Since 2005, the NWS
Meteorological Development Laboratory
(MDL) has been collaborating with the
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
to demonstrate the functionality and capability of the
Autonowcaster (ANC) at the
Fort Worth, Texas Weather Forecast Office
(WFO). This work initially focused on how a human forecaster–automated system approach
(so-called Man-In-The-Loop) could produce a significant improvement in thunderstorm nowcast
accuracy above and beyond that provided by a purely automated nowcast system. Today, the
program has evolved to support the prototyping of the NWS’ 4-D weather data cube known as the
Weather Information Database (WIDB) for the FAA's
Next Generation Air Transportation System.
For that purpose, a second ANC system has been installed to run at the
Melbourne, Florida WFO
to support specifically the nextGen demonstration.
The system runs at MDL and forecast products are sent in real time to Fort Worth and Melbourne WFOs.
A forecaster at each WFO can remotely interact with the ANC system using the Advanced Weather
Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) Display 2 Dimensions (D2D) display to create surface boundaries
and to set or update the convective regime expected to dominate the weather for the next 6-8 hours.
These data are then sent instantly to ANC via AWIPS Local Data Acquisition and Dissemination system
(LDAD) and ingested by ANC algorithms. The forecast products are also disseminated to the NWS’ Forth
Worth and Orlando Center Weather Service Units (CWSUs) via web pages.
The ANC system is a suite of automated applications that produces 0-1 hour thunderstorm nowcasting
predictor fields derived from observation-based feature detections, numerical weather prediction
model output, and human forecaster input. Data ingested by ANC include WSR-88D level 2, satellite,
sounding, and surface observations. The software applications in the ANC environment include
algorithms for boundary-storm interactions, cumulus cloud detection and growth, boundary-relative
shear profile, boundary-relative updraft strength and storm trends and tracks. A fuzzy-logic
application is used to combine the weighted outputs from the various analysis algorithms to produce
time- and space-specific forecasts of thunderstorm initiation, growth and decay. A more comprehensive
and detailed overview of ANC is described in a paper titled
NCAR Auto-Nowcast System.