Home > NCEP Quarterly Newsletter
NCEP Quarterly Newsletter - April 2016
NCEP
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
On Thursday March 10th, NCO implemented the first operational model on the Cray XC-40 components of the WCOSS system. The High Resolution Window model (HIRESW) was ported to run on the Cray portion of WCOSS.

NCEP
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
On January 5, 2016, EMC and NCO successfully implemented the capability for WFOs Miami and Taunton to run the Nearshore Wave Prediction System (NWPS) centrally on the WCOSS system.

The WFOs initiate the run of NWPS by submitted their local NDFD wind grids through AWIPS to WCOSS. NWPS generates wind and wave guidance for several grids centered around the WFO. An additional 22 WFOs in Eastern and Southern Region will be added in early February now that this initial capability has been achieved. On Tuesday, February 9th, EMC and NCO expanded the capability to run the Near-Shore Wave Prediction System (NWPS) at all coastal WFOs in Eastern and Southern Region. The initial implementation of the model, which generates wind and wave guidance for several grids centered around the WFO, was only at 2 WFOs. An additional 22 WFOs now have this centralized, on-demand capability.


NCEP
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
On January 27, 2016, the migration of the Integrated Real-time Impact Services (IRIS) and iNWS to the IDP system was completed. Both web interfaces are live on the IDP servers in College Park, MD. ​IRIS provides an integrated framework which supports contact, impact, storm report, and observation management functions. IRIS stores decoded National Weather Service text products in an atomic format, allowing them to be used by other services it supports, including iNWS.

Both web interfaces are live on the IDP servers in College Park, MD. ​IRIS provides an integrated framework which supports contact, impact, storm report, and observation management functions. IRIS stores decoded National Weather Service text products in an atomic format, allowing them to be used by other services it supports, including iNWS.

IRIS provides a web interface for National Weather Service​personnel to manage impact ("Impacts Catalog"), contact, and storm report data; it provides a situational awareness mapping display; it provides a real time observation monitor; it allows the logging of communications with core partners; and it allows storm report data to be formatted into Local Storm Report and Public Information Statements and transmitted to the public. The new URL for the web interface is: https://iris.ncep.noaa.gov

iNWS uses the decoded NWS text products in IRIS and AHPS shapefiles from the AHPS program, to generate email and SMS alerts for the emergency management, public safety, and government community of users, based on their specific needs as to what type of alerts to receive and locations for which they want to receive alerts. iNWS provides a web interface for users to manage their accounts, and to create and modify alert areas and types. It also provides an administrative interface which allows iNWS administrators to approve new users and monitor the alerts being generated and sent. Finally, iNWS also provides an alert specific web page showing a map of the alert and the associated product text which users can access from a link in the email or SMS message they receive. The new URL for the web interface is https://inws.ncep.noaa.gov


NCEP
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
On March 28, 2016, the legacy GIS services currently running at NWS Southern Region were migrated and upgraded to newer webmapping software, an open source database and more robust IDP infrastructure. Additionally, the new geospatial web services provide users with both time-enabled services and OGC Web Mapping Services (WMS). The data can be access at http://idpgis.ncep.noaa.gov Additionally, the new geospatial web services provide users with both time-enabled services and OGC Web Mapping Services (WMS)
Service Center Activities
AWT participants create cloud grids using the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE).
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
Aviation Weather Testbed (AWT) conducted the 2016 Winter Experiment February 8­-12 and February 22-­26. This winter’s experiment involved four forecast desks with varying areas of focus on aviation weather and decision support for traffic flow management.

Some participants experimented with new techniques and utilizing model guidance-based grids for ceiling and visibility forecasting while also testing - for the first time - non-convective Collaborative Aviation Weather Statements (CAWS) for both icing and turbulence.

Others focused on a suite of hazard services and the value in employing the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE) in the production of national grids for clouds, icing, and turbulence. The Experiment also helped validate global probabilistic turbulence and icing guidance. As a result the World Area Forecast System data will be refined, improving air traffic management of the international airspace system.

AWT participants create cloud grids using the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE).
AWT participants create cloud grids using the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE).


A cloud coverage forecast, based on output from the RAP model.
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
The Aviation Weather Center’s Experimental Graphical Forecasts for Aviation were launched on January 11.

These forecasts are designed to provide meteorological information equivalent to the textual Area Forecast (FA), in a graphical format, as requested by the FAA. The product includes observations and forecasts valid for the continental United States and provides data critical for aviation safety, overlaid on high-resolution basemaps.

The Experimental Graphical Forecasts for Aviation were created in response to a formal request by the FAA to discontinue production of the textual FAs. Retiring the FA and transitioning to more modern digital and graphical forecasts will allow NWS to focus the efforts of forecasters on maximizing operational benefit to aviation end users, resulting in improved weather information to decision makers.

There has also been considerable public attention on this transition, aided by media releases from the National Business Aviation Administration and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Comments will be accepted on the Experimental Graphical Forecasts for Aviation through June 11. Based on comments received by FAA and NWS on this proposed change, NWS plans to discontinue production of FAs once the Experimental Graphical Forecasts for Aviation product is approved as operational and when all concerns identified within submitted comments have been addressed. Formal public notification will be provided in advance of the action to discontinue the textual FAs.

A cloud coverage forecast, based on output from the RAP model.
A cloud coverage forecast, based on output from the RAP model.


Anomaly correlation of 5 day forecasts of 500 hPa geopotential height in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere from May 1, 2013 to Feb. 28, 2016 for the operational and new GFS (red). The lower portion shows that the day 1-7 forecasts are significantly improved with the new GFS.
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
The National Centers for Environmental Prediction is upgrading the Global Forecast System in May 2016.

The upgrade will introduce 4D hybrid ensemble-variational data assimilation in which the ensemble provides an updated estimate of situation dependent background error every hour as it evolves through the assimilation window. The upgrade also improves the use of satellite radiances, satellite winds and aircraft observations and makes corrections to the representation of the land surface, reducing a summertime warm, dry bias over the Great Plains. Changes to model products include new and improved icing fields, hourly output to 120 hours, and five new levels in the upper stratosphere.

This upgraded system was tested over more than three years of forecasts. New evaluation methodologies were developed in coordination with the rest of the National Weather Service. The implementation followed a new procedure with a considerably longer official evaluation period and more active engagement with and participation of the other NCEP centers and NWS regional headquarters and forecast offices. Objective verification against observations and the forecasts systems’ own analyses showed that week 1 forecasts were significantly improved except in the upper stratosphere. Forecasts of near surface temperatures, dew points and winds, precipitation, jet streams, extratropical storm tracks and CAPE all showed significant improvement, as did forecasts of tropical cyclone track, intensity and genesis. Results of the evaluation can be seen at:

http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/gmb/noor/4dGFS/synergy%20announcementjan08.htm

Anomaly correlation of 5 day forecasts of 500 hPa geopotential height in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere from May 1, 2013 to Feb. 28, 2016 for the operational and new GFS (red). The lower portion shows that the day 1-7 forecasts are significantly improved with the new GFS.
Anomaly correlation of 5 day forecasts of 500 hPa geopotential height in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere from May 1, 2013 to Feb. 28, 2016 for the operational and new GFS (red). The lower portion shows that the day 1-7 forecasts are significantly improved with the new GFS.


NHC senior hurricane specialist Dr. Richard Pasch welcomes the WMO meteorologists to the annual workshop, February 29, 2016.<br>Photo credit: Dennis Feltgen, NOAA/NHC Communications
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
For the past 25 years, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center has provided training to emergency managers and decision makers in the use of its products and services.

The premier offering is the FEMA L-0324 course "Hurricane Preparedness for Decision Makers". During the hurricane offseason months, two dozen representatives from each of three U.S. coastal regions (Gulf, Southeast and Northeast) are immersed in the usage of storm surge, satellite technology, and track and intensity forecasts, all leading up to a hands-on exercise. It’s all designed to provide the tools they’ll need to make the critical evacuation decisions when the next hurricane approaches their state.

NHC senior hurricane specialist Dr. Richard Pasch welcomes the WMO meteorologists to the annual workshop, February 29, 2016.<br>Photo credit: Dennis Feltgen, NOAA/NHC Communications
NHC senior hurricane specialist Dr. Richard Pasch welcomes the WMO meteorologists to the annual workshop, February 29, 2016.
Photo credit: Dennis Feltgen, NOAA/NHC Communications

WMO meteorologists descend onto National Hurricane Center

It’s an annual rite of spring at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center - the World Meteorological Organization Region IV Workshop on Hurricane Forecasting and Warning. Two dozen meteorologists, representing 20 countries, spent a solid two weeks in early March attending day-long sessions that covered satellite analysis, track and intensity forecasting, forecast uncertainty, and media training. 


Scott Prosise
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
Scott Prosise, Senior Marine Forecaster at the Ocean Prediction Center, retired January 3 after more than 39 years of government service.

Originally from College Park, MD, Scott joined the military in 1976 as an aerographer’s mate in the Navy, gaining further education through various Naval schools as well as classes at the University of Maryland and San Jose State University. Scott’s degree is in Information Systems from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, MD.

As a meteorologist, Scott spent nearly all of his professional years with OPC. He started as a Meteorological Technician at the forecast office in Washington, D.C., and he also worked in the Basic and Aviation Weather branches at the National Meteorological Center (NMC), which became NCEP in 1995. Just prior to coming to OPC, Scott worked for the National Ocean Service (NOS), conducting marine data quality control. That unit was absorbed by OPC.

Scott Prosise
Scott Prosise

As a long-time National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) Steward at the OPC, Scott was a key team member in the process of the NCEP move from the World Weather Building in Camp Springs to the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park, MD. Scott also helped bring many changes and improvements in services for NWS customers and partners, particularly as the long-time tropical focal point for the OPC. Scott served on the Ocean Marine Synergy team (OPC, NHC/TAFB, and WFO Honolulu) since its inception in the spring, 2003. Scott's vast contributions to the team resulted in a more seamless suite of forecasts among the marine centers. his team has been cited by Dr. Louis Uccellini as a shining example of NWS collaboration and sets a best practice of coordination between NWS management and the NWSEO. Scott’s teamwork, professionalism, and contributions to public service will be remembered fondly at the OPC and we wish him well.


Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
OPC outlooks indicated storm force winds as much as five days in advance of a powerful low pressure system that developed off of the Carolina coast Sunday, February 7.

The possibility of hurricane force winds was highlighted in OPC products more than 48 hours in advance. This storm was noted for the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas encounter with hurricane force winds, and resultant minor injuries and ship damage. Buoys off of the Carolina coast measured wave heights as high as 30 feet, building as much as 18 feet in only 3 hours.



Greg Carbin and Jared Guyer of the SPC Presented the Summary of significant Weather of 2015 at the National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma City
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) collaborated with the state of Oklahoma Insurance Industry to develop content for the National Tornado Summit, an annual nationwide forum related to severe weather forecasting and disaster response and recovery. The Tornado Summit was held March 1-2, 2016, in Oklahoma City.

The annual summit serves as a national forum for insurance professionals, international, national and state experts in risk assessment to exchange ideas and recommend new policies to improve resiliency and limit losses from natural disasters such as tornadoes. Attendees also included national, state and local emergency management communities, academia, meteorologists, weather enterprise partners and the general public.  There were at least 800 in attendance, including NWS and FEMA leadership.  NWS Director Dr. Louis Uccellini and FEMA Deputy Administrator Joe Nimmich made a joint address on the last day of the summit. Ms. Keli Pirtle, NOAA Public Affairs managed interviews for NOAA presenters.

Greg Carbin and Jared Guyer of the SPC Presented the Summary of significant Weather of 2015 at the National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma City
Greg Carbin and Jared Guyer of the SPC Presented the Summary of significant Weather of 2015 at the National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma City

Models of the sun to Earth connected system: solar wind and coronal mass ejection (left), magnetosphere (middle), and ionosphere (right). Experts on models and related observations and products will visit SWPC as part of the NCEP Visiting Scientist Program.
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
On February 26, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) was notified that their proposal to the NCEP Visiting Scientist Program was approved for funding.

This welcome support will fund up to 12 high-profile visiting scientists, one each month for the next year, to present a seminar at SWPC and to spend a few days interacting with staff on projects of mutual interest. These projects are all aimed at improving SWPC products and services and will include topics such as those related to model development, validation and transition to operations.

SWPC products are based on the science of multiple disciplines and regions in the solar-terrestrial system: solar, interplanetary, magnetospheric, thermospheric, ionospheric, and Earth’s upper atmosphere. In each of these regions, we utilize observations and have models in operations or under development. Through the VSP program, we will bring in experts to learn how their work benefits SWPC goals and establish new relationships that can lead to long-term collaborations.

The seminar series will benefit SWPC current and future activities related to utilizing observations, model development and implementation, and operational services. The seminars and visits will benefit our ability to provide Impact-Based Decision Support Services and “improvements and advances in science and technology needed to generate and deliver environmental information to realize the vision of a Weather-Ready Nation.” The visitors and topics are particularly related to NCEP strategic goals 1 (improvements in customer-driven products and services), 3 (retaining a highly skilled workforce and collaboration and adaptability to changing conditions and customer needs), and 4 (global leadership in modeling and forecasting with collaborative science and applied research).

Furthermore, this program will enhance our ability to address many of the activities assigned to DOC (NOAA/SWPC) in the Space Weather Action Plan recently issued by the Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council.

Models of the sun to Earth connected system: solar wind and coronal mass ejection (left), magnetosphere (middle), and ionosphere (right). Experts on models and related observations and products will visit SWPC as part of the NCEP Visiting Scientist Program.
Models of the sun to Earth connected system: solar wind and coronal mass ejection (left), magnetosphere (middle), and ionosphere (right). Experts on models and related observations and products will visit SWPC as part of the NCEP Visiting Scientist Program.

Main plot, downloaded image of zoomed data, and ASCII data file from SWPC’s new, interactive Real-Time Solar Wind website.
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
In March SWPC deployed the new, interactive solar wind page to its public web site.

The page presents real-time, updating data in an interactive manner for the first time at SWPC. Users configure the pages regarding the instrument data they want to see, the time span of the data, as well as background colors. “Mousing” over the plots shows values for individual data points and users can zoom in on time periods of particular interest, for instance when a solar wind shock has been measured. Once the plots are customized, the user can download image files of the plots or ASCII files of the data itself for offline use or analysis.

While these innovations are clearly and immediately visible to our Web customers, perhaps the bigger change is behind the scenes. The “backend” of SWPC’s solar wind data system has been redesigned to become “agnostic” to the satellite source of the data. In other words, it does not matter whether the data are sourced from the ACE satellite, the new DSCOVR satellite or a future satellite. The web functionality and presentation of the data remains the same. In addition, all SWPC space weather models that depend on real-time solar wind data now run off of this common data infrastructure. To ease supportability, changing from one source of data (ACE) to another (DSCOVR) is accomplished with the change of a single setting.

This new Real-Time Solar Wind data system and web site represent the direction SWPC will pursue over the next several years to improve the user experience for all of our time-series data.

Main plot, downloaded image of zoomed data, and ASCII data file from SWPC’s new, interactive Real-Time Solar Wind website.
Main plot, downloaded image of zoomed data, and ASCII data file from SWPC’s new, interactive Real-Time Solar Wind website.


NWS Director, Dr. Louis Uccellini, at a national press briefing at NCEP on Thursday, January 21 – a day before the start of the storm.
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
By some measures, the Blizzard of January 22-24 was the second largest storm to strike to Eastern U.S. in the last half Century.

States of Emergency were declared in 7 states, schools and government were forced to close for days, and major airports were closed. In many ways, the forecasts themselves were historic, with accurate predictions of this event nearly a week in advance.

WPC proactively raised national readiness for this event, including issuance of the experimental Winter Weather Outlook, engagement of national media, and alerts to Federal partners nearly a week in advance. The Winter Weather Outlook continually highlighted the threat of a major event, and was viewed by over 100,000 people. 

As the event neared, WPC collaborated with local offices to consistently highlight a direct hit for the mid-Atlantic, and messaged snowfall uncertainty in the New York City to Boston corridor. For example, 3 days before the event forecasters noted a “...possible historic winter storm from the eastern Ohio and Tennessee Valleys into the northern Mid-Atlantic Region including the Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia metro areas.” Seven collaboration calls were held among the integrated field structure that resulted in a very consistent and accurate forecast, including a call on Friday to raise snowfall amounts in the New York City area. These forecasts were communicated to the nation in a total over 100 national media interviews by WPC. Further, WPC hosted a national media press conference highlighting the NWS Director (photo below). Given the direct hit on the Washington D.C. metro area, 12 forecasters sheltered-in-place to ensure continuity of WPC operations. All products were issued without delay.

This event set a new high bar for forecast accuracy and DSS for extreme events. As the Washington Post stated, “the predictions for the storm proved amazingly accurate and illustrate how far weather forecasting has come.”

NWS Director, Dr. Louis Uccellini, at a national press briefing at NCEP on Thursday, January 21 – a day before the start of the storm.
NWS Director, Dr. Louis Uccellini, at a national press briefing at NCEP on Thursday, January 21 – a day before the start of the storm.


Group photo including most of the workshop participants, weather service officials, and instructor José Gálvez.
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
As part of the NWS engagement with the international community Dr. José Gálvez from the WPC International Desks conducted a training workshop for the Peruvian Weather Service.

The workshop, held March 7-10 in Lima Peru, focused on forecasting of heavy rainfall events in the climatologically dry Peruvian Coast. These events typically occur during strong El Niños, such as the current El Niño. The workshop was well-timed given severe rainfall events that were occurring before and during the workshop. The ongoing events allowed for real time analysis and forecasting and for productive discussions based upon the recent experience attained by the forecasters.

The training covered the Forecast Funnel Method for quantitative precipitation forecasting (QPF), atmospheric patterns conducive for heavy rainfall events in the Northern Coast of Peru, and coastal upwelling and their effects. Further, the training included programming displays of variables relavent to the forecasting of heavy rainfall events in the coast of Northern Peru. The exercises also placed emphasis on the importance of determining predictability/forecast confidence by the development of tables via the analysis of different model runs.

The workshop included weather discussions in which the participants were stimulated to participate and answer questions/help with analysis using the board. A comprehensive exam was provided the third day and handed out the last day of class. Eighteen participants from the Weather Service in Lima, Peru completed the training.

Group photo including most of the workshop participants, weather service officials, and instructor José Gálvez.
Group photo including most of the workshop participants, weather service officials, and instructor José Gálvez.

In This Issue...
WCOSS Cray Systems Become Operational
Nearshore Wave Prediction System Implemented on WCOSS
IRIS and iNWS Live on the Integrated Dissemination Program (IDP) System in College Park
NWS Southern Region GIS Services Live on the Integrated Dissemination Program (IDP) System in College Park
AWC Aviation Weather Testbed Winter Experiment
AWC Releases Experimental Graphical Forecasts for Aviation for Public Comment
EMC: 2016 Global Forecast System (GFS) Upgrade
NHC: 25 Years of Hurricane Preparedness Training by National Hurricane Center
OPC: Senior Marine Forecaster Scott Prosise Retired January 3
OPC Forecasters Provide Accurate Warnings for Hurricane-Force Low off the Atlantic Coast
SPC: 2016 National Tornado Summit
SWPC Kicks Off Visiting Scientist Seminar Series
SWPC: Real-Time Solar Wind Data Now Online
WPC: Predicting an Historic Blizzard
WPC: Forecasting Severe Rainfall Events in Northern Peru During El Niño
 
Please fill out this comment form and a representative will contact you.

NOTE: Submission of name and/or email address is optional. However, without your complete e-mail address we cannot provide a reply.

Your Full Name:
Your E-mail Address:

Please enter your comments or questions in the space below: