Forecast Applications Branch (FAB) is one of five branches in NOAA's Global Systems Division (GSD).

FAB's expertise is in weather forecasting application and solutions. This work group creates tools that allow scientists to get more information from observations and simulated observations, cunduct weather analysis and numerical forecasting, including ensemble forecasting, and more.

FAB Areas of Focus and Accomplishment

FAB is involved in using and developing observing systems and simulated observing systems. An OSSE is a modeling experiment used to evaluate the impact of new observing systems on operational forecasts when actual observational data is not available

Observation Simulation System Experiments ( OSSE )  — Evaluation of new observation technology or siting of existing observational systems. This system has been employed to assess the potential of new satellite systems for instrument placement around eastern and western space centers of the U.S. Air Force and spaceborne wind lidar systems for NOAA. This includes the study of the Windsor Tornado event.

GPS-Met Observing Systems ( GPS-Met )  — The goals of the GPS-Met Observation System project are to assess the use of surface-based GPS observations to support weather forecasting, climate monitoring, and research, and to transfer this observing system technology to operational use. An operational ground-based GPS integrated precipitable water vapor (IPW) monitoring system would provides water vapor measurements at a low cost and without weather condition and time-of-day constraints.

Satellite Products  — involve the utilization and evaluation of raw radiances and products derived from GOES atmospheric soundings, for the purpose of developing a complete national-scale moisture analysis useful for high-resolution model initialization. The branch also participates in the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation. Image

FAB performs high resolution analyses and forecasts of the weather using locally available meteorological observations. Variational LAPS (Var-LAPS) combines advantages from traditional LAPS and modern data assimilation techniques and reduces their limitations. Var-LAPS applies state of art DA and numerical techniques (such as multigrid, which is unique in the DA community) to build a next generation NOAA data assimilation system.

Local Analysis and Prediction System ( LAPS )  — Incorporation of local datasets into numerical models (e.g., Var-LAPS, MM5, RAMS, WRF) for the production of very detailed analyses of local weather conditions and short-range forecasts. LAPS is updated using variational methods and Kalman filtering techniques with new observations hourly. LAPS supports a broad clientele of government and military entities, universities and international weather agencies.

Variational LAPS (Var-LAPS )  — is a next generation data assimilation system designed to improve forecasts and analysis and meets NOAA goals. Var-LAPS is designed to improve EnKF/4DVAR and more.

Here is a summary of some of the numerical forecasting FAB is involved in. It is the LAPS initialization (described under Data Assimilation) that FAB uses to 'hot-start' most deterministic and ensemble numerical models.

LAPS  — Local model implementations and demonstrations  — Configuring and installing modeling systems that take advantage of local datasets, advancements in affordable parallel computing, and the results of weather modeling research and developments from GSD and elsewhere. Current and upcoming applications of various models on different computing platforms all take advantage of LAPS initialization. Ensembles of local models will be an increasingly useful approach to numerical weather forecasting problems and applications to a broad spectrum of uses ranging from fire weather prediction to ground transportation needs.

Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Modeling  — FAB runs various configurations of the WRF model and analyzes the results of model simulated output. Configurations of the model runs have varying vertical and horizontal resolutions, domain scales, nesting and lateral boundary conditions.

Ensemble Modeling  — High-resolution local applications of ensemble modeling are currently being developed and tested, initially for evaluation during the Hydrometeorological Testbed (HMT) Program in California and applications for the Coastal Storms Initiative.

WFO-Advanced Support  — Full support of an operational version of LAPS on the WFO-Advanced workstation, including both analysis and prediction. The WFO-Advanced forecaster workstation is used to demonstrate Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) functions in support of future Weather Forecast Office (WFO) operations.

HMT Precipitable Water Image
HMT Precipitable Water over California

FAB has developed web products for the meteorological community.

Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program ( HFIP )  — the 2012 HFIP page is one contribution from FAB. This website consolidates hurricane forecast in one common location for use by the hurricane forecast community. Hurricane forecast models are generally run in a variety of ways, with initial model states, differing equations, forecast scales. Graphic displays from more than eleven diverse agencies/ universities into a common location, with common weather parameters, common graphics, where the resulting forecast product appear seamless.

Ensemble of Tropical Cyclone Matthew
Ensemble of Tropical Cyclone Matthew

LAPS Realtime Analysis Products

FAB is a key participant in the Developmental Testbed Center and involved with AWIPS.

Developmental Testbed Center>( DTC )  — a distributed facility that serves as a bridge between research and operations to facilitate the activities of both halves of the NWP Community in pursuit of their own objectives:

  • Research community gets a functionally equivalent operational environment to test and evaluate new NWP methods in retrospective extended period tests using advanced tools
  • Operational community benefits from DTC testing and evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of new NWP advances prior to consideration for operational implementation

DTC diagram

AWIPS Development ( AWIPS )

 — for AWIPS II, GSD branches are working with AWIPS Development Environment to make FAB's LAPS system part of the AWIPS-II system. GSD is needs to developing software which involves testing and maintaining a close development collaboration with teams.