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Univ. of Arizona: "The second Southwest Weather Symposium"

Final Report

Section I: Southwest Weather Symposium Objectives and Accomplishments

A. Symposium Objectives

The purpose of the symposium was to bring together operational forecasters, academic professors, researchers, and climatologists who are interested in the weather and climate of the southwest U.S. and northwestern Mexico. The symposium provided a forum for presentation and discussion of work that considers midlatitude, subtropical, and tropical weather and precipitation systems that affect the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico. The symposium emphasis was on studies relevant to all temporal scales of operational analysis and forecasting. Symposium sessions included: Southwest Weather; Numerical Weather Prediction; Quantitative Precipitation Estimation and Forecasting; Fire Weather; Seasonal Prediction and the Monsoon: Observations; Seasonal Prediction and the Monsoon: Modeling; A large multi-topic poster session; and a panel discussion on the Future of Operational Numerical Weather Prediction.

B. Symposium Accomplishments

The symposium lasted two full days (September 21 and 22, 2000) with 109 officially registered
participants. It's our opinion that the symposium was a tremendous success, and we received a large number of very positive comments on our symposium questionnaire. This was the Second Southwest Weather Symposium, and it's clear that we've experienced a considerable amount of growth since the first symposium in 1998. This symposium included seven invited presentations and one panel discussion consisting entirely of invited guests. (Please see the agenda included with this report.) In addition to the seven invited presentations and one panel discussion, there were 34 oral presentations and 29 poster presentations. We certainly met our goal in bringing together forecasters and researchers interested in southwest U.S. and northwest Mexico hydrometeorology and climatology. Participants came from as far as Jiutepec, Mexico and the University of Maryland. Forecasters attending or participating in the symposium came from NWS offices in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Montana, and California. Participants also represented NCEP (SPC, HPC, CPC, and EMC), The Mexican Institute for Water Technology, NSSL, the United States Air Force, the United States Army, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and NCAR. University representation included individuals from the following universities: University of Arizona; Arizona State University; Emery-Riddle Aeronautical University; University of Maryland; Colorado State University; Creighton University; and California State University- Los Angeles. A number of Arizona county and state government officials also participated in the symposium.

The objectives of the symposium not only included fostering the professional development of operational and research meteorologists, but also to provide a medium for collaboration between interested professionals that might not otherwise occur. For example, Art Douglas of Creighton University remarked favorably the week following the symposium, stating, "I've already had two or three people contact me regarding my research presented at the symposium."

The following excerpt was published in the Western Region Staff Notes (Sept. 26, 2000,

September 26, 2000


Southwest Weather Workshop - SUCCESS!: Congratulations Tucson, in particular SOO David Bright for an excellent workshop. To quote Dr. Uccellini:

"I will not hesitate to say that this was one of the best conferences I have been to in a long long time. Large scale to mesoscale; Raobs to radars to satellites, heavy rain to drought and fires; observations to modeling; this conference had everything with the focus on the SW making it a manageable task and worthwhile learning experience for me. The subject matter was well organized; the invited speakers well suited to link the science and service aspects; and the forecasters from the NWS did themselves proud with excellent presentations that were mixed in with talks from some of the top researchers in the country."

Section 2: Summary of Exchanges

The symposium provided a forum to bring together scientists from the operational and research community. An attempt was made to balance the presentations in each session between researchers, forecasters, and students. A survey of the participants strongly favored continuing the symposium, and the next one is currently planned from sometime in 2002.

Section 3: Presentations and Publications

Please see the agenda included with the hard copy of this report, which shows the wide range of oral and poster presentations. A hard copy of the post-print volume will be sent to COMET as soon as it's available. As of November 28, over 30 papers have been received for the post-print volume. (Estimated shipping date of the post-print volume is January 30, 2001.)

Section 4: Summary of University Benefits and Problems Encountered

No problems were encountered in the symposium. The individuals at the NWS and the University of Arizona responsible for planning and hosting the symposium worked extremely well together, and no problems occurred in the planning or execution of the event. We hope to cooperate with COMET and the NWS to produce the Third Southwest Weather Symposium in two years! The following bullets indicate some of the many benefits gained by university faculty and students through participation in the symposium.

* Researchers and students were exposed to the latest forecast problems, some of which we were not aware existed.
* Students are given the opportunity to present their results in a formal environment.
* There's a lot of interesting work occurring in the forecast offices, but often it's not shared with the community through formal publication. These mixed NWS/University symposiums allow forecasters an opportunity to present their results to researchers interested in similar problems.
* The symposium gives us at the University a chance to learn about the latest observation and modeling systems being developed by NCEP and other laboratories. This collaboration is extremely valuable. For example, as a result of the symposium, plans were made for ASU to become a test site for the new NCEP/NCAR WRFS forecast model.
* It's nice to expose faculty, staff, and students to real operational problems. It also allows university personnel to develop contacts in nearby NWS offices, particularly with the SOOs.
* The symposium gave us the opportunity to see the problems and research occurring in the field. This provides ideas for graduate students, and also allows us to see material that should be developed into current or new courses. For example, it's quite clear that we (UA) need to add a course in satellite and radar interpretation to better prepare our graduates for the NWS careers, or research using these new data sets.

Section 5: Summary of NWS Benefits and Problems Encountered

There were absolutely no problems encountered in this project. The following bullet items represent some of the more significant benefits gained by the NWS as a result of the symposium.

* Forecasters were exposed to a wide mixture of research topics, presented by other forecasters as well as some world-renowned researchers.
* An opportunity for forecasters to collaborate with NCEP and University experts.
* Exposure to the latest research results.
* Increased understanding of research and development currently occurring in area Universities and National Centers.
* Provided an opportunity for forecasters to share their research results or local studies in a less "intimidating" environment than AMS meetings.
* Operational hydro-meteorologists and researchers had an opportunity to learn from each other, their research, and research/forecast problems.
* Allowed NWS officials to see research presented by students and meet these students. This is important since some of these students are interested in careers with the NWS.