Findings from the 2018 Mesoanalysis Think Tank at the NWS Operations Proving Ground (214)

Matthew Foster, NWS Operations Proving Ground, Kansas City, MO

Chad Gravelle, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies

Katie Vigil, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies

Kim Runk, NWS Operations Proving Ground

 

Abstract:

The near real-time availability of diverse high-resolution data sets is both advantageous and problematic for operational forecasters. Tools such as GOES-16 satellite imagery, hourly output from convection-allowing mesoscale models, probabilistic decision aids such as the NOAA/CIMSS ProbSevere Model, and Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor System data present unprecedented opportunity to improve situational awareness during convective events. The essential challenge lies in determining which data are of primary importance and knowing how to mine those data to improve warning and forecast decisions. National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters participating in various evaluations at the NWS Operations Proving Ground (OPG) have suggested this challenge is best addressed by elevating the importance of expert mesoanalysis on the convective warning team. This is especially true in complex environments and scenarios characterized by rapidly evolving convective modes. In addition to enhancing warning performance, expert mesoanalysis could form the foundation for innovative services in the temporal gap between watches and warnings. By effectively synthesizing knowledge of the evolving mesoscale environment, along with understanding of core partner decision thresholds, it is possible for the warning team to communicate precise, timely, and actionable information to risk management professionals - in some cases, before convection even develops. In February 2018, six Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) were invited to the OPG to discuss advantages and challenges associated with investing in a program devoted to developing specialized mesoanalyst skills. Their charge was threefold: (1) articulate how such a program aligns with NWS Evolve initiatives, (2) identify the most critical issues with adopting it, and (3) propose potential solutions. This presentation will summarize the activities of that &ldquoThink Tank&rdquo meeting, unveil five findings and recommendations forwarded to NWS leadership, and provide an overview of plans to conduct a series of interactive Mesoanalyst Boot Camp experiences in 2019.