Standardizing NWS Color Tables — A Grassroots Effort (82)

Darren Van Cleave, NOAA/NWS/WFO Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, UT

Joe Moore, NOAA/NWS/WFO Duluth

Derek Deroche, NOAA/NWS/Central Region



The National Weather Service (NWS) communicates a large amount of information in both text and visual formats. Over the past several years, the NWS has made a concerted effort to improve consistency among its products and services. NWS forecasters regularly create graphics to support a wide range of decision support services and forecast operations, with many including corresponding maps of NWS forecasts. Several internal software packages have been created at the field and regional levels to help forecasters quickly generate such maps. In 2015, a grassroots group was established to address the issue of consistency among these various graphics-generation platforms, with a primary focus on color tables. This group has made a priority of incorporating established color science and cartography best practices in order to produce maps that are understandable to the general public. Meanwhile, the group has also strove to produce color tables that remain comprehensible to individuals with common forms of color blindness, while also being flexible enough to represent the wide range of weather conditions possible across the United States.

This poster will highlight the work accomplished to date by the standard colors group with a variety of real-world examples. Preliminary feedback will also be discussed. Lastly, future plans as well as possible expansion into other NWS products and services will be addressed.