Staff News

A new leader for WRF’s testbed

On April 1, Bill Kuo (COSMIC) took the reins of the Developmental Testbed Center, a Boulder-based joint effort between NCAR and NOAA. The DTC supports the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF), letting scientists test and explore the model in a setting that incorporates the perspectives of both research scientists and operational forecasters. Its main objective is to expedite technology transfer between the research and operational communities. Bill will remain COSMIC director on a part-time basis.

 Bill replaces founding director Bob Gall, who has since retired. NOAA’s Steven Koch will continue as deputy director. Bill helped create WRF in the late 1990s after he and Bob agreed that NCAR’s community modeling work should benefit operational numerical weather prediction. The DTC’s two dozen staff members are drawn mainly from RAL and NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory. “I would say the DTC is one of the shining examples of NCAR and NOAA working together,” Bill says. Additional support comes from the Air Force Weather Agency.

 The DTC provides a wide variety of techniques for verifying the skill of forecast models. Its dedicated computing time allows for new code to be tested for as long as several months, helping to ensure that it’s up to the rigors of day-to-day forecasting use. Increasingly, the center is working on ways to entrain more data into models. It will offer a tutorial for NOAA’s Hurricane WRF model that will be released to the community in the coming year as a coupled atmosphere/ocean system, eventually to include a wave model.