Home > NCEP Quarterly Newsletter
NCEP Quarterly Newsletter - FY16Q4
Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
The annual EAA AirVenture - colloquially known as "EAA Oshkosh" or simply "Oshkosh" - is the largest air show in North America, and also happens to be the largest outreach event for NOAA. This year's attendance topped 563,000, and more than 10,000 aircraft Planes flyingparticipated in the event! The fly-in ran from July 24-31.

AWC and NOAA presence at Oshkosh included an open exhibit area, better graphics and more hands-on displays that received rave reviews from both visitors and other members of the International Federal Partnership, or IFP, which runs AirVenture's Federal Pavilion. Ed Holicky, a Senior Aviation Meteorologist at AWC, led the effort, bringing in specialists from AWC, and other NWS offices, including WFOs and CWSUs. AWC showcased the continued advancements being made in aviation weather forecasting, while Greg Romano from the NWS Office of Communications and several NWS team members reached out to vendors to gauge interest in becoming Weather Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassadors.

Due to the outstanding effort by NOAA over the past several years at the event, the IFP unanimously named Ed Holicky as the IFP Chairman Elect, a three-year commitment.

NOAA participants in the EAA AirVenture Federal Pavilion
NOAA participants in the EAA AirVenture Federal Pavilion

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom

The 2016 Aviation Weather Testbed (AWT) Summer Experiment was held at the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) in Kansas City cooperatively with the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City from August 15-26.

The major efforts of this experiment included examining new 3-D cloud fraction products and probabilistic guidance for use in the creation of cloud and visibility grids, and evaluating the process of creating aviation grids at the local level so TAFs can be generated. Other activities included demonstrating the creation of convective SIGMETs using the AWIPS 2 Hazard Services framework and working to improve the accuracy of AWC’s current convective products.
AWT participants discuss their tasks for the day ahead.

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
Congratulations to all of the NCEP local-level Isaac Cline Award recipients! The honorees are:


Data Acquisition Management: Austin Cross, for outstanding management of AWIPS data and support to CWSU partners using Thin Client

Support Services: Douglas Behne, for outstanding support services that ensure the production of quality products and services by the Aviation Weather Center

Outreach: Ed Holicky, for outstanding leadership and organizational skills employed to manage the national NWS outreach efforts at the 2016 EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Facilities: JoAnn Becker and Christa Jacobs, for outstanding vision and for employing excellent organizational and communication skills to completely redesign the AWC operational forecast center.

EEO and DM: Adam Stout, for promoting NWS Workforce Diversity by conducting a presentation to support the American Meteorological Society Project ATMOSPHERE week at the National Weather Service Training Center

Leadership: Steven Lack, for demonstration of exceptional leadership in development of two numerical aviation weather products key to evolving aviation weather services and enabling enhanced impact decision support services to the Federal Aviation Administration and aviation community

Meteorology: Amy Bettwy, Katie Deroche, Chris Duke, Amy Harless, and Amanda Martin, for an outstanding demonstration of collaboration with NWS partners toward timely coordination of NWS aviation warnings (SIGMETs) on NWSChat

Project Management: Ryan Solomon, for demonstration of exceptional program management and superior execution in preparing NextGen IT Web Services on the Integrated Dissemination Program’s architecture


Meteorology: Russell Treadon, Glenn White, and Lin Gan, for successful implementation of four-dimensional hybrid data assimilation and upgrades to the Global Forecast System into NCEP operations


Leadership: Steven Earle, for his work leading the implementations and operation and maintenance of the models in the NCEP Production Suite.


Outreach: Daniel Brown and John Cangialosi, for development and delivery of highly successful hurricane education webinars that have reached 26,000 fifth graders across the country

Hydrometeorology: Jamie Rhome, for leading the effort to make operational a cutting-edge NWS product to better inform the public and emergency managers about impending storm surge

Engineering, Electronics, or Facilities: David Zelinksy, for redesign of the National Hurricane Center website to improve user access to critical tropical cyclone and marine weather forecasts and outreach material

Meteorology: Matt Sardi, Jeff Lewitsky, and Andrew Latto, for developing a webpage to provide gridded marine forecasts to users utilizing low bandwidth.

Leadership: Edward Rappaport, for leadership by calling public attention to the direct causes of fatalities associated with tropical cyclones, to help reduce future loss of life


Meteorology: George Bancroft, Timothy Collins, David Kosier, David Mills, Frank Musonda, James Nolt, Brad Reinhart, Douglas Scovil, and Paul Vukits, for excellence in providing significant weather information through the hardships faced in the mid-Atlantic winter storm, January 22 to 24, 2016.

Outreach: Timothy Collins, Timothy Holley, James Kells, Paul Lee, Brad Reinhart, and Elizabeth Sommerville, for excellence in providing significant weather information to OPC’s customer and partners via social media and increasing weather readiness.

Support Service: Sharon Dee (joint WPC-OPC award), for showing extraordinary dedication by supporting 70 employees in WPC, OPC and NCEP, with a commitment to excellence and a focus on mission success.

Project Management: Fran Achorn, for her dedication to excellence, creativity, and innovative problem solving through developmental work and leadership.

Leadership: Joe Sienkiewicz, for his unwavering commitment to excellence in scientific leadership, enhancing decision support services to marine forecasters and users.


Engineering, Electronics, and Facilities: Gregory Grosshans (SPC), Jay Liang (SPC), Joseph Byerly (SPC), Rebecca Cosgrove (NCO), Carissa Klemmer (NCO), Cameron Shelton (NCO), and Douglas Fenderson (NCO) for demonstrated operational excellence in technical proficiency, initiative, creativity, and teamwork by leading the effort to implement a single-site super-resolution level-II radar dataflow for reliable and timely real-time usage in SPC operations in July 2015.


Leadership: Chris Lauer, for exceptional growth in leadership competency with application in software team building, Chris’s Technical Proficiency, Initiative and Creativity and Teamwork led to a significant increase in productivity at SWPC. He has helped create a collaborative environment where mutual respect and delivering to the customer are the highest values. Chris has gone above and beyond the call even of the Colorado Leadership Development Program in his earnest application of its lessons to his daily work.


Support Services: Sharon Dee, for showing extraordinary dedication and support to the employees in WPC, OPC, and NCEP with a commitment to excellence and a focus on mission success.

Program Management/Administration: Kathryn Gilbert and David Myrick (OSTI), for exceptional project management of the National Blend of Models leading to the implementation of the first version on the NOAA supercomputer

Leadership: Brian Hurley, Daniel Peterson, and Patrick Burke, for sharing expertise within and outside of the NWS, demonstrating leadership which embodies a dedication to service that is selfless

Meteorology: Michel Davison, for coordinating International Desk forecasts to provide real-time DSS to help protect the South American public during extraordinary weather events.

EEO/DM: Mike Schichtel and Brendon Rubin-Oster, for efforts in EEO and diversity to inform youth from elementary students in disadvantaged communities to university atmospheric science students on the wonders of meteorology.

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
During September 2015, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) began issuing experimental temperature and precipitation outlooks for the combined Week 3-4 time period. The experimental product are two categories outlooks (above- or below-average) where shading depicts the favored category, either above-average (A) or below-average (B) for 2-week mean temperature or 2-week total accumulated precipitation along with a text prognostic map discussion explaining the rationale behind the outlook. The product is released once per week on Friday at 3 PM. The solid contour lines show the probability (>50%) of this more likely category (above or below). In areas where the likelihoods of 2-week mean temperature or 2-week total accumulated precipitation amounts are similar to climatological probabilities and a category cannot be favored, equal chances (EC; 50% probability for each category) is indicated. During the first 10 months that the product has been issued, temperature forecasts have been quite skillful, precipitation outlooks less so.

This experimental product seeks to close the gap in the NWS seamless suite of outlooks between CPC’s Week-2 and 1-month outlook periods. The objective of the outlook is to provide advance notice of potential temperature and precipitation pattern changes to further assist decision makers in weather and climate sensitive activities in their decisions. The audience for this experimental product includes (1) the NWS local and regional field structure, (2) local, state, regional and national government entities (emergency management and planning), (3) the private sector (energy, water resource management, financial, etc. industries) and (4) the general public, among others.

The product is available at the following web site. http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/WK34/

The figure above shows the experimental outlook released on August 19, 2016.

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, NCEP upgraded the HWRF-Princeton Ocean Model (POM) coupled system at 1200 GMT. Changes include an upgrade of the dynamic core to WRF3.7.1a (with bug fixes) and a reduced time step for improved track and intensity forecasts in all global basins, especially for Atlantic and Eastern Pacific (EPAC);Hurricane forecast and an larger nested domain size and upgrade to new scale-aware SAS convection scheme for all domains. This change allows the new system to better handle large storms and provide improved storm structure forecasts with detailed smaller scale storm features. The HWRF GSI was upgraded to assimilate more satellite observation data (CrIS, SSMI/S, METOP-B changes) and to use DA for all East Pacific storms.2016 HWRF

The upgraded DA system provides well-balanced initial conditions, eliminating initial shocks (spin up and spin down) seen in the 2015 HWRF. HWRF physics were upgraded to include a new GFS PBL, updated momentum and enthalpy exchange coefficients, and an improved vertical wind profile in the surface and boundary layer. These upgrades provide more realistic vertical wind profiles compared to the observations. Real Time Ocean Forecast System (ROTFS) data is now used to initialize the POM model for EPAC storms for more realistic oceanic Initial Conditions and improved Rapid Intensification forecasts. HWRF is now coupled to POM for all Northern Hemisphere basins including Central North Pacific, Western North Pacific and North Indian Ocean for enhanced tropical cyclone track and intensity forecast skill; and to the Hurricane Wave model for North Atlantic and EPAC storms. The 2016 HWRF has been extensively tested for a 3-year period (2013-2015) of tropical storms. The results showed further improvements in tropical cyclone track and intensity forecasts in all global oceanic basins compared to the 2015 HWRF.

On Tuesday, August 23, 2016, NCEP upgraded the Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA), Un-Restricted Mesoscale Analysis (URMA), and North American Model (NAM) Impact of Ocean CouplingDownscaled Numerical Guidance (DNG) at 1200 GMT. Changes include replacing the current terrain and land/sea mask with the new EMC/GFE consensus terrain and land/sea mask in the 2.5km CONUS domain. This will eliminate the need for NWS forecasters to reduce the RTMA and URMA analyses to their local GFE terrain. The CONUS and Alaska grids of wind speed were improved by analyzing wind speed directly as a scalar. URMA output for Hawaii and Puerto Rico is being generated and stored on the NCEP FTP server. NAM DNG changes include replacing the current terrain and land/sea mask with the new EMC/GFE consensus terrain and land/sea mask in the 2.5km CONUS domain. The wind gust calculation at intermediate hours (1, 2, 4, etc.) was changed to use the max of the NAM nest wind gust and downscaled wind speed so all hours match. Total Cloud Cover hourly output was added for all domains. Cloud Ceiling Height and Mean Sea Level Pressure were added to the Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico files on the NCEP FTP server.

Impact of Ocean Coupling

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
Completed September 2016: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) recently deployed Geostationary Weather Satellite Antenna Systems (GWSAS) in operations for ingest and dissemination of weather observation GOES Satelliteinstruments data products from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites – R Series (GOES-R) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) Geostationary Satellites - Himawari - 8/9. The first Himawari 8 geostationary weather satellite system began operation on July 7, 2015 broadcasting its data products in C-Band via Japanese satellite JCSAT-2B, also known as the HimawariCast, while first GOES-R series satellites launched November 19, 2016. Currently, the Inouye Regional Center (IRC) and WFO-Guam offices are receiving the HimawariCast products from their GWSAS for the purpose of weather forecast in support of their missions.

This project entailed installing both GRB and Himawari antenna systems at most of the sites, but not all locations. The listing below represents all antenna systems installed at the different locations, along with their respective types (e.g., GRB. GRB/HimawariCast or HimawariCast):

GOES Satellite
  • 1. Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Sand-Lake Anchorage, AK - GRB
  • 2. Aviation Weather Center (AWC) Kansas City, MO - GRB
  • 3. National Hurricane Center (NHC) Miami, FL - GRB
  • 4. Inouye Regional Center (IRC) Honolulu, HI - GRB/HimawariCast
  • 5. Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) Boulder, CO - GRB
  • 6. Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Norman, OK - GRB
  • 7. NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP) College Park, MD - GRB
  • 8. Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Guam - HimawariCast

The project started back in 2013 collecting site information to visiting and performing site surveys at each of the sites listed above. In 2014 NWS awarded a contract to the Harris Corporation to install and design the systems to receive and process the GRB and HimawariCast data. GOES SatelliteThe project entailed many aspects from performing system factory acceptance testing (FAT) at the Harris lab facility in Melbourne, FL to Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) once the systems were deployed at each of the sites to include, but not limited to civil work (antenna pad foundation work), antenna assembly, antenna testing, antenna and IT equipment power delivery, IT equipment installation, networking/ security requirements, IT equipment testing, etc. In general, planning and coordination with key NWS stakeholders/Harris played a vital role in getting the project to this stage. Numerous hours by NWS management and project team members were also spent mitigating issues as they surfaced to managing the project. The entire process has taken approximately four years from inception to where we are at today.

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom

August 16, 2016 NOAA and its partners have developed a new forecasting tool to simulate how water moves throughout the nation’s rivers and streams, paving the way for the biggest improvement in flood forecasting the country has ever seen.

Launched today and run on NOAA’s powerful new Cray XC40 supercomputer, GOES Satellitethe National Water Model uses data from more than 8,000 U.S. Geological Survey gauges to simulate conditions for 2.7 million locations in the contiguous United States. The model generates hourly forecasts for the entire river network. Previously, NOAA was only able to forecast streamflow for 4,000 locations every few hours.

The model also improves NOAA's ability to meet the needs of its stakeholders — weather mapsuch as emergency managers, reservoir operators, first responders, recreationists, farmers, barge operators, and ecosystem and floodplain managers — with more accurate, detailed, frequent and expanded water information. The nation has experienced a number of disastrous floods in recent years, including the ongoing flooding this week in Louisiana, accentuating the importance of more detailed water forecasts to help people prepare. Initially, the model will benefit flash flood forecasts in headwater areas and provide water forecast information for many areas that currently aren't covered. As the model evolves, it will provide "zoomed-in," street-level forecasts and inundation maps to improve flood warnings, and will expand to include water quality forecasts.


weather map weather map

"Through our partnership with the research, academic and federal water community, NOAA is bringing the state-of-the-science in water forecasting and prediction to bear operationally," said Thomas Graziano, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s new Office of Water Prediction at the National Weather Service. weather map"Over the past 50 years, our capabilities have been limited to forecasting river flow at a relatively limited number of locations. This model expands our forecast locations 700 times and generates several additional water variables, such as soil moisture, runoff, stream velocity, and other parameters to produce a more comprehensive picture of water behavior across the country."

The underlying technology for the model was developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). NOAA developed and implemented the model along with NCAR, the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and federal Integrated Water Resources Science and Services Consortium partners. Continuing to leverage partnerships with the research community will prepare NOAA for new collaborations and even greater innovation in the future.

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
Storm surge causes nearly 50 percent of fatalities in tropical cyclones. So after Hurricane Matthew completed its trek along the southeast U.S. coastline, NOAA's National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb and storm surge specialists Jamie Rhome storm damageand William Booth traveled to areas in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina that were hardest hit by Matthew's storm surge. This was the first time hurricane center personnel were able to truth-test its operational potential storm surge flooding maps and see how the new experimental storm surge watch and warning graphics were received by emergency management officials and the public. The verdict was overwhelmingly positive on all counts.

storm damageThe team's assessment confirmed the storm surge watch/warning forecast accurately depicted Matthew's storm surge and the new graphic map played an important role communicating lifesaving information to those in harm’s way. This kind of data will help the National Hurricane Center fine tune their forecasts for future storms.

storm damage

Oct. 6, 2016- The National Hurricane Center issued a storm surge watch/warning for most of the eastern coastline of Florida, all of Georgia and portions of South Carolina. This prototype graphic was released to emergency managers, the media, and the public. It shows the locations at risk of life-threatening storm surge. (NOAA)

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
Storm Prediction Center Lead Forecaster Steve Corfidi has retired after 36 years of federal service in the National Weather Service, 22 of which were as a Lead Forecaster for the SPC. Steve's career in the National Weather Service began in 1980, when he served as a student meteorologist at the Meteorological Development Laboratory. Steve was then selected for the "graduate scientist" program. He worked three months each at the Baltimore Weather Forecast Office, the Meteorological Development Laboratory, the National Meteorological Center, and the Severe Local Storm Warning Center (SELS), while finishing his last year as a student at Pennsylvania State University. In 1982, he started his career at the National Severe Storms Forecast Center. After forecasting for the National Meteorological Center from 1987 to 1994, he returned to the National Severe Storms Forecast Center, which eventually became the Storm Prediction Center, where he became a Lead Forecaster. Steve is known for issuing the Tornado Watch leading up to the Jarrell, Texas F5 tornado of May 27, 1997 and the Particularly Dangerous Situation Severe Thunderstorm Watch leading up to the "Super Derecho" of May 8, 2009, amongst many other forecast decisions that required detailed analysis and investigation to determine the subtleties favoring severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Steve earned numerous awards throughout his career.
Steve Corfidi

While these accomplishments, alone, demonstrate his commitment to providing public service, he also established an outstanding record of operational meteorology research, advancing convective forecasting forward through research that he performed throughout his diverse career. His research on mesoscale convective system motion has become manifested in the vernacular of forecasters across the country as the often-used term "Corfidi Vectors." While Steve's work with mesoscale convective system motion is a major contribution, he has worked tirelessly to consistently provide well-respected and frequently referenced research spanning a broad range of topics, from historical pieces to heavy rainfall events to damaging wind events and derechos to haze and much more. He has maintained the "About Derechos" webpage on the SPC website. Steve's most recent contribution to the meteorological community is a paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society that proposes a revision to the definition of the term "derecho." Steve has also been very active in professional meteorology organizations and mentoring the next generations of meteorologists. He has served as a councilor of the American Meteorology Society; he has formally reviewed numerous publications; and he has been a trusted individual to discuss the physics of meteorology. Mr. Corfidi is well known for his vivid descriptions of clouds, and his understanding of the relationships between cloud processes and larger-scale meteorological dynamics. Steve's mentorship of students at The Pennsylvania State University in online courses that he has taught, and his mentorship of many other students, including the author of this article, demonstrate his passion for spreading knowledge and leveraging the next generation of forecasters. Steve's contributions to meteorology and society have been numerous, and his dedication to maintaining a watchful eye on severe weather across the country serves as a role model to many. Steve met his wife, Sarah, when she came to work as a Mesoscale Assistant / Fire Weather Forecaster at the SPC. The Corfidi family has moved to Tulsa following Steve's retirement. Though Steve has retired from the SPC, we expect he will continue contributing to the field of meteorology.

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
NOAA/NWS successfully implemented the Geospace Model (v1.0.0) into WCOSS production on September 7. The Geospace model was instigated by the needs of the electric power industry who requested regional specification and forecasts of the space weather storm damageconditions that affected their electric power transmission and distribution systems. Electric power lines and transformers are susceptible to unwanted electric currents that stem from the interaction between the auroral currents in the magnetosphere and ionosphere and currents induced in the ground near the power line. There is potential for severe impact on the electric power grid from these induced currents. storm damageThis model will provide customers with "regional" geomagnetic storm information with about 30 minutes lead time and is the first phase of a two phased implementation to bring new products and services to this industry. The second phase will bring a new Geoelectric model into operations which will couple output from the Geospace model with ground conductivity models to more accurately describe the amount of ground induced currents a particular segment of the North American power grid may encounter.

Story image
Click image to zoomClick image to zoom
The Weather Prediction Center (WPC) launched a new and improved homepage on September 27th, 2016. The revamped page showcases WPC’s growth towards Impact-Based Decision Support Services and a movement towards a Weather-Ready Nation, while still providing the same accurate and reliable suite of forecast and analyses products.

The process was kickstarted last Spring when staff and stakeholders expressed interest in improving the homepage, which had become a complex labyrinth of valuable weather data and out of sync with web design standards set by other NCEP Centers. WPC forecasters and developers quickly rallied behind the effort, providing the initial streamlined layout and framework of the page.

In order to maintain the website’s over 2 million hits a day and reputation of the 'go-to' site for the weather enterprise, WPC solicited feedback and incorporated suggestions from key stakeholders and customers. Survey results on the refreshed designed were overwhelmingly positive. Numerous comments like "Great site! Love having all of the information in the same spot" and "The new, improved site is everything I was looking for!" convinced WPC to go live with new page.

Features of the revamped page include quick and interactive access to WPC's most in-demand products; a hazards table highlighting potential upcoming extreme rainfall and winter weather events; and a dynamic "Top Stories" section which prominently displays WPC's event driven products such as Mesoscale Precipitation Discussions, Storm Summaries, and tropical rainfall graphics. The page also remains informative and interactive by directly embedding WPC's Facebook and Twitter feeds.

The reimagined homepage takes a tremendous leap towards the Weather Service’s vision of a Weather-Ready Nation and directly aligns with WPC's mission of delivering responsive, accurate, and reliable national forecasts and analyses.

Old vs New WPC Homepage
WPC’s old (left) vs. new (right) webpage

In This Issue...

NOAA/ National Weather Service
National Centers for Environmental Prediction
5830 University Research Court
College Park, MD 20740
NCEP Internet Services Team
Privacy Policy
About Us
Career Opportunities
Page last modified: [an error occurred while processing this directive]