2002 Annual

Monday, 14 January 2002: 1:59 PM
How Scientific Services Division of the NWS/Western Region (WR) has Adapted AWIPS for Operations in the West
Andy Edman, NOAA/NWS, Salt Lake City, UT; and K. J. Schrab
Poster PDF (975.9 kB)
The NWS deployment of AWIPS has provided a robust national, operational system for all NWS forecast offices. However, weather varies across the United States. In the western United States, complex mountainous terrain and the lack of data over the eastern Pacific, the source region of major storms, are two challenges for WR Forecast Offices. For example, during a typical winter storm event, it is not uncommon for rain to be falling in the valleys, snow falling in the foothills and heavy snow in the higher elevations. Precipitation amounts can vary by an order of magnitude within 10 to 20 miles due to effect of complex terrain. Forecasters require additional data and applications to support unique regional weather challenges. WR SSD has developed a number of solutions to supplement the national AWIPS system with data and applications that are focused on western U.S. problems and support the SOO program. The concept is that AWIPS provides the forecaster with a common workstation, and all WR data and applications are available to WR forecasters in a manner similar to the national datasets and applications. Briefly, WR SSD has: Satellite Data: WR/SSD augments the national data sets with experimental satellite data sets, such as SSMI, AMSU and other data sets to improve observations over the data sparse eastern Pacific Ocean. Model Data: SSD has written software and documentation to allow offices to insert local run meso models into AWIPS. SSD is also distributing experimental NCEP models, such as the experimental ETA 10) to WR offices for evaluation. Mesonets and new Data Assimilation System: WR, in conjunction with the University of Utah, has a program called Mesowest. Mesowest is a collection of 2,500 mesonet sites that augment the 168 official ASOS sites. All of this Mesowest data is sent to the Forecast Offices. The extra mesonet data is also used in a data assimilation system modified to produce better results in complex terrain. The ADAS system runs at 10 km and is distributed to all WR Forecast Offices. Local Application AWIPS Database: SSD developed a interactive web based system to allow offices too share locally written AWIPS applications. This system was adapted by NWS headquarters as a national system. Addition of new applications and display sectors: SSD modified the standard AWIPS sectors to provide the Pacific Northwest offices with sectors better tuned for operations. SSD also developed an approach that allows sites to reinitialize the regional changes after software upgrades. New Web Services: SSD has adapted AWIPS to provide real time data to the WR Web Farm. This has provided the capability to generate real time web based graphics showing where warnings and watches are in effect and provide users with a “total forecast”

The paper will provide examples of these changes and show the impact to the offices.

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