2015 Spring Warning Project will look at new severe weather warning guidance

Researchers and forecasters work side by side in the Hazardous Weather Testbed.

Several experiments to improve National Weather Service severe weather warnings will be conducted this spring in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) as part of the annual Experimental Warning Program, a joint project of the National Weather Service and NSSL/CIMMS to support NOAA’s goal to evolve the National Weather Service and build a Weather-Ready Nation. The EWP’s Spring Warning Project will run from May 4 through June 12, and provides a conceptual framework and a physical space to foster collaboration between research and operations to test and evaluate emerging technologies and science.

Forecasters will evaluate an updated Lightning Jump Algorithm (LJA), based on the GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper, that was enhanced based on feedback from forecasters participating in the 2014 program. In severe storms, rapid increases in lightning flash rate, or “lightning jumps,” typically precede severe weather such as tornadoes, hail, and straight line winds at the surface by tens of minutes.  These evaluations will help prepare for possible operational implementation in 2016 following the launch of GOES-R.

Earth Networks’ total lightning and total lightning derived products, including storm-based flash rates tracks, time-series, and three levels of thunderstorm alerts will be evaluated in real time, building upon the initial evaluation in 2014. The 2015 evaluation will test the feasibility of use and performance under the stress of real-time warning operations.

A new set of high-resolution Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) models will serve as a prototype for developing the “Warn-on-Forecast” warning paradigm. Feedback from this project will go into developing new model tools capable of managing the large amounts of model information associated with future forecast systems.

During three weeks of the experiment, forecasters will assess a new tool using rapidly-updating high-resolution gridded Probabilistic Hazard Information (PHI) as the basis for next-generation severe weather warnings. This experiment is part of a broad effort to revitalize the NWS watch/warning paradigm known as Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs). The major emphasis of the HWT PHI experiment will be on initial testing of concepts related to human-computer interaction while generating short-fused high-impact Probabilistic Hazard Information for severe weather. The long-term goal of this effort is to migrate the refined concepts and methodologies that result from this experiment into Hazard Services, the next generation warning tool for the NWS, for further testing and evaluation in the HWT prior to operational deployment.

This year will mark the inaugural HWT Experiment with Emergency Managers. The EMs will be provide feedback on their interpretation of experimental probabilistic forecasts generated in the HWT from the PHI experiment and the Experimental Forecast Program (EFP). This feedback will be used in conjunction with feedback from forecasters to refine how the uncertainty information is generated and disseminated.

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2014 NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed experiments kick off this week

NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed: During a break in operations, Kristin Calhoun led an impromptu discussion of the complexities of interpreting PGLM lightning data.
NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed:
During a break in operations, Kristin Calhoun led an impromptu discussion of the complexities of interpreting PGLM lightning data.

The NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) annual spring experiments kick off this week, and will run weekdays through June 6, 2014. During the experiments, researchers, modelers, and forecasters from around the world work together to improve severe weather forecasts and warnings in a simulated operational environment. NSSL, the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, and the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman sponsor the experiments each year.

The NOAA HWT has two branches, the Experimental Forecast Program (EFP) and the Experimental Warning program (EWP). They each have independent but complementary and goals.

The 2014 NSSL-NWS Experimental Warning Program will focus on applications geared toward National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWSFO) severe thunderstorm warning operations. Participants will test a prototype tool that provides Probabilistic Hazards Information (PHI), as part of the new Forecasting A Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs) program. They will also evaluate multiple GOES-R applications, including lightning mapper products; look at the performance and usefulness of two experimental short-term forecast models; and assess a new tool that tracks thunderstorm features.

Participants in the 2014 Spring Forecasting Experiment will evaluate a suite of new and improved experimental high-resolution models that can depict the probability of potential thunderstorms, their hazards, and their trends and transitions over time. This is an important step toward the NWS strategy of providing nearly continuous probabilistic hazard forecasts.  Participants will be dividing between either an “SPC desk” team, to examine products and techniques closer to operational implementation, or a “developmental desk” team, to explore experimental products and techniques.
The spring experiments have been the cornerstone of the HWT for more than a decade, and accelerate the transition of promising technology into forecast operations.

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2014 MRMS Severe-Best Practices Experiment

963734_10203486392308346_5749591803935314433_oMonday 7 April 2014 began the first week of the two-week Multiple-Radar/Multiple-Sensor-Severe Best Practices (MRMS-SBPE) experiment in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed at the National Weather Center in Norman, OK.  NSSL’s MRMS system quickly and intelligently integrates data streams from multiple radars, surface and upper air observations, lightning detection systems, and satellite and forecast models.

The MRMS-SBPE is designed to include forecasters in the process of developing training for the Warning Decision Training Branch in how to best use MRMS severe weather products to improve warning decision making.  Through a series of controlled experiments using archive and real-time data, forecasters will also help provide data to prove several hypotheses that MRMS products will provide better warnings for the public.  Operational activities will take place during the week Monday through Friday.

Specific goals for MRMS-SBPE are:

  • Determine which MRMS products are the most useful for warning decision making.
  • Develop optimal AWIPS2 procedures for hail, wind, and tornado warning decision making
  • Determine how MRMS products can be integrated into traditional severe weather diagnosis.
  • Suggest new MRMS products and display ideas.

This collaboration will help aid the NWS Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) in developing their training and educational materials for the MRMS-Severe weather products, which are planned for release by October 1, 2014.

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2012 Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiments

Starting today, researchers, modelers and forecasters from around the world will work together in a simulated operational forecasting environment to improve severe weather forecasts and warnings during the 2012 NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiment.

Forecasters will be given a first-hand look at cutting edge forecasting strategies and applications to provide researchers and developers useful feedback before they are implemented in National Weather Service (NWS) forecast operations.

NSSL, the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, and NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, Okla. sponsor the project each year.  The experiment runs from May 7, 2012 through June 15, 2012 at the National Weather Center.

The NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) has two branches, the Experimental Forecast Program (EFP) and the Experimental Warning Program (EWP).  They each have independent but complementary goals during the five-week experiment.

The 2012 Spring Forecasting Experiment, conducted by the EFP, investigates our ability to generate skillful forecasts for thunderstorms and severe weather over the continental United States.  The focus this spring will be on accurately depicting the evolution of the environment before thunderstorms form, along with thunderstorm trends and transitions over time.  For severe weather, experimental outlook-type forecasts that include areas and probabilities of severe weather for shorter time periods than previously attempted.  In support of the Warn-on-Forecast effort, participants will address the extraction and display of relevant storm hazard information from model-generated thunderstorms. They will also develop guidance that provides uncertainty information about specific thunderstorm threats such as tornadoes, hail and wind.  Each day during the experiment, activities will include a combination of experimental forecasting, subjective evaluation, discussion, and documentation.

The EWP targets detecting and predicting severe weather hazards on a small scale: from a few minutes to a few hours and over areas the size of several counties down to the size of neighborhoods.  Participants in the 2012 EWP will test and evaluate applications geared toward NWS forecast office severe thunderstorm warning operations.  They will evaluate a real time hazardous weather analysis and detection system using data from the WSR-88D network and from model analyses and forecasts.   Multiple GOES-R applications, including lightning mapper products, and the performance and utility of an experimental forecast model will be assessed.

Also part of the EWP, the Phased Array Radar Innovative Sensing Experiment (PARISE) examines the use of adaptive, rapid-scan radar data for detection and prediction of severe weather hazards.  Participants in the 2012 PARISE will work several archived severe weather events and interact with facilitators to produce timelines of their decision processes and observed storm evolution. The timelines will be used to assess the importance of adaptive, rapid-scan data in warning decision making.

The Spring Experiment has been the cornerstone of the HWT for more than a decade, where forecasters are provided with a first-hand look at the latest research and concepts and products.  At the same time, research scientists gain valuable understanding of the challenges, needs and constraints of front-line forecasters. The end result meets another NWS goal to increase the development, application and transition of advanced science and technology to operations and services.

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NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiments – 2011

Scientists and forecasters collaborate during the HWT Spring Experiment

As America’s spring storm season ramps up, NSSL scientists are preparing to host dozens of researchers, modelers and forecasters from around the world to work side-by-side on improving severe weather forecasts and warnings.  The gathering is part of the annual NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiment, held from May 9 through June 10, 2011 at the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla.

The two branches of the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT), the Experimental Forecast Program (EFP) and the Experimental Warning Program (EWP), have independent but complementary goals during the five-week experiment.

The Experimental Forecast Program is focused on the use of computer models of the atmosphere to improve predictions of hazardous thunderstorm events from a few hours to a week in advance, and over several counties to the continental United States.  During the 2011 Spring Experiment, the primary focus will be on using high-resolution weather models that have been designed to predict individual thunderstorms.  Visiting forecasters will determine if these models help them detect and predict hazardous convective weather.   A new emphasis will be placed on benchmarking the ability of these models to predict details of when and where the first storms will form.

The Experimental Warning Program targets detecting and predicting severe weather hazards on a smaller scale: from a few minutes to a few hours and over several counties to fractions of counties.  Participants in the 2011 EWP will test and evaluate projects geared toward National Weather Service forecast office severe thunderstorm warning operations.  A real time hazardous weather analysis and detection system using data from the WSR-88D network and from model analyses and forecasts will be evaluated.   Multiple GOES-R applications, including lightning mapper products, and the performance and utility of an experimental forecast model will be assessed.

The Spring Experiment has been the cornerstone of the HWT for more than a decade, where forecasters are provided with a first-hand look at the latest research and concepts and products.  At the same time, research scientists gain valuable understanding of the challenges, needs and constraints of front-line forecasters.

NSSL, the NWS Storm Prediction Center and the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, Okla. sponsor the Spring Experiment.  The end result meets another NWS goal to increase the development, application and transition of advanced science and technology to operations and services.

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