NOAA's National Weather Service

NOAA's National Weather Service

National Weather Service WFO Operations 1979 vs 2014 Steve Zubrick Science and Operations Officer (SOO) Baltimore-Washington Weather Forecast Office Advances in Extratropical Cyclone Understanding and Prediction Since the 1979 Presidents' Day Storm Colloquium 28 May 2014 1 WFO 1979 Operations 1979 NWS technology

Observations GOES satellite imagery (paper copy) TIROS-N imaging system Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Surface stations limited Radar network 1950/60s (WSR57/74C) 2 WFO 1979 Operations 1979 NWS technology NWP Models

LFM-II (127 km) 7-layer PE (190 km) Barotropic/Baroclinic 3 WFO 1979 Operations 1979 NWS technology Workstations

AFOS: Automated Forecast Operations Sys.) WFO/WBC-Sterling VA circa 1992 Mono-chromatic Limited looping Up to 3 overlays Limited model data No model diag.

Limited display of satellite/radar data 4 WFO 1979 Operations 1979 NWS technology Communications Telephone/Fax NAWAS (hotline)

Mail (snail) Products Text-based 5 NWS 1979 to 2014 Then Now 6 WFO 2014 Operations

2014 NWS technology ADVANCED NWP: Ensembles, hi-res (3-4 km) Workstations: AWIPS (I/II) OBS: Radar/Sat/surface Comms: Internet/digital phones Products: NDFD/graphical (& text) 7

WFO 2014 Operations Biggest change in WFO operations: IDSS: Integrated Decision Support Services * Magnitude of Event * Proximity in Time 8 WFO IDSS Operations Based on personal interviews with WFO/WBC personnel who worked in the 1979 event

Very limited IDSS with external agencies (govt / media) No discussions on range of possibilities for event 9 WFO IDSS Operations Now Frequent communication of key IDSS information to key external agencies (govt / media) Provide guidance/discussions on range of possibilities for event

10 Examples IDSS in Action 11 Example IDSS in Action During winter 2013-14, WFO Sterling provided probability-based snowfall amount guidance to the public/media/govt Following describes briefly this effort 12

LWX Operations 2014 Integration of IDSS into operations Less emphasis on grid production, and more emphasis on IDSS, training, & program work Developed a user interface which enables efficiencies in forecaster-led gridded data population GFE User Interface for Data Entry 13 Pilot Project Objective 2: Winter Weather Probabilistic Products

Guidance for probabilistic products provided by AMS/NSF Collaborated with WPC, MDL, & core customers Allows forecaster to add value Goal: Improved decision-making for core customers 14 Background

Accurate Forecasts Desired Days in Advance But, as Lead Time ,Certainty And Vice-Versa Need to Better Communicate the Range of Possibilities Lead Time Certainty Balance

Balance 15 Idealized Situation As Storm Nears NWS Forecast Range of Possibilities Shrinks Between Max/Min Confidence Increases Max Max Max

Snowfall (inches) NWS Forecast; Most Likely Actual Snowfall Min Min 3 Days 2 Days

1.5 Days Storm Timeline 24 Hrs 12 Hrs Snow +6 Hrs +9 Hrs Snow Starts Ends 16 Min/Max/Most Likely Graphics

Minimum Expect at least this much Most Likely Maximum Official NWS Forecast Potential for this much 17

Max/Min/Likely Better Communication of Range of Possibilities 3 New Snow Products Explain the Uncertainty in the Snowfall Forecast When We Communicate Uncertainties Provide the Goal Posts of Possibilities People Can Make Better Decisions Leads to Less Impact on the Economy & Society 18 What Science is Behind This? Provided from ensemble of atmospheric models

32 Pieces 21 SREF 6 GEFS 1 GFS 1 NAM 2 Euro 1 Canadian Ensemble: Many different models of the atmosphere that show possible differences in forecast weather 19 What Science is Behind This?

Forecasters at WFO Sterling: Evaluate computer guidance before being released Final product combines: Forecaster Knowledge/Experien ce Computer Model Ensembles

20 Exceedence Graphics Allows user to evaluate threat for their thresholds Mouse over desired amount and image appears on large screen > 0.1 > 1 > 2

> 4 > 8 > 12 > 18 21 Table of Probabilistic Snowfall Accumulations User can see threat of all possible scenarios for their town

22 How Can This Help Me? Better Communicating Uncertainty Leads To Decision makers can weigh cost of taking action based on a range in forecasts vs. potential loss if no action is taken Some plan for worst case; others need most likely Ideally no surprises for anyone Less impact from winter storms through better planning & decision making 23

Summary NWS WFO Baltimore/Washington DC issues snow forecasts for the range of possibilities in snow amount 3 new products (In addition to what was always issued) Maximum / Most Likely / Minimum maps Chance of Exceeding maps Probability of Ranges table New winter weather webpage http://www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/winter Communicating uncertainty to decision-makers

Minimize Winters Impact on the Region 24 Summary Events like 1979 storm have and will happen again Advances in forecasting extreme cyclogenesis must be communicated to key core partners to get proper response WFO Sterling Staff WRN Open House October 2012

Heart of Weather-Ready Nation: A Nation that is prepared for and responds to hazardous weather events 25 Questions? 26

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