The NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) annual spring experiments kick off this week, and will run weekdays through June 6, 2014. During the experiments, researchers, modelers, and forecasters from around the world work together to improve severe weather forecasts and warnings in a simulated operational environment. NSSL, the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, and the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman sponsor the experiments each year.
The NOAA HWT has two branches, the Experimental Forecast Program (EFP) and the Experimental Warning program (EWP). They each have independent but complementary and goals.
The 2014 NSSL-NWS Experimental Warning Program will focus on applications geared toward National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWSFO) severe thunderstorm warning operations. Participants will test a prototype tool that provides Probabilistic Hazards Information (PHI), as part of the new Forecasting A Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs) program. They will also evaluate multiple GOES-R applications, including lightning mapper products; look at the performance and usefulness of two experimental short-term forecast models; and assess a new tool that tracks thunderstorm features.
Participants in the 2014 Spring Forecasting Experiment will evaluate a suite of new and improved experimental high-resolution models that can depict the probability of potential thunderstorms, their hazards, and their trends and transitions over time. This is an important step toward the NWS strategy of providing nearly continuous probabilistic hazard forecasts. Participants will be dividing between either an “SPC desk” team, to examine products and techniques closer to operational implementation, or a “developmental desk” team, to explore experimental products and techniques.
The spring experiments have been the cornerstone of the HWT for more than a decade, and accelerate the transition of promising technology into forecast operations.