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The Community Leveraged Unified Ensemble (CLUE) in the 2016 NOAA/Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Forecasting Experiment


The CLUE system represents an unprecedented effort to leverage several academic and government research institutions to help guide NOAA’s operational environmental modeling efforts at the convection-allowing scale.

One primary goal of annual Spring Forecasting Experiments (SFEs), which are co-organized by NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory and Storm Prediction Center and conducted in NOAA’s Hazardous Weather Testbed, is documenting performance characteristics of experimental, convection-allowing modeling systems (CAMs). Since 2007, the number of CAMs (including CAM ensembles) examined in the SFEs has increased dramatically, peaking at six different CAM ensembles in 2015. Meanwhile, major advances have been made in creating, importing, processing, verifying, and developing tools for analyzing and visualizing these large and complex datasets. However, progress toward identifying optimal CAM ensemble configurations has been inhibited because the different CAM systems have been independently designed, making it difficult to attribute differences in performance characteristics. Thus, for the 2016 SFE, a much more coordinated effort among many collaborators was made by agreeing on a set of model specifications (e.g., model version, grid-spacing, domain size, physics, etc.) so that the simulations contributed by each collaborator could be combined to form one large, carefully designed ensemble known as the Community Leveraged Unified Ensemble (CLUE). The 2016 CLUE was comprised of 65 members contributed by five research institutions, and represents an unprecedented effort to enable an evidence-driven decision process to help guide NOAA’s operational modeling efforts. Eight unique experiments were designed within the CLUE framework to examine issues directly relevant to the design of NOAA’s future operational CAM-based ensembles. This article will highlight the CLUE design, and present results from one of the experiments examining the impact of single vs. multi-core CAM ensemble configurations.

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