827 Marine Weather Impact-Based Decision Support aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster during a Research Expedition Offshore the Florida Keys

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Kennard B. Kasper, NOAA/NWSFO, Key West, FL; and C. Rothwell

Handout (3.8 MB)

Two Florida Keys NWS meteorologists provided marine weather impact-based decision support services aboard the NOAA research vessel Nancy Foster, during a research expedition off the Florida Keys from 14-22 August 2016. The NOAA-led research team conducted the expedition between Key West and the Dry Tortugas, in the NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The research team carried out scuba and small-boat operations, and a variety of research missions, collecting data necessary for management decisions within the Sanctuary. The Florida Keys NWS meteorologists gave daily shipboard marine weather briefings to support safety of life at sea and weather-sensitive decision making, pertaining to ship and small boat voyage planning and execution, and dive operations. The NWS meteorologists quickly became completely integrated into the daily rhythm of the ship and science operations, participating in the morning safety briefings on the bridge with NOAA Corps commissioned officers, department heads, and the chief scientist. Each day, the NWS meteorologists drafted a weather outlook which was included in the official “Plan of the Day”. The ship’s Operations Officer subsequently circulated this document throughout the ship during the late afternoon hours. In addition, NWS meteorologists participated in an evening science team meeting, providing a summary and explanation of the day’s weather as it pertained to science operations, as well as the outlook for the next day. The 24/7 duty forecasters at the Florida Keys National Weather Service Forecast Office in Key West supported the deployed meteorologists by providing twice daily e-mail briefings and guidance via “NWSChat” software. This expedition proved to be a prolific learning experience not only for the NWS scientists involved, but also the other NOAA Corps officers, crew, and scientists. Each deployed NWS meteorologist presented an evening seminar (20-30 minutes) to officers, crew, and scientists, highlighting NWS operations and services of the NWS Marine, Tropical, and Tsunami Services Program (e.g., hurricanes). Moreover, the NWS meteorologists observed and directly participated in weather-sensitive operations, communicated with operators, and determined areas for improvement regarding the quality, value, and presentation of NWS weather, water, and climate data, forecasts, and warnings.
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