Fiscal Year 1995

FSL in Review

International Program

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Wayne J. Fischer , Acting Chief


During this fiscal year, the International Project was elevated to Program status, making it the equivalent of a division within the laboratory. This change in status recognizes the importance of FSL's international collaborations. The International Program's (IP) mission is to oversee internal development of systems intended primarily for global or international application and to facilitate international cooperative agreements and technology transfer programs. Support is provided for three major activities:

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program is an international environmental research program that links the efforts of students, teachers, and scientists. FSL develops and maintains a central computer facility through which the GLOBE participants communicate, as well as the software used by students and teachers. IP personnel are also active in training GLOBE teachers to use the computer system.

As the focal point for cooperative agreements and technology transfer programs, the IP facilitates planning and communication between foreign scientists and engineers and FSL's technical staff. Through these projects, forecasting agencies in other countries receive the technical and scientific assistance they need, and FSL benefits from a broadened perspective on forecasting in different meteorological environments. The foreign facilities often serve as "beta-test" sites for newly developed FSL forecasting or data management products.

The longest-standing cooperative project is the Joint Forecast Systems Project (JFSP) with the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau (CWB), which began in 1990. This collaboration enables visiting scientists from the CWB to participate in the development of new FSL software and hardware products. When testing is completed, these products are made available to the CWB to be customized to suit forecasting needs in Taiwan. FSL provides training for the CWB forecasters to familiarize them with the new products. Current JFSP activities involve modernization of the CWB facilities and improvements in the forecasting of mesoscale storms and flash floods, which are serious problems in Taiwan.


GLOBE Program

  • By the end of the fiscal year, 2100 schools were registered for the GLOBE Program.
  • Version 1 of the GLOBE software for both the World Wide Web (WWW) site and PC workstations was finalized and released. (A screen from the GLOBE Web Page is shown in Figure 35.) The WWW software is used by the majority of GLOBE schools. The only system requirement to use this software is a computer with a graphical Web browser such as Netscape. The GLOBE Web software contains five modules:

  • The CD-ROM GLOBE software was made available to schools that have high-end PC workstations. This version of the software is often more convenient for the teachers to use because most of the work can be done off-line, and many classrooms do not have phone lines or network connections. The GLOBE CD-ROM software contains six modules:

  • User manuals were developed for both the WWW and workstation users.
  • The GLOBE data processing center became operational in April 1995. The first student data were received on Earth Day, April 22. Between May 1 and September 30, the center received and processed over 22,000 observations.
  • Program staff participated in nine training sessions in the United States and four sessions for international schools.
  • Extensive work was done on version 2 of the WWW software, which was nearly complete at the end of the fiscal year.

    International Technical Assistance and Cooperation

  • A memorandum of understanding for technical cooperation in meteorology between FSL and the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA) was completed. Arrangements are being implemented to cover activities such as the development of forecast workstation systems and the development of mesoscale models for use in numerical weather prediction systems.
  • FSL hosted two visitors from the China Meteorological Administration (CMA). The CMA scientists received training in the development of numerical weather prediction models and the development of meteorological forecast workstations for use in the display and analysis of operational weather data.
  • FSL met with representatives of the Thailand Meteorological Department to help them plan enhancements to their forecasting system.
  • The Director of the New Zealand Meteorological Service visited FSL to identify logical areas for improvements to New Zealand's weather forecasting system.

    Joint Forecast System Project

  • Five visiting scientists from the Taiwan CWB came to FSL to work on joint development projects. Three worked on the FX workstation, one worked on the MAPS weather prediction model, and one worked on the NIMBUS Open Systems project. More detailed descriptions of these projects are given elsewhere in this report (Forecast Research Division and the Facility Division).
  • One CWB forecaster spent three months at FSL receiving training on the weather model and use of the FX-workstation.
  • FSL provided a basic version of the FX-ALPHA software to the CWB, along with documentation for the system.
  • To assist CWB staff with their transition to an Open Systems central facility, FSL provided a version of the NIMBUS software and system documentation. CWB is using NIMBUS as a basis for their own Open Systems software, NICE.
  • FSL delivered a report to the CWB on the selection of locations for a wind profiler network in Taiwan.
  • FSL installed and tested radar velocity de-aliasing software at the CWB.
  • Progress was made on the NEXRAD FX-workstation interface at the CWB. Early technical problems were overcome by selecting new communications hardware.
  • The joint development team worked on extending the MAPS model over oceanic regions and incorporating satellite data. The satellite data processing component was completed and documented. A version of the revised MAPS software was provided to the CWB for experimental use and training.

    Figure 36. CD-ROM version of the GLOBE software used by students to enter air temperature measurements taken each day.


    GLOBE Program

  • Version 2 of the GLOBE software will be released in the next fiscal year. Version 2 will allow GLOBE schools to interact directly with one another through the Web site. Students and teachers will also be able to access data gathered by other schools. Another goal of the second version will be to make the workstation software and the WWW software more similar.
  • Training activities will continue as more schools join GLOBE. The data processing center expects to handle a much greater volume of data in its second year of operation.

    International Technical Assistance and Cooperation

  • FSL will pursue implementing arrangements for technical cooperation in meteorology with KMA.
  • FSL expects to work with the Taiwan Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) to develop workstations optimized for CAA forecasters, including integration of new data sources into the CAA forecast model and creation of a database of variables of interest for aviation users who do not have meteorological backgrounds.

    Joint Forecast System Project

  • The advanced capabilities of the FX workstation are expected to be completed. FSL will provide training to CWB personnel. With the advanced capabilities in place, the workstation will be ready for testing in parallel forecasting exercises.
  • The joint development team will work on assimilating data from aircraft and the TOVS into the MAPS prediction model.
  • The joint development team will continue to develop and upgrade the NIMBUS Open Systems software and to provide upgrades to the CWB for use in their Open Systems transition.
  • Work will also continue on the NEXRAD FX-workstation interface.

    Maintained by: Wilfred von Dauster