817 The Ensemble Situational Awareness Table: A Tool to Improve Forecasts for Extreme Weather Events

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
William S. Lamberson, I.M. Systems Group, Inc., College Park, MD; and T. I. Alcott and C. Kahler

Handout (2.6 MB)

The Hydrometeorological Testbed at the Weather Prediction Center (HMT-WPC) was established to facilitate the transfer of scientific and technological innovations from the research community into operational products that enhance WPC's mission of delivering responsive, accurate, and reliable national forecasts and analyses. One innovation that is currently being transferred into operations at WPC is the use of ensemble model reforecast climate data, in addition to reanalysis climate data, to create tools that improve forecasts through enhanced forecaster situational awareness. To improve their products, WPC forecasters need tools that help them recognize and evaluate the likelihood and potential impacts of extreme weather events. Model and reanalysis climate data can be leveraged to create this kind of tool. Numerical model forecasts can be compared against both model and reanalysis climate data to create information, including return interval and standardized anomaly forecasts of specific meteorological phenomena. This information can help improve forecasts for extreme weather events by assisting forecasters in assessing and communicating the likelihood and societal impacts of these events.

To address this need, National Weather Service Western Region Headquarters developed the Ensemble Situational Awareness Table (ESAT). ESAT displays probabilistic information, such as model climate and reanalysis climate return intervals, for the NAEFS ensemble mean forecast of a variety of important atmospheric parameters. Over the past two years, ESAT has been in limited use at various WFOs and has been well received by forecasters. Presently, it is being transitioned into an operational platform that will allow for expanded use at WPC and throughout the NWS, as well as greater product stability. This presentation will serve as an overview of the Ensemble Situational Awareness Table, with a focus on how forecasters can use the table.

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