20+ Years of HWind: Where it Began and Where it's Going

Thursday, 21 April 2016: 1:30 PM
Ponce de Leon A (The Condado Hilton Plaza)
Mark Powell, Risk Management Solutions, Tallahassee, FL

HWind is the Hurricane Real-time Analysis System: a graphical, interactive interface between a trained tropical cyclone analyst, and an object-relational database. HWind was an outgrowth of hurricane landfall studies conducted by the author while working at the National Hurricane Research Laboratory (later the Hurricane Research Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories). The early studies used a storm-centered time-to-space compositing method, something similar to plots that Isaac Cline had actually developed back in the 1920s, to plot surface data for streamline and isotach analysis. Hand drawn maps eventually transformed to objective analysis fields based on Vic Ooyama's scale-controlled methods in the early 1990s. In 1992 we used UNIX-based NeXT workstations to develop a real-time analysis system, with scripts bringing in various text data files as flat files, which could be evaluated visually with a QC tool. The first realtime analysis was conducted in Emily of 1993, with wind field products generated in Display PostScript using NCAR graphics. In the late 1990s, HWind was transformed from a NeXT application to JAVA, and from an Oracle database to PostGres, with graphics generated using IDL. Although HWind was a cutting edge system and won awards from NOAA's Tech conferences, it could not find a foothold in operations. The HWind products, which were available online, became popular for many other applications, including the insurance industry, emergency management, remote sensing, and scientific research. By 2013, it was clear that NOAA-HRD was focusing more on data assimilation in support of HWRF, so less support was available to maintain the HWind project. Rather than see it decline, I worked with NOAA's Technology Partnership Office to commercialize HWind, leaving NOAA in 2014 to focus on a startup, HWind Scientific (HWS). HWind.co hosts the legacy NOAA H*Wind data, which continue to be publicly available for years prior to 2014. In October of 2015, HWS was acquired by Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a global catastrophe modeling company. RMS sees value in providing HWind product access to the academic scientific research community. Published research is a benefit to a variety of fields and helps establish scientific credibility. We are evaluating access models now and will announce an academic research licensing policy in our conference presentation.
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