An operational mesoscale model–based forecasting system has been developed for use by U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command meteorologists in their support of test-range operations. This paper reports on the adaptation of this system to permit its rapid deployment in support of a variety of civilian and military emergency-response applications. The innovation that allows for this rapid deployment is an intuitive graphical user interface that permits a non-expert to quickly configure the model for a new application, and launch the forecast system to produce operational products without further intervention. The graphical interface is Web based and can be run on a wireless laptop or a personal digital assistant in the field. The instructions for configuring the modeling system are transmitted to a compute engine [generally a personal computer (PC) cluster], and forecast products are placed on a Web site that can be accessed by emergency responders or other forecast users. This system has been used operationally for predicting the potential transport and dispersion of hazardous material during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, and during military operations in Afghanistan. It has also been used operationally to satisfy the rapidly evolving needs of wildfire managers. Continued use of the modeling system by non-experts will allow developers to refine the graphical interface and make the model and the interface more fault tolerant with respect to the decisions of model users.
National Center for Atmospheric Research*, and Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, Dugway, Utah
National Center for Atmospheric Research* Boulder, Colorado
Technology Development Directorate, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Alexandria, Virginia
*The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation