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For additional information concerning the NWS Melbourne IMU, please contact:
IMU Science Specialist:  Matt Volkmer
IMU Technology Specialist: Pete Blottman
IMU Leadership: David Sharp & Scott Spratt

 

‘Turning Science into Service'

 

NOTE: The information below is taken from a National Research Council (NRC) report titled Meteorological Support for Space Operations - Review and Recommendations. The NRC assembled a panel to review meteorological support related to space operations at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) shortly after the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986 and the lightning related destruction of the Atlas-Centaur 67 rocket on March 26, 1987. The development of the "AMU" was one outgrowth of the recommendations from the report.

Applied Research and Forecast Facility ARFF
As new advances in observing and understanding weather systems are achieved, projects must be initiated to translate the advances into new and better forecast techniques that are then transferred quickly and effectively to operational use. Forecasters can gain additional skills through assimilating these techniques into their individual repertoires. However, it is difficult to familiarize forecasters with new techniques while they have ongoing operational duties. Rotating forecasters through frequent training programs is one way of providing technology transfer. Another is by establishing an experimental or simulated forecast environment where forecasters can practice and gain working exposure to experimental activities on a daily basis. In talking with weather support personnel, the panel perceived a general recognition of the efficacy of these concepts, but heard widely differing views on how they should be achieved. The panel is convinced that significant improvement in weather support will require new approaches, increased cooperation, and a larger commitment of resources.  

Efforts to improve weather analysis and forecasting capabilities can be greatly facilitated by a group that is charged with monitoring the research advancements of the scientific community and applying the results to improve weather support for the space program. The need for such a group has been recognized by several agencies, and several operational units within NOAA, including the Spaceflight Meteorology Group at JSC, already have positions designated for these functions. However, the three-person NOAA effort at JSC is below a critically effective staffing level, is not sufficiently broad in scope, and is not located at KSC where it would be most effective.

The panel believes that the creation of an Applied Research and Forecast Facility (ARFF) at KSC would provide an ideal focus for future applications research and the development of new forecasting techniques. The ARFF should have responsibility for operating and evaluating prototype observing systems, developing and evaluating new forecast tools and techniques, and contributing to forecaster training and forecast verification. For such a facility to be successful, it must also have the active involvement of the research and operational communities.

Recommendation: An Applied Research and Forecasting Facility (ARFF) should be established at KSC to promote the development and application of new techniques to improve forecasting for space operations.


Interactions Between ARFF, Operational Units, and Applied Research Groups


The Applied Research and Forecasting Facility should be a mission-oriented interagency facility that is managed by NASA through the newly created Weather Support Office (WSO). Its director should be an atmospheric scientist who has experience in both operational and research meteorology. The staff would ideally include Air Force, NASA, and NOAA personnel, with term and visitor appointments from throughout the atmospheric sciences to provide a further infusion of both research and operational talents. This facility could be created largely from existing resources by streamlining redundant activities and reorienting and reassembling these resources.

The success of the ARFF would depend critically on its developing close working ties with the operational forecast units and establishing an attitude of team effort and mutual support. To promote these relationships, it is vital to have ARFF co-located with the Cape Canaveral Forecast Facility servicing KSC and to rotate operational staff between them regularly. Joint weather discussions should be conducted on a daily basis, as a vehicle to stimulate interaction. 

Clearly, there must be only one source of operational forecasts at KSC, and this responsibility should remain with the AWS forecast team. However, by operating in close proximity, the operational and experimental units can develop a cooperative relationship, where the ARFF scientists and forecasters know the forecast requirements, and the on-line forecasters are receptive to new approaches. Although co-located with the Cape Canaveral Forecast Facility, the ARFF would serve not only those AWS forecasters, but also the AWS forecasters from other detachments and the NOAA forecasters from JSC. Operational forecasters and applied researchers should spend time at ARFF, rotating into the ARFF at regular intervals. 
 

Figure 5 is a schematic diagram of the components of the ARFF and the routes of interaction between ARFF and other groups. As shown in the diagram, ARFF can be divided functionally into three sections: an Observing Systems and Technique Development (OSTD) Program, a Cooperative Applied Meteorology Program (CAMP), and a Forecaster Education and Training Program. A Weather Support Advisory Committee should assist the WSO in reviewing plans for, and progress of, the ARFF. Each of these components is discussed in a separate section below.

Recommendation: The Applied Research and Forecasting Facility should promote interaction between applied researchers and operational forecasters. To effectively reach forecasters, ARFF should be established adjacent to the operational forecast office at the Cape Canaveral Forecast Facility servicing KSC, and forecasters from KSC and other units should be assigned tours of duty within ARFF. To provide researcher interaction, government and university researchers should also be encouraged to spend time at ARFF.
 

Applied Research for Weather Support

Many applied research projects have been recommended in this report. Some projects require new equipment that is ready for installation into an operational environment, but they will still require evaluation of the data on a real-time basis to identify and optimize its utility in the local environment. For example, after a NEXRAD radar is installed at Melbourne, Florida, it is likely that the "operational" hail-detection algorithm (designed for the Midwest) will need to be modified empirically to account for the reduced frequency of hail reaching the ground in Florida, where the melting level is normally higher. This type of project is best suited for real- time, in situ investigation. The OSTD in ARFF will conduct these evaluations and be the conduit for improved weather support.

Most research projects will require substantial development efforts before products will be ready for testing in the operational environment. Some of these projects can be done outside of KSC by government and university researchers or by private contractors. Regardless of where the research is to be performed, two items are essential: a prioritized schedule of applied research to be performed and a budget with which to sponsor it. The WSO, with the advice of the Weather Support Advisory Committee, should provide the schedule; WSO should provide the budget. 
 

The present level of funding at KSC to support all the necessary research initiatives is inadequate. However, even with additional funding, the potential for enhancing research advancements cannot be realized without a restructuring of research funding channels at KSC. The current funding support is fractionated among a number of groups, with little overall coordination, and without a clear focus on the most important problems. Although KSC personnel are dedicated and advances have been made, there appears to be no internal core of expertise qualified to promote or critically evaluate most of the research initiatives.

The panel advocates a well-funded, applied weather research program, operating within ARFF, that heavily emphasized observing systems and development of forecasting techniques and that is coordinated by the WSO. The ARFF should contain a strong internal core of scientific expertise, capable of assessing research proposals and results. Research grants should be made through the facility in support of priorities and directions specified in a comprehensive long-range research plan. Outside peer review of research proposals should be part of the evaluation process. 

Recommendation: Applied research should be consolidated within the ARFF at KSC. ARFF should monitor advances in all areas of atmospheric science to identify new technology that should be deployed in support of the space program, and it should commission studies of this type through a research grants program.


Observing Systems and Technique Development (OSTD)

 
A central function of the ARFF would be to evaluate new observing systems and analysis techniques, and to develop and test new procedures for operational forecasting. These duties are broad in scope and would encompass many of the activities conducted both in NWS Experimental Forecast Centers and the NOAA Program for Regional Observing and Forecasting Services (PROFS). The ARFF would also have responsibility for monitoring the development of data assimilation systems and mesoscale models and for promoting their application in forecasting mesoscale weather systems in the vicinity of KSC.

The facility should compile good climatological and weather data bases in the vicinity of KSC for use in evaluating new forecast techniques and to aid in assessing the impact of changes in weather related operating criteria. The climatological data required include variables other than those normally encountered (maximum and minimum temperatures, and so on), such as the critical weather elements included in launch and landing weather rules. 

In addition, the ARFF should have responsibility for monitoring operational forecasts and assessing the accuracy of forecasts of parameters identified within the launch and landing weather criteria. This activity is required since accurate and meaningful stratification of verification statistics is an important part of technique assessment that can help eliminate forecaster biases and promote forecaster improvement. 

Recommendation: The Applied Research and Forecasting Facility should be assigned responsibility for testing and evaluating prototype observing systems, developing improved forecast techniques, verifying forecasts, and compiling climatological data.


Forecaster Education and Training

The education and training of operational forecasters is particularly important, especially in view of the special requirements placed on forecasts for launch and landing operations. Another factor is that forecasters rotate through the AWS, and new forecasters must continually be trained. The Air Force has recently initiated several organizational changes to increase the experience level and improve the continuity of forecasters. This unit has developed a professionalism and a strong commitment to quality that provides an ideal base on which to build. 

The Air Force weather office conducts ongoing forecast training activities that should be continued. In addition, the ARFF should have responsibility for augmenting this training, particularly in the understanding of weather situations specific to KSC and in the use of specialized forecast techniques. Training can take place through several media; video tapes, simulated forecasts for launch/landing/recovery operations, lectures, and map discussions are all possible methods. Real-time experience is also recognized as one of the most valuable training mechanisms. Rotating operational forecasters through the ARFF would serve to accelerate the learning process in an environment where daily forecast situations can be evaluated with ARFF staff without the pressure of on-line responsibility. In addition, as new tools and techniques become available, there should be a formal transfer of knowledge, with adequate accompanying documentation. 

Recommendation: Part of the ARFF function should be to establish education and training procedures for operational forecasting.


Cooperative Applied Meteorology Program (CAMP)

Advancements in weather research that support space operations can benefit greatly from the organization of field programs and stimulation of relevant research in the university community. Government agencies have found that cooperative programs with the university community are an effective mechanism for administering programs where flexibility is important in maintaining an edge-of-the-art capability." The panel believes that a Cooperative Applied Meteorology Program (CAMP) with formal university involvement would provide an ideal augmentation of the ARFF. CAMP would coordinate field programs and other research beneficial to operational weather problems, administer a research grants program, and promote strong scientific interactions with the permanent ARFF staff. Establishing this strong university involvement could also serve to attract funding from other agencies and other offices in NASA that support atmospheric research. 

Periodically, it is necessary to bring together a concentration of special equipment, facilities, and talent to achieve breakthroughs in the understanding of specific weather phenomena. These field programs will be particularly important in advancing our knowledge of electrical and microphysical processes in convective and non-convective clouds in the KSC environment, and in determining the predictability of convection from the data provided by new observing systems. 

Making state-of-the-art observing systems available to the research community will enhance interest that is already strongly in evidence. The proposed Florida Area Mesoscale Experiment (FAME) plans a major field program in central Florida in 1990. The observing systems and research objectives outlined in this report, if implemented, should be highly compatible with the interests of any group interested in researching Florida weather. 

Equipment upgrades planned by the National Weather Service are likely to yield better information on weather systems affecting KSC. A NWS NEXRAD radar is planned for installation at Melbourne, Florida; the capabilities and limitations of this radar in contributing to an advanced observing network must be assessed. The NWS also plans to deploy a network of wind profilers over the central United States. With research wind profilers already working in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania State University) and soon to be installed in Florida (NASA) and Massachusetts (AFGL), there will be a strong desire by the atmospheric science community to deploy wind profilers over the remainder of the East to form a continuous network from the Rockies to the Atlantic. Several universities are already preparing a joint proposal for a Southeast Profiler Network. 

These and other initiatives should be scrutinized and, if appropriate, coordinated by CAMP as part of a concerted effort to improve the understanding and prediction of important weather features in central Florida. 

A Cooperative Applied Meteorology Program (CAMP) should be established within the ARFF to promote the participation of university and mission- agency scientists in field programs advancing weather research and forecasting in the vicinity of KSC or at other launch and recovery sites.

The advanced observing systems, comprehensive data sets, and new techniques developed will provide an attractive facility for research scientists, operational meteorologists, and graduate students to visit, where they can interact with ongoing activities. These visitors would provide a continuous influx of new ideas and approaches and would become aware of important weather phenomena in the KSC area that might stimulate further research on these topics in the scientific community. The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) might be the ideal organization to administer this program, because it already has experience in the types of activities recommended for CAMP. UCAR has strong university connections, has a Naval Environmental Prediction Center (NMC) Visiting Scientist Program (NEPRF)/National Meteorological Center (NMC) Visiting Scientist Program (VSP), and is in an excellent position to monitor closely related programs going on in NCAR. 

Recommendation: A strong visiting scientist program should be established within CAMP to attract research and operational talents from throughout the nation that contribute to the goals of the ARFF, within the guidelines of WSO.

In October 1991, a joint NASA, USAF, and NWS (Spaceflight Meteorology Group and WFO Melbourne) agreement was completed which established the Applied Meteorology Unit (AMU). Excerpts from a report which recommended the initial establishment of an AMU-like organization is available here. The AMU was tasked with applications development and technology transfer to improve forecasts for space shuttle weather operations with spin off benefits to public forecast and warning operations. WFO Melbourne staff have worked closely with the AMU entities since the establishment of the unit, resulting in a long list of benefits to the East Central Florida forecast and warning program.  Several hundred scientific papers have been published to document the results of these local studies and forecast applications, with most of the work also presented to a wide range of audiences (national and local conferences, workshops, training seminars, etc.).

Early in 2006, WFO Melbourne enhanced their local concept of applications development and technology transfer by forming the Innovative Meteorological Products, Applications, and Collaborative Techniques  (IMPACT) Meteorology Unit (IMU). The new NWS Melbourne "IMU" retained the previous "AMU" commitments, and further advanced the forecast process by placing a much greater emphasis upon the rapid-prototyping, assessment, and infusion of cutting-edge products and applications into local WFO Melbourne operations. The focus of forecast and warning improvements comprised of the very short-range time period, specifically today and tonight, with a particular emphasis on the next 8 hours. More accurate, detailed, and timely forecast and warning services were realized in large part through careful assessment of locally generated mesoscale model analyses and prognostic fields, several lightning sensor networks, and data from multiple radar sites. In addition, an increased emphasis was placed upon communicating weather messages to the public through new experimental processes, such as internet-based impact weather updates, two-way instant messaging, and an expanded suite of hazard graphics.

 

 

For additional information concerning the NWS Melbourne IMU, please contact:
IMU Science Specialist:  Matt Volkmer
IMU Technology Specialist: Pete Blottman
IMU Leadership: David Sharp & Scott Spratt

 

 Areas of Focus

Innovative Meteorological Research and Product Development

(list of publications)

To engage in applied research and product development, resulting in enhanced weather services to the public through...

  • expanding the utility of mesoscale analyses and advanced numerical models by improved data assimilation of high resolution radar and satellite data and incorporation of new observational data sets from Florida meso-networks.�   
  • configuring mesoscale model(s) for on-demand prognostic cycles with forecaster-selectable configurations based on current meteorological situation. 
  • optimal configuration and operation of the WSR-88D weather radar at NWS MLB via adaptable parameter settings and manual techniques derived from local studies.
  • exploiting total lightning technology to enhance and improve short-term forecasts and warnings by gaining an improved understanding of electrical characteristics, leading to the eventual issuance of lightning warnings.
  • completion of local studies to aid analysis and forecasting techniques of impact weather events.
  • development of graphical/gridded and tabular products to better convey hazardous weather messages. 
  • generation of new software tools to enable forecasters to produce forecasts and warnings with greater efficiency and accuracy.
     
    Transition of Technology and Scientific Applications into Operations

    To improve the accuracy and timeliness of forecasts and warnings and associated product generation by transferring into operations...




  •  
  •  
  • scientific concepts and results obtained from applied local research and training. 
  • new technology derived from applied research and development associated with unique weather sensors and other integrated data sets.
  • workstations and platforms configured for the display and manipulation of leading-edge meteorological information.
     
    Collaborative Techniques to Enhance Information Exchange

    To expand impact and routine weather collaboration with media, emergency managers, and other users/partners by exploiting advanced technologies and by initiating greater cross-agency interactions through...
     

  • instant messaging, internet pages, and video-conferencing.
  • provision of on-demand on-site meteorological expertise (emergency response meteorology, site-specific forecasts, media briefings, etc.) for high-impact situations (hurricane landfalls, wildfires, tornadoes, marine accidents, chemical explosions, etc.).
  • participation in specialized collaborative projects providing mutual benefits (or as assigned by NWS Southern Region HQ).
  • coordination with emergency managers and spaceflight managers concerning procedures to protect the public during the launch of radioactive materials and from possible launch mishaps. High-priority operational support is required for civil emergencies during actual spaceflight launch accidents. Such instances require immediate expert meteorological advice to emergency managers, and the composition, dissemination, and broadcast of civil emergency messages on NOAA Weather Radio (with Emergency Alert System activation).
  • provision of operational support and expertise on the WSR-88D radar optimization during spaceflight launches/landings and critical ground-processing operations at the direction of the USAF's 45th Weather Squadron (45WS) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and the NWS Spaceflight Meteorology Group (SMG) at Johnson Space Center (JSC). This includes meteorological support and advice, Hydro-Meteorological Technician (HMT) coordination, and Electronic Technician (ET) assistance to ensure required radar availability.
  • the Applied Meteorology Unit (AMU), by furnishing scientific insight and guidance to tri-agency partners: NASA, USAF/45WS, and NWS/SMG.
  • participation in the interagency Technical Interchange Meetings to share new science and technology advances for the mutual benefit of all agencies. 
  •   provision of logistics, data, personnel, meteorological support and a temporary operational facility to the USAF personnel responsible for spaceflight operations during hurricane evacuations of Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and CCAFS.

     

     

     

    For additional information concerning the NWS Melbourne IMU, please contact:
    IMU Science Specialist:  Matt Volkmer
    IMU Technology Specialist: Pete Blottman
    IMU Leadership: David Sharp & Scott Spratt

IMU Past Projects

FY 2009 Significant Accomplishments

  • Experimental Products and Services and Impact Weather Support:

    • a local experimental demonstration was completed during the summer of 2009 to issue in-house lightning advisories and warnings for the areas within 5 nm of Melbourne and Orlando International Airports. The KMLB 88D and Orlando TDWR radars as well as LDAR data from the KSC network were utilized to give advance alerting capability to the risk of a cloud to ground lightning strike. The results of this project were presented at the Southern Thunder Workshop, the 2009 NWA Annual and 2010 AMS Annual Meetings.
    • Installation of HYSPLIT code to support on-demand local runs and fixed site runs for plume dispersion modeling.
    • developed a local MODIS SST composite graphic for gulf stream identification.
  • Near shore Wave Modeling Initiative:

    • work continued on the Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research Program (CSTAR) project to produce a high resolution wave model (CMS Wave/WABED)for the near shore waters for NWS Melbourne and Miami. Operational runs of WABED near-shore wave model run at FIT configured for ingest in AWIPS and GFE. High resolution near shore wave model implemented in operations for five sub-domains along the East Central Florida coast to improve near shore wave forecasts.
    • with collaboration from WFO MIA an initial configuration of the SWAN near shore model was completed. GFE configuration was also completed to allow forecasters to request on-demand SWAN wave model runs.

  • Tropical Cyclone program projects:

    • development and testing of new HLS formatter as part of the national HLS Formatter Team, including conducting developing and conducting training scenarios with the new formatter.
    • Testing, development and configuration of GFE Tropical Cycone Hazard Graphics and Smart Tools for national experimental Tropical Cyclone Impact Graphics project. Expansion of Tropical Cylcone Impact Graphics to all coastal offices.

  • Collaborative Techniques to Enhance Information Exchange:

    • collaborated with Applied Meteorology Unit entities in support of official tasks: including making recommendations for new statistical method to calculate Lightning Probabilities around NWS MLB TAF sites.
    • Warm Season Lightning Probabilities for NWS MLB TAF sites installed on local intranet and forecaster training given to improve aviation forecasts.
    •  

  • Authored / co-authored several conference pre-prints related to mesoscale and dispersion modeling, operational lightning and tropical cyclone issues, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in several conferences and interagency meetings. See NWS Melbourne Local Reserch page for additional information.

 


 

FY 2008 Significant Accomplishments

  • Experimental One-hour Thunderstorm Graphics and Impact Weather Support:

    • a demonstration was completed during the summer of 2008 to produce the Orlando International Airport TRACON Collaborative Convective Forecast Product which included two six-hour forecasts a day of one-hour thunderstorm coverage graphics within 75 nm of Orlando International Airport for aviation customers, airport managers and FAA personel. NWS MLB meteorologists collaborated with CWSUs Jacksonville and Miami twice a day to produce the forecasters that were made available on an experimental web site.
    • the high temporal resolution one-hour thunderstorm graphics were also generated for NWS Melbourne forecast area and were utilized in the Impact Weather Update and Graphicast.
    • configured a GFE Incident Spot Forecast Formatter for incident support forecasts to support emergency management agencies, first responders and incident exercises.
    • developed a local AWIPS application, VIL of the Day, which output potential severe hail VIL thresholds based on Florida raob data. Implemented for operational use for the summer 2008 convective season to support the NWS MLB Severe Weather program.

  • Near shore Wave Modeling Initiative:

    • work continued on the Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research Program (CSTAR) project to produce a high resolution wave model (CMS Wave/WABED)for the near shore waters for NWS Melbourne and Miami. Test domains in the Melbourne and Miami coastal waters were configured.
    • COMET Partners Project "Towards development of a 'rapid response' local wave model for the Melbourne, Florida National Weather Service Forecast Office" was completed in the summer of 2008.

  • Tropical Cyclone program projects:

    • contined development of Tropical ZFP and CWF GFE formatters to include Expressions of Uncertainty.
    • traveled to NWSH/Raytheon for GFE HLS formatter testing for AWIPS Build OB 8.2.1. Found critical DRs that need to fixed during testing. Testing in preparation for first year with VTEC in the HLS product.
    • Testing, development and configuration of GFE Tropical Cycone Hazard Graphics and Smart Tools for national experimental Tropical Cyclone Impact Graphics project.

  • Collaborative Techniques to Enhance Information Exchange:

    • collaborated with Applied Meteorology Unit entities in support of official tasks. Composite Soundings for warm season convective regimes installed on AWIPS to assist forecasters in refining gHWO Lightning Threat graphics.
    • provided Incident Support Meteorological (ISMET) services to NWS MLB Incident Response Meteorologists (J. Pendergrast and T. Sedlock) for a Disney traning exercise and the Canaveral Groves Wildfire incident.

  • Authored / co-authored several conference pre-prints related to mesoscale and dispersion modeling, operational lightning and tropical cyclone issues, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in several conferences and interagency meetings. See NWS Melbourne Local Reserch page for additional information.


FY 2007 Significant Accomplishments

  • Impact Weather and Incident Support Program:

    • new experimental product, Impact Weather Update and Graphicast, implemented during the summer convective season. This product typically addresses the short range hazardous weather situation through a series of posts in chronological order. It is meant to supplement official products while allowing the forecaster to convey additional in a more frequent and less formal format. Graphicasts are also often included to exand on and supplement information in the text forecast updates.
    • developed an operational concept for the NWS Melbourne Incident Support Program - to provide detailed and enhanced meteorological support to (or through) government agencies for the protection of life and property through planned events and unplanned incidents.
    • situational awareness display monitors set up in the operations area and forecasters trained on configuring the four displays for hazardous weather monitoring in varying weather situations.
    • support to Volusia county emergency management during Speed Week. Incident support meteorologist deployed with internet/voice chat communication to the office trough the incident support laptop which was configured with meteorological applications for NWS field support.
    • coordinated with local Homeland Security Program leader to determine two locations in NWS Melbourne forecast area for routine HYSPLIT runs with request forwarded to NCEP.

  • Near shore Wave Modeling Initiative:

    • a Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research Program (CSTAR) proposal was submitted with NWS/SR endorsement and approved. The project outlines work for configuring a local WRF/WABED coupled (ocean/atmosphere) modeling system with enhanced data assimilation at WFOs Miami and Melbourne. The project will support the work of three Principle Investigators (PIs) at FIT, Dr. Lazarus, Dr. Chiao, and Dr. Zarillo. The goals of this project are to improve the near shore wave forecasts through the use of a higher resolution wave (CMS Wave/WABED) model.
    • COMET Partners Proposal "Towards development of a 'rapid response' local wave model for the Melbourne, Florida National Weather Service Forecast Office" submitted.

  • Tropical Cyclone program projects:

    • "Tropical Cyclone Hazard Graphics: Wind Risk and Wind Threat" presented at NOAA Hurricane Conference. "Experimental Local Tropical Cyclone Local Hazard Graphics Update" presented at Governor's Hurricane Conference.
    • national Training developed for Tropical Cyclone Expressions of Uncertainty for ZFP and CWF.
    • continued to refine and develop GFE SmartTools for Tropical Cyclone Hazard Graphics.

  • Collaborative Techniques to Enhance Information Exchange:

    • collaborated with Applied Meteorology Unit entities in support of official tasks including NWA presentation "Using Flow Regime Lightning and Sounding Climatologies to Initialize Lightning Threat Forecasts for East Central Florida" and developed Composite Soundings on AWIPS task for 2007 tasking cycle.
    • continued to serve as Principal Investigator on U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Climate Forecasting System (CFS) subproject "Tropical Cyclone Forecasting and Warning" between the Government of India and the National Weather Service. Hosted Indian scientist on tour to the U.S., with an emphasize on forecast communications.

  • Authored / co-authored several conference pre-prints related to mesoscale modeling, operational lightning and tropical cyclone issues, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in several conferences and interagency meetings. See NWS Melbourne Local Reserch page for additional information.


FY 2006 Significant Accomplishments

 

  • Graphical (gridded) forecast product suite :
    • completed local stratification of lightning database and incorporated resultant gridded data files into the Advanced Weather Information Processing System (AWIPS) Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE).
    • implemented lightning hazard graphic 'first guess' based on synoptic regime, for 'graphical Hazardous Weather Outlook' (gHWO).
    • continued to serve on national 'tropical cyclone hazard graphics team' to assist transition of graphical Hurricane Local Statement (gHLS) to official/national product.
    • continued to test experimental tropical cyclone wind probability grids; used grids to automate first guess field for gHLS wind threat and post suite of local experimental wind probabilities.
  • Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model:

    • Implemented two local WRF production cycles (8km resolution and 2.5 km resolution).
    • replaced ARPS output with WRF output on AWIPS and set-up image production for internet graphics suite.
    • expanded operational use of local WRF model configurations.

  • Collaborative Techniques to Enhance Information Exchange:

    • developed, tested, and implemented realtime 'impact weather discussions and graphics' (blogs) for use during selected situations.
    • collaborated with Applied Meteorology Unit entities in support of official tasks: "Situational Lightning Climatologies for Central Florida - Phase 2" and "WRF Sensitivity Studies."
    • continued to serve as Principal Investigator on U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Climate Forecasting System (CFS) subproject "Tropical Cyclone Forecasting and Warning" between the Government of India and the National Weather Service. Provided local training to Indian scientists on study tours to the U.S., with an emphasize on forecast communications.

  • Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) Partners Project:

    • completed project to use GOES SSTs to retrieve over-ocean air temperatures in support of local data assimilation and modeling efforts [FIT/MIA/MLB].
  • Authored / co-authored several conference pre-prints related to mesoscale modeling, operational lightning and tropical cyclone issues, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in several conferences and interagency meetings:


FY 2005 Significant Accomplishments
  • Provided maintenance and modifications to the ARPS/ADAS analysis and prognostic schemes
    • transferred ADAS production to a new LINUX workstation
    • upgraded ARPS to version 5.1.2
    • procured additional nodes for cluster to allow eight 9-hour model runs per day (versus current four runs)
    • tested operational implementation of prototype ADAS GUI to allow forecasters to interact more efficiently with data ingest
  • Continued to develop experimental graphical products
    • tested experimental tropical cyclone wind speed exceedance probability grids in real-time and by using archived data
    • stratified lightning database to develop first-guess climatological lightning hazard maps
    • provided advice on graphical hazard products as member of several national teams
  • Continued to serve as Principal Investigator on International Tropical Cyclone Forecasting project between USAID, NWS, and Government of India
    • hosted study tour of four Indian scientists to WFO Melbourne, NHC, and HRD in Miami. Provided overview of Tropical Cyclone operations and interaction with emergency management agencies.
    • continued to coordinate additional Indian study tours to the USA and to develop related training programs
  • Provided advice/support to NASA personnel for space-flight operations
    • Hosted discussions with NASA personnel related to several new radar volume coverage patterns, supported radar operations for STS-121 (return to flight of Space Shuttle Discovery, July 26), and assisted with determination of tropopause height/temperature profiles for shuttle launch.
  • Authored / co-authored several conference pre-prints related to mesoscale modeling and operational lightning and tropical cyclone issues, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in several conferences and interagency meetings:
  • Other tasks:
    • attended NOAA Hurricane Conference at National Hurricane Center (NHC)
    • completed numerous AWIPS and HP workstation modifications, localizations, and customizations
    • worked with AMU meteorologist during several on-site visits
    • detailed to WFO Slidell to assist with warning operations for landfall of Hurricane Katrina and provided 'lessons learned' guidance to numerous WFOs prior to landfalls of Hurricanes Rita and Wilma

FY 2004 Significant Accomplishments
  • Provided maintenance and modifications to the ARPS/ADAS analysis and prognostic schemes
    • transferred ADAS production to a new LINUX workstation
    • upgraded ARPS to version 5.1.2
    • procured additional nodes for cluster to allow eight 9-hour model runs per day (versus current four runs)
    • tested operational implementation of prototype ADAS GUI to allow forecasters to interact more efficiently with data ingest
  • Continued to develop experimental graphical products
    • tested experimental tropical cyclone wind speed exceedance probability grids in real-time and by using archived data
    • stratified lightning database to develop first-guess climatological lightning hazard maps
    • provided advice on graphical hazard products as member of several national teams
  • Continued to serve as Principal Investigator on International Tropical Cyclone Forecasting project between USAID, NWS, and Government of India
    • hosted study tour of four Indian scientists to WFO Melbourne, NHC, and HRD in Miami. Provided overview of Tropical Cyclone operations and interaction with emergency management agencies.
    • continued to coordinate additional Indian study tours to the USA and to develop related training programs
  • Provided advice/support to NASA personnel for space-flight operations
    • Hosted discussions with NASA personnel related to several new radar volume coverage patterns, supported radar operations for STS-121 (return to flight of Space Shuttle Discovery, July 26), and assisted with determination of tropopause height/temperature profiles for shuttle launch.
  • Authored / co-authored several conference pre-prints related to mesoscale modeling and operational lightning and tropical cyclone issues, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in several conferences and interagency meetings:
  • Other tasks:
    • attended NOAA Hurricane Conference at National Hurricane Center (NHC)
    • completed numerous AWIPS and HP workstation modifications, localizations, and customizations
    • worked with AMU meteorologist during several on-site visits
    • detailed to WFO Slidell to assist with warning operations for landfall of Hurricane Katrina and provided 'lessons learned' guidance to numerous WFOs prior to landfalls of Hurricanes Rita and Wilma


      FY 2003 Significant Accomplishments
  • Provided maintenance and modifications to the ARPS/ADAS analysis scheme
    • changed to expanded, 4-km resolution ADAS domain, re-established distribution/display upon AWIPS and WWW
    • changed RUC background for ADAS initialization from interpolation of 3-12 hour forecasts to 1-3 hour forecasts
    • completed optimization and comprehensive documentation
    • maintained (experimental) operational utility of system, performed routine manual quality control of data
    • expanded web-based analysis products to include animations and added a "graphics glossary."
    • ported analysis data sets into local AWIPS workstations via LDAD and re-distributed to other FL WFOs via SRH
    • set up ADAS archive and began to archive all graphics generated for the WWW
    • added new FAWN sites to ADAS data ingest, AWIPS, and LAPS
    • examined potential for ingest of additional ADAS data sets (COMPS, DOT RWIS, etc.)
    • attempted to ingest KTBW radar into ADAS (configuration issues remain)
  • Configured and implemented Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) prognostics
    • configured linux 'beowulf cluster' hardware/software for ARPS
    • configured prognostic scheme and began experimental ARPS runs four times per day
    • examined and evaluated model output for accuracy/biases
    • modified ARPS soil moisture initialization and associated adaptable parameters to reduce large surface dry/warm bias
    • developed website for display of selected graphics and loops
    • set up ARPS archive and began to archive all graphics generated for the WWW
  • Continued to mature graphical products
    • modified GFE gHLS and web site prior to 2003 hurricane season based on user and WFO feedback
    • worked with NWS HQ to develop "product description document" to begin transition to "official / national" product
  • COMET Partners Projects
  • Supported space shuttle mission
    • Provided WSR-88D support and forecast coordination as requested during shuttle launch/launch attempts and recovery operations (STS-107; 16 Jan - 01 Feb)
  • Authored / co-authored several articles related to ARPS/ADAS and tropical cyclone tornadoes, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in several conferences and interagency meetings:
  • Other tasks:
    • attended NOAA Hurricane Conference at National Hurricane Center (NHC) and made updated gHLS presentation
    • reviewed several drafts and final report for COMET proposal(s) with SPC and SLU concerning "TC mesocyclones"
    • completed numerous AWIPS and HP workstation modifications, localizations, and customizations
    • worked with AMU meteorologist during several on-site visits

    FY 2002 Significant Accomplishments
  • Provided maintenance and modifications to the ARPS/ADAS analysis scheme
    • maintained (experimental) operational utility of system; performed routine manual quality control of data
    • expanded web-based analysis products to include animations
    • ingested mesoscale data sets into local AWIPS workstations via LDAD with assistance from FIT meteorologist
    • ingested real-time ARPS/ADAS analyses into local AWIPS workstations
      .
  • Acquired 'Beowulf Cluster' to support Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) prognostic scheme (for FY2003)
    • researched requirements, obtained bids, and procured linux network consisting of twenty 2.2-2.4 ghz Xeon processors
      .
  • Upgraded and enhanced NWS Melbourne graphical Hurricane Local Statement (gHLS) experimental product suite
    • ported product production from PC platform to AWIPS Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE) platform
    • updated webpage appearance and navigation of GFE gHLS web page
    • distributed files and information to all Florida WFOs to duplicate GFE gHLS production
      .
  • Participated in COMET Partners Project with St. Louis University (SLU) and the NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) concerning tropical cyclone (TC) tornadoes
    • hosted visit to NWS MLB by SLU researchers and traveled to SLU to present results of recent applied research and to discuss future tasks
    • provided review of SLU documentations and determined storm relative helicity values for numerous TC mesocyclones based on manually derived storm motions
      .
  • Assisted with local Scientific Applications Training
    • developed TC Gabrielle tornado severe weather event case using the Warning Event Simulator (WES) and supporting documentation. Provided copies of WES case to Florida WFOs and NWS Southern Region HQ
    • presented training session at Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL)
    • developed strategy, procedures, and documentation for future tornado events/warnings to assist with WES case production, staff severe weather training, and verification scores
      .
  • Supported four space shuttle missions
    • provided WSR-88D support and forecast coordination as requested during shuttle launch/launch attempts, landing/landing attempts and ferry operations (STS-108, 5 Dec.; STS-109, 1 Mar.; STS-110, 8 Apr.; and STS-111, 5 June)
      .
  • Authored / co-authored several articles related to ARPS/ADAS and tropical cyclone tornadoes, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in several conferences and interagency meetings:
    • authored and presented oral(s) or poster(s):
    • attended conferences: 1The Interactive Symposium on the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), Orlando; 225th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, San Diego; 321st Conference on Severe Local Storms, San Antonio; 427th Annual Meeting of the National Weather Association, Ft. Worth
    • attended 5MSFC 'Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center' (SPoRT) Joint Symposium on Short-Term Forecasting and the Convective Weather Warning Process, Huntsville, AL
    • discuss stratification, at FSU, of wind-flow regime lightning climatology by thermodynamic classifications & creation of situational graphics
    • participated in "advanced space academy" program at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
    • attended annual AMU tasking meeting and presented FY03 MLB requested tasks
    • participated in AMU telcons concerning "Improved anvil forecasting - phase II" and "LDIS optimatization and training"
    • participated in telcons: Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC), Advanced Range Technical Working Group (ARTWG)
    • reviewed AMU manuscript: "Improved anvil forecasting - phase II"
    • assisted WFO Huntsville with spin-up of operational and applied research programs and hosted visit by WFO Huntsville Science and Operations Officer (SOO) and AMU liaison
    • Duplicated numerous KMLB WSR-88D archive tapes for NASA/AMU
      .
  • Other tasks:
    • attended NOAA Hurricane Conference at National Hurricane Center (NHC) and made updated gHLS presentation
    • reviewed several drafts and 6-month progress report for COMET proposal(s) with SPC and SLU concerning "TC mesocyclones"
    • hosted on-site visits by WFO Key West SOO and NHC SOO
    • assisted with local hosting of AMS Annual Meeting in Orlando
    • developed local Hurricane Outreach presentation
    • completed numerous AWIPS and HP workstation modifications, localizations, and customizations
    • worked with AMU meteorologist during several on-site visits

FY 2001 Significant Accomplishments
  • Completed implementation of ARPS/ADAS analysis scheme
  • Worked with ENSCO to finalize ingest and improve timeliness of numerous data sets (RUC, Satellite, KMLB level II radar data, METARS, NASA tower mesonet, NASA profilers, FAWN mesonet, APRS mesonet, ACARS) into ADAS and began continuous updates with 15-minute frequency, implemented "blacklist" feature.
  • Transitioned ARPS/ADAS analyses into forecast operations
    • Developed web-based display for real-time analyses and presented training seminar to staff. Examined output daily, evaluated usefulness, and introduced discussion into daily map briefings as appropriate. Developed web-based display for public use as a graphical weather roundup.
  • Organized and hosted Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM) #6 [14-15 November]
    • Solicited presentations, produced an agenda, organized participation/attendance, and hosted event at FIT.
    • presented two briefings: "Local ADAS Experiences and Future Work at NWS MLB" and "Local Adaptation of Tropical Cyclone Guidance and Applications"
  • Traveled to SMG for an orientation visit during a shuttle landing opportunity [30 April - 02 May]
    • Organized and participated in a familiarization trip to observe shuttle landing forecast preparations and briefings during STS-100. Provided a written summary of experiences to staff.
  • Supported seven space shuttle missions
    • Provided WSR-88D support and forecast coordination as requested during shuttle launch and landing operations. Traveled to the ROCC to observe shuttle launch preparations and abort scenarios on three occasions (STS-98, 7 Feb.; STS-100, 19 Apr.; and STS-105, 9 Aug.). Four MLB forecasters completed orientation trips to the AMU / ROCC.
  • Authored / co-authored several articles on the ARPS/ADAS implementation, reviewed numerous AMU manuscripts, provided comments on AMU tasks, and attended and/or participated in interagency meetings:
    • Authored and presented "An Operational Local Data Integration System (LDIS) at NWS Melbourne"
    • Published similar paper as a NWS-SR Technical Attachment
    • Submitted abstract to 2001 NWA meeting "A real-time configuration of the ARPS Data Analysis System to support operational forecasting in East-Central Florida"
    • Co-authored Weather and Forecasting journal article "Local data integration over East-Central Florida using the ARPS Data Analysis System"
    • Submitted paper to 2002 AMS Annual meeting "Local data analysis on AWIPS at NWS Melbourne, FL"
    • Reviewed: "Simulation of a real-time local data integration system over east-central Florida
    • Reviewed "Exploit NEXRAD: Extended evaluation of core aspect ratio"
    • Formally discussed "Anvil" task and "Stats" task with AMU (ENSCO, Inc.).
    • Attended GPS IPWV workshops at Embry Riddle University and the ROCC, attended seminar at the ROCC on the AMU final report on the RAMS evaluation, and participated in telcons: ERDAS/RAMS, LDIS Phase IV (several), and LDIS task extension (several).
      .
  • Updated AMU sections on MLB internet site and LANTERN
    • Developed a new AMU section for the MLB homepage, containing the recently established position description, documentation of recently completed and current tasks, agency interactions, etc. Reorganized the AMU section of the LANTERN intranet site.
  • Other tasks:
    • Developed WARNGEN "competency units" to conduct staff training
    • Presented "TC Mesocyclone" seminar at University of Hawaii
    • Attended NOAA Hurricane Conference at TPC and made gHLS presentation
    • Reviewed several drafts of COMET proposal with SPC and SLU concerning "TC mesocyclones"
    • Attended AMS annual meeting and presented "graphical flood threat" poster
    • Organized and sponsored "Florida Tropical Workshop" at TPC
    • Attended Florida prescribed burn course (fire weather)
    • Completed COMET project with TBW and USF concerning "Wildfire Forecasting in Florida"
    • Entertained Global Atmospherics, Inc. and FIT meteorologists during on-site visits
    • Completed numerous AWIPS and HP workstation modifications, localizations, and customizations
    • Participated in several telcons and local meetings concerning 2002 AMS meeting organization
    • Worked with AMU (ENSCO, Inc.) meteorologist during numerous on-site visits

 

 


 

 

For additional information concerning the NWS Melbourne IMU, please contact:
IMU Science Specialist: Matt Volkmer
IMU Technology Specialist: Pete Blottman
IMU Leadership: David Sharp & Scott Spratt

‘Turning Science into Service'

Affiliations/Partners
 
NWS Melbourne staff have been involved in many applied research projects, educational workshops, training exercises, and general collaborative scenarios since 1991, with a large variety of groups. Listed below are some of the entities with which NWS Melbourne has worked closely over recent years on projects of mutual interest.
 

 

For additional information concerning the NWS Melbourne IMU, please contact:
IMU Science Specialist:  Matt Volkmer
IMU Technology Specialist: Pete Blottman
IMU Leadership: David Sharp & Scott Spratt

 

‘Turning Science into Service'

 Contact Information

Please address your comments or questions to the individuals listed below. We welcome any and all feedback on the WFO Melbourne IMU program, or comments and questions concerning specific products which we have developed or are currently developing. If you find our products useful, please drop us a quick email and let us know. Products which provide little benefit to users will be discontinued. We continually evaluate all feedback which we receive and incorporate worthy suggestions into the projects.

 

  • For operational (forecast) issues concerning the utility of the products listed on the IMU webpage or suggestions for modifications to these products, please email the NWS Melbourne meteorologist, Matt Volkmer.
     
  • For technical questions related to the IMU products, please email the NWS Melbourne Information Technology Officer, Pete Blottman.
     
  • For general questions related to the operation of the IMU program at NWS Melbourne, please email the NWS Melbourne Science and Operations Officer, David Sharp or NWS Melbourne Warning Coordination Meterologist, Scott Spratt