Web Homepage: http://www.fsl.noaa.gov
Sandra J. Aschert, Administrative Officer, 303-497-6803
(The above roster, current when document is published, includes government, cooperative agreement, and commercial affiliate staff.)
Address: NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory Mail Code: FSA
The Office of Administration and Research, under the Office of the Director, provides management support, administrative support led by an Administrative Officer, IT support, contract administration, and visitor and information services (Figure 4).
The Information and Technology Services (ITS) is also under the Office of the Director. The FSL Chief Information Officer manages the ITS, which is responsible for the computers, communications and data networks, and associated peripherals that FSL staff use to accomplish their research and systems development mission. The FSL Central Facility comprises dozens of computers ranging from workstations and servers to a High Performance Technologies, Inc. (HPTi) supercomputer. The facility contains a wide variety of meteorological data-ingest interfaces, storage devices, local- and wide-area networks, communications links to external networks, and display devices. Over 700 Internet Protocol-capable hosts and network devices include Unix hosts, PCs and Macintoshes, and network routers, hubs, and switches. These hardware and associated software enable FSL staff to design, develop, test, evaluate, and transfer to operations advanced weather information systems and new forecasting techniques. Data and products are also provided for research activities at other NOAA Research Laboratories, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and university laboratories.
Six divisions carry out the research and development activities, as follows.
The Demonstration Division evaluates promising atmospheric observing technologies developed by NOAA and other federal agencies and organizations and determines their value in the operational domain. Activities range from the demonstration of scientific and engineering innovations to the management of new systems and technologies. Current activities include the operation, maintenance, and improvement of the NOAA Profiler Network (including three sites in Alaska), which provides reliable hourly observations of winds from the surface to the lower stratosphere. The Radio Acoustic Sounding System (RASS) technique has been demonstrated and proved beneficial for remote sensing of temperatures at profiler sites. A more recent project, the GPS-Met Demonstration Network, has shown that the addition of ground-based GPS water vapor observations to a numerical weather prediction model improves forecast accuracy, especially under conditions of active weather. Wind and temperature data from Cooperative Agency Profilers operated by other organizations are also collected and distributed for research and operational use.
The Systems Development Division works closely with other FSL groups in providing technical expertise on functional specifications for new workstation and interactive display systems. FSL's continuing support to AWIPS includes an exploratory development project called FX-Collaborate (FXC), which provides interactive features such as drawing and annotation tools, a chatroom, and a capability for sharing local datasets between sites. FXC applications include weather forecast coordination between offices, classroom training, briefings from NWS to other government agencies, field experiment support, and research coordination. Other systems include the Quality Control and Monitoring System (QCMS) which provides users and suppliers of hydrometeorological observations with readily available quality control statistics. Two surface assimilation systems, the MAPS Surface Analysis System (MSAS) and the Rapid Update Cycle Surface Assimilation System (RSAS), provide direct measurements of surface conditions and give crucial indicators of potential for severe weather. In addition, the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) provides quality-controlled observations and data access software to university and government data assimilation researchers.
FSL initiated the MADIS project to expand availability of value-added observations such as radiosonde, automated aircraft, wind profiler, and surface datasets. The MADIS API also provides access to all observation and QC information in the FSL database and other supported meteorological databases.
The Aviation Division promotes safer skies through improved aviation weather products. In collaboration with the NWS, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Defense (DOD), and Department of Transportation (DOT), it provides improved weather forecasting, product visualization, and verification capabilities to civilian and military forecasters, pilots, air traffic controllers, and airline dispatchers. Through research and development of high-performance computing, the Aviation Division also ensures continued improvement of high-resolution numerical weather analysis and prediction systems.
The Modernization Division specifies requirements for advanced meteorological workstations, product and technique development, and new forecast preparation concepts and techniques. It manages the development and fielding of advanced prototype meteorological systems into operational NWS forecast offices, and performs objective evaluations of these operational systems. The Modernization Division plays a major role in development and operational use of AWIPS at over 100 NWS forecast offices. It provides management and direction for research in the latest scientific and technical advances, with special emphasis on their potential application to operational meteorology.
The International Division oversees internal development of systems intended primarily for global or international application. It is involved in several international cooperative technology transfer agreements, such as implementation of a totally updated forecast center at the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) of Taiwan and development of a Forecaster's Analysis System for the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). These multiyear programs progressively benefit from advances in application development. The division also supports the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program, which is widely recognized as one of the most successful international K 12 education and science programs of its kind. Since its inception 8 years ago, the Program has grown from an initial 450 U.S. GLOBE schools to more than 12,000 participating schools representing over half the countries of the world. GLOBE students conduct a large variety of scientific meausrements and use the Internet to send their findings to a central database. The GLOBE database contains more than 8 million records of atmospheric, soil, biologic, and hydrologic measurements that are used by researchers and students in numerous experiments. The International Division is also involved in the development of a real-time meteorological PC workstation called FX-Net. Based on a modified AWIPS D2D workstation, FX-Net makes AWIPS products available over the Internet via high and low bandwidth communication lines. The latest compression technologies are applied by FX-Net in order to reduce the product file sizes with minimal loss of information. Knowledge gained during research conducted in the area of wavelet compression technology is the underpinning of the FX-Net workstation. The International Division further expanded the research of wavelet compression into the domain of gridded model forecast fields. A method was developed to compress model grids with a prescribed maximum allowable error for each model parameter at all grid points. Wavelet compression studies conducted on the Eta 12-km forecast model delivered significantly better compression ratios than what conventional compression techniques can achieve for the same maximum error.
or by e-mail at Rhonda.K.Lange@ noaa.gov.)