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NOAA Testbed Workshop

May 18, 2010

The NOAA USWRP Executive Committee (NUEC) hosted the 2nd NOAA Testbed Workshop at the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) from 4-5 May 2010 in Boulder, CO. This workshop was an important opportunity for a wide variety of testbed projects to build cross-testbed collaborations and exchange information, lessons-learned, and best practices. Participants included researchers from across NOAA, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and NASA; representing the Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT), Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT), Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT), Developmental Testbed Center (DTC), Climate Testbed (CTB), Societal Impacts Program (SIP), and the Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT). Outcomes include recognition that many testbeds have generated experience and scientific knowledge that have important implications for NOAA planning for major future investments in infrastructure from observations, to models and people. This led to a recommendation to hold another workshop like this next year, and to include a focus on generating input from these lessons for NOAA's out-year planning process. In addition, new collaborations across Testbeds, such as between HMT and SPoRT, and new awareness of the potential for the ALPS Workstations to help with AWIPS-like product testing, were generated. A recommendation was made to expand the uswrp.org website to include a 'testbed portal' for wider NOAA testbed representation.

Testbeds have emerged as an important mechanism to link weather research and forecasting. They help researchers become better aware of critical forecast challenges, and forecasters become aware of recent advances in science and technology. They serve as a means to develop and test prototype systems for potential future operational use. NOAA testbeds address operational requirements and emerging scientific questions through the development, demonstration, and evaluation of new technologies and predictive models. This process depends on collaboration between forecasters and scientists in research and development, so that new and improved forecasting tools can be successfully transitioned into operations.

The Workshop brought together 80 experts from several testbeds to compare experiences and lessons learned. There is no other such meeting of people who have helped build testbeds over the last several years. There was a consensus that the workshop was useful to participants, and that they would take back best practices to help manage and optimize the efforts in their respective testbeds. Most important was the recommendation that results from multiple testbeds have implications for future NOAA planning regarding major observing system investments, and that these results should be considered in future planning. It also provided a unique opportunity to share the wide range of approaches and experiences with the step of transitioning new methods or tools into forecast operations, which will help each testbed find the methods that may work best on its subject.

Contact: Marty Ralph