting forecasters during EWP2011 was used to help refine the products tested in EWP2012. In addition, for EWP2012, we added an extra training shift that was taken at the forecaster's office prior to their arrival to Norman. With the goal of facilitating research to operations within NOAA, the HWT meteorologists added an end-of-week national “Tales from the Testbed” Webinar hosted by the WDTB. And 2012 was the first year of operations in the HWT using the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System – 2 (AWIPS2).

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