8.3 The NOAA Hydrometeorology Testbed: A Research to Operations Collaboration

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 4:00 PM
Room 338/339 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Robert Cifelli, NOAA/ESRL, Boulder, CO; and A. White, D. Novak, K. Mahoney, and E. Clark

The NOAA Hydrometerology Testbed (HMT) conducts research on high-impact precipitation and hydrologic events, fostering transition of scientific advances and new tools into forecasting operations to better balance water resource demands and flood mitigation strategies in a changing climate. HMT has been part of NOAA's testbed portfolio since 2006, motivated by the following question: can forecasts of precipitation and hydrologic extremes be improved through an increased predictive understanding of underlying physical processes derived from enhanced regional observations and models?

HMT is led by NOAA's Physical Science Division (PSD) in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Earth System Research Laboratory. The testbed is implemented at both PSD and NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center (WPC). In conjunction with OAR, NWS, and academic partners, PSD focuses on the research aspects of the testbed to determine (a) whether a particular activity has the potential to be transitioned to operations and (b) working with NWS to move potential activities to a technical readiness level where they can be tested/evaluated by NWS and possibly transitioned into operations.

WPC is focused more on operational aspects of HMT. WPC conducts two annual forecast experiments: the Winter Weather and, more recently, the Flash Flood and Intense Rainfall (FFaIR) Experiments. These experiments provide opportunities for forecasters to test and evaluate new products and decision support tools and provide feedback.

Traditionally, HMT has focused on the precipitation part of hydrometeorology to the exclusion of the “water on the ground”. However, the opening of NOAA's National Water Center (NWC) and WPC's FFaIR experiments have created new opportunities for HMT to address important hydrologic issues. The NWC will provide high resolution fresh water hydrologic and hydraulic predictive information for the U.S. domains, and will partner with NOAA's National Ocean Service to produce total water forecasts to coastal locations. The NWC will couple these with geospatial data sets and analyses to derive water resources intelligence. Research will be needed to improve forecasts and address issues such as coastal, terrestrial, and atmospheric coupling in a physically consistent manner.

This presentation will describe some of the on-going and planned HMT activities that address operational needs.

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