WPO’s Testbeds Program competitively funds NOAA laboratories, academic partners, and commercial industry through grants and cooperative agreements to test and demonstrate new cutting-edge forecast technology (models,techniques, data, etc.) in the NOAA weather testbeds to accelerate its transition to the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast operations.
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While the priorities of each testbed may change from funding call to funding call, WPO helps fund those Joint Hurricane Testbed, Hazardous Weather Testbed, and Hydrometeorology Testbed projects that best meet each testbed’s missions.
JHT mission: “...to transfer more rapidly and smoothly new technology, research results, and observational advances of the United States Weather Research Program (USWRP), its sponsoring agencies, the academic community and other groups into improved tropical cyclone analysis and prediction at operational centers.”
HWT mission: Meeting the mission of NOAA and the strategic goals of the NWS by “...increasing the development, application, and transition of advanced science and technology to operations and services, and looking for ways to increase the lead-time and accuracy for weather and water warnings and forecasts, via two separate components: the Experimental Forecast Program, or EFP and the Experimental Warning Program, or EWP.”
HMT mission: To accelerate the development, prototyping, and use of advanced hydrometeorological observations and models to improve our physical understanding and representation of precipitation and surface processes, leading to improved monitoring and prediction of extreme events
To foster infusion of these advances into NOAA services, and to provide customized information for local and regional decision making
To support the broader needs for 21st Century precipitation information for flood and water resources management and improved ecosystem services
History of the Testbed Programs
WPO has always strived to support the community-based approach of research development which is best displayed in the testbeds. As early as 1997, WPO funded the individual project efforts of the Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT), working closely with testbed managers to develop priorities that align with the needs of operational centers. As time progressed, WPO created an organized request for proposals focused on a competitive approach to JHT project funding. In Fiscal Year 2015, WPO held its first external competition for each of the three testbeds directly supported by the office: the JHT, the Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT), and the Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT). Each testbed funding competition received dozens of proposal submissions that WPO assigned to subject matter experts for their comments and evaluation. In that first call, funds from the USWRP were awarded to 23, 2 year grants across the three testbeds.
Since that time, WPO has managed 50 testbed projects, furthering the scientific understanding of hurricanes, hydrometeorology, and hazardous weather.
Current state of program
FY19 marks the first year that projects were eligible to be funded for a period of three years, a year more than the previous two funding calls. This increased funding helps advance projects that require more work to advance in readiness levels, while simultaneously staggering the pace of projects that are finishing funding, allowing operational offices to properly prepare for any finalized products that may be suitable for transitions. As of late 2019, 27 active projects funded by WPO are dispersed among JHT, HMT, and HWT. These projects received grants that totaled over 9.7 million dollars that will fund their project activities through the next three years.
WPO is proud to highlight the successes of its testbed PIs. The research and effort they put into each of their projects, carefully managing their approaches and documenting their findings of a new aspect of meteorology, is always to be commended. The projects and publications here are only a small selected highlight of the great work being funded through the testbeds.
- FY17 HMT project: Snook, N., F. Kong, K.A. Brewster, M. Xue, K.W. Thomas, T.A. Supine, B. Albright, S. Perfater, 2019: Evaluation of convection-permitting precipitation forecast products using WRF, NMMB, and FV3 for the 2016-2017 NOAA Hydrometeorology Testbed Flash Flood and Intense Rainfall Experiments, Wea. & Forecasting, 34, 781-804. https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-18-0155.1.
- FY17 HWT project: Labriola, J., N. Snook, M. Xue, and K. Thomas, 2019: Forecasting the 8 May 2017 Severe Hail Storm in Denver Colorado at a Convection Allowing Resolution: Understanding Rimed Ice Treatments in Multi-Moment Microphysics Schemes and Their Effects on Hail SizeForecasts. Mon. Wea. Rev., https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-18-0319.1.
- FY17 JHT project: Schaffer, J. D., 2019: Using evolutionary programming to generate a tropical cyclone intensity model. M. S. Thesis, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 71pp. Available online at https://dc.uwm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3123&context=etd.
Successful Transition to operations:
Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor (MRMS) HMT-Hydro Experiment In this project, researchers helped continue the research started on the Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor (MRMS) which had begun in 2014 and test experimental flash flood tools that spanned the 0-6 hour timeframe. A list of these tools included: Rainfall-to-Flash flood guidance (FFG) ratio, Rainfall average recurrence interval (ARI), distributed hydrologic model forecast streamflow, streamflow ARI, and soil moisture.