Tuesday, 15 January 2002: 4:30 PM
Implementation Challenges of IFPS at a Forecast Office with Complex Terrain
The National Weather Service (NWS) is in the process of implementing the Interactive Forecast Preparation System (IFPS) nationwide which will provide the method of producing a suite of gridded forecast products. The IFPS is a major change in the way forecasters prepare and disseminate predictions of sensible weather. The development and testing of tools that make up the components of IFPS have been in the works for over a decade. Until recently, little progress has been made in implementing and improving IFPS at NWS offices with responsibility for producing weather forecasts in regions of complex terrain. Various issues dealing with poor grid resolution and text phrase wording have delayed the implementation in the Western United States. However, rapid advancements in computer technology and the affordability of high performance personal computers have greatly improved the grid resolution in IFPS. Offices with complex terrain can now produce gridded forecast products at a finer resolution than what's offered by the present operational numerical prediction models. Grid resolutions on the order of 1 to 5 km can adequately depict the terrain features that influence spatial changes in weather. Although the grid resolution issue has been addressed, additional enhancements in objective model interpretation, grid editing, and sampling techniques are still required. Other issues such as forecaster acceptance of the software and changes in the methodology of composing weather forecasts need to be addressed. The integration of IFPS at a forecast office with complex terrain is a major undertaking and challenge that cannot be overlooked. This paper discusses the challenges of implementing IFPS in complex terrain from a Weather Forecast Office (WFO) perspective.