ESRL Global Systems Division

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Awards Featuring GSD's GFE

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has received some major accolades "down under" in 2012 for their Next Generation Forecast and Warning System Project, a major component of which is installing the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE) in their forecasting offices. The GFE is a grid-based graphical forecast system consisting of a database server, sensible weather derivation algorithms, text formatters (routine and hazard), and the GFE editor that the forecasters use to make the forecast. It was designed, developed, and transferred to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology by NOAA/ESRL/GSD/Information Systems Branch (ISB). In Spring 2006, GSD/ISB staff began work with the Bureau to design, customize, and enhance the Australian version of the GFE. The software was first installed in Victoria state during October 2008, and is being rolled out nation-wide, currently in use in four of seven states.

The Australian Department of Finance operates an "insurance" scheme (Comcover) for government departments and runs an award program to recognize initiatives that reduce the level of risk to which the government might be exposed. The Next Generation Forecast and Warning System (NexGenFWS) Project received a Highly Commended Award in the Comcover Awards for Excellence 2012 – Risk Initiative category.

In addition, the NexGenFWS Project featured prominently in Australia's Excellence in eGovernment Awards hat recognize the most outstanding initiatives in Government Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at the local, state, and federal level. The NexGenFWS Project was the overall winner, as well as the winner in the geospatial category.

These are very prestigious awards for Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. Quoting Terry Hart, Project Director for the NexGenFWS, "We appreciate that our project is standing on the shoulders of the great work done in NOAA and we hope you feel some satisfaction and pride in the impact and profile the system has achieved in Australia." In addition, quoting GSD's Information Systems Branch Chief Ron Lowther, "Congratulations to the Bureau and 'well deserved' on achieving the awards! We do feel satisfaction and pride in knowing the impact the system has achieved in Australia. However, we also know the tremendous amount of work the Bureau has accomplished to improve the GFE into a first-class system that's admired by many countries (including the U.S.). You've raised the bar to new heights!" Finally, quoting Ray Canterford, Services Division Head – Australia Bureau of Meteorology, "It was a real thrill for us here to have the system recognised at the awards. Also, it is a huge credit to the U.S. (NOAA) pioneering work that we constantly speak about in our submissions to the awards. This is yet again a major win for both our populations through the collaboration of our countries separated geographically by the Pacific Ocean, but so close in spirit and generosity! Scientists, IT experts, forecasters, trainers, international staff, etc., all worked together over many many years to pull this off."

This effort is another in the long line of ESRL/GSD's successful technology design, development, and transfer missions. For this particular project, the 2009 NOAA Technology Transfer Award went to the four-member GFE team from GSD, Tracy Hansen, Tom LeFebvre, Mark Mathewson, and Mike Romberg, for "continuing improvements to the GFE allowing the system to be used in River Forecast and National Centers, as well as for tailoring GFE systems for the meteorological agencies of Taiwan and Australia." This work also further enhances NOAA's international influence and prestige in weather forecasting improvements worldwide.

Contact information
Name: Ron Lowther
Tel: 303-497-7247
ron.lowther@noaa.gov