1.3 NWS Operations Proving Ground: Evaluating and Validating Forecasting Science and Decision Support Services

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 9:00 AM
Ballroom E (Austin Convention Center)
Kim Runk, NOAA, Kansas City, MO; and C. M. Gravelle

The National Weather Service (NWS) is developing an Operations Proving Ground (OPG) in Kansas City, MO to serve as a framework for advancing two important components of the Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) initiative: building capacity for superior impact-based decision support services (IDSS), and transitioning new science into operations.

As an example of the service-enhancement role, the OPG will host in-residence simulation training for senior Emergency Response Specialists. These personnel will complete specialized qualification for rapid deployment to provide on-scene decision support at disaster locations. In this context, NWS forecasters will work alongside emergency management partners, honing risk communication skills in a realistic incident simulation environment to gain valuable experience that will enable seasoned, effective IDSS, and seamless integration into an Incident Command System (ICS) structure. The value of these simulation exercises will be enhanced through active participation by core partners such as state and local emergency management officials, FEMA Region VII, and others, certified in National Incident Management System (NIMS) emergency support functions.

The OPG will also facilitate the testing of advancements in science, new forecast algorithms, and emerging technologies for operational implementation. Applications considered for evaluation will be required to demonstrate substantive improvement to the warning and forecast process, collaborative decision making, risk communication, and/or provision of impact-based decision support services; while not adversely impacting workload, or existing systems and practices. This presentation will provide an overview of the OPG vision, concept of operations, staffing, hardware and facilities, and ongoing and future service enhancement initiatives.

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