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COMET hydrometeorological training: hydrology, QPF, QPE, drought, and verification

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Monday, 24 January 2011
COMET hydrometeorological training: hydrology, QPF, QPE, drought, and verification
Washington State Convention Center
Matthew Kelsch, UCAR/COMET, Boulder, CO; and W. Abshire

The COMET® Program at UCAR was established in 1989 and routinely develops training material in collaboration with the NOAA National Weather Service and the university community. Topics of the training include hydrologic analysis and forecasting, quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) and quantitative precipitation forecasting (QPF), drought, climate impacts on hydrology, and forecast verification. These topics are presented in the form of online courses and modules, and in both onsite and virtual classroom formats. The learning material is supported by numerous case studies that cover a wide range of spatial and temporal scales from large scale river flooding down to short-fused localized flash flooding. The distance learning materials are freely available to users worldwide on our MetEd website (www.meted.ucar.edu) courtesy of our sponsors, NOAA (NWS, NESDIS, NPOESS), the Department of Defense (Air Force Weather, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command), and the Meteorological Service of Canada. COMET has also received funding from National Environmental Education Foundation as well as NSF, DOT, BLM, the Australia Bureau of Meteorology, and EUMETSAT.

With the available training material, one can begin to get a more complete understanding the complex hydrometeorological process of the hydrologic cycle, including both flood and drought events. Starting with the precipitation, online training is offered in Quantitative Precipitation Estimation, or QPE, and some of the common tools used; rain gauges, radar, satellite, and precipitation climatology. Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF) and its verification is the topic of both online and virtual classroom activities. For periods that lack precipitation, online and virtual training covers the forecast and analysis of drought conditions.

COMET training material in hydrology covers the physical processes once precipitation occurs and there is a hydrologic response on the surface and in the stream channels. An online course in Basic Hydrologic Sciences covers runoff processes, streamflow routing, flood frequency analyses, and regional topics like snowmelt and river ice. Other online training modules address hydrologic ensemble forecasts, distributed hydrologic modeling, dam failures, and hydrologic forecast verification. Additional publications explore social science issues associated with flash floods, and a virtual field trip through a flash flood site.

The training is available in both English and Spanish and is suitable for professionals and students in the earth sciences. Some of the hydrology training is appropriate for the high school level, and the Watershed module was developed specifically for the broadcasting community. With the variety of training platforms in numerous hydrometeorological topics, COMET offers a comprehensive scientific examination of hydrology and hydrometeorology.

This paper was funded by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research under the cooperative agreement award #NA06NWS4670013 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies.