New tool will help NWS assess and communicate forecast uncertainty

Image of user interface for AWIPSII Ensemble Tool

December 2, 2016

ESRL GSD and CIRES researchers invented a tool to help forecasters assess and communicate uncertainty in their forecasts and improve decision support services for their customers. During this month the NWS will integrate the “Ensemble Tool” into the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System - II (AWIPS-II), the cornerstone of all NWS forecast offices.

NWS meteorologists will use the Ensemble Tool to view all of the ensemble forecast solutions at one time or toggle between the solutions to compare and contrast them. This helps the forecaster subjectively determine how much confidence they have in their forecast products so they can communicate their uncertainty to the end-user. The tool provides quantitative information about the probabilities an event will occur, such as the probability of the overnight temperature falling below freezing at a citrus grove. It can also offer a range of possibilities such as a reasonable range of overnight temperatures the grower can expect.

This new tool supports key concepts in the NWS Weather Ready Nation Roadmap, including a shift from product-focused service to interpretation and consultation, and an effort to communicate on-demand, reliable, quantified, and comprehensible forecast confidence information.

For more information contact: Susan Cobb 303-497-5093