AOSC Seminar
March 9, 2017

The NCEP Production Suite: Plans and Perspectives from the “Tip of the Spear”

William Lapenta

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operational modeling suite at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) provides information on the future state of weather, short-term and long-term climate, ecosystems, the ocean, and thus significantly contribute to the decision making process for individuals through policy makers, and for sectors ranging from water resources to financial markets. In addition, the modeling systems directly support the National Weather Service (NWS) mission to provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

There are numerous strategic and technical factors that must be taken into account when planning the evolution of the production suite. The NWS imperative to build a Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) is about building community resiliency in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather. Therefore, the foundational operational numerical guidance system must support the WRN initiative.  Global modeling systems are now being run operationally at resolutions approaching 10km.  Regional systems are running operationally at 3km and lower and are being applied to convective predictability and severe weather. Advanced data assimilation techniques are being applied on global and regional scales. Demands are building for skillful outlooks in the week 3 and 4 time frame that will require coupled atmosphere and ocean global systems executed in ensemble mode.

The presentation will provide a brief overview of the current production suite structure, forcing factors that will influence the future, and the plan for future development for the modeling and data assimilation systems. The seminar will also provide an update on the technical and strategic review of the NCEP production suite performed by a subcommittee of the existing University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Community Advisory Committee for NCEP (UCACN). Specifically, the subcommittee is the Model Advisory Committee (UMAC) composed of subject matter experts. The primary goal of the UMAC is to provide recommendations on the strategic holistic evolution of the production suite over the next 5 to 10 years. Recommendations will also be used to inform the revision of the integrated NOAA modeling strategy that crosses the NOAA line offices.