TJ1.4 NWS Forecasters’ Interpretations, Uses, and Needs Regarding High-Resolution, Ensemble-Based Guidance

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 9:15 AM
Room 5ABC (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Julie L. Demuth, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and R. E. Morss, I. Jankov, C. R. Alexander, T. Alcott, D. Nietfeld, and T. Jensen

National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters have increasing amounts and types of model guidance available to them for assessing and communicating hazardous weather risks--including about the likelihood of the threat and of its impacts. Recent model development and verification efforts have focused on guidance from high-resolution (i.e., convection-allowing) models and ensembles of them, including deterministic output from ensemble members as well as ensemble-based probabilistic output. Very little is known, however, about how forecasters access, interpret, and use this high-resolution ensemble guidance, nor about what model guidance they need for their critical operational forecast challenges. To address these knowledge gaps, this presentation will discuss data collected through participant observations and interviews with NWS National Center forecasters and through semi-structured interviews with Weather Forecast Office (WFO) forecasters. Specifically, data were collected about each forecaster’s job role and forecast process; adoption and current use of model guidance and verification information; needs for information from high-resolution ensembles; and interpretations and uses of example products from high-resolution ensembles. WFO data were collected from forecasters at offices located in Western, Central, Southern, and Eastern regions. The geographic variability in WFO representation allowed for data to be collected pertaining to heavy precipitation, winter weather, and severe weather threats. This presentation will discuss results from this research--which is funded through a NOAA research-to-operations grant--and how the results are being used to inform the refinement and development of high-resolution ensemble guidance tools and associated verification information to increase the effectiveness of the science for the operational forecast community, for their core partners, and ultimately, for the end-users they serve.
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