18th Conference on Weather and Forecasting, 14th Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction, and Ninth Conference on Mesoscale Processes

Monday, 30 July 2001: 9:10 AM
Operational overview of numerical weather prediction (NWP) at the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA)
Ed Bensman, Air Force Weather Agency, Offutt AFB, NE; and J. Wegiel, S. Applequist, and S. Hausman
This paper is an overview of the operational NWP configuration at the AFWA. The discussion begins with an overview of the Global Theater Weather Analysis and Forecast System (GTWAPS) program at AFWA. The overview contains descriptions of the supercomputer platform (IBM SP2), the meteorological models and the design of the mesoscale windows (or "theaters") used in daily operations.

The supercomputer consists of two generations of IBM SP2 architecture yielding a peak computational performance of over 600GFlops. AFWA's operational mesoscale model consists of the PSU/NCAR Mesoscale Model 5 (MM5). The model's dynamics and physical parameterization characteristics are described. AFWA has recently implemented a new Optimal Interpolation (OI) data assimilation technique. This new implementation is described in the paper.

Several mesoscale modeling applications, for operational support, are also detailed. Performance of the model in various climatic regimes is discussed. Efforts are underway to optimize the model's configuration for different weather regimes and those efforts are discussed.

This year, AFWA will begin coupling MM5 with a Land Surface Model (LSM). Details are provided on the LSM itself and the coupling technique being developed. For years, the Air Force has produced a Real-Time Nephanalysis (RTNEPH). This nephanalysis is being updated to more current cloud analysis algorithms. These changes will be detailed in the paper.

The paper concludes with a description of future planned projects at AFWA including testing, and ultimately operational implementation, of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model; as well as implementation of a variational data assimilation technique currently in development.

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