ESRL Forecast Technology Goes Live in Australia

Australian weather forecasters have successfully transferred custom-tailored NOAA technology to their operations at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) Victoria Regional Office. Staff from the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Global Systems Division (GSD) have worked with BoM since 2006 when agreements were signed specifying that NOAA would assist BoM in adapting the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE). Used operationally by the National Weather Service, the GFE comprises a suite of visualization and graphical editing tools that aids forecasters in preparing a gridded database of dozens of weather forecast elements including temperature, clouds, winds, and precipitation.

On October 28, 2008 the first full set of routine Victoria State forecasts from the GFE was issued without a hitch and at many more locations than when forecasts were generated manually. "Overall the day went very well", said BoM's project manager Jon Gill. "There were some (inevitable) minor technical glitches that were fixed as they arose. But overall it has been a terrific success." Gill continued to praise the launch's success that he recognized was critically dependent on two things: GFE's robust and excellent design and ESRL's professional and responsive support in developing the GFE to BoM's requirements. Since the agreement was signed, BoM and ESRL developers have collaborated to customize various components of GFE such as text formatters and smart tools. This effort included several face-to-face meetings to work out the numerous details needed to create worded forecasts from a digital weather database.

The successful transfer of gridded forecasting technology to Australia is a milestone for the GFE project. Other organizations have expressed interest in adopting GFE technology as well, including the Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan, the Spanish Meteorological Service, and several private companies.

On Friday, 24 March 2006, NWS Director D.L. Johnson signed an International Agreement between the United States and Australian governments for cooperative work in weather forecasting. At the same meeting in Melbourne, Australia, Carl Bullock of GSD signed an Implementing Arrangement with BoM to effect a transfer of the GFE technology to BoM. The two-year agreement called for GSD staff to tailor the GFE for use by the BoM.

This successful transfer of NOAA technology to BoM operations promotes international collaboration and cooperation and maximizes our mutual benefits regarding weather forecasting.

Contact information
Name: Carl S. Bullock
Tel: 303-497-7247
Carl.S.Bullock@noaa.gov