STRATEGIC PLAN STRUCTURE
Advance Short Term Warning & Forecast Services
Implement Seasonal to Interannual Climate Forecasts
Predict & Assess Decadal to Centennial Change
Promote Safe Navigation
Build Sustainable Fisheries
Recover Protected Species
Sustain Healthy Coasts
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Advance Short Term Warning & Forecast Services
Total Request $1,324,878,000
Strategic Plan Chart | Strategic Plan Table
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NOAA's vision for 2005 is to provide significantly improved short-term
warning and forecast products and services that enhance public safety and
the economic productivity of the Nation. NOAA will enhance its ability to
observe, understand, and model the environment, and effectively disseminate
products and services to users.
Our environment has profound effects on human welfare and economic well
being. Each year, hundreds of lives and billions of dollars are lost due
to severe storms, floods and other natural events that could be predicted
minutes to months in advance. NOAA's current ability to predict short-term
change is restricted by observations that are incomplete in time and space.
This limits the ability to improve basic understanding, and predictive modeling
of weather and other natural phenomena. NOAA must improve its observing
systems, develop a better understanding of natural processes, and enhance
predictive models and dissemination systems.
The objectives of this goal are to:
- Maintain modernized weather service operations.
- Maintain continuous operational satellite coverage critical for warnings
- Strengthen observing and prediction systems through scientific, technological
and programmatic advances, and international cooperation. This objective
will be achieved in cooperation with the U.S. Weather Research Program
(USWRP) by incorporating the scientific and technological advances from
the USWRP into service improvements.
- Improve customer service to the public, emergency managers, the media
and private forecast planners through effective communication and utilization
of NOAA's products.
Increasing our understanding of the environment through research and
investing in new technologies will provide more accurate and timely weather
warnings and forecasts required by the Nation. Improved forecasts will support
management of water resources, and help avoid flood damage. Extended forecasts
of solar and geomagnetic disturbances will increase efficiencies for space
operations, and power generation and satellite communications networks.
Advanced modeling techniques and more complete observations will reduce
uncertainties in hurricane track prediction, saving millions of dollars
through avoidance of evacuation costs. Accurate outlooks of future conditions
will provide better information for planning weather sensitive activities
over land and ocean. Most critical contributions for the Administration's
Natural Disaster Reduction Initiative will be provided from the research,
monitoring and operational programs in this NOAA goal.
FY 1997 Accomplishments
The Nation continued to experience the benefits associated with the weather
service modernization in FY 1997. Improvements in the accuracy and timeliness
of severe weather and natural hazards event warnings and forecasts are directly
linked to modernized technologies, such as Next Generation Weather Radars
(NEXRAD), new and improved weather satellites, and the Advanced Weather
Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) being deployed around the country.
These improvements have been attributed to saving lives and reducing the
impacts of natural disasters. For example:
Record flooding occurred in the Upper Midwest, Ohio Valley and the Pacific
Northwest during FY 1997. Flood potential statements were issued eight weeks
in advance of the Upper Midwest flooding and three to seven days in advance
of the Pacific Northwest flooding. NWS's success was pointed out by the
headline in the December 31, 1996, Seattle Times: NWS Forecasters Hits
Bulls-Eye Twice. Using rainfall estimates provided by the state-of-the-art
Doppler weather surveillance radar, meteorologists were able to pinpoint
the location and movement of intense rain cells and provide timely and accurate
Tornado outbreaks in Arkansas and Texas resulted in over 50 deaths and
extensive property damage. However the use of advanced remote sensing technologies
and Doppler radar allowed NWS forecasters to issue tornado warnings with
lead times from 18-32 minutes, minimizing the loss of life.
The last of the NWS Doppler weather radars was installed in North Webster,
Indiana during June 1997, thus completing the network of state-of-the-art
weather radars across the country. To date, fielded NEXRADs have demonstrated
significant improvements in severe weather and flood warnings and forecasts.
NOAA began limited deployment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing
System (AWIPS). AWIPS, the cornerstone of the NWS Modernization, will allow
forecasters to display and analyze satellite imagery, radar data, automated
weather observations and computer-generated numerical forecasts, all in
NWS successfully provided an operational demonstration of its Advanced
Hydrological Prediction System (AHPS) in the Des Moines River Basin, Iowa.
AHPS couples weather forecasts and climate predictions with hydrologic/hydrometeorological
models to predict the magnitude and probability of flooding several months
in advance and provide maps of areas likely to be affected by flooding.
The third in a series of five advanced U.S. weather satellites was successfully
launched from Cape Canaveral Air Station during April 1997. Data gathered
by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-K) combined
with data from the new Doppler radars and automated surface observing systems,
will help forecasters provide better advanced warnings of severe thunderstorms,
flash floods, hurricanes, winter storms, and other hazardous weather.
A high altitude Gulfstream-IV jet began hurricane surveillance operations
during the 1997 hurricane season. With NOAA's G-IV jet, forecasters will
for the first time have atmospheric data at high altitudes where steering
currents direct the motion of hurricanes. The jet is expected to improve
hurricane landfall and intensity predictions by up to 20%.
As directed by Congress, emergency planning officials representing the
five Pacific states, and Federal partnership agencies are establishing the
Tsunami warning, mitigation and contingency planning system serving the
Pacific coast states. In Spring 1997, NOAA delivered a plan to Congress
outlining a proposal to establish a Tsunami Hazard Mitigation System and
by September the NOAA R/V Ronald H. Brown had successfully completed
deployment of ocean monitoring buoys aimed at improving the speed and accuracy
of tsunami warnings.
During FY 1997 the Polar Convergence program was rebaselined to delay
the need date for the first converged satellite, make better use of existing
and planned assets, and yield substantial additional savings in program
outlays. The program was approved for Acquisition Milestone 1 and contracts
for the development of five of the critical sensors for NPOESS were awarded.
Operational science algorithm teams from both government and academia were
established to review industry algorithm approaches, thus providing a quality
assurance process. Plans are on track to combine the command, control and
communications responsibilities for the Defense Meteorological Satellite
program (DMSP) with POES under NOAA operation at Suitland, Maryland in September
1998. In addition, three new antennas, capable of supporting POES, DMSP,
and NPOESS are under contract for installation at Fairbanks, Alaska and
will be operational in June 1998.
Key FY 1999 Activities
- Implement recommendations resulting from the study conducted by John
J. Kelly, Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.), "An Assessment of the Fiscal
Requirements to Operate the Modernized National Weather Service during
Fiscal Years 1998 and 1999." The fiscal requirements are reflected
in the FY 1999 budget request.
- Continue deployment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing
- Continue the procurement, launching, and operation of polar orbiting
satellites and the follow-on series of geostationary weather satellites.
- Continue efforts to replace the current radiosonde network to allow
continuation of receipt of essential upper air data needed for numerical
weather prediction models and to meet Congressionally-mandated frequency
restrictions by 1999.
- Continue activities to prevent the erosion of the current Marine Observing
- Initiate national implementation of the Advanced Hydrological Prediction
System (AHPS) in the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
- Begin the procurement of a massively parallel computer with High Performance
Computing and Communications (HPCC) capabilities that will enable NOAA
to routinely run mesoscale prediction models at 5km resolution, leading
to improved warnings and forecasts.
- Begin operations of Class VIII supercomputer for improved weather prediction
- Improve high resolution hurricane forecasting models by providing additional
flight hours and dropsondes associated with the new high altitude jet.
- Continue hazard research activities of the U.S. Weather Research Program.
- Support a 24-hour day, 7 day a week Space Weather Operations division
of the Space Environment Center.
- As a leader in the President's interagency Natural Disaster Reduction
Initiative (NDRI), NOAA will help increase the resiliency of the nation
to extreme natural events, such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, drought,
and winter storms. NDRI will improve coordination of disaster-related services
across 16 federal agencies and will dramatically improve the provision
of weather services, warning forecast dissemination, and information products
available to the public.
- The Polar Convergence program will continue the development of five
key sensors and algorithms to meet the requirements of both NOAA and Department
of Defense for acquiring and disseminating global and regional environmental