NOAA Storm Prediction Center receives grant to improve severe storm data for forecasters

A project to improve the information used by forecasters at the NOAA Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has been awarded a 2005 Pioneer Fund Grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The $42,000 project will test the use of the Warning Decision Support System-Integrated Information (WDSS-II), a state-of-the-art radar analysis software tool, to stitch together real-time, high-resolution weather radar data from across the country into a digital mosaic. This new mosaic and software display system will add significant value to the data severe weather forecasters use on a daily basis to develop accurate storm predictions for the United States.

WDSS-II was developed by researchers at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory and the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

According to Jason Levit, Storm Prediction Center techniques development meteorologist, “Our forecasters will not only benefit from the imagery displayed using the high-resolution mosaic, the new system also applies advanced problem solving techniques to help find certain structures within hazardous weather that could lead to better predictions of severe storms and tornadoes.”

“This project takes developed and proven technology and creates an innovative system that will improve our national mission by testing the use of high-resolution radar data for national severe storms forecasting,” said Joseph Schaefer, director of the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

SPC is one of 11 chosen grant recipients from 58 applicants within the Department of Commerce in this year’s Pioneer Fund competition. The program gives Commerce employees an opportunity to develop, propose and implement innovative ideas to improve the way their organizations fulfill their missions to best serve the public.

Commerce’s Pioneer Fund provides investment capital for creative projects that turn a relatively small investment of money into noteworthy, cost-effective improvements in quality, productivity and customer service.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center issues forecasts and watches for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes over the contiguous United States. The SPC also monitors heavy rain, heavy snow and fire weather events across the U.S., and issues specific national products for those hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:
NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center: http://www.spc.noaa.gov