ESRL Global Systems Division

ESRL/GSD Provides HRRR Numerical Weather Model Data Support To NASA

A team from ESRL's Global Systems Division (GSD) was recently commended and thanked by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Aviation Safety Program for support and performance in providing numerical weather model data and modeling support to the program for their development and evaluation of new Integrated Alerting and Notification (IAN) concepts for the Vehicle Systems Safety Technologies (VSST) Project. NASA's current efforts in this area are directed at creating a "realistic weather environment for flight deck simulation studies," says NASA's VSST Team from their Langley, Virginia Research Center. In particular, they are studying "cockpit system innovations and developments to improve the distribution and use of better aviation weather information." The IAN experiments are studying the effects of proposed next generation air transportation system (NextGen) capabilities in potentially hazardous weather conditions.

GSD/Assimilation and Modeling Branch (AMB) team members, including Stan Benjamin, John Brown, Bill Moninger, Curtis Alexander, Steve Weygandt, and Eric James, provided NASA with numerical data from the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) Model to represent the weather conditions for the NASA/IAN/VSST studies. The team also provided support and expertise in aiding NASA's use of special software for accessing the formatted model data and in properly interpreting the data.

The HRRR, a 3-km nested model with hourly updating initialized with the radar-enhanced 13-km Rapid Refresh (RAP), provides unique radar-initialized, hourly-updated, convection-resolving forecasts, and is currently running over a CONUS-wide domain at NOAA/ESRL/GSD as a real-time demonstration. It uses a configuration of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model, updated significantly from January through March 2012, and is similar to the WRF version used for the RAP (Advanced-Research WRF dynamics and numerics [ARW] core, Thompson microphysics, RUC-Smirnova land-surface model, etc.), but without any convective parameterization. The HRRR is initialized from an advanced version of the RAP run at ESRL with recent improvements to improve the convective storm environment. The HRRR was conceptualized and developed by GSD/AMB staff at ESRL in Boulder, Colorado, and further development is ongoing. Despite its experimental nature, the HRRR is widely used for aviation, severe weather, and energy applications by NOAA, FAA, DoE, and other government agencies, as well as the private sector.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. NOAA works to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them and its mission touches the lives of every American. This support to NASA's Aviation Safety Program for its work on the NextGen capabilities is yet another example of the diversity of ESRL/GSD's numerical weather modeling work for, and support to, the nation as well as NOAA.

Contact information
Name: Stan Benjamin
Tel: 303-497-6387
Stan.Benjamin@noaa.gov