1.1 Taking Prediction to the Next Level: Advancing the Forecast Enterprise for Decision Support Services

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 8:30 AM
Ballroom F (Austin Convention Center)
Louis W. Uccellini, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD

Over the past 50 years, the research and operational weather enterprise has made revolutionary advances in the prediction of weather. Remarkably, even greater progress has been made in the prediction of extreme weather events including hurricanes, tornado outbreaks, snowstorms, heat waves and heavy rainfall out to 7 days in advance (in some cases). In this presentation, Louis Uccellini, Director of the National Weather Service's National Centers for Environmental Prediction, will review the advancements that have been made in the prediction of extreme events. He will then trace the revolutionary transformation of forecasting from a subjective “art” in the 1940's to the applied physical science that it is today, with a focus on the numerical prediction enterprise that now provides a basis for all weather and climate predictions. He will also describe how climate, weather and water predictions are being linked to decision makers, including the emergency management, water resource communities, health officials and others, and discuss how these developing requirements are helping to shape the entire forecast system with ensemble-based prediction systems a prime example. The talk will conclude with a summary of the various improvements required to meet the growing demands and increasing expectations placed on the forecast community. Improving the Earth-system components of the prediction systems is only one of the challenges. The increasing need for an ensemble model approach to define forecast uncertainty as we push the limits of predictability is another. Finally, as those involved in making critical life-saving decisions (based, in part, on these prediction capabilities) become more dependent on weather forecasts for decision support services, the way forecasts are disseminated and uncertainty conveyed will also need to be addressed. As will be discussed, the links between science and social sciences and related challenges associated with advancing the use of improved weather forecasts will provide a fundamental basis for taking prediction to the next level.
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