NCEP Synergy Meeting Highlights: March 26, 2012

This meeting was led by Dave Novak (HPC) and attended by Keith Brill (HPC), Bill Bua (UCAR/COMET), Becky Cosgrove and Carissa Klemmer (NCO); Shrinivas Moorthi, Geoff Dimego, Eric Rogers, Jordan Alpert, Vera Gerald, and Mary Hart (EMC); Kathy Gilbert (MDL); Wallace Hogsett and Hugh Cobb (NHC), Steve Silberberg (AWC); Steve Weiss and Andy Dean (SPC); Joe Sienkiewicz and Tony Siebers (OPC); Bill Ward (PR); Jeff Waldstreicher (ER); Andy Edman (WR), Bernard Meisner and Melissa Kreller (SR); John Kelly and Frank Aikman (NOS)


1. NCO (Becky Cosgrove)


On Tuesday, 3 April 2012 at 15 UTC the Northern Gulf of Mexico Operational Forecast System (NGOFS) will be implemented.

The Rapid Refresh (RAP) will restart a 30-day evalution period starting later on 26 or on 27 March 2012, but the Director’s Briefing will not need to be redone. Approval/disapproval of the implementation must be sent immediately after the close of the 30 day period on 25 or 26 April. If all goes well, implementation will take place on 1 May 2012, with a fallback date of 8 May 2012.

The 30-day evaluation period for the next implementation of the multiscale WaveWatch 3 will start on 27 March 2012, with OPC and NHC participating. Implementation will take place on 8 May 2012 if the evaluation is successful.

The Ensemble Kernel Density MOS (EKDMOS) is also starting its 30-day evaluation period on 27 March 2012.  This will be a six-week parallel to allow more time for the affected users to evaluate the product.  This new MOS system is scheduled to be implemented in mid-May 2012.

NCO is currently testing code for the next Global Forecast System (GFS) implementation, to include the hybrid Ensemble Kalman Filter/3DVAR data assimilation system. The evaluation period for the GFS is expected to start sometime in mid- to late April, to meet a June 2012 implementation date. It was noted that this will be the first parallel to be run on a backup computer.

A Short-Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF) system parallel evaluation will also be scheduled on the backup computer after the GFS evaluation is completed.


The Hurricane WRF (HWRF) and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab (GFDL) hurricane models will be updated on 15 May 2012. The (minor) changes include some physics bug fixes for the GFDL model and the addition of an inner 3-km nest to the HWRF.



2a. Global Climate and Weather Modeling Branch (GCWMB) (Shrivinas Moorthi)

Beyond what was reported by NCO, it was noted that the addition of the Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport (GOCART) Model will appear in the NEMS version of GFS, and it will be renamed the NEMS Global Aerosol Component (NGAC). NGAC is expected to be implemented in July, 2012

2b. Mesoscale Modeling Branch (MMB) (Geoff Dimego)


Beyond what NCO report, Geoff noted that since we will be very close to computer capacity when the SREF is implemented, a fallback plan has been developed for times when there is a “hiccup” in the computer system: a lower resolution version of the SREF will run “over top” of the operational NAM.  MMB is hoping to be able to speed up the code enough for a 25-km low-resolution system, with the 16-km high-res primary system. Regardless, data output will remain at 32-km resolution. Discussion of what data to include in AWIPS will take place after implementation.


The Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA) will “sync-up” all versions of the 2DVAR code to the most recent version.  RTMA Alaska resolution will be increased to 3 km with 1.5 km resolution for the Juneau AK region. A special product will be issued for the Northwest River Forecast Center.  MMB hopes to have this in after the SREF implementation, but as the RAP is the first guess for the analysis, nothing can happen until the RAP is operational.

The next NAM and high-resolution window upgrades will occur after the computer moratorium ends by 1 July 2013, when the new computer must be accepted.


2c. Marine Modeling and Analysis Branch (MMAB) (Vera Gerald)


The multi- 1 grid WaveWatch 3 model physics upgrade is the only item on the immediate horizon for now.



The NGOFS was mentioned in the NCO notes. Nests for ports and estuaries will be added to NGOFS next year.  Additional implementations expected are the Columbia River estuary this summer and San Francisco Bay in 2013.

The Extratropical Storm and Tide Operational Forecast System (ESTOFS) for the U.S. East and Gulf coasts has been submitted to NCO for testing and to be put in parallel.  Although scheduled for production in April 2012 it will most likely be delayed until June 2012.  ESTOFS is driven by GFS winds.



4a. MDL (Kathy Gilbert)

Regarding the EKDMOS, Kathy acknowledged support for development of this product by HPC, CPC, the NWS Regions, and OAR, especially Tom Hamill. She noted that because of formatting issues, data will not be available from this product right away. She will work with NCO and Eastern Region to see if there is a way to expediently visualize the data for field and regional office use.

On March 13, the High Resolution Gridded Model Output Statistics (MOS) PoP/QPF was successfully transitioned from the NCEP parallel to the production jobstream. These probability of precipitation (PoP) and quantitative precipitation (QPF) grids are available on a 2.5 km grid over the CONUS. They were derived from the NPVU Stage IV precip data and replace the MOS PoP/QPF grids over the CONUS which were originally derived by analyzing PoP and QPF MOS guidance at METAR sites.  

Regarding the “broken” GFS winds, new equations have been developed that should improve those winds for the warm season. Cool season (1 October through 30 March) equation updates will be developed next.  A Technical Information Notice (TIN) will be required since a few stations will be deleted from the GFS MOS list.


4b. NCEP Centers and NWS Regions

Aviation Weather Center (AWC): no report

Ocean Prediction Center (OPC): It was noted that the gusts from the NAM based on the Planetary Boundary Layer top being determined by a critical value of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) were too high; the Richardson number gives better results. EMC is aware and investigating.

National Hurricane Center (NHC): They believe the HWRF/GFDL upgrades will be accepted.

Storm Prediction Center (SPC, Steve Weiss): They asked when the SREF parallel will start. MMB responded that the NCO Senior Production Analyst (SPA) implementing the SREF is currently working on the RAP and will not begin work on the SREF until the RAP is complete. The GFS EnKF is next in line before the SREF, so any real-time parallel will not be available until June or July. Currently there is a one-per-day run (21 UTC) which may be used for calibration of convective products.

Eastern Region (Jeff Waldstreicher) asked about Gridded LAMP implementation. Kathy Gilbert from MDL said it will be delayed, but that convection grids will be added to the Gridded LAMP suite.

Hydrological Prediction Center (HPC, Dave Novak) reported results from the Hydrometeorological Test Bed Winter Weather Experiment. The parallel SREF (16 km) was good for snowfall amount.  It also seemed to have better spread, but less definition in its mean fields, likely because of less clustering of forecasts around the different models used. HPC also asked about the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) regional ensemble and whether it could be brought into HPC. NCO responded that it is currently available in NOAA National Operational Model Archive and Distribution System (NOMADS), and they will work together with AFWA to get it in a useable form (GRIB2).  That will not be able to take place, however, until April.


5. The next Synergy Meeting will be held at 2:30 pm EDT on Monday, May 7, 2012 in room 209, with remote teleconferencing capability.