Affiliated Institutions and Programs
HRD is uniquely positioned to advance our understanding of tropical cyclone
processes in close cooperation with other institutions involved with numeric
predicitons and observational technology. Below are listed some of our
Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS)
CIMAS is a cooperative research institute between NOAA and ten Partner
Universities (Florida Atlantic University, Florida Institute of Technology,
Florida International University, Florida State University, Nova Southeastern
University, the University of Florida, University of Miami's Rosenstiel School
of Marine and Atmospheric Science [RSMAS], University of Puerto Rico at
Mayagùez, University of South Florida and University of the Virgin
Islands). CIMAS was formed to develop a Center of Excellence relevant
to understanding the Earth's oceans and atmosphere within the context of
NOAA's mission. CIMAS conducts research focused on the collection and
analysis of observations of hurricanes and other tropical weather systems.
Activities include identifying and validating observational needs, developing
instrumentation, obtaining observations, studying the optimum configurations
for observation networks, modeling and data assimilating, expediting and
facilitating the transition of research to operations, and developing analysis
and forecasting applications for operations. Nearly half of HRD is comprised
of CIMAS employees.
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA)
CIRA is a cooperative research institute between NOAA and Colorado State
University in Fort Collins, CO. Their research is concentrated in satellite
algorithm development, training, and education; regional- to global-scale
modeling; data assimilation; climate-weather processes; and data distribution.
In addition, they study societal impacts of NOAA research, and promote
environmental literacy and outreach to students and the general public. Other
research involves the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS)
CIMSS is a Cooperative Institute formed between NOAA, NASA, and the University
of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) in 1980. It operates as an institute within
the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) in Madison, WI. CIMSS
scientists conduct research using remote sensing systems for meteorological
and surface-based applications. The CIMSS mission includes three goals:
- Foster collaborative research among NOAA, NASA, and the University in
those aspects of atmospheric and earth system sciences that exploit the use of
- Serve as a center at which scientists and engineers working on problems of
mutual interest can focus on satellite-related research in atmospheric and
earth system science;
- Stimulate the training of scientists and engineers in the disciplines
involved in atmospheric and earth science.
CYclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS)
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) CYGNSS program involves
eight small, relatively inexpensive satellites to measure surface wind speeds
over the oceans, increasing the ability of scientists to analyze, predict, and
understand hurricanes. HRD scientists collect airborne data in hurricanes to
compare with observations from the CYGNSS satellites. HRD scientists also
assess the impact of the data in numerical models.
Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program (HFIP)
HFIP provides the basis for NOAA and other agencies to coordinate hurricane
research to significantly improve guidance for hurricane track, intensity, and
storm surge forecasts. It also engages with the larger scientific community
efforts toward improving such forecasts. The goals of the HFIP are to improve
the accuracy and reliability of hurricane forecasts; to extend their lead time
with increased certainty; and to increase confidence in them. These efforts
require major investments in improved observations, data assimilation,
numerical model systems, and forecast applications. HRD coordinates its
research activities toward reaching the HFIP goals.
HFIP funds the project entitled "Addressing Deficiencies in Forecasting
Tropical Cyclone Rapid Intensification in HWRF" with principal
investigators Jun Zhang and Hua Chen. The project focuses on
identifying large- and vortex-scale processes associated with rapid
intensification in the operational Hurricane Weather Research and
Forecast Model, aiming to improve the model performance in RI
prediction. The project emphasizes the use of HWRF ensemble forecast
products, and airborne flight-level, dropwindsonde and Doppler radar data
to pinpoint model deficiencies and improve model performance.
Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA)
The Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation is a multi-agency (NOAA, NASA,
the U. S. Navy and the U. S Air Force) research center created to improve the
use of satellite data for analyzing and predicting the weather, the ocean, the
climate and the environment. The work necessary to assimilate these many
billions of satellite observations available each day is coordinated so that
it is not duplicated across the agencies. HRD scientists work with JCSDA on
joint projects, on obtaining satellite data sets, and attending workshops and
training offer on new data assimilation systems.
Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT)
JHT facilitates the rapid transfer of new technology, research results, and
observational advances to use at operational centers to improve tropical
cyclone analysis and prediction. Testing is done at NOAA's National Hurricane
and Environmental Modeling Centers (NHC and EMC). Since its inception in 2001,
HRD scientists have participated by having mature research successfully
transferred to NHC and EMC, by being on the JHT staff overseeing and managing
projects, and by serving as co-chair on the steering committee that reviews new
Current projects include:
- Improvements to the Tropical Cyclone Genesis Index (TCGI)
Extend the TCGI into the eastern and central North Pacific basins.
Refine the current predictors and test new ones.
Add forecasts of TC structure (wind radii and minimum sea-level
pressure to statistical forecast models.
- Guidance on Observational Undersampling over the Tropical Cyclone
Compute how much measurements by satellites, aircraft, and surface
instruments systematically underestimate tropical cyclone intensity.
Create forecast guidance and post-season analysis products to improve
interpretation of these measurements for a variety of tropical cyclone
Next-Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS)
NOAA is working to create a unified modeling system for time-scales
ranging from seasonal to the short range. Under NGGPS, AOML/HRD is
leading the hurricane model development for this effort. Specifically,
HRD scientists will work with other NOAA partners to transition HWRF to a
global modeling system capable of tracking hurricanes with nests at
1-3-km resolution, key for resolving inner-core processes within
hurricanes and, consequently, for improving intensity predictions.
Northern Gulf Institute (NGI)
NGI is a NOAA Cooperative Institute based at Mississippi State University.
Its research focus is on Northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystems, ecosystem
management, data visualization in environmental science, climate change impacts
on regional ecosystems, and coastal hazards.
Dr. Heather Holbach's research involves NGI's coastal hazards and resiliency
goal and NOAA's goal for a Weather-Ready Nation. She conducts research on
air-sea interaction in tropical cyclones with the aim of improving surface
wind-speed estimates by the Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer and other
instruments such as the Hurricane Imaging RADiometer. This will help to
improve estimates of hurricane intensity and size, both of which are critical
for forecasting coastal wind and water impacts from land-falling storms.
National Research Council (NRC)
Research Associateship Program (RAP)
RAP promotes excellence in scientific and technological research conducted by
the U.S. government by offering graduate, postdoctoral, and senior-level
research opportunities at federal laboratories and affiliated institutions.
Current fellowships include:
- Dr. Leon Nguyen conducts research on how hurricanes are affected by vertical
wind shear and dry air. Specifically, it involves the study of observations
collected by NOAA aircraft.
Dr. Jonathan Poterjoy conducts research into data assimilation, modeling, and
observing-system design for tropical cyclones. The research focuses on the
development and application of nonlinear and non-Gaussian data assimilation
methods in high-dimensional systems. In particular, he currently
investigates new ways to use satellite and radar measurements to improve the
representation of tropical cyclones in numerical weather prediction models
at different scales.
Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River (NAVAIR PAX)
NAVAIR's mission is to provide full life-cycle support of naval aircraft
including research, design, development and systems engineering; acquisition;
test and evaluation; training facilities and equipment; repair and
modification; and in-service engineering and logistics support. They are
funding Dr. Joe Cione to conduct air-sea interaction research of mutual
benefit to NOAA and the Navy.
Quantitative Observing System Assessment Program (QOSAP)
QOSAP provides objective analysis and evaluation of current and future earth
observation systems. QOSAP aims to inform major decisions on the design and
implementation of optimal observing systems as well as increase NOAA's capacity
to conduct quantitative observing system assessments. Most of HRD's observing
system simulation experiments are supported under this program.
Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity
with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS)
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration TROPICS program provides
rapidly refreshed microwave measurements over the tropics. These observations
go temperature, moisture, and precipitation will be able to see structure
changes throughout the life of tropical cyclones. HRD is participating on the
TROPICS science team that oversees various scientific aspects of the mission.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
NOAA IAS has sponsored the Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology
(SHOUT) program. SHOUT's main goal is to demonstrate and test prototype
unmanned aerial technology that could be used to mitigate the risk of
diminished high-impact weather forecasts and warnings in the case of
polar-orbiting satellite observing gaps. HRD has helped lead SHOUT hurricane
field campaigns, quality controlled dropwindsonde data for real-time use, and
is assessing the impact of Global Hawk data on model analyses and forecasts of
tropical cyclone track, intensity, and structure. Although the SHOUT field
campaigns ended in 2016, scientists at HRD continue to work with the UAS
Program to coordinate field campaigns and investigate how data impacts model
forecasts of tropical cyclone track, intensity, and structure.
Vortex Southeast (VORTEX-SE)
The goal of VORTEX-SE program is to improve understanding and prediction of
severe weather, including tornadoes, in the Southeast United States. VORTEX-SE
focuses on how these extreme phenomena differ from those found in the U.S.
AOML/HRD is leading efforts related to tornadoes within tropical cyclones by
evaluating a combination of aircraft observations and numerical modeling,
specifically tornado diagnostics produced by the Hurricane Weather Research
and Forecasting (HWRF) Model.
Updated : Jan 30, 2018