Web Homepage: http://www.fsl.noaa.gov
Dr. Russell B. Chadwick, Chief Engineer, 303-497-6318
(The above roster, current when document is published, includes
Address: NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory Mail Code: FSL
Message from the Director
The new century has brought a new set of challenges to NOAA, the nation, and the world. NOAA's mission of understanding and predicting the future of our oceans and atmosphere is becoming more important as population grows and the ability to use the information increases.
The Forecast Systems Laboratory is directly involved in many of the most important efforts to meet NOAA's mission. These range over timescales from minutes to centuries. In the shortest time range, FSL has been working with the National Weather Service to improve the AWIPS system in many ways. We have developed workstations that use PCs running the Linux operating system, providing outstanding performance at very reasonable costs. Advanced workstations of this type are being installed by the National Weather Service nationwide. The Graphical Forecast Editor allows weather forecasters to generate complex prediction fields with ease and completeness. Numerous GFE workshops with forecasters have led to a system that should have an easy transition to operations. FSL's FX-Net weather workstation provides AWIPS-type capabilities over the Internet. FX-Net was used to support the Winter Olympics and has been a key to helping federal agencies with the many forest fires that the 2002 season brought. FSL has also implemented a new version of its Rapid Update Cycle model, which runs at 20-km resolution and is updated hourly.
On longer timescales, out to a few days, FSL has been working on the new community model, the Weather Research and Forecast model. The WRF and a number of other models were run in support of the International H2O Project experiment, a field program to study atmospheric water vapor centered over Oklahoma during early summer 2002. FSL modeling resources were also used to run ensembles of models at high resolution during the Temperature and Air Quality Pilot Program, centered over NewEngland. This program is leading to a rapid technology transfer (to the National Weather Service) of the capability for real-time air quality forecasts. A group in FSL's aviation weather program has worked closely with the Central Weather Support Units and the air traffic community to improve weather information availability. The Aviation Digital Data Service, a joint effort with the National Weather Service and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has been lauded by pilots.
FSL continues to lead in the use of new computing for NOAA. Its Jet computer is being upgraded to over 1500 commodity processors, delivering approximately 6 trillion floating point operations per second. It is supporting NOAA scientists from 8 OAR laboratories as well as numerous other NOAA collaborators.
Perhaps nowhere is the future of NOAA more at stake than in observing systems. FSL's demonstration profiler network has been shown to help forecasters and improve the initial state for numerical weather prediction. Its leadership in the real-time use of data such as Global Positioning System water vapor and commercial aircraft reports has been complemented by the addition of many thousands of surface weather stations from diverse sources. The combination of advanced modeling, the ability to test and simulate observing systems, and deep expertise with new data sources makes FSL's efforts important to defining the future operational observing system. FSL has also been studying global observing for weather and climate. Thus, its efforts span timescales from a few minutes (the improvement of weather warnings) to a few centuries (the global observing system needed for centennial climate prediction).
Within this report you will find much more on the projects briefly mentioned here, and many projects that are not mentioned but are important to NOAA's future. As you will see, we have a dedicated and talented staff, a track record of accomplishment, and a mission that makes our efforts crucial to NOAA's future success.