7B.2 Research to Operations in the Hazardous Weather Testbed: The Long View

Tuesday, 30 June 2015: 1:45 PM
Salon A-5 (Hilton Chicago)
John S. Kain, NOAA/NSSL, Norman, OK; and S. J. Weiss, I. L. Jirak, A. J. Clark, and M. C. Coniglio

The NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) brings together NOAA/OAR research scientists and NOAA/NWS operational forecasters to facilitate the transfer of emerging science and technology into operations while informing the research community about specific needs and capabilities in operational forecasting. Thus, the HWT is a center for both research-to-operations (R2O) and operations-to-research (O2R) migrations of knowledge and technology.

In association with the HWT, O2R and R2O often occur as an iterative process, particularly within the Experimental Forecasting Program, which is managed by scientists and forecasters from the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). For example, ideas for new scientific initiatives often emerge from joint development activities between NSSL and SPC. Subsequent incremental research progress by NSSL and SPC scientists is typically vetted for operational relevance by SPC forecasters at multiple stages of development. During this vetting process, some elements of emerging conceptual models and new technologies are inevitably adopted as practical forecasting tools by the forecasters who examine them, while other facets are returned for further development, often to optimize their operational relevance. This process is quite different from the traditional paradigm for R2O in which research and development occur largely in isolation from end users and the actual transfer to operations is commonly envisioned to occur via a third party.

In this presentation, it will be argued that the iterative R2O-O2R process that occurs in association with the HWT is more effective than the traditional paradigm, although success stories are more difficult to document because the iterative process typically results in a rather gradual migration over a long period of time rather than a single large R2O transfer. The iterative process will be exemplified by focusing on the knowledge and technology that have been transferred to National Weather Service operations over the past decade through collaborative activities between NSSL and SPC. Specifically, the presentation will focus on the development, testing, and operational implementation of science and technology related to convection-allowing NWP models and their use as guidance tools for predicting severe convective weather, including development and testing of model physics and dynamics, development of diagnostic algorithms for severe convective storms, and implementation of high-resolution, real-time NWP systems in support of SPC operations.

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