8.1 NOAA Testbeds and Proving Grounds: Transitioning Research to NOAA Applications/Operations

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 3:30 PM
Room 338/339 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Paula M. Davidson, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and M. Uhart

In 2014, NOAA's current eleven NOAA testbeds and proving grounds (www.testbeds.noaa.gov) successfully transitioned into operations nearly a third of the 110 capabilities tested in the past year; more than half have successfully demonstrated readiness for advanced readiness testing or delivery to users. Beyond the simple transition statistics, the use of these transition facilities has generated a wealth of progress in developing science capabilities for use by NOAA and its partners through more engaged partnerships among researchers, developers, operational scientist and end-user communities. Transition testing at NOAA testbeds and proving grounds provides a clear path toward adapting and implementing research developments for operational use. Final pre-deployment testing takes place in a test environment that simulates end-use and includes analysis of impacts to forecasters and other end-users. During transition testing at NOAA testbeds and proving grounds, linkage with operational systems/practices is supported as an efficient and effective means to speed integration of new capabilities into service and operations.

As designated NOAA testbeds and proving grounds, these facilities are recognized as consistent with NOAA's guidelines for function, execution and governance. They facilitate competitively selected, collaborative transition testing projects to meet NOAA mission needs. Projects are supported through diverse means: dedicated or in-kind facility support for management and related activities (e.g. IT support), and programmatic support both internal and external to NOAA. Charters and additional information on these facilities, along with summaries of coordination activities, including recent workshops, and links to relevant federal funding opportunities are posted at the web portal.

NOAA scientists, in collaboration with public and private-sector partners, employ these facilities in conducting rigorous testing of prototype capabilities to evaluate performance and potential readiness for use in addressing all NOAA mission goals. NOAA programs including the Nest Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS), Collaborative Science and Technology Applied Research Program, Climate Program Office, the US Weather Research Program, and the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program provide an increasingly important programmatic source for testing candidate capabilities, and along with other partners, participate in sponsoring transition testing. Within the new NGGPS program nine new collaborative projects, led by scientists from academia and NOAA's testbeds and proving grounds, were launched in May 2015. These projects are testing various potential service impacts-- to forecasts of high-impact and severe/extreme weather in the 0-3 day time frame, in the 6-10 day time frame, and for weeks 3-4-- that would result from the many advanced components that will be systematically integrated into this next-generation capability.

NOAA's community of scientists engaged in transition testing at testbeds and proving ground facilities are fostered by annual workshops that feature results from collaborative, multi-facility testing and topical science themes of high-impact mission objectives These venues also bolster use of operational capabilities in research, which greatly facilitates the adaptation and transition of high-value capabilities into operations. Highlights from testbeds and proving grounds transition testing in 2015 will be featured.

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