Solving the problem of water prediction requires community effort

The problem of water prediction is vast and complex, requiring the expertise and experiences of many. The December 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society featured the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory’s report on results of the first Q2 Workshop held in June 2005 in Norman, Okla. Scientists, operational forecasters, water managers, and stakeholders from public and private sectors, including academia gathered to discuss a broad range of precipitation and forecasting needs and issues.

The workshop, jointly organized and hosted by NSSL and the National Weather Service Office of Hydrology, critically reviewed currently available observation tools for quantitative precipitation information (QPI), operational practices and experiences, key science issues, and future prospects for technical advances. The goals of the conference were to foster the development of a community-wide integrated approach towards advancing QPI science and its infusion into operations.

The Q2 Workshop was also a launching pad for NSSL’s prototype NMQ system–a community test bed for research, development, and RTO transition of QPI science and applications. NMQ facilitates robust algorithm testing and evaluation to accelerate movement of new science into operations.

The outcome of the Q2 Workshop was a list of science focus areas and a plan to make the most of the unique NMQ environment towards improving monitoring and prediction of water-related hazards and freshwater resources in the U.S.

Since the Q2 Workshop, NSSL has: – Implemented a system that produces a national (CONUS) 3D radar mosaic grid that can be used for multi-sensor severe storm algorithms, regional rainfall products generation, aviation weather applications, and data assimilations for convective scale numerical weather modeling. – Researched a multi-sensor approach focused on high-resolution integration of radar, satellite, model, and surface observations to produce very high-resolution precipitation estimates. – Developed a verification system to provide real-time and archived 3D Mosaic data and QPE products from a variety of sources.

Background: The Q2 project aims at producing accurate, high-resolution, all-region, and all-terrain precipitation estimates and very short term forecasts. The project also aims to integrate and assess new data sources and new methodologies and techniques.

Significance: Water is a precious resource and, when excessive or in short supply, a source of many hazards. It is essential to monitor and predict water-related hazards, such as floods, droughts, debris flows, and water quality to determine current and future availability of water resources.

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