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5 Implementation of Applied Research, Technology Transfer and Raining, and Experimental Forecasting Many suggestions and recommendations have been made for im- proving existing instrumentation and deploying new equipment for various types of applied research that win enhance weather support for space flight. In addition, outside of the space program there will continue to be new developments that could prove useful for metem rologica] support of space flight. These future weather research and technique development programs oilier the opportunity to enhance substantiaDy our ability to observe, understand, and thereby predict the weather processes that are important for KSC operations. Sev- eral factors are currently contributing to an increased emphasis on mesoscale weather systems that, if properly coordinated, could be of great benefit to KSC forecasting. Research ir1 mesoscale meteorology is currently a very high national priority. This is reflected In the growth of the National STORM Program* and confirmed by the re- cent NSF-UCAR Long-Range Planning Committee Report,** which recommended a Mesoscale Meteorology Initiative as one of four major community science initiatives. Mesoscale meteorology h" advanced * The National STORA! Program, STORM Contra Phase, Prclinunary Program Design, May 1984, NCAR, Boulder, Colorado. **lY`c Atmospheric Scicnece: A Vision for 198~1991. Report of the NSF- UCAR Long-Range Planning Commission, July 1, 1987, J. Dutton, Chairman, 48 pp. Available from UCAR, Boulder, Colorado. 43
44 in sophistication to the degree that the field can now contribute su~ stantially to improved observation and prediction of local weather features. Central Florida experiences many economically important and scientifically interesting weather phenomena that are attract- ing new research initiatives in the area. The proposed Florida Area Mesoscale Experiment exemplifies the research interest in this area. The prospects for advances in weather forecasting at KSC are enhanced by a unique confluence of interest, need, and opportunity. Substantial resources are already being directed toward weather phe- nomena in the vicinity of KSC; the challenge is to focus and coor- dinate these efforts to solve the most important weather forecasting problems. APPLIED RESEARCH AND FORECAST FACII ITY (ARFF) As new advances in observing and understanding weather sys- tems are achieved, projects must be initiated to translate the ad- vances into new and better forecast techniques that are then trans- ferred quickly and effectively to operational use. Forecasters can gain additional skills through assimilating these techniques into their individual repertoires. However, it is difficult to familiarize forecast- ers with new techniques while they have ongoing operational duties. Rotating forecasters through frequent training programs is one way of providing technology transfer. Another is by establishing an ex- perimental or simulated forecast environment where forecasters can practice and gain working exposure to experimental activities on a daily basis. In talking with weather support personnel, the panel perceived a general recognition of the efficacy of these concepts, but heard widely differing views on how they should be achieved. The pane] is convinced that significant improvement in weather support will require new approaches, increased cooperation, and a larger commitment of resources. Efforts to improve weather analysis and forecasting capabilities can be greatly facilitated by a group that is charged with monitoring the research advancements of the scientific community and applying the results to improve weather support for the space program. The need for such a group has been recognized by several agencies, and several operational units within NOAA, including the Spaceflight Meteorology Group at ~SC, already have positions designated for these functions. However, the three-person NOAA effort at DISC is
45 below a critically effective staffing level, is not sufficiently broad in scope, and is not located at KSC where it would be most effective. The pane] believes that the creation of an Applied Research and Forecast Facility (ARFF) at KSC would provide an ideal focus for future applications research and the development of new forecasting techniques. The ARFF should have responsibility for operating and evaluating prototype observing systems, developing and evaluating new forecast tools and techniques, and contributing to forecaster training and forecast verification. For such a facility to be success- ful, it must also have the active involvement of the research and operational communities. An Applied Research and Forecasting Facility (ARFF) should be established at ESC to promote the development and ap- plication of new te~hn;ques to improve forecasting for space operations. Interaction Between ARFF, Operational Unite, and Applied Research Groups The Applied Research and Forecasting Facility should be a mission-oriented interagency facility that is managed by NASA through the newly created Weather Support Office (WSO). Its direc- tar should be an atmospheric scientist who has experience in both operational and research meteorology. The staff would ideally in- clude Air Force, NASA, and NOAA personnel, with term and visitor appointments from throughout the atmospheric sciences to provide a further infusion of both research and operational talents. This facility could be created largely from existing resources by stream- lining redundant activities and reorienting and reassembling these resources. The success of the ARFF would depend critically on its de- veloping close working ties with the operational forecast units and establishing an attitude of team effort and mutual support. To pro- mote these relationships, it is vital to have ARFF co-Iocated with the Cape Canaveral Forecast Facility servicing KSC and to rotate opera- tional stab between them regularly. Joint weather discussions should be conducted on a daily bash, as a vehicle to stimulate interaction. Clearly, there must be only one source of operational forecasts at KSC, and this responsibility should remain with the AWS forecast team. However, by operating in close proximity, the operational and experimental units can develop a cooperative relationship, where the
46 WEATHER SUPPORT NA$A WEATHER ADVI SORY SUPPORT OFF ICE COMM I TTEE ( WSO ) . . 1 APPLIED RESEARCH AND FORECASTING FACILITY ( ARE F ! _ _ _ _ _ . . _ _ _ OBSERVING SYSTEMS COOPERATIVE FORECASTER AND TECHN I Q0E | APPL I ED | EDUCAT I ON DEVELOPMENT METEOROLOGY AND (OSTD) | PROGRAM (CAMP) | TRAINING GOVERNMENT AND UN I VERS I TY APPLIED RESEARCHERS . OPERAT I ONAL UNITS FIGURE 5 Schematic diagram of the Applied Research and Forecasting Facil- ity (ARFF), its components, and its interactions with other units and agencies. ARFF scientists and forecasters know the forecast requirements, and the on-line forecasters are receptive to new approaches. Although co-Iocated with the Cape Canaveral Forecast Facility, the ARFF would serve not only those AWS forecasters, but also the AWS forecasters from other detachments and the NOAA forecasters from dSC. Operational forecasters and applied researchers should spend time at ARFF, rotating into the ARFF at regular intervab. Figure 5 ~ a schematic diagram of the components of the ARFF and the routes of interaction between ARFF and other groups. As shown in the diagram, ARFF can be divided functionally into three sections: an Observing Systems and Technique Development (OSTD) Program, a Cooperative Applied Meteorology Program (CAMP), and a Forecaster Education and Training Program. A Weather Support Advisory Committee should assist the WSO in reviewing plans for, and progress of, the ARFF. Each of these com- ponents is discussed in a separate section below. The Applied Research and Forecasting Facility shown pro- mote interaction between applied researchers and operational forecasters. Th effectively reach forecasters, ARF]? should be established adjacent to the operational forecast office at the Cape Cana~reral Forecast Facility servicing 1ISC, and form casters from KSC and other unite should be assigned tours of
47 duty within AlIFl?. ~ provide researcher interaction, go~r- ernment and uni,orsit~r researchers shed also be encouraged to spend time at ARFF. Applied Research for Weather Support Many applied research projects have been recommended in this report. Some projects require new equipment that is ready for in- stalIation into an operational environment, but they wiD still require evaluation of the data on a real-tune basis to identify and opti~ruze its utility in the local environment. For example, after a NEXRAD radar is installed at Melbourne, Florida, it is likely that the "opera- tional" hail-detection algorithm (designed for the Midwest) will need to be modified empirically to account for the reduced frequency of hail reaching the ground in Florida, where the melting level is nor- mally higher. This type of project ~ best suited for real-time, in situ investigation. The OSTD in ARFF will conduct these evaluations and be the conduit for unproved weather support. Most research projects will require substantial development em forts before products will be ready for testing in the operational environment. Some of these projects can be done outside of KSC by government and university researchers or by private contractors. RegardIe" of where the research is to be performed, two items are essential: a prioritized schedule of applied research to be performed and a budget with which to sponsor it. The WSO, with the advice of the Weather Support Advisory Committee, should provide the schedule; WSO should provide the budget. The present level of fondling at KSC to support ald the necessary research initiatives is inadequate. However, even with additional funding, the potential for enhancing research advancements cannot be realized without a restructuring of research funding channeb at KSC. The current funding support ~ fractionated among a number of groups, with little overall coordination, and without a clean focus on the most important problems. Although KSC personnel are dedi- cated and advances have been made, there appears to be no internal core of expertise qualified to promote or critically evaluate most of the research initiatives. The pane] advocates a well-funded, applied weather research program, operating within ARFF, that heavily emphasizes observing systems and development of forecasting techniques and that is coor- dinated by the WSO. The ARFF should contain a strong internal
48 core of scientific expertise, capable of assessing research proposals and results. Research grants should be made through the facility in support of priorities and directions specified in a comprehensive long-range research plan. Outside peer review of research proposals should be part of the evaulation process. Applied research ~anId be consolidated wit.h;n the ARFF at KSC. ARFF should monitor advances In aB areas of at- mospheric science to identify new technology that should be deployed in support of the space program, and it should comm;Rsion studies of this type through a research grants program. OBSERVING SYSTEMS AND TECHNIQUE DEVELOPMENT (OSTD) A central function of the ARFF would be to evaluate new oW serving systems and analysis techniques, and to develop and test new procedures for operational forecasting. These duties are broad in scope and would encompass many of the activities conducted both in NWS Experimental Forecast Centers and the NOAA Program for Regional Observing and Forecasting Services (PROFS). The ARFF would also have responsibility for monitoring the development of data assimilation systems and mesoscale models and for promoting their application in forecasting mesoscale weather systems in the vicinty of KSC. The facility should compile good climatological and weather data bases in the vicinity of KSC for use in evaluating new forecast tech- niques and to aid in assessing the impact of changes in weather- related operating criteria. The climatological data required include variables other than those normally encountered (maximum and min- imum temperatures, and so on), such as the critical weather elements included in launch and landing weather rules. In addition, the ARFF should have responsibility for monitoring operational forecasts and assessing the accuracy of forecasts of pa- rameters identified within the launch and landing weather criteria. This activity is required since accurate and meaningful stratification of verification statistics ~ an important part of technique assessment that can help eliminate forecaster biases and promote forecaster im provement. The Applied Research and Forecasting Facility should be
49 assigned responsibility for testing and erasing prototype observing systems, developing improved forecast techniques, verifying forecasts, and compiling cllm:'tological data. FORECASTER EDUCATION AND TRAINING The education and training of operational forecasters is particu- larly important, especially in view of the special requirements placed on forecasts for launch and landing operations. Another factor is that forecasters rotate through the AWS, and new forecasters must continually be trained. The Air Force has recently initiated several organizational changes to increase the experience level and Mangrove the continuity of forecasters. This unit has developed a professional- ism and a strong commitment to quality that provides an ideal base on which to build. ~ The Air Force weather office conducts ongoing forecast train- ing activities that should be continued. In addition, the ARFF should have responsibility for augmenting this training, particu- larly in the understanding of weather situations specific to KSC and in the use of specialized forecast techniques. Gaining can take place through several media; video tapes, simulated forecasts for launch/landing/recovery operations, lectures, and map Locutions are all possible methods. Real-time experience is also recognized as one of the most valuable training mechanisms. Rotating operational forecasters through the ARFF would serve to accelerate the learn- ing process in an environment where dally forecast situations can be evaluated with ARFF staff without the pressure of on-line respon- sibility. In addition, as new tools and techniques become available, there should be a formal transfer of knowledge, with adequate ac- company~ng documentation. Part of the ARID function Chomp be to establish education and traln;ng procedures for operational forecasting. COOPERATIVE APPLIED METEOROLOGY PROGRAM (CAMP) Advancements in weather research that support space opera- tions can benefit greatly from the organization of field programs and stimulation of relevant research in the university community. Gov- ernment agencies have found that cooperative program with the university community are an effective mechanism for administering
50 programs where flexibility is important in maintaining an "edge-of- the-art capability." The panel believes that a Cooperative Applied Meteorology Program (CAMP) with formal university involvement would provide an ideal augmentation of the ARFF. CAMP would co- ordinate field prograrrm and other research beneficial to operational weather problems, administer a research grants program, and pro- mote strong scientific interactions with the permanent ARFF staff. Establishing this strong university involvement could also serve to attract funding from other agencies and other offices in NASA that support atmospheric research. Periodically, it ~ necessary to brag together a concentration of special equipment, facilities, and talent to achieve breakthroughs in the understanding of specific weather phenomena. These field pro- grams will be particularly important in advancing our knowledge of electrical and m~crophysical processes in convective and nonconvec- tive clouds in the KSC environment, and in determining the pre- dictability of convection from the data provided by new observing systems. Making state-of-the-art observing systems available to the re- search community will enhance interest that is already strongly in evidence. The proposed Florida Area Mesoscale Experiment (FAME) plans a major field program In central Florida in 1990. The oW serving systems and research objectives outlined in this report, if implemented, should be highly compatible with the interests of any group interested in researching Florida weather. The facility should become the prototype suggested in the letter in Appendix A. Equipment upgrades planned by the National Weather Service are likely to yield better information on weather systems affecting KSC. A NWS NEXRAD radar is planned for installation at Mel- bourne, Florida; the capabilities and limitations of this radar in contributing to an advanced observing network must be assessed. The NWS also plans to deploy a network of wind profilers over the central United States. With research wind profilers already work- ing in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania State University) and soon to be installed in Florida (NASA) and Massachusetts (AFGL), there will be a strong desire by the atmospheric science community to deploy wind profilers over the remainder of the East to form a continuous network from the Rockies to the Atlantic. Several universities are already preparing a joint proposal for a Southeast Profiler Network. These and other initiatives should be scrutinized and, if appro- priate, coordinated by CAMP as part of a concerted effort to improve
51 the understanding and prediction of important weather features in central Florida. Cooperative Applied Meteorology Program (CAMP) chomp be established within the A~?F to promote the par- ticipation of Adversity and m~ssion-agency scientists in field programs advancing weather research and forecasting in the vicinity of KSC or at other launch and recovery sites. The advanced observing systems, comprehensive data sets, and new techniques developed will provide an attractive facility for re- search scientists, operational meteorologists, and graduate students to visit, where they can interact with ongoing activities. These v~i- tors would provide a continuous influx of new ideas and approaches and would become aware of important weather phenomena- in the KSC area that might stimulate further research on these topics in the scientific community. The University Corporation for Atmo- spheric Research (UCAR) might be the ideal organization to admin- ister this program, because it already has experience in the types of activities recommended for CAMP. UCAR has strong university connections, has a Naval Environmental Prediction and Research Facility (NEPRF)/National Meteorological Center (NMC) Visiting Scientist Program (VSP), and is in an excellent position to monitor closely related programs going on in NCAR. A strong visiting scientist program Would be established withm CAMP to attract research and operational talents from throughout the nation that contribute to the goals of the ARF]?, within the gnideiines of WSO. WEATHER SUPPORT ADVISORY COMMITTEE To ensure that the director of the WSO and the director of the ARFF receive unbiased views and the best technical acivice available as to opportunities and directions, a Weather Support Advisory Committee should be established by WSO. The committee should review plans and give advice on future directions. The advisory comrn~ttee should be charged with ensuring that NASA has and maintains the best and most cost-effective weather support that can be provided. As part of its duties, the advisory committee should monitor the operations of the ARFF and its research grants program. As has been noted throughout this report, serious organizational
52 and coordination problems exist in the current weather support sys tem. One mechanism for ensuring coordination among independent agencies would be participation of high-level personnel from the var- ious agencies in the Weather Support Advisory Committee. Thus it is recommended that the committee consist of members from NASA, Air Force, NOAA, and academia. The director of the WSO should be an ex-officio member and should call and host the meetings. The Weather Support Office shown form a Weather Sup- port Advisory Committee to periodical amen for the WSO the organizational and technical ismes that affect weather support for NASA's space operations.