92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 4:45 PM
A Realtime, High-Resolution Forecast Model for Research and Operations
Room 356 (New Orleans Convention Center )
John S. Kain, NOAA/NSSL, Norman, OK; and S. R. Dembek, R. M. Rabin, S. J. Weiss, and P. T. Marsh

In collaboration with the NOAA/NCEP/Storm Prediction Center (SPC), the NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) has been making daily, realtime numerical weather prediction forecasts almost continuously since the late 90s. Generation and dissemination of these forecasts requires considerable effort and resources, but the payoff is significant because the realtime forecasts provide a focal point for interactions between NSSL scientists and the operational-forecasting and the model-development communities.

The collaborative relationship between NSSL researchers and SPC forecasters is a key ingredient in this effort. Direct collaboration with forecasters provides a unique feedback mechanism in which end-users (forecasters) can influence the development of operational forecast models. Furthermore, collaborations with the forecast community have led to new data-mining techniques and strategies that identify and characterize explicit convective phenomena in model output fields. This effort is revolutionizing the way that operational forecasters are using model guidance. In particular, they are looking to the models for guidance on the prediction of explicit convective phenomena such as supercells, instead of simply relying on the models to predict the environmental fields that might support the phenomena of interest. This paradigm shift has critically important implications for the Warn on Forecast initiative, where explicit prediction of specific convective features will be paramount.

Although the realtime forecasts are deterministic, they are being used to develop robust methods for probabilistic prediction that can be applied in ensemble systems. In fact, our current NSSL-WRF realtime forecast system has become the primary “alpha” development and testing framework for many of the “beta” development algorithms that are examined each year in the Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiment, including tools for probabilistic forecasts of severe weather based on high resolution ensemble system forecasting systems.

In addition, we have embarked on collaborative activities with other groups, such as the GOES-R Proving Ground and satellite development teams at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), who are developing groundbreaking visualization tools such as simulated satellite imagery from our realtime model output. For example, the imagery is being used to determine local statistics between cloud-top properties and precipitation for use in satellite based QPE algorithms to be applied to GOES-R observations. Finally, the NSSL-WRF is being used as a primary testing ground for new convective initiation (CI) studies, including a major demo project that was part of the HWT-EFP 2011 Spring Experiment.

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