Committee on the Assessment of the National Weather Service s Modernization Program, National Research Council, National Academies. "Appendix D: National Weather Service Offices Collocated with Academic Institutions: Summary of Questionnaire Responses." The National Weather Service Modernization and Associated Restructuring: A Retrospective Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2012.
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The National Weather Service Modernization and Associated Restructuring
conferences on science issues and participates in three to five meetings associated with integrating advances in science into an operational setting. Similar benefits appear to be realized at WFO Honolulu (University of Hawaii).
Similarly the three “Near Campus Offices” report fairly successful interactions. WFO Denver/Boulder reports multiple daily interactions ranging from weather briefings to side-by-side work in the forecast operations area, regular interactions such as project and science presentations and participation in seminars and workshops at NCAR, UCAR, CIRES (University of Colorado) and CIRA (Colorado State University) providing strong educational experiences for NWS staff. NWS Albany is engaged in active CSTAR grants, hosts 16 University of Albany interns each year, employs two to three students per year, and benefits from University conference facilities. The WFO Rapid City reports participation in seminars, substitute teaching, a severe weather spotter class.map by the WCM, collaborative research meetings, and the SOO serving on thesis and dissertation committees.
Three of the four “Same City” offices in Pennsylvania (Middle Atlantic RFC, WFO Reno, and WFO State College) report extensive student engagement (some leading to careers with the NWS) that provides “hydrologic familiarization training” to meteorology students, including some teaching. WFO San Francisco reports limited interactions. WFO Seattle benefitted from and contributed to the collaboration with University of Washington atmospheric scientists on the science of weather forecasting. This led to improvements in the understanding of the local weather of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington atmospheric scientists did a lot to improve weather observations locally and WFO Seattle benefitted from this.
How Colocation Impacts NWS Functions: Co-location appears to benefit NWS functions at most of the offices, through (1) improved precipitation forecasts during some heavy rainfall events; (2) feedback from faculty; (3) student involvement in operational forecasting and data collection; (4) shared research projects (resulting in more rapid integration of science findings into NWS operations thereby improving forecasts and warnings); (5) access to unique datasets (imagery and high-resolution/ensemble model runs) that would not otherwise be available; (6) access to robust Internet connections; (7) being able to identify top students for recruitment; and (8) continuing education of NWS employees. However the latter suffers from inadequate funding support. Outreach is also improved by being able to take advantage of university outreach programs and career fairs. In the case of WFO Honolulu, the collaboration results in Hawaii-specific research on issues that would not be studied without University participation and resources.
Again, the most extensive benefits appear to be at WFO Albany, WFO Denver/Boulder, WFO Raleigh, and WFO Tucson, these being the ones reporting the most active and extensive interactions. In fact, WFO Denver/Boulder reports that one academic actually works a forecast shift once a month under the supervision of a lead forecaster and often joins the discussion of the forecast on other days. In another vein, Raleigh reports being able to take advantage of the NCSU recycling program to properly dispose of an estimated one-half ton of recycled materials.
How Colocation Impacts University Functions: Colocation appears to benefit University functions at most of the locations, through (1) guest lectures and/or teaching provided by NWS staff; (2) participation in collaborative research opportunities and grant proposals—both directly and through letters of support; (3) participation on student thesis committees; (4) participation in (and providing data and projects for) student term projects; (5) easier student/faculty access to radar/precipitation products; (6) internships, career experiences, and employment opportunities provided to students; (7) input provided regarding faculty hires; and (8) ability of University to tout the nearby NWS forecasting facilities and internship opportunities to help them recruit and retain top students. Conversely, it appears that numerous students at collocated Universities take advantage of NWS career opportunities.
Again, WFO Raleigh reports very extensive benefits from the close partnership including sharing of data and building of critical datasets used by the North Carolina State Climate office (also collocated). WFO