• Enhancing NOAA AWIPS DSS by Infusing NASA Research Results for Drought and Other Disaster Management
Program Disasters Program
PI / Institution Yao Liang / Virginia Tech, Alexandria Research Institute
Start Date November 15, 2006
End Date November 14, 2009
  • Summary

    The core mission of the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) is the protection of life and property and, thereby, the enhancement of the national economy. A major element of this mission is water-related disaster forecasting. The NWS carries out its mission through its national centers and operational field offices, the latter including its 13 River Forecast Centers (RFCs). The Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) was implemented by NWS in the 1990s to support its decision making in issuing all forecasts, watches, and warnings. A sub-Decision Support System (DSS) of the AWIPS is the NWS River Forecast System (NWSRFS). The Ohio RFC, the focus of the proposed project, uses the NWSRFS to provide forecasts of floods and droughts, two major natural hazards in the Ohio River Basin that have major impacts on the region’s agriculture, industries, commercial navigation, and residential communities. Improvements to the forecast accuracy of NWSRFS, derived from the infusion of NASA satellite soil moisture data, through NASA-NOAA land surface models, are thus expected to have a significant economic as well as human impact. The proposed project focuses on improving the evapotranspiration (ET) input to the NWSRFS, through an innovative spatial data assimilation framework, recently developed by the University of California at Berkeley. This framework, using NASA satellite surface soil moisture data in conjunction with the NOAH model, will significantly improve the ET input to NWSRFS and, thus, the latter's forrecasting skill for disaster management. This integration of NASA spacecraft measurements and NASA/NOAA models into the NWSRFS will be effected by the extension of an equally innovative Hydrological Integrated Data Environment (HIDE), a prototype of which was recently developed by Virginia Tech. The automated flow of NASA satellite data into HIDE will be ensured by leveraging the expertise of the Goddard Earth Sciences Data Information and Services Center (GES DISC). The project’s integrated system solution will enable NWSRFS to seamlessly avail itself of the improved ET product and, thus, enhance its capability for drought and flood disaster management. A rigorous systems engineering approach will ensure the verifiable and benchmarked integration of project results into the NWSRFS, thus enabling its likely sustained, post-project adoption of these results. The proposed project is aligned with, and contributory to, NASA participation in the U.S. Group on Earth Observations (USGEO), specifically the IEOS Near-Term Opportunity, National Integrated Drought Information System. The project’s integrated system will notably contribute towards progress along the NASA Application of National Priority, Disaster Management.