Operational Transition of the National Hurricane Center Statistical Intensity Forecast Models: The End of a Long Road

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Thursday, 8 January 2015: 9:15 AM
232A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Monica L. Bozeman, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, Miami, FL; and M. DeMaria, S. Hsiao, and J. Kaplan

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has utilized statistical models as guidance for their operational intensity forecasts for the past several decades. These models were developed by the research community, and were first run in real time in 1991. The initial version used basic storm information as input, such as initial maximum wind and its tendency, climatological data and parameters from atmospheric analysis fields. Many model improvements have been made since 1991, and the models now include input from global model forecasts, real time sea surface temperature and oceanic heat content analyses, and satellite data. These models ran on an experimental basis on non-operational computer systems for the first few years. In 1996, they were moved to operationally supported NCEP supercomputers, but continued to be run in a quasi-production mode, and with the majority of the real time support coming from the product developers. Beginning in 2015, these models will finally undergo a transition to NCEP Central Operations (NCO) production job suites with 24x7 NCO operational support, and adhere to formalized change management and version control processes. The history and lessons learned during this long operational transition process will be described, as well as the trade-offs between operational reliability and flexibility for model improvements.