5.2 NOAA Testbeds and Proving Grounds: Facilitating more effective transitions between Research and Applications/Operations

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 11:15 AM
Ballroom A (Austin Convention Center)
Paula M. Davidson, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and K. Kelleher and J. E. Gaynor

NOAA's testbeds and proving grounds are an important link between research advances and applications, especially NOAA operations. Some are long-recognized, as in the case of the Joint Hurricane Testbed in Miami FL, or the Severe Weather Testbed in Norman, OK, while others have recently been chartered. Recently, NOAA has developed systematic guidelines for the function, execution, and governance of NOAA testbeds and proving grounds, and instituted formal coordination among them to better leverage progress across the spectrum of testing. The coordination committee has focused new attention on these facilities, hosted a workshop that emphasized collaborative testing, and fostered development of charters and practices consistent with competitive, transparent testing and increased communication of testing results. The workshop's integrating science theme of “Intense Precipitation” featured testing across NOAA aimed at improving quantitative precipitation estimation and forecasting. A diverse set of integrating science themes were proposed for subsequent workshops. To date, 11 facilities NOAA testbeds and proving grounds are recognized as consistent with these guidelines. Their charters and additional information on NOAA testbeds and proving ground is posted at www.testbeds.noaa.gov. At these NOAA facilities, rigorous testing of new capabilities is done to evaluate performance and potential readiness for use in addressing NOAA mission objectives. At testbeds, investigators assess whether capabilities demonstrated accuracy, reliability, and utility for use in applications: e.g. for those capabilities destined for operations, whether capabilities can function with operationally available inputs. At proving grounds, investigators assess whether capabilities are ready for operational deployment, with demonstrations of accuracy, reliability, and engineering readiness for operations, along with evaluation of utility and workflow/workforce impacts. Most of the facilities provide testing support through in-kind services (management and IT support), and some are additionally supported by programmatic announcements of opportunity for competitively awarded testing.

Examples of testing highlights, progress and accomplishments will be discussed.

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