DTC Ensemble Testbed (DET)

As operational centers move towards ensemble-based probabilistic forecasting, it will be important for the DTC to expand its efforts into this area in order to continue to serve as a bridge between research and operations. Hence, the DTC will be investing a substantial portion of its increment in NOAA funding for FY 2010 towards establishing the DTC Ensemble Testbed (DET). The goal of this testbed is to:

• Provide an environment in which extensive testing and evaluation of ensemble-related techniques developed by the NWP community can be conducted such that the results are immediately relevant to the operational centers (e.g., NCEP/EMC and AFWA).

As with all areas the DTC is currently involved in, DET activities will involve maintaining and supporting community codes, as well as conducting extensive testing and evaluation of promising new capabilities and techniques that have been incorporated into these community codes. The community codes the DTC already supports will serve as building blocks for the end-to-end ensemble testing and evaluation system assembled by the DET.

To keep the results of DET testing relevant to the operational centers, it will be important to include key components and methodologies from the current operational systems, as well as elements targeted for implementation in the near future. Including elements targeted for operational implementation will ensure the DET ensemble system does not lag behind the operational capabilities, which will allow the DTC to contribute to operational upgrade decision early on.

To truly act as a bridge between research and operations, it will also be important to define a process for adding promising new developments from the research community as options to the appropriate component of this ensemble system, including a mechanism that allows the community to provide input. Hence, the DTC plans to engage the WRF ensemble modeling working group (EMWG) in FY 2010 for DET planning activities. The WRF EMWG includes representatives with ensemble expertise from both the research and operational communities, and will provide valuable guidance and advices on the development and operation of DET.
Given the DET testing and evaluation system needs to facilitate testing and evaluation of competing techniques and capabilities for specific components of the ensemble system, the DET infrastructure will be modular. In order to keep the testing and evaluation results of new ensemble capabilities developed by the research community relevant to operational upgrade decisions, the DET modules will need to be configured such that they are able to replicate the algorithms used operationally at NCEP and AFWA. Modules to be included in the infrastructure are 1) Ensemble Configuration; 2) Initial Perturbations; 3) Physics Perturbations; 4) Statistical Post-Processing; 5) Products; and 6) Verification. An overall system will also be constructed to facilitate end-to-end testing and data archival.

To meet the needs of the DTC, which uses multiple computing platforms to perform its testing and evaluation, as well as the needs of the community, portability of the software will also be important. Given NCEP will be moving to the NOAA Environmental Modeling System (NEMS) in the near future, the design of the DET infrastructure will also need to take this software framework into consideration. Hence, the first step in this process will be to document the software design requirements for the DET infrastructure. Once these requirements are defined, available software packages will be reviewed to determine what if any pieces would make sense to incorporate into the modules or general infrastructure.