7A.5 The SPoRT Land Information System and the Research to Operations Process

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 5:00 PM
Conference Center: Tahoma 3 (Washington State Convention Center )
Kristopher D. White, NASA, Huntsville, AL; and J. L. Case and B. T. Zavodsky

The Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Huntsville, Alabama has played host to a number of experimental remote-sensing products since 2003 thanks to a long-standing partnership with the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center.  This partnership in the research to operations process has been integral in the evaluation and refinement of several research products, and has served as a micro-testbed for the operational community.  The Huntsville WFO may be best known for its work as one of the early pioneers in the operational testing, evaluation and use of total lightning data.  However, in addition to GOES-R and JPSS Proving Ground products, several SPoRT core products and data sets have been evaluated and utilized operationally, including the SPoRT-Land Information System (SPoRT-LIS).  The SPoRT-LIS is a near real-time configuration of the Noah land surface model within the NASA Land Information System framework, and is updated four times daily, with hourly temporal output and ~3-km spatial resolution.  In 2011, SPoRT-LIS data were utilized, initially, for the purposes of drought monitoring, but were also used to initialize the local Weather Research and Forecast model run at the Huntsville WFO.  The successful transition of these data into the Automated Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) during this period allowed for their effective use and evaluation within the WFO operational environment.  Subsequently, analysis of soil moisture within the SPoRT-LIS led to the successful application of the data as a tool for assessing the potential for areal and small stream river flooding.  Due to the successful demonstration of these applications at WFO Huntsville, the SPoRT-LIS were transitioned to SPoRT collaborative WFOs in Houston and Raleigh to address similar operational challenges.  Transition of the SPoRT-LIS data to the Tucson and Albuquerque WFOs following its geographical expansion in 2014 has led to additional applications for fire weather forecasting and blowing dust events.  

This presentation will describe the use of the SPoRT-LIS for varied operational purposes at several SPoRT collaborative WFOs, with particular emphasis on the applications mentioned herein.  Additionally, the advantages of the research-to-operations process undertaken by SPoRT will be described and discussed, including the collaborative process that has led to the creation of unique data sets within the SPoRT-LIS, such as the soil moisture percentile product and soil moisture change variables on various timescales.

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