ESRL Global Systems Division

FSL Researchers Receive NOAA Administrator's Award

Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL) researchers Paul Schultz and Patricia Miller have been selected to receive a 2005 NOAA Administrator's Award. This honor represents "innovation and courage demonstrated in responding to a new way of doing business in NOAA which, when implemented, will lead to vastly improved weather products and services to support the nation's surface transportation system."

Paul Schultz is a key contributor to the NOAA Surface Weather Program, which was initiated in June 2004 following the five-year Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) project, conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). FSL runs an ensemble of mesoscale models which is used to generate point forecasts along targeted roadways. These forecasts are then used to inform pavement condition modules to predict pavement temperature and chemical concentrations; in turn, these predictions are used to apply codified rules of treatment, which recommend plowing and chemical application frequency to snowplow garage supervisors. During demonstrations in Iowa over the winters that ended in 2003 and 2004, multimillion-dollar savings were realized as a result of efficient scheduling of snowplow drivers, reduced overapplication of salt and other deicing chemicals, and less chemical damage and sand clogging in roadside drainages. The 2005 MDSS demonstration is taking place in Colorado, focusing on the E-470 roadway in the Denver vicinity. The MDSS Web page provides links to program information as well as graphics from the real-time modeling services used in MDSS.

Patty Miller is a key contributor to the NOAA Surface Weather Program in the area of observation collection, integration, quality control, and distribution. Utilizing its Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System, FSL is partnering with the National Weather Service and FHWA to collect observations from over 2,000 Road Weather Information System (RWIS) environmental observing stations installed and operated by state departments of transportation along the nation's highways. RWIS stations provide observations of both meteorological variables such as pressure, temperature, and winds, and road variables such as pavement temperature and road condition. The RWIS observations will be added to over 16,000 surface "mesonet" observations already collected by MADIS from various state and local government agencies, universities, research organizations, and private firms. Over the last several years, NOAA's MADIS program has supported field demonstrations of the MDSS prototype in Minnesota and Iowa, and is now supporting the MDSS demonstration in Colorado.

The award will be presented to Schultz and Miller, along with other NOAA colleagues, at a May 13 awards ceremony at the NOAA Science Center in Silver Spring, MD.

Contact information
Name: Rhonda K. Lange
Tel: 303 497 6045