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Cover: An image made from radar reflectivity values measured by the prototype Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) located at Norman, Oklahoma, on March 17,1989, at 2:52 p.m. The atmosphere was free of clouds at the time of observation and demonstrates the high sensitivity of the new system. This enhanced sensitivity, compared to current operational weather radars, permits the detection of both a cold front and a moisture discontinuity (dry line) oriented NE-SW and located NW of the radar site (represented by the small circle below the center of the image). Four hours after these data were acquired, a thunderstorm developed on the cold front and produced hail the size of baseballs near Tulsa. (Reprinted with permission of the National Weather Service.)

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REFERENCE COPY FOR LIBfiAUr USE CiiLY TOWARD A NEW NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE -- A First Report Prepared by the Committee on National Weather Service Modernization PROPERTY OF ofthe NRP I IRPADV Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems - mv» uiDnMK T National Research Council MAR 18'91 NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 4>;on3| Washington, D.C. - .onm^tion Sflf March 1991

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This study was supported by Contract No. 50-DGNW-0-00041 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Available in limited supply from: Transition Program Office National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1325 East West Highway Silver Spring, MD 20910 (301) 427-7454 Printed in the United States of America

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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MODERNIZATION COMMITTEE CHARLES L. HOSLER, JR., Acting Executive Vice President and Provost of the University and Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, Pennsylvania State University, Chairman JOHN A. DUTTON, Dean, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Pennsylvania State University PETER R. LEAVnT, Executive Vice President, Weather Services Corporation ROBERT J. SERAFIN, Director, National Center for Atmospheric Research LEONARD W. SNELLMAN, University of Utah JOHN W. TOWNSEND, JR., retired Director, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration DONALD L. VEAL, President, Particle Measuring Systems, Inc. ARTHUR I. ZYGIELBAUM, Manager, Science Information Systems Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology Staff David S. Johnson, Study Director Mercedes Ilagan, Senior Study Assistant

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Notice Since the completion of this report by the Committee on National Weather Service Modernization, the Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, 1991b) has announced that it is "creating a new advanced system acquisition office which will provide an integrated system development and procurement capability within NOAA. Both the National Weather Service's modernization system procurement and the Next Generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-Next) system development and procurement will be the responsibility of the new office." Although details of the reorganization had not been announced by the end of January 1991, the Committee understands that the new advanced system acquisition office will report to the Commerce Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere. As reflected in this report, the National Weather Service (NWS) is currently responsible for the development and procurement of systems required for the modernization. The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), together with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is now responsible for the development and procurement of the GOES-Next satellite system. (Both NWS and NESDIS are major line components of NOAA.) Although this reorganization undoubtedly will affect the future work of the Committee, it believes that the conclusions and recommendations in this report are still germane; however, some of them may now be applicable to the new NOAA systems office rather than to NWS or NESDIS.

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Preface The National Weather Service (NWS) is engaged in a dramatic transfor- mation involving new sources of information about the atmosphere, new ways of using that information effectively and making it available to a wide commu- nity of users, and new ways of providing the forecasts and warnings that will lead to enhanced protection of life and property. This effort follows more than a decade of planning based on recent scientific and technological devel- opments. In its report Technological and Scientific Opportunities for Improved Weather and Hydrological Services in the Coming Decade, the Select Commit- tee on the National Weather Service of the National Research Council (NRC, 1980) pointed out scientific and technological opportunities for substantial improvement in the quality and quantity of the nation's weather and hydrolog- ical services, including the timely warning of hazardous weather and flooding. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this report encouraged and assisted NOAA hi moving toward implementation of plans to modernize and restructure the NWS. Subsequently, a study panel of the NRC (1987) reviewed the status of the development of potential technological components of a modernized NWS and the planning at that time for modernization and the associated restructuring. The report was generally supportive of both the technological developments and the plans for imple- mentation. In response to Department of Commerce budget requests to move ahead with the modernization and associated restructuring, the U.S. Congress (1988) passed and the President signed Public Law 100-685, Title IV of which set forth guidelines for planning the NWS modernization and restructuring, as well as for reporting and certifying proposed actions to Congress. In accor- dance with this law, the Department of Commerce issued a Strategic Plan for the Modernization and Associated Restructuring of the National Weather Service VII

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(DOC, 1989). In July 1989, NOAA requested that the NRC establish a review committee on the modernization and associated restructuring of the NWS (Appendix A). The NOAA proposed that the review committee function throughout the national deployment of the new technology and the transition to the new structure of the NWS, a period expected to extend into the mid- 1990s. The NRC agreed to establish a committee to help ensure • the implementation of the most cost-effective levels of technical systems and services by assessing the availability, applicability, and timing of appropri- ate underlying technological and scientific capabilities; and • the successful demonstration and acceptance of the modernized and restructured NWS operations by reviewing test, demonstration, and certifica- tion plans, and by independently reviewing the data collection and interpreta- tion processes. The NOAA executed a contract for this activity on December 29, 1989, and the NRC established the Committee on National Weather Service Moderniza- tion. The Committee held its first meeting on February 21-22, 1990, and a total of five meetings during that year. Its work is being supported by the Committee on Meteorological Analysis, Prediction, and Research of the NRC Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (Appendix B). The two commit- tees met jointly in June. In addition, individuals and groups of members of both committees, along with NRC staff, have held discussions on specific details with personnel and contractors of the NWS. This first report of the Committee presents the results of its work during 1990. In addition to taking a broad overview of the modernization and associated restructuring, the Committee examined in more detail selected areas in which near-term deci- sions by NOAA are contemplated or needed. The Committee will continue to examine the planning and implementation of the NWS modernization and associated restructuring, and will present additional conclusions and recom- mendations in subsequent reports to be issued at least annually during its lifetime. The members of the National Weather Service Modernization Commit- tee are pleased to be able to contribute to a "new National Weather Service" for this nation. Acknowledgments The contributions of members of the Committee, both during its meet- ings and in carrying out individual assignments, are acknowledged with great Vlll

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appreciation. The Committee wishes to thank the members of the Committee on Meteorological Analysis, Prediction, and Research for their valuable contributions to this work. I would like to express the Committee's apprecia- tion for the excellent support of the NRC staff in all aspects of its work. Although this report represents contributions by and deliberations of all members of the Committee, I would especially like to note the contributions to its writing by David S. Johnson, Study Director, and to its production by Mercedes Ilagan, Senior Study Assistant. Finally, the peer review by the NRC contributed significantly to the quality of the report. Charles L. Hosier, Jr. Chairman, Committee on National Weather Service Modernization IX

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Contents Summary 1 1 Introduction 13 Background, 13 Broad Recommendations, 13 Goals and Components of the Modernization, 14 New Observation Systems, 16 New Information Systems, 17 New Structure of the National Weather Service, 18 New and Stronger Collaboration, 19 The Committee's Endorsement and Intent, 20 2 New Observation Systems 21 Next Generation Weather Radar, 21 Status of Major Components of the Next Generation Weather Radar Program, 22 Upgrades to the Next Generation Weather Radar Technical Requirements, 23 Training, 24 Outlook and Recommendations, 25 Automated Surface Observing System, 25 Need for Use of Adjunct Sources of Surface Observations, 26 Environmental Satellites, 26 Viability and Integrity of the Climate Data Record, 28 3 New Information Systems 32 Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System, 32 Super Computers at the National Meteorological Center, 34 XI

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4 New Structure of the National Weather Service 35 Weather Forecast Offices, 35 Hydrology in the National Weather Service Modernization, 38 Interaction of Weather Forecast Offices and River Forecast Centers, 39 Problem Areas, 41 5 New and Stronger Collaboration 43 Universities, 44 Private Sector, 45 Mass Media, 45 Private Weather Services, 46 Outlook, 47 Public Institutions, 48 6 Implementation Process 50 Management and System Engineering Approach, 50 Management, 50 System Engineering and Integration, 51 Hardware Status, 52 System Security, 53 Human and Financial Resources, 53 Temporary Management and Project Staff, 53 Operational Staff, 55 Financial Resources, 57 Certification Requirements and Approach, 58 References 60 Acronyms 62 Appendix A Letter from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to Dr. Frank Press requesting estab- lishment of a National Research Council committee to review the National Weather Service modernization and associated restructuring 63 Appendix B Members of the Committee on Meteorological Analysis, Prediction, and Research 66