New NWP Training Course: Effective Use of NWP in the Forecast Process
Bua, William R. , Jascourt, Stephen D.

How can the large variety of numerical weather prediction (NWP) models be most effectively utilized together with observations in the forecast process for a given forecast scenario? An online distance learning course to address this type of question is under development by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) COMET´┐Ż program working cooperatively with the National Weather Service (NWS). The new course, taking an integrative approach to examining forecast problems, will be a sequel to the existing COMET NWP course developed from 1999 to 2001 which explains the basic concepts behind NWP models, including various physical parameterizations. The new course will also complement the variety of other COMET NWP training, which primarily focuses on individual models or model systems and particular model products. Both the existing course and the new course are designed for operational application and are not intended to replace rigorous academic curricula.

Partners working on research are needed to support a solid basis for training on two emerging topics crucial to optimal use of NWP in the human forecast process: 1) methods, approaches, and tools to quickly glean the useful information content from the rapidly-increasing already-enormous volume of NWP model data available, and 2) how to frame key aspects of the forecast problem of the day as hypotheses that are testable using the variety of models already available in real time as controls and experiments. We hope people working on these or similar topics will contact us, or perhaps you will be stimulated to begin such work soon!

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in operations who can provide information on best practices for forecasting various phenomena are also needed to contribute content and help with case development. The course organization and development will be loosely patterned after the Advanced Warning Operations Course (AWOC) developed at the NWS Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB), which brought together 25 SMEs and extensively used the Weather Event Simulator (WES) to provide hands-on training in the forecast environment. Now that WDTB developed a virtual machine version of WES which can run on any PC, even universities or individuals at home with a powerful PC would be able to use WES cases developed for the new NWP course. A virtual kickoff meeting for SMEs and others involved in the course development is being planned for early fall 2008.