Toward a New National Weather Service

An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System

Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build

National Weather Service Modernization Committee

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1997



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An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System: Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build Toward a New National Weather Service An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build National Weather Service Modernization Committee Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1997

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An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System: Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20418 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 committee 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. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. 50-DGNW-5-00004 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-05995-X Available in limited supply from: Transition Program Office, National Weather Service, NOAA, 1325 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 713-1090. Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Cover Photo: The GOES-9 satellite picture features Hurricane Linda at 1900 universal time on September 13, 1997, courtesy of the Air Force Weather Agency, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The diagram superimposed on the satellite picture represents data gathered by the National Weather Service and integrated with data from local sources using AWIPS workstations. The diagram infographics were provided by John Grimwade, Popular Science Magazine. Printed in the United States of America Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System: Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MODERNIZATION COMMITTEE RICHARD A. ANTHES (chair), University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado WILLIAM E. GORDON (vice chair), NAE, NAS, Rice University (retired), Houston, Texas DAVID ATLAS, NAE, Atlas Concepts, Bethesda, Maryland WILLIAM D. BONNER, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ROBERT BRAMMER, TASC, Reading, Massachusetts KENNETH C. CRAWFORD, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman DARA ENTEKHABI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge GEORGE J. GLEGHORN, NAE, TRW Space and Technology Group (retired), Rancho Palos Verdes, California ALBERT J. KAEHN, JR., U.S. Air Force (retired), Burke, Virginia JENANNE L. MURPHY, Hughes Information Technology Corporation, Vienna, Virginia VERONICA F. NIEVA, WESTAT, Inc., Rockville, Maryland DOROTHY C. PERKINS, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, Maryland PAUL L. SMITH, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City Technical Advisors CHARLES L. HOSLER, Pennsylvania State University, University Park DAVID S. JOHNSON, National Research Council (retired), Annapolis, Maryland ROBERT J. SERAFIN, NAE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System Panel JENANNE L. MURPHY (chair), Hughes Information Technology Corporation, Vienna, Virginia WILLIAM D. BONNER, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado KENNETH C. CRAWFORD, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman GEORGE J. GLEGHORN, NAE, TRW Space and Technology Group (retired), Rancho Palos Verdes, California ALBERT J. KAEHN, JR., U.S. Air Force (retired), Burke, Virginia DOROTHY C. PERKINS, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, Maryland

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An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System: Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build VERONICA F. NIEVA, WESTAT, Inc., Rockville, Maryland ARTHUR I. ZYGIELBAUM (technical advisor), California Institute of Technology, Pasadena ROBERT J. KATT, technical writer, consultant Staff FLOYD F. HAUTH, study director MERCEDES ILAGAN, study associate WANDA PRIESTLY, project assistant

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An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System: Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build Preface Since 1991, the National Weather Service Modernization Committee (NWSMC) of the National Research Council has been continuously involved in reviewing the plans for the development of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). A panel of the committee was asked to gather data and to report to the full committee to help complete formal reports. The panel includes seven NWSMC members, a former committee member (and former panel chair) as advisor, and a consulting technical writer. The committee appreciates the cooperation and assistance provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service (NWS), and the staff of several forecast offices and river forecast centers. Special thanks to Louis Boezi and Mary Glackin, of NWS, and Stuart Williams, of NOAA, for their presentations and other support for the report. I also want to give special recognition to Jenanne Murphy, chair of the panel, and Arthur Zygielbaum, former chair and current advisor to the panel, for their leadership, and to the other members of the panel who helped monitor AWIPS development and participated in the operational test and evaluation (OT&E). On behalf of the committee, I express our appreciation to Floyd Hauth, study director, and Mercedes Ilagan, study associate, for their expert organizational and logistical support, and to consultant Robert Katt for his extensive assistance in the OT&E and in preparing this report. RICHARD A. ANTHES Chair, National Weather Service Modernization Committee

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An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System: Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build 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. Bruce M. Alberts 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. William A. Wulf 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. Kenneth I. Shine 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. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System: Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1  1   INTRODUCTION   6      National Weather Service Modernization Committee and the AWIPS Panel,   6      The Committee's Role in AWIPS Operational Test and Evaluation,   7  2   OPERATIONAL TEST AND EVALUATION FOR AWIPS   9      Structure of the Operational Test and Evaluation,   9      Satisfaction of Operational Test and Evaluation Objectives,   10      Major System Improvements,   11      Conclusions and Recommendations,   18  3   SYSTEMS ENGINEERING   19      Systems Engineering for AWIPS,   20      Current Systems Engineering Structure,   20      Locally Developed Code,   25      Transferring Ownership of Software Developed by the Forecast Systems Laboratory,   27  4   OPERATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT   29      Single Points of System Failure,   30      Error Detection and Recovery by the Network Control Facility,   31      Site Backup and Recovery,   32      Emergency Replacement of Hardware,   33      Malicious Access and External Threats,   33

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An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System: Operational Test and Evaluation of the First System Build     REFERENCES   35     ACRONYMS   36     APPENDICES       A STATEMENT OF TASK   41     B SUMMARY OF AWIPS BUILDS   43