By Leah Dubots, OWAQ Pathways Intern
The Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) will accelerate community-developed scientific and technological advancements into the operational applications for Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) by supporting a Unified Forecast System (UFS) community model. NOAA is working closely with entities in the weather enterprise (public, private, and academic) to inform the planning, development, and strategy for EPIC. To engage the community and inform the next-steps for the EPIC Program, NOAA’s Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ) hosted the EPIC Community Workshop at the University of Colorado, Boulder University Memorial Center from August 6-8, 2019. The objectives of the workshop were to co-create a vision for EPIC to accelerate the transition of research to operations; share the current status and future of community-based Earth System Modeling; understand NOAA’s developmental process of EPIC and create shared next steps in the development of EPIC; and identify emerging technologies for Earth System Modeling.
Over twenty NOAA staff from across Line Offices assisted in executing the Community Workshop which had over 180 in-person attendees. While government employees made up a majority of the Community Workshop participants, we had individuals from academia (60 participants) as well as the private sector (35 participants) join us in discussion. The Community Workshop was streamed via GoToWebinar and was attended by 113 individuals. In total, we engaged nearly 300 participants.
The EPIC Community Workshop Planning Committee wanted to ensure that the community was as engaged as possible throughout the Workshop and knew that NOAA valued their feedback and opinions about EPIC. The Planning Committee decided that the best way to do this would be through a Twitter hashtag and live Google Form responses. #EPICworkshop2019 was the hashtag used for the event, which generated over 200 tweets. Of those tweets we received 700 likes, comments, or retweets, which were seen by over 180,000 Twitter users.
“DaNa, Bill, and team,
I’m so incredibly proud and impressed with the unbelievably rapid progress you all have been making with EPIC. The workshop went perfect, and the attendance was amazing. This tells me people are ready for action. This is such a huge priority… EPIC is in good hands… Let’s keep the momentum, and knock out some short term wins! Let me know how I can help!”
The Google Form was used widely throughout the event. This form had a dual use, one was in lieu of comment cards and the other was a way for participants to answer reflection questions that were posted in the room at the end of each Workshop session. Some of the questions included “What is EPIC and why is it needed to advance US NWP?” and “After 2.5 days at the Workshop, what is your vision for EPIC for year 1 and year 5?”
Throughout the Workshop, we received over 450 submissions to the Response Form; “they were an excellent way to get a read of the room in real-time,” said Dr. Bill Lapenta, Acting Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ) Director. Responses to the Google Form and breakout group discussions aided Fred Carr (University of Oklahoma), Jim Kinter (George Mason University), Cliff Mass (University of Washington), Peter Neilley (IBM), DaNa Carlis (NOAA Research), and Brian Gross (Environmental Modeling Center (EMC)) informed the “Strategy, Summary and Recommendations” presentation shared at the EPIC Community Workshop, which can be viewed on OWAQ’s EPIC Page.
The Google Responses, tweets and recorder notes are currently being analyzed for common themes and will be released as an EPIC Community Workshop Response Report which is expected to be released late 2019/early 2020 along with an Executive Summary.