ESRL Global Systems Division

ESRL Observations Now Used in NWS Operational Tool

A new tool that merges land-based GPS water vapor observations with total precipitable water vapor estimates made from Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite data over the oceans has been developed for National Weather Service forecasters and is now integrated into operations. The tool, called the Blended Total Precipitable Water Product, allows forecasters to better anticipate and forecast heavy rain and flooding events over land that are caused by previously poorly observed surges of moisture originating from the ocean. Atmospheric rivers that have been recently documented in scientific journals are a prime example of such a feature.

This tool is based on research carried out at NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) located at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado and work conducted on Global Positioning System Meteorology carried out by scientists at the Global Systems Division of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder. The tool was implemented in AWIPS Operational Build 9 (OB9) through the efforts of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin on behalf of NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.

This successful transition of research into operations, accomplished quickly and inexpensively, supports NOAA's mission goal to serve society's needs for Weather and Water information.

Contact information
Name: Seth I Gutman
Tel: 303-497-7031