NOAA 2004-R299-09
Contact: Marcie Katcher

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service and Meteorological Services of Canada joined forces at the 13th United States/Canada Great Lakes Operational Meteorology Forum recently in Buffalo, N.Y., where the two countries discussed emerging forecast technologies to meet environmental and economic challenges facing the Great Lakes region .NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“This forum started as an informal exchange between government weather offices in the United States and Canada in 1991 .It has been transformed into a major workshop to exchange ideas and information on the latest operational forecast techniques and common forecast issues that affect the Great Lakes region,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA's National Weather Service .“This type of environmental collaboration crosses political and agency boundaries to ensure the protection of coastal ecosystems in North America.”

The group discussed implementation of the Weather Research Forecast Model, one of the newest computer models that more accurately simulates weather conditions affecting the Great Lakes area. This will result in more precise and timely warnings and forecasts .The National Weather Service will begin using the new computer model within the next year.

“This new forecast technology will be of tremendous value in forecasting the severe weather that impacts the Great Lakes Region during the winter, resulting in major impacts on commerce and travel” said Tom Niziol, NOAA’s NWS science operations officer from Buffalo, host office for the conference.

An audience of more than 100 senior forecasters from the United States and Canada joined with researchers, university professors, members of the private sector and media meteorologists to learn the latest actions and assigned roles in the event of an environmental crisis on the Great Lakes .

NOAA’s Hazardous Materials Team stressed the importance of accurate spot weather forecasts to support cleanup operations of hazardous materials on the Great Lakes.

"It is critical that NOAA HAZMAT speaks directly to a meteorologist," said Marc Hodges, the weather focal point for NOAA HAZMAT ."HAZMAT relies on the experience of NWS forecasters for each hazardous incident .Topographical steering, gap winds, draining flows and land-sea breeze effects are just some of the local-area effects that a resident forecaster knows and can add to development of an accurate site-specific forecast.”

“In these times of heightened security, this collaborative workshop helps to ensure the protection of lives and property in the region,” said Dean Gulezian, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, Eastern Region .

Other highlights from the forum included several presentations from the Meteorological Services of Canada, providing the latest research and forecast improvements related to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that begin in Canada and eventually cross into the United States .In addition, NOAA’s NWS field offices explained the most current research on how global weather patterns affect the Great Lakes region.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories .The NWS 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.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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