Weather forecasters rely on an incredibly large amount of information when they make forecasts and issue warnings. A new system, activated by NOAA’s National Weather Service last week, quickly harnesses the tremendous amount of weather data from multiple sources, intelligently integrates the information, and provides a detailed picture of the current weather.
Last September’s widespread flooding in northeast Colorado, which saw just over 17 inches of rain in one week in the city of Boulder, was not made more likely or more intense by the effects of human-induced climate change, according to a new NOAA-led study published today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
For the last five years, NOAA has teamed up with NASA to fly NASA’s Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to get an inside look at how hurricanes form and intensify over the Atlantic. The NASA-led project called the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel mission is demonstrating the ability of the Global Hawk to fly over hurricanes to gather continuous weather data on flights that are longer in duration than possible with manned aircraft. In the next three years, NOAA will take the next step with the Global Hawk, leading a new experiment and continuing its important collaboration with NASA. Drawing on technology and expertise honed in the current mission, NOAA will assess the feasibility of regular operations of Global Hawk to improve day-to-day forecasts of severe storms forming over the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.
This summer, NOAA scientists and partners are launching a number of new unmanned aircraft and water vehicles to collect weather information as part of a coordinated effort to improve hurricane forecasts.
Several of these research projects and other NOAA led efforts to improve hurricane forecasting were made possible, in part, because of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. The act was passed by Congress and signed by the President in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. It provides $60 billion in funding to multiple agencies for disaster relief. NOAA received $309.7 million to provide technical assistance to those states with coastal and fishery impacts from Sandy, and to improve weather forecasting and weather research and predictive capability to help future preparation, response and recovery from similar events.
Rising temperatures will tend to reduce the amount of water in many of Colorado’s streams and rivers, melt mountain snowpack earlier in the spring, and increase the water needed by thirsty crops and cities, according to the new report, “Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation,” which updates and expands upon an initial report released in 2008.
More than 200 national and international lightning experts are gathering this week in Norman, Oklahoma, for what organizers have called “the most important international conference on atmospheric electricity in the world.” Held every four years, the 2014 International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity is co-hosted by NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma’s College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, and features the latest research on lightning and other electrical phenomena in the atmosphere.
Later this year, NOAA’s National Weather Service will usher into daily operations a sophisticated model called the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh, or HRRR, that will update forecasts hourly over the entire lower 48 United States at extremely sharp resolution using the latest observations from a network of ground and satellite-based sensors, radars and aircraft.
The HRRR provides forecast information at a resolution four times finer than what is currently used in hourly updated NOAA models. This improvement in resolution from 13 to three kilometers is like giving forecasters an aerial photograph in which each pixel represents a neighborhood instead of a city.
NOAA and the U.S. Navy are teaming up with academic and other government scientists to design the next generation of powerful supercomputer models to predict weather, ocean conditions and regional climate change.
Four teams of scientists are beginning projects this month to rewrite computer models that will create faster, lower-cost, better integrated models. These new models will take advantage of new supercomputers that use more energy efficient/lower-cost processors such as those originally developed for the video gaming industry.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.