J20.8 Collaborative efforts by the atmospheric research and operations communities for improving a thunderstorm nowcasting system

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 5:15 PM
615-617 (Washington State Convention Center)
Amanda R. S. Anderson, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and R. D. Roberts, M. R. Volkmer, and D. W. Sharp
Manuscript (409.1 kB)

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is working with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Melbourne, Florida, to develop and improve warm season thunderstorm nowcasting capabilities using the AutoNowCaster (ANC) system. The ANC is an expert system that employs fuzzy logic to produce 1-hour nowcasts of convective initiation, growth, and decay. Prediction uses the forecaster-over-the-loop concept, where forecasters choose from several pre-configured convective regimes and enter convergence boundaries to enhance the performance of the otherwise automated system. In April 2010, the system was installed at the MLB Weather Forecast Office (WFO), which provides a unique opportunity to test the ANC in a subtropical environment.

Efforts to optimize the system for Florida began with dialogue between NCAR scientists and WFO MLB forecasters to identify the typical convective regimes for Florida, especially during the period between May and September. The primary purpose was to identify needed regimes not already in the ANC system. Initial emphasis was placed on integrating related research from past studies conducted by WFO MLB. Development of the warm season regimes has presented a challenge, as the timing and distribution of thunderstorms are predominately locally forced. WFO MLB provided lightning climatology maps based on 16 years of data (1989-2004) along with a list of predictors that their forecasters regularly use during operations. They are also providing feedback to NCAR as scientists work to tune the warm season ANC regime for Florida. As MLB and NCAR continue to work together in the development of these regimes, a gap between research and operations is being bridged to develop the best possible nowcast product for thunderstorm initiation, growth, and decay. This paper documents this research-to-operations collaboration process between NWS and NCAR in this endeavor.

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