Water Cycle Branch
PSD Branches
mountain terrain, by Rob Cifelli, link to larger image
Photo by Rob Cifelli
Hydrometeorological processes are complex in areas of steep terrain. Our team emphasizes research in these regions to help inform forecasters and water managers with accurate and timely precipitation and surface condition information. (Photo by Rob Cifelli)

Hydrometeorological Forcings Science Team

Fresh water is one of our nation's most precious and valuable natural resource. The management of this resource requires accurate and timely information on precipitation (quantitative precipitation information – QPI) for water managers to make appropriate decisions regarding infrastructure and resources. Knowledge of both the amount and uncertainty of QPI is also required by operational forecasters to produce robust hydrologic simulations of stream discharge, to issue flood warnings to the public, and improve overall situational awareness related to incoming storms. Recent studies have shown that climate change will increase the occurrence of extreme precipitation events over time, further highlighting the need for reliable QPI.

Hydrometeorological processes combine the science of precipitation formation and distribution in the atmosphere with the resulting intensity, distribution, and movement of water on and through the land surface. The activities of the Hydrometeorological Forcings Science Team (HFST) within PSD's Water Cycle Branch focus on research to better understand, describe and monitor these processes and foster the transition the results of this research to operations. Special emphasis is placed on extreme precipitation, water vapor transport processes and conditions in complex terrain. Data from field experiments, numerical models (atmospheric and hydrologic) and reanalysis products are integrated into scientific studies, evaluations of precipitation forecasts and development of prototype tools for use in forecast operations.

HFST research encompasses all five major activity areas of NOAA's Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT): Quantitative Precipitation Estimation (QPE), Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting (QPF), Snow Information, Hydrological and Surface Processes (HASP), and Decision Support. Key formal publications from the HFST are available online at hmt.noaa.gov