Thursday, August 17, 2017
 
Forecasters get new system to manage ‘flood’ of weather data, improve forecasts

Forecasters get new system to manage ‘flood’ of weather data, improve forecasts

NOAA puts into operation Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor system developed at National Severe Storms Laboratory

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Weather forecasters rely on an incredibly large amount of information when they make forecasts and issue warnings. A new system, activated by NOAA’s National Weather Service last week, quickly harnesses the tremendous amount of weather data from multiple sources, intelligently integrates the information, and provides a detailed picture of the current weather.

Improving forecasts

Improving forecasts

By combining data from adjacent radars, the Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor system gives forecasters a more detailed picture of a thunderstorm's intensity. The top image is data from a single radar compared with data from the Multiple Radar system in the bottom image. (NOAA)
By combining data from adjacent radars, MRMS provides a clearer picture of a storm's intensity. This example of a thunderstorm shows the data from a single image (top) compared with an MRMS image (bottom) created with data from multiple radars.  The Multiple Radar Multiple Sensor (MRMS) system combines data streams from multiple radars, satellites, surface observations, upper air observations, lightning reports, rain gauges and numerical weather prediction models to produce a suite of decision-support products every two minutes. Because it provides better depictions of high-impact weather events such as heavy rain, snow, hail, tornadoes, and other threats, forecasters can quickly diagnose severe weather and issue more accurate and earlier forecasts and warnings. 

“MRMS uses a holistic approach to merging multiple data sources, allowing forecasters to better analyze data and potentially make better predictions,” said Ken Howard, a research meteorologist at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory who helped design MRMS. “It was developed in collaboration with NOAA’s National Weather Service hydrologists and forecasters who tested experimental versions and provided valuable input and feedback.”

Researchers at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory designed the MRMS system to improve decision making within NOAA and other agencies - marking another NOAA research to operations success. Implementation of the system into NWS operations was funded in part by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

MRMS will improve the ability of forecasters to issue public warnings and advisories for severe weather such as tornadoes, hail and flash floods, and will help improve forecasts for safety of air traffic.

NSSL’s experimental version of the MRMS system has been available at various National Weather Service offices, but now that it is becoming operational, NOAA researchers plan to continue their collaboration with NOAA partners such as developers, trainers and forecasters to collect best practices and case studies. The system is designed so that new techniques and products can be added, increasing its capabilities.

“The nationally consistent products available from the MRMS are another important step toward NOAA’s goal of building a Weather Ready Nation by providing better analyses and forecasts to a wide range of decision makers,” said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. "This is another tool to help ensure communities are better prepared and more resilient in the face of high-impact weather events."

MRMS data are also an input into the newly operational High-Resolution Rapid Refresh weather model, which will improve the quality of forecasts and warnings for severe weather events.                  

NOAA researchers developed the MRMS system in cooperation with The University of Oklahoma’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.

For more information, please contact Keli Pirtle, public affairs officer for NOAA's National Severe Storm Laboratory at 405-325-6933 or by email at keli.pirtle@noaa.gov


 

 

Research Headlines

NOAA Headlines

Connect with Research.NOAA.gov

Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research Headquarters

1315 East-West Highway | Silver Spring, MD 20910 | 301-713-2458