ESRL Integrating Research and Technology Themes

Information Systems

  1. Goal and Scope
  2. The goal of this project is to improve weather forecasts by presenting observations, analysis and models more effectively to weather forecasters. This topic includes the exploratory development, systems testing and demonstration of information systems for support of NOAA/NWS and other operational weather services. It includes information systems such as the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), FX Net, World Wide Weather Workstation and the MADIS system.

  3. Rationale and Payoffs
  4. The great increase of data availability has resulted in improved service only when the data are organized and presented in a way that forecasters can relate them to other fields on common time and space scales. Information systems are the key operational components that allow effective services by NOAA operational components, especially NWS, but also including NOS and NESDIS. This technology is changing so rapidly that it must be regarded as a continuous effort to bring the most advanced technical systems to bear in operations. The payoff is in the continued improvements of warnings and forecasts. For example, when the AWIPS system was installed, the convective warning skill of NWS increased about 15%. The performance goals of NWS require that there will be continued improvement of the speed and usability of radar, satellite, model and other data used by forecasters.

  5. Major Collaborators and Their Research Foci
    1. Earth System Research Laboratory
      • Global Systems Division: There are a number of groups within GSD developing information systems. On AWIPS, a big project to improve its performance and capability is the Advanced Linux Prototype System. Other projects include the FX-Net, FX-Collaborate and information systems for aviation users.
      • Physical Sciences Division and Chemical Sciences Division: These organizations worked with GSD on information systems for the air quality program, and have developed a map room with excellent longer range weather and climate information.
    2. Other NOAA
      • NWS Office of Science and Technology, Meteorological Development Laboratory: This group has developed a number of the capabilities of AWIPS in cooperation with the Global Systems Division.
      • NWS NCEP Environmental Modeling Center: EMC and ESRL/GSD are working toward a merging of the NCEP N-AWIPS and the AWIPS system.
      • NOAA CIO Office: Unified NOAA design and application of information systems.
      • NOS and NMFS: Design and application of models and information to marine systems.
    3. Other
      • CIRA: Much of the development expertise for information systems has come from CIRA personnel.
  6. Contributions to NOAA Goals
    • NOAA's Strategic Plan FY 2005-FY2010. Performance objective: Increase lead time and accuracy for weather and water warnings and forecasts. Outcome: Reduced loss of life, injury and damage to the economy. (p. 9)
    • Research in NOAA - A Five-Year Plan: Fiscal Years 2005 - 2009. Performance objectives: Increase development, application, and transition of advanced science and technology to operations and services; Increase application and accessibility of weather and water information; and Improve the predictability of the onset, duration and impact of hazardous and severe weather and water events. (p. 20)
    • Science and Technology Infusion Plan 2004: "Objective 4: Improve gridded forecast preparation applications to increase forecast and warning lead times, accuracy, location specificity, and enhance product formats." And "Objective 5: Stay close to the leading edge of IT to increase system utility and functionality . . ." (p. 19)
  7. Major Information Products, Customers, and Linkages
  8. The direct customer for most of the information system development is the National Weather Service. PSD has made weather and climate information available to the public through their weather page on the web. The Global Systems Division has worked closely with the NWS Office of Science and Technology, Office of Hydrology, and NCEP.