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The first steps at providing impact based decision support services (IDSS) in Alaska

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Monday, 24 January 2011: 11:30 AM
The first steps at providing impact based decision support services (IDSS) in Alaska
613/614 (Washington State Convention Center)
Don Moore, NOAA/NWS, Anchorage, AK; and C. Scott, J. Osiensky, G. Hufford, G. Petrescu, and A. Fish

Like much of the National Weather Service (NWS), NWS Alaska Region (AR) is working to provide enhanced impact based decision support services (IDSS). However, defining exactly what IDSS means is not an easy task; and, the meaning of IDSS will likely evolve over time. As a starting point, the NWS AR has advanced the following question to provide context, and assist in an IDSS definition: “What decisions are, or are not being made that could be made better with the right information and packaged in a way that makes sense?” The authors are quick to point out and emphasize that this concept is independent of the severity of the impact. In other words, “What does IDSS mean for a fishing vessel in Prince William Sound or to the large array of users responding to a major volcanic eruption near Anchorage."

One of the first steps the NWS AR needs to complete, in order to define and refine our services, is user requirements. Undoubtedly each NWS Region will have unique users and challenges to provide IDSS. Among some of the challenges facing NWS AR is the diversity in infrastructure. There are large population centers in Alaska with high speed internet, exceptional cell phone coverage, NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, etc.; however, there are large sections of the state devoid of these services that are commonplace in the continental US. The remote and dangerous, marine environment around Alaska that supports a large fishing and shipping industry also presents an IDSS dissemination challenge. The NWS AR will need to need identify creative ways to work with partners and customers to develop IDSS delivery methods that are affordable.

This presentation will discuss the concept of IDSS in Alaska Region, and how we believe services may evolve and improve over the coming years. This includes the integration of NWS with other NOAA services. This discussion will also cover the dissemination challenges in Alaska. Finally, a specific example showcasing a unique type of service prototyped in NWS AR in 2010, in coordination with NOAA partners, University of Alaska, and the Eskimo Walrus Commission, will be provided.