GSD Hazard Services Team Meets Major Milestone

In collaboration with the National Weather Service (NWS) and Raytheon Technical Services, ESRL/Global Systems Division staff have met a major milestone in developing a new Hazard Services system for NWS forecasters. Hazard Services promises to revolutionize and streamline NWS operations by integrating software tools into a common interface for issuing timely and accurate hazard information and building a two-way communication platform for collaboration among all decision-makers.

The technology is being developed as part of the second generation of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS II). The upcoming 15.1.1 build of AWIPS II (September 2015 field release) will include a version of Hazard Services that will allow forecasters across the nation to experiment with the new functionality for hydrological hazards (river floods, flash floods, and areal floods) in a “Practice mode” setting. This represents a culmination of working closely with NWS forecasters and test sites in Omaha and Boulder using an iterative feedback approach. As more forecasters gain “hands-on” experience with the application, their input will be gathered and incorporated into the software to produce an operational system.

The Hazard Services project addresses a recognition that NWS hazard operations need to be simplified and streamlined to provide forecasters better tools to perform their mission-critical job of providing lifesaving watches, warnings, and advisories. It is also part of an effort to support new avenues for disseminating hazard information in a world of rapidly evolving social media and mobile devices, and will be used to facilitate collaborative exchanges of hazard information between NWS forecasters and external partners including emergency managers and law enforcement officers. The Hazard Services application started as the Next Generation Warning Tool with a series of workshops used to gather ideas and requirements from potential users including external partners, social scientists, software engineers, meteorologists, and hydrologists from the public and private sectors.

A cornerstone of a Weather-Ready Nation, Hazard Services will sustain the ability to communication hazard information effectively in a digital world, and will improve NWS operations by:

  • streamlining the forecaster’s workflow through combining functionality from three AWIPS legacy warning applications;
  • providing a wider variety of hazard products in an information-centric operation; and
  • enhancing collaboration and data sharing between forecasters and NWS partners.

Contact information: Tracy Hansen 303-497-6569