NOAA Engages Broader Weather Community with Open Data Initiative

NOAA will actively involve the broader weather forecasting community in the evaluation of model development when the High Impact Weather Prediction Project (HIWPP), a collaborative project led by OAR's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) – Global Systems Division (GSD), begins its Open Data Initiative on February 9, 2015. The goal of the Open Data Initiative is to allow NOAA to openly share models in advanced stages of research with the broader weather enterprise. Participants in the Open Data Initiative will then be able to evaluate these models worldwide and offer feedback from differing economic perspectives, such as transportation, energy development, or disaster preparedness, thus accelerating the improvement in NOAA weather model performance.

HIWPP was funded by Sandy Supplemental appropriations in order to accelerate development of the next generation of global models and improve prediction of nature's most dangerous storms. In the first phase of this effort, three current global weather forecast models, plus experimental combinations of models, are being evaluated for forecast performance at high resolutions, and the weather community will be invited to provide feedback to model developers in order to most effectively evaluate and improve the models.

To aid analysis of high resolution models, participants will also have access to new, advanced visualization tools developed within ESRL-GSD to view and evaluate model output. The NOAA Earth Information System uses state-of-the-art technology to provide on-demand access to model output together with other critical earth system data.

Recently, the Forecast Improvement Group within the American Meteorological Society brought together public, private, and academic weather communities to address the question of how end users can receive better products to support vital decisions. While many users receive their final products from the private sector, NOAA has the critical role of improving forecasts through its research and operations. The primary recommendation of this group was to "strengthen relationships within the public, private, academic, and user communities to assure economic and efficient development and use of forecasting capabilities."

Toward this end, HIWPP developed its innovative Open Data Initiative. Experimental model products in advanced phases of development will run in non-operational, real-time mode and will be delivered to the wider weather community for early evaluation. Collaboration between the public, private, and academic sectors of the weather enterprise will enhance NOAA's overall effectiveness and produce forecast improvements driven by both user needs and scientific advances.

Contact information:
Timothy Schneider