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4 Recommendations Achieving a better understanding of mesoscale weather events and translating this understanding into improved weather services will depend greatly on the judicious application of resources to a wide range of activities. The following are actions required to complete the task that has been started with the implementation of the new National Weather Service (NWS) observing systems: Recommendation: Continue and keep on schedule the planned development and deployment of the new weather observing sys- tems and technologies. Full and timely implementation of the new observational systems that form part of the NWS modernization will allow maximum development and improvement of analytical data bases, numerical prediction models, and op- erational forecast and warning capabilities. New research-oriented systems and technologies will augment the operational network during shorter-term intensive observing periods. These systems will enhance understanding of fundamental physical processes and permit extensive testing and validation of numerical prediction models. Recommendation: Systematically assess the capabilities of new instruments in order to maximize their utility for short-term weather forecasting and warning and for initializing and testing numerical prediction models. The instruments that are part of the NWS modernization effort must 31
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32 be systematically evaluated to determine their strengths and weaknesses over a wide range of weather conditions. These assessments will be an important contribution to (1) four-dimensional data-assimilation efforts and (2) forecasters who need to understand the capabilities and limitations of the observing systems on which they base short-range forecasts and warnings. Recommendation: Investigate possible additional applications of the new data streams in order to realize the full benefits of new observational technologies. Unforeseen opportunities often arise to use new observing systems to solve problems that the systems were not originally intended to address. For example, satellite observations originally designed to measure sea-surface temperatures are now also being used to determine indices of vegetation and soil moisture. Many of the new observing systems discussed in this report may similarly be used profitably in new, unforeseen applications. Recommendation: Process and archive data from the new weather observing systems, and make the data available to a wide range of users in an efficient, timely, cost-effective, and easy-to-use manner. Advanced technology must be applied to the problem of archiving the massive data sets that will be produced by the new observing systems and to the subsequent distribution in standardized formats of these data to me- teorological forecast and research centers, universities, and communication media throughout the country. Recommendation: Develop data-assimilation techniques to com- bine the many kinds of data into coherent, gridded data sets suitable for a wide range of weather forecast and research tasks. Data assimilation will allow improvement of existing numerical predic- tion models and development of new ones that explicitly simulate circulation features that range from global to cloud scales and that exert control over the development of severe storms. Recommendation: Improve numerical weather prediction models to more accurately account for physical and chemical processes, including those involved in the hydrologic cycle, sensible, radia- tive, and latent heating throughout the troposphere, and energy exchange at the earth's surface. The improved models will serve as a basis for data analysis, numerical simulation, weather forecasting, and diagnostic research efforts necessary to provide better weather forecasts.
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33 Recommendation: Conduct large observing programs of mesoscale weather, timed to take advantage of the newly deployed observing systems and designed to examine multiscale interactions associ- ated with mesoscale weather. Additionally, plan and carry out ob- serving programs that cover smaller regions and specific weather phenomena and that complement the larger-scale programs. Field programs in different parts of the country, involving enhancement of the operational data systems for a limited period of time, are needed to (1) document and understand the interactive processes that lead to severe storms, (2) design, develop, and verify new models capable of simulating stormscale systems, (3) establish independent data sets required to conduct the instrument evaluations noted above, and (4) address the geographic diversity of weather. Recommendation: Retrain weather forecasters and, where nec- essary, revise, update, and expand university curricula in the atmospheric sciences to produce a sufficient supply of new meteo- rologists capable of using the new observing systems and scientific concepts to best advantage. Educational and forecast training activities must be revised and mod- ernized to ensure that the nation reaps the maximum benefits of advances in observational technology and meteorological understanding. Students, forecasters, and experienced meteorological researchers must work together more closely than in the past to ensure a mutual transfer of knowledge between the meteorological research and operational weather forecast com- munities. Sufficient numbers of meteorologists must be trained or retrained through special programs such as that planned at the Cooperative Opera- tional Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET) Center at Boulder, Colorado, through raising the scientific and technical education require- ments for forecasters, and through other such means. The future availability of highly trained professional meteorologists is a critical factor in realiz- ing gains in understanding and prediction capability as a result of NWS modernization. As Chapter 5 indicates, the necessary actions to fulfill these recommen- dations are embodied in the National Stormscale Operational and Research Meteorology (STORM) Program plan (NCAR, 1990). This report therefore recommends that the National STORM Program be implemented as soon as possible.