WHEN WEATHER MATTERS

Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs

Committee on Progress and Priorities of U.S. Weather Research and Research-to-Operations Activities

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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contents  WHEN WEATHER MATTERS Science and Services to Meet Critical Societal Needs Committee on Progress and Priorities of U.S. Weather Research and Research-to-Operations Activities Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS • 500 Fifth Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001 notIce: the project that s the subject of ths report was approved by the Govern- ng Board of the natonal Research councl, whose members are drawn from the councls of the natonal Academy of scences, the natonal Academy of engneerng, and the Insttute of Medcne. the members of the commttee responsble for the report were chosen for ther specal competences and wth regard for approprate balance. support for ths study was provded by the natonal Aeronautcs and space Ad- mnstraton under contract number nnX08AB07G, the natonal oceanc and Atmospherc Admnstraton under contract number nA08oAR4310740, and the natonal scence Foundaton under contract number AtM-0809051. Any opnons, findngs, conclusons, or recommendatons expressed n ths materal are those of the author(s) and do not necessarly reflect the vews of the sponsors or any of ther sub agences. Internatonal standard Book number-13: 978-0-309-15249-5 Internatonal standard Book number-10: 0-309-15249-6 copes of ths report are avalable from the program office: Board on Atmospherc scences and clmate 500 Ffth street, n.W. Washngton, Dc 20001 (202) 334-3512 Addtonal copes of ths report are avalable from the natonal Academes Press, 500 Ffth street, n.W., Lockbox 285, Washngton, Dc 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (n the Washngton metropoltan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. copyrght 2010 by the natonal Academy of scences. All rghts reserved. Prnted n the Unted states of Amerca 

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the National Academy of Sciences s a prvate, nonprofit, self-perpetuatng socety of dstngushed scholars engaged n scentfic and engneerng research, dedcated to the furtherance of scence and technology and to ther use for the general welfare. Upon the authorty of the charter granted to t by the congress n 1863, the Acad- emy has a mandate that requres t to advse the federal government on scentfic and techncal matters. Dr. Ralph J. ccerone s presdent of the natonal Academy of scences. the National Academy of Engineering was establshed n 1964, under the charter of the natonal Academy of scences, as a parallel organzaton of outstandng en- gneers. It s autonomous n ts admnstraton and n the selecton of ts members, sharng wth the natonal Academy of scences the responsblty for advsng the federal government. the natonal Academy of engneerng also sponsors engneerng programs amed at meetng natonal needs, encourages educaton and research, and recognzes the superor achevements of engneers. Dr. charles M. Vest s presdent of the natonal Academy of engneerng. the Institute of Medicine was establshed n 1970 by the natonal Academy of scences to secure the servces of emnent members of approprate professons n the examnaton of polcy matters pertanng to the health of the publc. the Inst- tute acts under the responsblty gven to the natonal Academy of scences by ts congressonal charter to be an advser to the federal government and, upon ts own ntatve, to dentfy ssues of medcal care, research, and educaton. Dr. Harvey V. Fneberg s presdent of the Insttute of Medcne. the National Research Council was organzed by the natonal Academy of sc- ences n 1916 to assocate the broad communty of scence and technology wth the Academy’s purposes of furtherng knowledge and advsng the federal government. Functonng n accordance wth general polces determned by the Academy, the councl has become the prncpal operatng agency of both the natonal Academy of scences and the natonal Academy of engneerng n provdng servces to the government, the publc, and the scentfic and engneerng communtes. the councl s admnstered jontly by both Academes and the Insttute of Medcne. Dr. Ralph J. ccerone and Dr. charles M. Vest are char and vce char, respectvely, of the na- tonal Research councl. www.national-academies.org 

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COMMITTEE ON PROGRESS AND PRIORITIES OF U.S. WEATHER RESEARCH AND RESEARCH-TO-OPERATIONS ACTIVITIES WALTER F. DABBERDT (Chair), Vasala, Inc., Boulder, colorado RICHARD E. CARBONE, natonal center for Atmospherc Research, Boulder, colorado SHUYI S. CHEN, Unversty of Mam, Florda GREG S. FORBES, the Weather channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georga EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU, Unversty of Mnnesota, Mnneapols REBECCA MORSS, natonal center for Atmospherc Research, Boulder, colorado JOHN T. SNOW, Unversty of oklahoma, norman XUBIN ZENG, Unversty of Arzona, tucson NRC Staff CURTIS MARSHALL, senor Program officer TOBY WARDEN, Program officer MAGGIE WALSER, Assocate Program officer LAUREN BROWN, Research Assocate JANEISE STURDIVANT, Program Assstant v

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BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR. (Chair), Unversty of Maryland, college Park ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, Unversty of Mchgan, Ann Arbor RICHARD E. CARBONE, natonal center for Atmospherc Research, Boulder, colorado WALTER F. DABBERDT, Vasala, Inc., Boulder, colorado KIRSTIN DOW, Unversty of south carolna, columba GREG S. FORBES, the Weather channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georga ISAAC HELD, natonal oceanc and Atmospherc Admnstraton, Prnceton, new Jersey ARTHUR LEE, chevron corporaton, san Ramon, calforna RAYMOND T. PIERREHUMBERT, Unversty of chcago, Illnos KIMBERLY PRATHER, scrpps Insttuton of oceanography, La Jolla, calforna KIRK R. SMITH, Unversty of calforna, Berkeley JOHN T. SNOW, Unversty of oklahoma, norman THOMAS H. VONDER HAAR, colorado state Unversty/cooperatve Insttute for Research n the Atmosphere, Fort collns XUBIN ZENG, Unversty of Arzona, tucson Ex Officio Members GERALD A. MEEHL, natonal center for Atmospherc Research, Boulder, colorado NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Drector EDWARD DUNLEA, senor Program officer LAURIE GELLER, senor Program officer IAN KRAUCUNAS, senor Program officer MARTHA MCCONNELL, Program officer TOBY WARDEN, Program officer MAGGIE WALSER, Assocate Program officer KATIE WELLER, Assocate Program officer JOSEPH CASOLA, Postdoctoral Fellow RITA GASKINS, Admnstratve coordnator LAUREN BROWN, Research Assocate ROB GREENWAY, Program Assocate v

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SHELLY FREELAND, senor Program Assstant AMANDA PURCELL, senor Program Assstant RICARDO PAYNE, Program Assstant JANEISE STURDIVANT, Program Assstant SHUBHA BANSKOTA, Fnancal Assocate v

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Preface every 2 or 3 years, the natonal Research councl’s Board on Atmo- spherc scences and clmate (BAsc) conducts a summer study workshop on a subject selected by BAsc as topcal and mportant. the subject of the 2009 BAsc summer study workshop was “Progress and Prortes of U.s. Weather Research and Research-to-operatons Actvtes.” About 50 experts n varous aspects of weather research and operatons joned the eght com- mttee members and BAsc staff for 2 full days of presentatons, dscusson, and debate; Appendx e contans the workshop agenda, and Appendx F lsts the workshop partcpants. the workshop provded a foundaton of deas and nformaton for ths report. to buld upon the nformaton-gatherng work- shop, the commttee held three n-person meetngs and several teleconfer- ences and undertook addtonal study to elaborate on many of the findngs and questons from the workshop. ths report has been peer-revewed and contans recommendatons that are prmarly addressed to the sponsorng federal agences.1 However, vrtually all of the eght major recommenda- tons are also germane to the academc communty and the prvate sector. In addton to specfic research and transtonal research-to-operatons (R2o) aspects of the recommendatons, there are also numerous references to the need to mantan, create, and noursh effectve partnershps among the pub- lc, prvate, and academc sectors. ths s especally the case wth regard to transtonng research findngs nto operatons, but t apples as well to many of the research needs dentfied n the study. Fully realzng the potental for vastly mproved weather knowledge, nformaton, and forecasts requres close collaboraton among all three sectors of the weather enterprse n the Unted states. our naton has the advantage of havng the most sophst- cated and well-developed prvate weather sector n the world, and ths wll 1 ths study was organzed by the natonal Research councl wth fundng from the natonal Aeronautcs and space Admnstraton, the natonal oceanc and Atmospherc Admnstraton, and the natonal scence Foundaton. x

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x PReFAce ad us n realzng that potental more quckly and effectvely. the strength of the domestc prvate weather sector s n large part a consequence of ts nteractons wth the federal agences and academa. the commttee hopes that ths report wll provde readers wth an even greater apprecaton of the value of the nteractons and feedbacks among the three sectors. ths report s not a comprehensve assessment of the state of U.s. weather research and the transton of research findngs and products nto operatons but nstead s a snapshot of the weather communty as gauged by the work- shop partcpants and the study commttee. Further, the report does not seek to address mportant ssues unquely related to clmate research nor does t touch on ntra- and nteragency organzatonal procedures and practces. Instead, the report puts forth the commttee’s best judgment on the most pressng hgh-level, weather-focused research challenges and R2o needs and makes correspondng recommendatons. these are made pertanng to a broad set of ongong or “establshed” ssues that nclude observatons, global nonhydrostatc modelng, data assmlaton, probablstc forecastng, quanttatve precptaton and hydrologc forecastng, and predctablty. the report also dentfies three mportant, “emergng” ssues—very hgh mpact weather, urban meteorology, and renewable energy development—that were not dentfied (or were largely undervalued) n prevous studes. the commttee could not have done ts work wthout the professonal and collegal support of the BAsc staff throughout. they organzed the sum- mer workshop on very short notce, served as reporters and partcpants n the workshop’s small-group dscussons, managed the varous commttee meetngs, and took care of the many mportant detals n organzng ths re- port. the commttee’s sncere thanks and acknowledgment are gratefully ex- tended to Dr. Magge Walser, Assocate Program officer; Dr. toby Warden, Program officer; Dr. curts Marshall, senor Program officer; Ms. Lauren Brown, Research Assstant; Ms. Rta Gaskns, Admnstratve coordnator; and Ms. Janese sturdvant, Program Assstant. the commttee also thanks all of the nvted experts who gave so freely of ther tme and partcpated n the summer workshop (please refer to Appendxes e and F) and extends specal apprecaton to Dr. Alexander “sandy” MacDonald, Drector, na- tonal oceanc and Atmospherc Admnstraton, office of oceanc and At- mospherc Research, earth systems Research Laboratory (esRL), who could not attend the summer workshop but nstead made a presentaton on esRL research perspectves at the commttee’s october 6–7, 2009, meetng n Boulder, colorado. Last, the commttee extends ts thanks and apprecaton to the experts who revewed the draft of ths report. ther comments were most nsghtful and extremely helpful.

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PReFAce x For my part, ths has been a rewardng experence to have worked wth and learned from so many who are so obvously devoted to our scence and what t can do for humanty. Walter F. Dabberdt, Chair commttee on Progress and Prortes of U.s. Weather Research and Research-to-operatons Actvtes

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Acknowledgments ths report has been revewed n draft form by ndvduals chosen for ther dverse perspectves and techncal expertse, n accordance wth proce- dures approved by the natonal Research councl’s (nRc’s) Report Revew commttee. the purpose of ths ndependent revew s to provde candd and crtcal comments that wll assst the nsttuton n makng ts publshed report as sound as possble and to ensure that the report meets nsttutonal standards for objectvty, evdence, and responsveness to the study charge. the revew comments and draft manuscrpt reman confidental to protect the ntegrty of the delberatve process. We wsh to thank the followng ndvduals for ther revew of ths report: RONI AVISSAR, Duke Unversty, Durham, north carolna OTIS BROWN, Unversty of Mam, Florda KEN CRAWFORD, Unversty of oklahoma, norman JOHN DUTTON, Pennsylvana state Unversty, state college SUE GRIMMOND, Kngs college, London, London, UK HEATHER LAZRUS, socal scence Woven Into Meteorology, norman, oklahoma DENNIS LETTENMAIER, Unversty of Washngton, seattle CLIFF MASS, Unversty of Washngton, seattle ROBERT MEYER, Unversty of Mam, Florda PETER NEILLEY, WsI corporaton, Andover, Massachusetts RUSS SCHUMACHER, texas A&M Unversty, college staton SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, Unversty of calforna, Irvne ISTVAN SZUNYOGH, texas A&M Unversty, college staton Although the revewers lsted above have provded constructve com- ments and suggestons, they were not asked to endorse the conclusons or recommendatons, nor dd they see the final draft of the report before ts x

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xv AcKnoWLeDGMents release. the revew of ths report was overseen by Lee Branscome, clma- tologcal consultng corporaton Apponted by the nRc, he was respon- sble for makng certan that an ndependent examnaton of ths report was carred out n accordance wth nsttutonal procedures and that all revew comments were carefully consdered. Responsblty for the final content of ths report rests entrely wth the authorng commttee and the nsttuton.

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Contents sUMMARY 1 1 IntRoDUctIon 17 Hstorcal Developments n U.s. Weather Research, 19 Motvaton for the current study, 21 the challenge, 29 2 socIoeconoMIc ReseARcH AnD cAPAcItY 31 Recent trends, 32 Prorty Weather–socety topcs, 37 Integratng the socal scences and Weather: A Path Forward, 42 3 estABLIsHeD WeAtHeR ReseARcH AnD tRAnsItIonAL neeDs 49 Understandng Predctablty and Global nonhydrostatc coupled Modelng, 49 Quanttatve Precptaton estmaton and Forecastng, 60 Hydrologc Predcton, 70 Mesoscale observatonal needs, 79 4 eMeRGInG WeAtHeR ReseARcH AnD tRAnsItIonAL neeDs 89 Very Hgh Impact Weather, 89 Urban Meteorology, 103 Weather Informaton to support Renewable energy stng and Producton, 119 5 concLUsIon 135 ReFeRences 139 xv

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xv contents APPenDIXes A Gaps n Knowledge and Practce for the next Decade n Urban Meteorology 153 B nceP Revew executve summary 159 c Acronyms and Abbrevatons 163 D summer study statement of task 167 e Agenda for the 2009 BAsc summer study Workshop 169 F Workshop Partcpants 173 G Bographcal sketches of commttee Members and staff 175