32nd Conference on Broadcast Meteorology/31st Conference on Radar Meteorology/Fifth Conference on Coastal Atmospheric and Oceanic Prediction and Processes

Friday, 8 August 2003: 11:30 AM
The “Digital” NWS and Broadcast Meteorologists. . . Challenges and Opportunities
Robert T. Ryan, WRC-TV, Washington, DC
The recent national implementation of new digital forecasting and forecast product systems (Interactive Forecast Preparation System (IFPS) and the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD)) by the National Weather Service are an entirely new way of generating and presenting weather forecasts and forecast products. These new digital systems along with digitally based forecasts and warning systems such as WarnGen are significantly changing the way the NWS generates forecasts and weather warnings. Additionally with the termination of the NIDS agreements, NWS offices offer real time radar data along with expanding services on local and national NWS homepages. The growth of NWS weather data, forecasts and forecast products creates overlaps with existing private sector products and may be viewed as increasing competition by weathercasters. A recent NRC study has reaffirmed the NWS responsibilities and also the freedom to expand into new media like the Internet. While some may view the expansion of products and digital forecast systems as competition and conflict with the historical NWS/broadcast meteorology “partnership”, the new systems offer more opportunity than challenge. A discussion and examples of the opportunities will illustrate that broadcasters should view the new digital systems as opportunities to expand their service and communication abilities rather than as competition.

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