NOAA 2002-005
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2002
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The head of NOAA's National Weather Service today said the future of weather forecasting is increasingly bright, with improvements planned for climate prediction, aviation and marine forecasting and flood monitoring.

Speaking at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, retired General Jack Kelly, director of the National Weather Service, said improvements to forecasting made in 2001 – for example the Eta computer forecast model, which now provides a higher resolution from Hawaii to the central Atlantic Ocean, and the global AVN forecast model, which reduced the false alarm rate for tropical storms – are the springboard for more accurate water, weather and climate predictions in the coming years.

"We're improving each year with our forecasts – both short and long-term – and gaining more knowledge about the science behind complex weather phenomena, but we have a long way to go," Kelly said. He also highlighted the growing strength of the public-private partnership between weather forecasters, which, he said, is helping to narrow the gap between forecast successes and failures.

Kelly said the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, with its high-tech flash flood forecast and warning capabilities, is a public-private partnership effort that will bring a projected $766 million savings to U.S. taxpayers, according to a report from the National Hydrologic Warning Council.

"Together, the public and private forecasters are working to save lives and support the American economy. That's the bottom line," Kelly said.

Over The Horizon
Kelly told his audience of meteorologists that new opportunities will exist for the private weather industry to create and tailor more products and services to fit its clients' needs. National Weather Service forecast offices and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction soon will begin preparing collaborative forecasts extending to seven days. The products, Kelly said, would make digital forecasts consistent with text forecasts.

"This will allow users and partners to develop a wide range of text, graphic and image products, which they can send to their customers," he said.

The National Weather Service, Kelly added, will continue incorporating new technologies and science into its operations in the future. "There won't be another full-scale modernization effort. Instead we will build on our new structure, and keep pace with technology."

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA's National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

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