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Technical Support Branch (TSB) (Text)

Dr. Jiann-Gwo Jiing, Chief.


The Technical Support Branch (TSB) provides support for TPC's assorted information systems, maintains an array of computer forecasting models, produces a small number of operational and nonoperational products, and develops new tropical cyclone and tropical weather prediction techniques. TSB also assists the operations of NHC and TAFB by providing personnel, meteorological and data support.

TSB is composed of a Branch Chief, a Science and Operations Officer (SOO), the Techniques Development and Applications (TDAU) and Storm Surge Units, a Computer Support Group (CSG) and Computer Specialists, Electronics Technicians, several contractors and a liason for FIU and NWS projects. TPC's System Administrator, Webmaster, and Y2K Program Manager are drawn from this staff.

Information systems supported by TSB include communications hardware and a network of PC's, UNIX servers and x-terminals used for the ingest, processing, and display of satellite imagery and other data, as well as for the production and distribution of various NHC and TAFB products. GOES satellite imagery is ingested directly from the GOES 8 (.JPG) and GOES 10 (.JPG) satellites, while METEOSAT (.JPG) data and polar orbiting imagery are obtained via land lines. The Man-computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS) satellite data processing system is used to view and manipulate this imagery. NCEP Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (N-AWIPS) workstations running GEMPAK scripts process and display model output, aircraft observations from Air Force Reserve and NOAA reconnaissance missions, and conventional meteorological station, ship and buoy data. Radar data from the WSR-88D system is treated independantly using four Principal User Processors (PUPs). Finally, TSB was instrumental in the creation and continued development of the Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting (ATCF) system, used to incorporate various data and model outputs and to generate forecasts.

TSB maintains a number of statistical and dynamic models used in predicting both hurricane behavior and associated weather conditions. An assortment of track and intensity forecast models provide information about the direction and strength of each individual storm. These include the statistical NHC90/NHC91 track forecast models, the dynamical Beta and Advection (BAM) and barotropic hurricane track forecast models (VICBAR, LBAR), and the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS). Given the strength of a storm approaching from seaward, the Maximum Envelope Of Winds model assists inland wind forecasts, and the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model details the penetration of floodwaters inland. TSB also evaluates the computer intensive dynamical models run at NCEP, and provides feedback for improvement of prediction in tropical regions.

TSB operational products include large-scale analyses of tropical upper- and lower-level winds and storm surge predictions for landfalling tropical cyclones. Storm surge atlases, prepared in advance by TSB's Storm Surge Unit, are used by county emergency managers to develop evacuation plans. The latest versions of publically available TSB operational products may be found on the Forecast Products page. This NHC/TPC Text Website and its graphical counterpart, officially nonoperational products, are produced and maintained by TSB staff as a service to the public.

TSB is responsible for developing new techniques for tropical cyclone and tropical weather prediction. TSB's Science and Operations Officer is directly involved in the development of new forecasting techniques. Members of TSB's Techniques Development and Applications Unit are charged with developing WSR-88D radar applications for tropical cyclones and new techniques for NOAA reconnaissance aircraft (268K GIF)and other platforms.

Several TSB members serve as reserve NHC Hurricane Specialists when additional manpower is required. TSB Computer Specialists and the Computer Support Group maintain the TPC 24 hour operational data flow. TSB also provides technical training for NHC and TAFB operational personnel.



DUTIES AND PRODUCTS:

SATELLITE IMAGING
- Satellite ingest
- Man-computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS) support
- Satellite display support

DATA SUPPORT
- NOAA's Gulfstream IV aircraft (268K GIF) and Air Force Reserve reconnaissance data
- Buoy and ship data
- Data source development
- Processing and display techniques

METEOROLOGICAL SUPPORT
- Reserve NHC Hurricane Specialist and TAFB manpower
- Tropical cyclone track compilations
- Digital archive of past tropical cyclone data
- Forecaster training

SOFTWARE SUPPORT
- NHC statistical hurricane track forecast models (NHC90/NHC91)
- Beta and Advection (BAM) model
- Barotropic hurricane track forecast models (VICBAR, LBAR)
- Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS)
- Inland wind decay model for tropical cyclone landfall
- NCEP model performance monitoring for tropical regions
- N-AWIPS / GEMPAK
- Data analysis development

COMPUTER AND NETWORK SUPPORT
- N-AWIPS workstations
- AFOS system
- WSR-88D hardware
- Communications network hardware
- HP network hardware/software
- PC network hardware/software

STORM SURGE UNIT
- Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model
- Real-time storm surge support
- Storm Surge Atlases (for evacuation procedure development)

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
- Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecast (ATCF) system
- WSR-88D Radar System applications
- Forecasting technique development
- TPC/NHC Website

YEAR 2000 PROGRAM
- System inventory/assessment
- Renovation
- Testing/validation
- Implementation
- Contingency planning

- TSB Staff and E-mail addresses
- National Hurricane Center
- Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch



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Last updated February 22, 2001