Emerging AWIPS Tools to Assist Today's NWS Forecasters (310)

Daniel Nietfeld, NOAA/OAR/ESRL/GSD, Boulder, CO




NOAA/OAR's Global System Division (GSD) has created AWIPS-based tools aimed at assisting NWS forecasters with performing their daily functions of providing Decision Support Services and forecast enhancements. These tools were created to suite the evolving paradigms of WFO and National Center forecast operations.

Data mining is used by organizations to sift through vast amounts of raw data and turn it into useful information. By using software to look for patterns in large batches of data, businesses can learn more about their data and develop more effective use of what otherwise might not be seen. As the information load for the forecaster has increased, creating evaluation criteria, then filtering the forecast models with software that searches for any pattern match using that criteria, is potentially beneficial.

Based on forecaster requests, GSD created a software tool to assist in pre-screening gridded forecasts. It is integrated into the AWIPS Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE) and called the experimental Forecaster Event Awareness Tool (FEAT). This tool alerts the operational forecaster to weather events of significance. Rules defining significant weather are used to systematically screen the forecast grids to identify events of potential importance. In this tool, when multiple model forecasts are in good agreement on the occurrence of a significant weather event, then a higher weight is applied to the results. The size of the area of coverage is also an important factor. Forecasters are interested and actively engaged with this tool to identify events that concern them by creating rules of varying complexity.

Another tool, known as the Grid Monitor, presents a status of the current forecast as compared to a gridded analysis of observations that forecasters choose. This allows the forecaster to assess the overall forecast quality in less than a minute thus saving time when updating the forecast. Forecasters can also compare their forecast to other forecasts to determine when and where there are major differences. Other options provide time series over predefined forecast areas to view discrepancies in time.

The Ensemble Tool, which directly assists forecasters when performing DSS activities by presenting displays of model ensemble forecasts, has been baselined and is now part of the core package used by some NWS forecasters. One unique feature of the Ensemble Tool is an interactive display of the ensemble members' probability density function (PDF) and cumulative density function (CDF), as well as probabilities of specific values. We will provide a status on the progress of each of these efforts as well as future plans.