Although many testbeds exist for this purpose, most of them are not embedded within an operational National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office (WFO). The WFO uses the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), and the NWS is in the process of deploying a second-generation AWIPS (known as AWIPS2) to all NWS WFOs and national centers. WFO Omaha (OAX) is a unique WFO because it has worked closely with the developer of AWIPS2, Raytheon Company Omaha Site, since the fall of 2006 due in part to the close physical proximity of the two entities. WFO OAX was the first WFO to install and test AWIPS2, and the first WFO to use AWIPS2 operationally. This was accomplished through strong collaboration between the developers at Raytheon Omaha, the WFO OAX staff, and NWS management.
Through the development and testing phases of AWIPS2, WFO OAX acquired two separate AWIPS2 systems. One system is the operational AWIPS2. The second system was used for parallel operations during the testing phase in 2011. With parallel operations no longer necessary, the second AWIPS2 system has become a platform to be used solely for the purpose of testing, analyzing, demonstrating, and validating new applications, methods, products, and enhancements for AWIPS2. This system will be referred to as a "research to operations" (R2O) AWIPS2.
Having the R2O AWIPS2 inside WFO OAX will allow NWS forecasters who use AWIPS2 on a daily basis to evaluate any aspect of the system (new enhancements, applications, methods, etc ). Essential feedback can be provided to the developers, and the developers can assess the operational readiness and the utility of their applications. This two-way communication between the forecasters and the developers is imperative if truly beneficial enhancements are to be developed and infused into operations. Furthermore, cost-effectiveness is another benefit of this testbed venue. This R2O AWIPS2 testbed in WFO OAX will streamline the process of moving AWIPS2 enhancements into the operational environment for the betterment of the serving the NWS mission.
Numerous enhancements, applications, products, and techniques are already being developed by a multitude of agencies and groups. WFO OAX is in a position to work closely with these developers to help transfer their research and development into operations, thereby reducing large technology gaps that can hamper innovative advancements. Anticipated (or potential) collaborators and associated possible projects include (but are not limited to): Raytheon Company Omaha Site o Collaboration software o Metrics o Other future enhancements NOAA/OAR/Earth Systems Research Lab/Global Systems Division (GSD) o Integrated Hazard Information System (IHIS) o Gridded Verification o NWP datesets NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Lab (NSSL) o Q2 datasets o Radar/Multi Sensor datasets Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) o GOES-R Proving Ground Products Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) o GOES-R Proving Ground Products University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) o GOES-R Proving Ground Products NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) o GOES-R Proving Ground Products National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) o Future enhancements University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) o GOES-R Proving Ground Products Creighton University (CU) o Future enhancements Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) o NWP datasets (post-processed ensemble guidance)