|NOAA's NWS Focus
4 , 2003
Kansas National Guard
Military Technician Mark Reasoner (right)
a certificate of appreciation to Meteorologist-In-Charge
Scott Mentzer of the NWS Goodland, KS, Weather
Forecast Office. The certificate from
Committee for Employer Support of the Guard
and Reserve recognizes the WFO for being
a supportive employer, enabling NWS employees
to participate in the Guard and Reserve.
a look at other NWS news, as submitted for the NOAA
here to take a look at NOAA-wide employee news, as posted
in the latest issue of AccessNOAA
and Climate Partnership Report Published by National Research
study on the public-academic-private partnership for providing
U.S. weather and climate services supports the National
Weather Service mission and concludes that the partnership
is basically sound, functioning well, and serving
the needs of the Nation.
rather than conflict, appears to be the normal mode of operation,"
the study authored by a National Research Council committee
noted. "Despite occasional friction, the three-sector
system works," wrote committee chair John A. Armstrong in
a letter about the report to Jack Kelly. Armstrong added,
"The committee judges this friction to be an acceptable
price to pay for excellent weather services" but also recommends
that partners work harder to lessen the friction. The study
recommends that the NWS be more open in decision-making,
and seek more input from all interested partners and the
is a must read for everyone who is serious about making
the Nation's weather and climate enterprise a success,"
said Ed Johnson, Director, Strategic Planning and Policy
our employees are uncertain about what they can and can't
do within the public-private partnership. Some have worried
that the weather service mission would be changed to exclude
basic forecasting," said Johnson. "This study confirms our
mission and shifts our focus to working better with all
of our partners."
Each NWS office
and center will receive a publication copy of the 150-page
report when it is available in about two months. A pre-publication
copy of the report is available online at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309087465/html/.
some report highlights:
- The committee
rejected defining rigid roles for each sector as counterproductive;
- The NWS should
replace its 1991 public-private partnership policy of
defined roles with a policy that defines processes for
making decision on products, technologies, and services;
- NWS should
seek advice from users and representatives of the
academic, and private sectors on weather and climate
- NWS headquarters
and regional managers should develop an approach to
the local forecast offices that balances a respect for
local innovation and creativity with greater control
the activities that affect the public-private partnership,
especially those that concern the development and dissemination
of new products or services.
"Fair Weather: Effective Partnerships in Weather and Climate
Services," published January 30, 2003, was prepared by a
panel of respected experts from inside and outside the meteorological
community and chaired by Armstrong, former Senior Vice-President
for Science and Technology at IBM.
Below are links
to some news coverage of the report's release:
Note: The NWS is counting down towards national implementation
of the Interactive Forecast Preparation System (IFPS). Bob
Glahn, IFPS Program Manager, provides the current status
of the effort to change the way NWS forecasts are produced.
Glahn's article begins a series of NOAA's NWS Focus stories
covering topics relating to IFPS and the National Digital
Months and Counting:
Preparation System Taking Root at Forecast Offices
By Bob Glahn
IFPS Program Manager
IFPS is on
track! We set September 30, 2003 for our Initial Operating
Capability (IOC) for the continental United States (CONUS)
about a year and a half ago. Although there is much work
to do, I see nothing to keep us from making that goal. We
will follow with the Alaska and Pacific Regions three months
Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) concept was born later
than IFPS--a little over two years ago. Making a quality
mosaic from the input of many WFOs is a challenge, but we
are making excellent progress. We are committed to providing
temperature and probability of precipitation (PoP) grids
out to 72 hours by IFPS IOC; actually, we should be able
to do more.
of IFPS IOC is simple--all WFOs will produce the grids necessary
to automatically compose ten basic NWS text products and
will produce those products with software (formatters):
- Zone Forecast
- Coded Cities
- Tabular &
Narrative Fire Weather Forecasts (FWF)
Fire Danger Rating System Forecast (FWM)
- Coastal Waters
- Great Lakes
Open Lakes Forecast (GLF)
- Marine Verification
- Service Area
- Tabular State
We also will
make the local grids available to customers and partners.
Of course, many things must happen to accomplish this: staff
must be trained, forecast offices must make shift changes
to support the new operations concept, and forecasters must
embrace the paradigm shift to this new method of forecast
element of IFPS success is to have software that will
information from the local database (grids) into text products.
To do this, WFO staff can use the AWIPS baseline formatters
developed by the Meteorological Development Laboratory
or they can use locally-developed formatters based on templates
developed by the Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL). For
instance, a WFO can use the baseline formatter for the
product and a locally-developed formatter for the fire
weather product, or vice versa.
some challenges in making thousands of local grids available.
We decided the most expeditious route, and one leading toward
producing national mosaics, was to send the local grids
to the NDFD server and disseminate them from there. So it
became imperative that the WFOs send their grids to the
server for IFPS IOC. Software was put in place to do that.
Most WFOs are
using IFPS but with varying degrees of training and experience.
In order to work out details of implementation, three prototype
areas consisting of 17 WFOs worked together with NCEP, and
their grids were produced and sent to the NDFD server; the
concepts they developed live on and are spreading across
the Nation. Currently, all WFOs are sending grids to the
are being pieced together into seamless mosaics which are
available for viewing by the forecasters on AWIPS. Recently,
some of these same mosaics
were made available for experimental use and feedback from
customers and partners. These are the local grids at 5-km
resolution, just put onto a national map. In addition to
the CONUS grids, there are 16 slightly overlapping "tiles"
that contain the same information for those not wanting,
or able to handle, the large grids.
Early on we
recognized that producing a "seamless" mosaic would require
new operational procedures be put in place. The NWS is using
a three-step approach to solving possible boundary discontinuities.
Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) has adjusted
operations to collaborate with the WFOs for a national
HPC and the WFOs assess the overall weather situation for
the Nation and HPC distributes guidance to the WFOs to
in adjusting their grids. This collaboration is crucial
to the process, and HPC has stepped up to the challenge.
In the words of Lynn Maximuk, Meteorologist-In-Charge
(MIC) at Pleasant Hill, MO, one
of the prototype sites, "Having HPC as an active participant
early in the forecast collaboration process has opened
doors to forecasters. The result has been better, more
consistent forecasts across time and space."
Next, the WFOs
collaborate among themselves concerning the specific forecasts
along their borders. Offices exchange grids and use collaboration
tools such as chat software to assist the process. Collaboration
between WFOs also is a critical step in the forecast preparation
process, and the WFO forecasters are rising to the challenge.
For the third
step, when the grids are received at the server, software
compares the boundary values, and the results are provided
in numeric and graphical form to the WFOs. This gives the
WFOs a chance to amend their grids before posting to the
In order to
make sure we are ready, a month-long Operational Readiness
Demonstration (ORD) is scheduled to start June 16, 2003,
for the CONUS, and one for Alaska and the Pacific three
months later. An Integrated Work
Team (IWT) is working out the details and procedures
for the ORD for all regions. The team will also oversee
ORD, report on findings, and insure any deficiencies are
corrected before the IOC dates. The ORD will be an official
test to make sure we are ready for the IFPS initial operating
capability. During this test, all WFOs will demonstrate
IOC readiness in all respects. Actually, we hope to be
up and running a month or so before the ORD.
To meet legal
requirements, the NWS must archive official products.
are working out the details of this record retention process.
It requires the transfer and storage of large volumes
data, and new procedures have to be worked out concerning
WMO headers and for switching in the Telecommunications
All NWS components
recognize the tremendous benefits to the NWS and have
admirably. The NWS Training Center staff and the training
staff in the Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
recognize the importance of training for this transition
and have allocated staff accordingly. HPC has shifted
and forecast methodologies to lead the large-scale collaborative
process. FSL has improved the graphical editing capability
to insure IOC success. The Office of Science and Technology's
MDL and Systems Engineering Center put together a process
to get software releases to the field much more often
than was possible before. The AWIPS Network Control Facility
has provided, with MDL, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week
support to the process, and Northrop Grumman Information
Technology has superbly dealt with the more rapid release
schedule. Finally and most importantly, WFO forecasters
led by their MICs and regional headquarters
are adjusting and accommodating to difficult paradigm shifts
and schedules to keep the NWS relevant in its role of providing
the best possible service to the Nation.
New Weather Forecast Office and New Radar
The NWS marked
two milestones last week with the dedication of a new Weather
Forecast Office (WFO) in Alabama and a new radar in Indiana.
AL, is the 122nd WFO. Located in the National
Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) Annex
at the University
of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), the new WFO now provides
complete weather forecast and warning services for
of Lauderdale, Limestone, Madison, Jackson, Colbert, Franklin,
Lawrence, Morgan, Marshall, DeKalb, and Cullman Counties.
Transfer of the county warning areas from Birmingham to
Huntsville took place January 14, 2003.
the NWS at the January 30, 2003, dedication
ceremony were NWS Deputy Director
John Jones, NWS Southern Region Headquarters Director
and Huntsville Meteorologist-In-Charge John Gordon. Also
attending were U.S. Representatives Bud Cramer and Robert
Aderholt, who represent communities within the Huntsville
office's county warning area.
A new radar
IN, was dedicated on January 31, 2003. Data
from the new NWS Tri-State Doppler Radar near Owensville,
IN, will be used by forecasters at five NWS offices in
four states to provide the best possible forecasts and
to emergency managers and the public. The radar will provide
low-level radar coverage to 70 counties: 30 in Illinois;
23 in Indiana; and 17 in Kentucky.
John Hostettler, NOAA Deputy Assistant Secretary Timothy
Keeney, NWS Central Region Director Dennis McCarthy, Larry
Ordner of Senator Richard Lugar's office, and Andy
of Senator Evan Bayh's office attended the dedication,
along with NWS Paducah, KY, Weather Forecast Office
Meteorologist-In-Charge Beverly Poole.
New International Activities Director
Robert (Rob) Masters
assumed the position of Director of NWS's International Activities
Office on December 16, 2002. For the last 10 years, Masters
was Chief of the Satellite Activities Branch of the International
and Interagency Affairs Office at NESDIS.
"Rob is a great
asset to NOAA and we are glad to have him leading our International
Activities Office," said John Jones, NWS Deputy Director.
"He's widely known for his diplomacy, negotiation skills,
and knowledge of international affairs."
During a 20-year
tenure with NOAA, Masters has negotiated agreements with
satellite operators and instrument providers, and received
three bronze and two silver Department of Commerce medals.
He's served as Desk Officer for several countries such as
Australia, France, Africa, and the United Kingdom. As a
Desk Officer, he provided guidance to senior NOAA officials
on topics relevant to those areas including regional and
national organizations, noteworthy news and issues, and
staffing issues. He worked with the World Meteorological
Organization to promote international partnerships that
furthered NOAA's mission world-wide.
with NOAA in 1982 as a Presidential Management Intern. He
holds degrees in public policy, international affairs, management,
and french law. Masters, who is married with seven children,
lives in Silver Spring, MD.
Assignment Program Opportunities Available
Full-time and part-time
training assignments at accredited educational facilities
are available through the 2003 University Assignment Program
(UAP), the Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
Training Division announced recently. Employees selected for
university training assignments remain in their positions
of record while in training status.
who get involved with the University Assignment Program
can keep abreast of advances in science and technology and
other innovations within their occupational fields," said
Greg Mandt, OCWWS Director. The program also enables employees
to learn new skills or develop and improve abilities needed
in current or future positions.
and technological advances require NWS employees (meteorologists,
hydrologists, computer specialists, and other professionals)
to keep in step with current knowledge in mesoscale meteorology,
marine weather, oceanography, hydrology, advanced numerical
prediction, information technology, and other job-related
disciplines. Applicants may also look to broaden their
interpersonal, leadership, and managerial skills through
deadline is February 21, 2003, and all Region Headquarters,
Centers, and NWSH Offices have the forms needed to apply
for the program. To apply for this program or for more information,
contact your supervisor and normal chain-of-command in your
Region or Office. NWS Headquarters contact is Michael.Dion@noaa.gov.
here to see NEW APPOINTMENTS/TRANSFERS to NWS through
January 31, 2003.
here to see RETIREMENTS/DEPARTURES from NWS through
January 31, 2003.
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