Saturday, March 25, 2017

Objective 1

Improved observations.

The building blocks of the Weather Ready Nation are observations of the current state of the atmosphere. These form the basis of the future state of the atmosphere when assimilated into high resolution computer models which produce information upon which public forecasts and warnings are based. They are the underpinning of both tactical and strategic decision support. An incomplete picture of the atmospheric boundary layer, where most human activity occurs, represents a major gap in our ability to diagnose and predict high-impact weather events. Filling this gap will take more than the next 5 years, but significant milestones are in sight during this time frame.

R&D Targets:

  • Establish rapid radar sampling technologies needed to produce robust ensemble-based numerical model warnings of severe weather with extended lead-times, up to one hour or longer
  • Integrate the National Mesonet with complete coverage of surface meteorological stations over the continental US, including soil moisture and solar radiation

  • Develop the foundational infrastructure for a “Network of Networks” that provides boundary layer profiles of winds, temperature, and moisture

  • Evaluate Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of Atmosphere (CASA)/Urban Demonstration Network and other partner technology of short-wavelength networked radars, adaptive sampling, and associated numerical weather prediction

  • Operationalize the geostationary lightning mapper (GOES-R)

  • Develop Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Systems configurations supporting multi-mission sensors including radiometer, Lidar, spectrometer, dropsondes, and Doppler radar, with at least a 24-hour mission duration

  • Conduct feasibility studies to fill major gaps in observations of water cycle parameters (e.g., water vapor transport, precipitation, snow, river flow, sea-ice, waves, water level, surface energy budget terms including evapotranspiration and aerosols)

Objective 2

Integrated real-time analyses of weather conditions.

NOAA will develop tools and algorithms needed to integrate data from diverse observational platforms (NOAA and partners) into rapidly updating, storm-scale information. Integration of available observations from diverse platforms, sensors, coverage, and both internal and external providers is needed to meet goals to provide storm-scale information critical to meeting goals for forecasts and warnings of high-impact weather goals.

R&D Targets:

  • Prototype coupled fire weather and fire behavior modeling system for local firefighting applications

  • Implement a prototype of a rapidly updating 3-dimensional state-of-the-atmosphere analysis system

  • Transition the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System to operations

  • Transition the Multi-Radar-Multi-Sensor real-time analysis system to operations

Objective 3

Improved predictive guidance.

One of the scientific success stories of the 20th century is the development of numerical weather prediction models; today, NOAA produces weather forecasts of proven utility out to a week based on these models. On the other hand, tornado warnings are not issued on the basis of forecasts, but rather upon observed evidence. Today’s science and technology do not yet allow scientists to describe the genesis of a tornado, model it, and predict its path, a capability that could save many additional lives. Similarly, while we have dramatically improved the prediction of the track of hurricanes in recent years, progress in improving forecasts of hurricane intensity, and associated storm surge and rainfall has been slower. In addition, significant R&D is needed to present NOAA weather forecasts in a probabilistic framework that allows for the proper communication of forecast uncertainty and to enable a wide range of risk-based decision-making.

R&D Targets:

  • Develop a global deterministic forecasting system at a resolution of 10 km and the associated ensemble forecast system at a resolution of 20 km

  • Determine the impacts of stratospheric resolution on simulations of slowly varying tropospheric weather patterns such as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the Pacific North Atlantic teleconnection pattern

  • Evaluate the impact of ocean-atmosphere coupling on short-range weather forecasts

  • Implement a moveable inner nest for hurricanes within the operational global forecast system

  • Determine the relative merits of different approaches to ensemble generation including multi-model, stochastic physics, and multi-physics

  • Identify the most effective way to represent initial condition uncertainty for NOAA’s forecast models, i.e. EnKF ensemble members versus the breeding method

  • Implement advanced statistical methods for post-processing ensemble guidance to accurately quantify uncertainty and improve reliability

  • Prototype a unified (tide-waves-estuarine-surge) probabilistic inundation model for both tropical and extratropical storms

  • Conduct a multi-year reanalysis of Doppler radar data to establish convective storm behavior climatologies

Objective 4

Improved decision support tools.

NOAA is embarking on a major enhancement and expansion of its decision support services to better realize the benefits of its weather forecasts and warnings. For decision makers, the Agency will improve the communication of weather, water and climate impacts and risks, as well as develop impact-based communication capabilities. In addition, NOAA will incorporate quantified uncertainty and risk information into its forecasts to facilitate analyses for strategic and tactical preparation and effective response. Limiting weather-related loss of life and property requires eliciting the most effective response to accurate, reliable warnings and forecasts. Next-generation warning concepts will be developed and tested to improve these desired societal responses through the delivery of quantitative and user-specific information. The target operational system for all these tools is the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS).

(Selected) R&D Targets:

  • Prototype a comprehensive operational IT forecaster decision support environment for WRN operations
  • Deploy a unified public warning tool into operations

  • Implement initial capability to allow external users to be notified when thresholds for their weather-based decisions have been exceeded in either current or future weather conditions

  • Improve air quality modeling of fine particulate matter from wildfires, dust storms, and other pollution sources

  • Prototype coupled evacuation route-inundation-storm surge model for targeted regions of the Gulf Coast

  • Prototype warning methodologies that capitalize on future output from storm-scale models

  • Evaluate experimental products from which tornado warnings with lead times greater than 1 hour can be generated

  • Develop risk communication tools based upon behavioral research on the timing and effectiveness of public response to weather warnings