NOAA 2001-R501
Contact: Jana Goldman


A NOAA scientist is one of a baker's dozen researchers who will be given a special award at the American Meteorological Society meeting for developing a coastal forecasting system especially for the Great Lakes. The award will be presented Jan. 17 at AMS' 81st annual meeting in Albuquerque, N. M.

The award recognizes the Great Lakes Forecasting System which helps the National Weather Service develop marine forecasts for the Great Lakes.

"No one had ever done this before," said David J. Schwab of NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich., a member of the team being honored. "We used hydrodynamic models combined with the National Center for Environmental Prediction's meteorological models to create predictions of currents, temperatures, and waves."

Schwab said the information is offered in two ways: "nowcasts," which provide NWS forecasters, lake vessel operators and the general public with the up-to-date "state of the lake" information; and "forecasts" which give an idea of what's expected.

In addition to the valuable information that the system now provides, Schwab said the teamwork was another positive aspect of the project.

"This is an excellent example of collaboration between NOAA and a university partner," he said. The other dozen team members were graduate students and faculty of Ohio State University's Department of Civil Engineering.

The original team was formed in 1992. Schwab said since then, at least six of the graduate students obtained their doctorate degrees based on their work with the forecast system, and one, John Kelley, now works for NOAA's National Ocean Service.

"John used his work in the Great Lakes to develop a similar system for the Chesapeake Bay," Schwab said.

The team needed some patience in getting all the critical components in place in order to create the system. It required such things as computer models of lakes, real-time weather observations, satellite data, and NCEP forecasts.

Nowcasts are provided for all five of the Great Lakes; the forecasts are offered for all but Lake Superior.

A public Web site for the project is:

In addition to Schwab, the team members are Keith Bedford, Jay S. Hobgood, Carolyn Merry, Yi-Fei Philip Chu, Brendon Hock, John Kelley, Chieh Feng Kuan, Sean O'Neil, David P. Podber, Panagiotis Velissariou, David J. Welsh and C.C. James Yen.

To learn more about the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, visit: