National Weather Festival goes virtual Oct. 26-31!

Join us online for children’s activities, live sessions, and behind-the-scenes looks at the National Weather Center! Ask research scientists your questions, go behind the scenes with NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory’s mobile research tools, and much more! Content will be uploaded daily from Monday through Saturday to the National Weather Festival website.

Want the scoop from NOAA and its partners? Here’s the schedule by topic:

Severe Weather Research

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 5-6 p.m. CDT

GoTo Webinar: Get to Know the Scientists: How Different Paths Led to Working at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory

This virtual National Weather Festival live panel highlights the diverse paths of four scientists who work at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. Each presenter will share their personal story about how they became a scientist. Then they will answer your questions live. Ask them anything about their education, career path, or what they do at NSSL. Submit questions in advance to nssl.outreach@noaa.gov.

Registration is required for this free event

Meet the panel:

  • Elizabeth Smith is originally from West Virginia and loved observing the weather at a young age, but she didn’t dream of being a research meteorologist until high school. Today she works for NOAA’s NSSL where she conducts field research collecting and analyzing boundary-layer observations as a research scientist.
  • Pat Hyland turned his fear into a career. Scared of severe weather as a child, he now develops and tests tools to assist forecasters during severe weather. Pat is originally from Ohio and works for the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies at the University of Oklahoma. His work supports NOAA’s NSSL.
  • Katie Wilson became interested in meteorology at the age of 15. She traveled from England to the University of Oklahoma to study meteorology. There she met a researcher working to understand forecasting technologies as well as the psychology behind decisions. Katie not only loves her job but she loves the people she works with at OU CIMMS and NOAA’s NSSL.
  • Jacob Segall’s passion for weather began as a kid during a cross-country road trip when his family encountered a supercell thunderstorm in Ohio. Jacob participates in field research projects to complement his work in radar science. Originally from Pennsylvania, he works for OU CIMMS. His work supports NOAA’s NSSL.

Saturday, Oct. 31, 1 p.m. CDT

Observations on the Go: Up Close with NOAA NSSL Research Tools

Take an up-close look at the mobile instruments our researchers take on the road to measure the atmosphere. Learn about their innovative designs and how they use these tools to safely gather data in storms.

Watch on Saturday onlineMobile mesonet in the field

NOAA Affiliates

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 4 p.m. CDT

University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of OU CIMMS and current research happening at the cooperative institute! Our work supports entities with several NOAA entities – from severe weather research to forecaster training. While most CIMMS employees are based in Oklahoma, we also have scientists in Kansas City, Tennessee, and Colorado. Get an inside view of how our research is helping improve forecasting tools to help save lives and property.

Watch on Tuesday online

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 4 p.m. CDT

Ask us! OU CIMMS Live Panel

Ever wonder how a forecaster handles stress? How does a radar scan the sky? Ask us your weather questions, from radar to research instrumentation to forecaster training, we have answers.

Register for the event.

Meet the panelists!

  • David Schvartzman connected with OU CIMMS and NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory while earning his Masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the OU Advanced Radar Research Center. Today as a researcher at CIMMS supporting NOAA NSSL, his research is focused on advanced radar signal processing techniques, specifically for the Advanced Technology Demonstrator radar. This important research aims to continue to improve the National Weather Service’s radar capabilities while meeting future needs.
  • Alyssa Sockol’s interest in meteorology began in the Windy City of Chicago. She enjoys working in a research-focused environment and supporting the DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Data Quality Office combines her weather loves. She helps ensure all of ARM’s weather and climate data are of good quality to provide the most accurate, precise, and reliable data for scientific research. An avid code writer, she also works with students in the ARM DQ Office.
  • Hannah Wells has a very specific favorite weather phenomenon: thunder snow! She’s experienced thunder snow several times. Hannah supports the NOAA National Weather Service Warning Decision Training Division training and creating training for forecasters from all over the nation. When she isn’t working, she enjoys competitive ballroom dancing.
The Advanced Technology Demonstrator radar panel. (Photo by James Murnan/NOAA NSSL)

Operations and Forecasters

Monday, Oct. 26, 4-5 p.m. CDT

NOAA NWS Forecasters Answer Your Questions about Severe and Hazardous Weather

Forecasters at the NOAA NWS Weather Forecast Office in Norman have teamed up with forecasters from the NOAA NWS Storm Prediction Center to answer your questions about severe and hazardous weather for the 2020 National Weather Festival! Questions were gathered from the public during a two-week period in late September through early October 2020. Listen as we answer your questions, such as how tornadoes form, what’s the strangest event we’ve had to work, and much more!

Event information online

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m. CDT

NOAA NWS Norman Forecast Office presents Basic Spotter Training

As part of the 2020 National Weather Festival, NWS Norman will be conducting a Storm Spotter Training webinar. The class is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about severe storms! Topics include the importance of storm spotters, what a good storm report is during severe weather, safety while storm spotting, and some storm structure basics when you are looking at a storm.

Registration required

Thursday, Oct. 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m. CDT

NOAA NWS Norman Forecast Office presents Advanced Spotter Training

As part of the 2020 National Weather Festival, NWS Norman will be conducting an Advanced Storm Spotter Training webinar. The class is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about severe storms! The first portion of the course gives a brief refresher on the basics of a good report and storm spotting safety, which is mainly explored in the normal course. The advanced course then dives into the meteorology behind severe storms, as well as discusses storm structure and evolution.

Registration required

Friday, Oct. 30, 4-5 p.m. CDT

Issue Your Own Warning with the NOAA NWS Warning Decision Training Division

The NOAA National Weather Service Warning Decision Training Division (WDTD) develops and delivers training on the elements of the warning process involving a NWS forecast office and its partners. Our primary goal is to increase expertise among NOAA/NWS personnel and their core partners so they can better serve the public during warning operations. During this activity, WDTD instructors will demonstrate the process of issuing a warning using the same technology NWS forecasters use in operations. There will also be time for a Q&A.

Registration required

Saturday, Oct. 31, 3-4 p.m. CDT

NOAA NWS Norman Forecast Office Weather Balloon Launch

Weather balloons play an important role in understanding the atmosphere. These balloons help us diagnose short term weather events, as well as provide our weather models with data that is used to improve our forecasts. For the 2020 National Weather Festival, join Jennifer Thompson at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Norman, Oklahoma, where she walks through the processes of performing a weather balloon launch!

Watch on Saturday

The NOAA NWS Warning Decision Training Division trains every NWS Forecaster. (Photo by Emily Summars-Jeffries, OU CIMMS/NOAA NSSL).
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Information analysis: social science adds needed piece to the weather puzzle

Research Scientist Jack Friedman with University of Oklahoma Center for Applied Social Research observes and works in the National Weather Forecast Office in Huntsville, Alabama. Friedman is one of the several social science researchers involved in the VORTEX-Southeast project spring 2017 experiment. (NOAA NSSL)

Increasing our knowledge of severe storms and improving the tools used to forecast them has been the singular mission of the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory since it was formed more than 50 years ago — until recently. Now NSSL researchers are expanding their focus to include people — how they receive, understand and interact with weather information.

A new report released this month by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concludes that realizing the greatest return on investment from significant improvements in weather information will require a better understanding of how individuals, households and communities respond to weather forecasts, watches and warnings.

NSSL is already doing many of the recommendations mentioned in the report, said Kim Klockow, a research associate working at NSSL with the University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. Dozens of researchers are integrating disciplines such as communication, psychology and education into the traditional meteorological research at NSSL.

“Meteorologists care about saving lives and property, and ultimately those goals depend on the actions people choose to take,” Klockow said. “Information is just one piece of the puzzle. Providing the public with information about possible dangers doesn’t stop the threats from having an impact, and it alone doesn’t motivate people to take action.

“In our research at NSSL, we have to account for the ways people understand what we’re saying, the things they’re able to do, and the things that motivate them.”

Klockow leads a new societal impacts group at NSSL created to ensure new technologies are useful and usable by the public, emergency managers and public broadcasters. Several recent projects are highlighted below.

Research in the Hazardous Weather Testbed

Each year, NSSL invites broadcast meteorologists, emergency managers and National Weather Service forecasters to the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed in Norman, Oklahoma, to test new technology developed at NSSL and within NOAA.

“Our research needs to engage those who will be using it,” Klockow said. “We have them test what our researchers have developed to see if they can use it, or will use it.”

Next year, the researchers plan to invite larger private sector companies to participate in testbed experiments. These forecasters may provide new insights, Klockow said.

The NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed during the Spring 2017 experiment about the Geostationary Lighting Mapper. (Photo by James Murnan/ NOAA NSSL)

People’s responses to warnings
Recently, NSSL teamed up with OU’s Center for Risk and Crisis Management to analyze how the public receives and acts on weather warnings. This project, part of the broader Probability of What project, is to study the effectiveness of the current warning infrastructure. This information will help NSSL measure the impacts new technologies might have on the public.

“We are looking at providing more information between a watch and warning to fill the information gap and provide up to an hour of advanced notice for all kinds of severe weather,” Klockow said. “We need to know if it will be beneficial to people — if they will use that information — or if giving a slew of probabilities may be more difficult to understand.”

The POW research team is conducting nationwide surveys and small experiments to measure the public’s understanding of weather information.

Social science integral part of tornado study
How emergency managers and forecasters handle information during hazardous weather events is an important part of VORTEX-Southeast, a research program studying storms and tornadoes in the southeastern United States.

“VORTEX-SE is the first time social science has been integrated into a weather field campaign,” Klockow said. “When the physical science researchers deploy to the field, so do the social science researchers.”

Klockow said social scientists have embedded with local emergency managers and National Weather Service forecasters, studying how they receive information, process that information, and relay it to the public.

“We see if there are any information gaps, points of confusion, or breaks in the communication channels and how the process may be improved,” Klockow said.

Studying the latest technology
Part of informing the public about weather affecting them includes staying apprised of the latest and greatest technology. Klockow is researching the ATSC 3.0, a new television broadcast system offering more options, including advanced emergency alerts.

“It will fundamentally change the way TV works, so someone can point to the TV with their remote and get more detailed or local information during severe weather coverage,” Klockow said. “The viewer could pull up radar, probability plumes defined by NSSL research or timelines. This offers an amazing opportunity to get more information to the user. We have to make sure we are aware of this new technology and get it in sync with our research designs.”

Whether studying the structure of a thunderstorm, developing a new radar algorithm, improving a weather forecasting model, or analyzing the ways people receive weather information — every project at NSSL has at its heart the goal of minimizing the impacts of hazardous weather on society.

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Women of NSSL: Kim Klockow

Kim Klockow

For the month of October NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory is publishing a series of stories highlighting some of the women working at the lab. One Q&A segment will be published each Monday in October.

Kim Klockow is research scientist at The Unversity of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. Working with NOAA NSSL, her research involves behavioral science focused on weather and climate risk, especially issues in the communication of forecast uncertainty and hazardous weather warnings.

Q: How did you get into weather or your field?
A: Like many in the field, I had some frightening experiences with tornadoes during childhood, including one notable case where a large tornado hadn’t received any warning. Those experiences motivated me to learn more about severe weather, but also to understand the human element and how risks could be conveyed more effectively. What started as a motivated interest grew into a lifelong mission to improve our country’s weather resiliency.

Q: Describe the path leading up to your current job.
A: My career really began when I was a doctoral student. As an interdisciplinary scholar with interests in both human behavior and meteorology, I quickly found I was going to have to create my own path. After earning my Ph.D, I received a fellowship to work as a science adviser in the U.S. Senate, and from there worked at NOAA headquarters for several years on policy for social scientific research in the agency. Those experiences have been invaluable to me as I’ve now returned to Norman to help the NOAA National Severe Storms Lab create a group dedicated to social and behavioral science research.

Q: What educational background helped you get to your career today?
A: I received Bachelor of Science degrees in meteorology and economics with concentrations in communication and psychology. From there I went on to get an Master of Science in professional meteorology with an economics concentration, and a Ph.D. in human geography. I took Ph.D. level courses in seven different departments as part of my graduate studies — I wasn’t kidding when I said I had to make my own path!


Q: Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

A: As much as I’m proud of the career I’ve built, the effort I’m proudest to have been a part of is the Loveworks, Inc. program based in Norman. Early on in my graduate work, I helped launch a mentorship program for at-risk middle school youth that has now grown to include every middle school in the city and has reached more than 1,000 students. Working to cultivate the local community kept me sane through the challenges and doubt that surrounded my graduate path.

Q: What is one thing you couldn’t live without at work?
A: Coffee. Sadly. I’ve been an addict since those U.S. Senate days – the “marbled halls of congress” are real, and in the winter, they’re frigid. When my fingers got too cold to type I turned to coffee, and once you turn to coffee there’s apparently no turning back.

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Women of NSSL: Jian Zhang

Jian Zhang, NOAA NSSL research meteorologist.

For the month of October NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory is publishing a series of stories highlighting some of the women working at the lab. One Q&A segment will be published each Monday in October.

Jian Zhang is a research meteorologist of NOAA NSSL’s Warning Research and Development Division. Zhang completed her Ph.D at The University of Oklahoma in 1999. She worked with the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesosocale Meteorological Studies until 2009 when she became a federal employee.

Q: How did you get into weather?
A: My father was a mechanical engineer and his appreciation for the intricate regularities of math and physics and a passion for solving real-world problems had a big influence on me. As a result, I chose atmospheric physics/meteorology as my major in college and have stayed in the field ever since.

Q: What is it about your job that interests you?
A: My job is to produce accurate precipitation information for every square kilometer of the U.S. in a timely manner. Such information is critical across several sectors of the U.S. economy and for the protection and well being of the communities. Seeing my job has direct impacts and benefits in the real world interests me.

Q: Tell us about a project or accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career?
A: The most significant project of my career is the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor system for which I am one of the main developers. ​The MRMS​ project provides people with severe weather and flash flood information at an unprecedented resolution down to the street scale.


Q: What is your personal philosophy?

A: Kind. Diligent. Intelligent.

Q: What would you most like to tell your younger self?
A: ​I would like to tell my younger self to be more critically thinking since I grew up in a culture and environment that valued collective interests more than individual interests – especially for women – and valued old wisdom more than adventures.

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Women of NSSL: Pam Heinselman

For the month of October NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory is publishing a series of stories highlighting some of the women working at the lab. One Q&A segment will be published each Monday in October.

Pam Heinselman is the acting division chief of the Forecast Research Development Division and Warn-on-Forecast program manager. Heinselman has been a research scientist with the Lab since March 2009 and received a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering in 2009 as well.

Q: How did you get into weather or your field?
A: When I was in kindergarten I was afraid of thunderstorms. That fear turned into a curiosity about the weather and a desire to become a meteorologist.

Q: What advice would you provide to up and coming meteorologists or others in your field?
A:  Advice I would provide to up-and-coming meteorologist or others in my field is to determine what you enjoy doing most within your field and gain the experience you need to do it. Life is too short to do something you do not enjoy.

Q: What is your personal philosophy?
A: My personal philosophy is well stated by Maya Angelou, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Q: What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had?
A: The most unusual job I’ve ever had is making and selling donuts when I was 16 years old. I ate so many donuts that I haven’t eaten one since.

Q: What does true leadership mean to you?
A: To me true leadership is a combination of vision, bringing forth change to the benefit of others, and providing a work environment in which people can be creative, grow, and excel.

Q: If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
A: If I could do another job for just one day, I would be a Zumba Instructor at a gym because I love to dance.

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NSSL researchers measure eclipse effects

NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory research scientist Sean Waugh uses an instrumented truck to measure the atmosphere while he prepares a weather balloon for launch earlier this year in Kansas. He will do the same thing on Aug. 21 in Nebraska during the total solar eclipse.
(Photo by Matthew Mahalik/OU CIMMS and NOAA NSSL)

The total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 offers a unique opportunity for researchers from the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Oklahoma State University to study sudden, drastic changes in the Earth’s lower atmosphere caused by a loss of sunlight.

“This is a rare circumstance,” said Sean Waugh, research meteorologist with NSSL. “We don’t know what sort of effects on temperature and winds an eclipse might have.”

Waugh will drive to a location in southern Nebraska and park in the path of totality. From the start of the eclipse through its completion, weather instruments mounted to the roof of the NSSL truck will automatically measure surface temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, pressure and solar radiation every second.

Next to the truck about every 30 minutes, Waugh will launch weather balloons with instruments attached to take the same atmospheric measurements in a vertical profile through the lower part of the atmosphere. These weather balloons are used by the National Weather Service daily, and can reach altitudes up to about 80,000 feet.

At the same time, Adam Houston, associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and collaborators from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, will fly two Unmanned Aerial Systems. The UNL Matrice, operated by University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will measure temperature, moisture and pressure. The DJI Matric 600 operated by Oklahoma State University will measure wind speed and direction, along with temperature, moisture and pressure.

The UNL Matrice, operated by University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will measure temperature, moisture and pressure. The DJI Matric 600 operated by Oklahoma State University will measure the same things as well as wind speed and direction. (Photo provided)

“It will be good to combine different platforms and take the same observations in different ways,” Waugh said. “These measurements will increase our understanding of what an eclipse will do and what sort of effects it can have on our surface weather conditions.”

In addition to documenting the surface temperature and wind changes caused by the eclipse, the data will be used later to validate predictions from and refine an experimental version of the High Resolution Rapid Refresh short-term weather model run by the NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory’s Global Systems Division in Boulder, Colorado.

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International collaboration benefits US, European forecasters

NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory Researcher Adam Clark at the European Severe Storms Laboratory Testbed this summer.

Weather doesn’t stop at borders. Nowhere is this more clear than in Europe, where two researchers working at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory went shoulder to shoulder with researchers in the European Severe Storms Laboratory Testbed this summer. The goal was to collaborate on forecast products and learn how NSSL technologies are used abroad.

“As scientists and meteorologists, we need to continue to talk because that’s how true knowledge transfer occurs,” said Darrel Kingfield, University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies researcher working at NSSL. “ESSL researchers came to work with us in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed a couple of years ago and this year we went to them.”

Darrel Kingfield presenting at the European Severe Storms Laboratory Testbed this summer.

During its sixth year, the ESSL Testbed program evaluated forecasts for high-impact weather. Like the HWT, the ESSL testbed serves as a forum to stimulate interaction between product developers and operational forecasters from throughout Europe. Also, lectures from several local and international experts help testbed participants enhance their knowledge and skills.

Different geography, systems

Kingfield and NSSL Research Scientist Adam Clark each spent a full week at ESSL’s testbed. What struck them was the difference in geography between the United States and Europe. Clark said ingredients needed for severe weather come together much differently in Europe than the U.S.

“You have the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps and that affects much of their weather,” Clark said.

Adam Clark working in the European Severe Storms Laboratory Testbed.

Along with geographical differences, Clark and Kingfield learned about the different weather prediction and monitoring systems operated by each European country. A variety of forecasting tools and methods are used throughout Europe, from government operated to privatized systems. This results in data, forecasting and verification inconsistencies.

“For example, after a tornado occurs in the U.S., officials observe and record where it occurred and how severe it was,” Kingfield explained. “Europeans rarely go out and assess tornado damage after a storm. Those surveys are reserved for most damaging events.”

As a result, Europe’s tornado database is not nearly as complete as the United States.

Sharing tools and techniques
While in the testbed, Kingfield and Clark gazed upon a few familiar products.

“The German Weather Service is using a lot of the same techniques developed at NSSL to interpret radar data,” Kingfield said. Some European meteorologists use several products developed in the U.S. by NSSL and OU CIMMS researchers. For instance, one technique allows them to use radar data to visualize the possible track of a tornado based on the storm’s rotation.

Collaboration is an important tool for forecasters and researchers. Participation in ESSL’s testbed allows researchers like Kingfield and Clark to share new technologies, experience new techniques and learn new systems. Opportunities like this allow researchers to collaborate on new products and technology, ultimately leading to better forecasts and warnings for the American public.

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NEWS CONFERENCE MEDIA ADVISORY: Researchers test unmanned aircraft systems

Researchers test unmanned aircraft systems for measuring the lower atmosphere, potentially improving short term weather forecasts

Researchers from NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, The University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado and Meteomatics have begun a project to test the value of airborne, mobile observing systems for observing important changes in the local environment that can spawn severe thunderstorms.

During EPIC, the Environmental Profiling and Initiation of Convection field project, researchers will deploy fixed-wing and rotary small Unmanned Aircraft Systems today through May 20 at and near the Department of Energy’s Southern Great Plains site in Lamont, Oklahoma, and at a second site near an Oklahoma Mesonet station chosen each day. Timing and location of activities will be coordinated with the NOAA National Weather Service Norman Forecast Office, which will be receiving data from the instruments in real time for evaluation.

During the news conference, researchers will discuss their operational plans and project goals. Equipment on display will include the three systems being deployed:

  • Meteodrone rotary UAS from Meteomatics
  • CopterSonde rotary UAS from The University of Oklahoma
  • TTwistor fixed-wing UAS from the University of Colorado

WHAT:
News conference to discuss operational plans and project goals
Equipment displays

WHEN:
10 a.m., Friday, May 12

WHERE:
National Weather Center
Ceremonial Drive (circle drive by the flagpoles)
120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, Oklahoma

Colorado University’s TTwistor will be used in EPIC. (Photo provided)
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NSSL April Photo Contest

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Want to be featured on NSSL social media? Send us your best “hazardous weather” photos and your image could be selected as our cover photo for the month of April!

Submit your photos on our Facebook page (or email nssl.outreach@noaa.gov) by Friday, April 1, 2016. Be sure to include photo credit, caption, date, and location. We will add all of the submissions to an album called “April Photo Contest.” During the week of April 4-8, 2016, our Facebook followers will be invited to vote by “liking” their favorite picture. The winner will be selected as our cover photo for the month of April.

Please submit only one photo per person. We reserve the right to disqualify any entrant at our discretion. You retain your rights to your photograph(s); however, by entering the contest, you grant NSSL a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any NSSL purpose, including, but not limited to, use on our website, social media outlets, educational/training materials or NSSL publications. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit. NSSL will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

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8 Things to Know About NSSL

bg02October will be a busy month in Norman, Oklahoma, for the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory and others in the weather community, with visitors attending several events in the area. The Society of Environmental Journalists comes to town for their annual meeting October 8-11, followed by the National Weather Association’s Annual Meeting October 17-22, and finally the National Weather Festival will take place on October 31. Multiple agencies and groups will take part in each event. With so many involved, it can be hard to differentiate all the players.

Here are eight things you need to know about NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory:

  1. We recently celebrated our 50th anniversary. NSSL was established in 1964, when the National Severe Storms Project moved from Kansas City to Norman. Edwin Kessler was appointed the first director. A small group of scientists had been working in Norman for two years prior, with a recently installed Weather Surveillance Radar-1957 at the Weather Radar Laboratory.
  2. NSSL is comprised of three main divisions: Forecast Research & Development, Warning Research & Development, and Radar Research & Development.
  3. Our research is focused on meeting six Grand Scientific Challenges. These include:
    1. Developing reliable probabilistic guidance products
    2. Producing enhanced capabilities for WSR-88D
    3. Reliably predicting flash flooding
    4. Predicting useful warnings of lightning activity one hour in advance
    5. Developing a reliable nowcasting system for convective initiation
    6. Providing and communicating warning uncertainty information for high impact weather events
  4. We are published. A lot. Our work appears in the journals of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, Science, and beyond.
  5. We have a legacy of excellence in research. In September 2015, NSSL’s Harold Brooks was awarded the Nikolai Dotzek Award at the European Conference on Severe Storms. For a complete list of our awards over the years: http://nssl.noaa.gov/about/awards/.
  6. We help create a Weather-Ready Nation. NSSL is part of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research. NSSL is committed to finding new ways to observe and predict severe weather, and we often work with another line office, NOAA’s National Weather Service, to support them in saving lives and property.
  7. We have a strong partnership with the University of Oklahoma’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. Many of our researchers are actually CIMMS scientists, who make valuable contributions to NSSL work.
  8. We’re in the National Weather Center. For many years, NSSL was located in what is known as “North Base,” which currently houses the Radar Operations Center. In 2006, we moved six miles south when the NWC opened its doors. We are now co-located with several branches of the National Weather Service, including the Storm Prediction Center, the Norman Weather Forecast Office, and the Warning Decision Training Division. A great environment for collaboration!
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