882 Providing Forecasters with Mesoscale Domain Options of the WRF-EMS for Enhancing Local Decision Support, Continuity of Operations, and Service Backup

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Da'Vel Johnson, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL; and P. F. Blottman and D. W. Sharp

The use of local mesoscale models has significantly increased during the past decade. The availability of the Weather Research and Forecasting Environmental Modeling System (WRF-EMS)and its high degree of configurability has brought the capability to run mesoscale models into most Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) within the National Weather Service (NWS). Increased computer resources have accelerated the use of these models to be run at greater frequencies and at both higher spatial and temporal resolutions. Using local mesoscale models has become widespread in many weather operations environments due to the ever increasing need for highly detailed forecasts, alternative depictions, and tools to provide tailored services. For WFOs, the WRF-EMS has the added benefit of bringing the latest modeling capabilities from the academic and research communities into local operations. Taking advantage of these opportunities, the WFO Melbourne (MLB), Florida, has recently explored advancements in their local mesoscale modeling approach. Prime motivations have been centered on giving MLB meteorologists higher resolution depictions of alternative forecast outcomes during hazardous weather situations and increasing the operational flexibility of forecaster selectable domain options for more efficient use. The identified areas of potential improvement are for local decision support, continuity of operations, and occasions when WFO MLB is called upon to provide service backup to sister offices. This paper will discuss how WFO MLB has strategically configured multiple two-way and three-way nested domains for each of its service backup areas, including West Central Florida, the Florida Keys, and Puerto Rico. The interface software system by which the WFO MLB forecasters interact with the WRF-EMS for selecting desired model domains will also be discussed.
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