First - Doug and Bob rock. So basically our government has used multiple departments which duplicate efforts and fail to recognize the needs of the people and other orginazations? Pretty much sums up how our government wastes our money. Consider this, if you do a study right one time you don't get paid to do it again. Much of the research which our government pays for is done only returning the barest amount of information required. If more information is available or needed then the contractor or agency gets to get more money to do the job again. You could have condensed the most of the story into a few lines by saying that the NWS is providing a crappy product because they are using crappy data.
No wonder meteorologists are having a hard time predicting weather over the past few years.
why didnt I read ANYTHING about a continuous "attempt to decrease" federal funding and a lack of interest in "perfecting" the skills of the NWS in this nation of America?
This is true, however most people are having a tough time with it because these kids today believe they are meteorologists when they are NOT ... They believe they can just use high resolution radar prediction models and say THEY forecasted it ... Then it turns out wrong.
Old school meteorology is why I'm one of the most accurate meteorologists to date ... Synoptic regional will ALWAYS beat high resolution models ...
I am a student who just graduated with a meteorology degree. I know some individuals do use the high resolution radar to predict what will happen. However, from my personal experience I primarily use synoptic forecasting. So do not generalize, because I know there are many other people (besides myself) who just graduated who use synoptic meteorology over the high resolution radar model output.
When did you get your degree? Also... issuing your own products does nothing but create confusion for the general populace when the National Weather Service is the only RECOGNIZED source for warnings. Get over yourself. Anyone can say "There will be tornadoes in either KS, OK, or TX in April." OF COURSE THERE WILL BE. Your TRAM is a joke and falls even behind our models.
Money is an important issue here.
Money for better computers. To allw higher resolution and 4DVAR.
Money for more research. To attract the best minds to build better models.
Money for better education at all levels.
After WWII, the US invested heavily in government infrastures, researh, and education and the US enjoyed several decades of economic leadership.
But, now we are retrenching. So, we pay the price.
NWP leadership is but one example.
Get ready for more.
While I agree with the basics of Prof. Mass's comments, I think a few other things need to be pointed out. First, while the ECMWF (and, to a certain extent, the UK) medium range models "outperform" the GFS, it's not true that that makes the GFS (the U.S.'s medium range model) "not good." Actually, all the medium range models are doing well, with the ECMWF clearly doing the best.
Second, the manner in which verification is done, and the meaning of that is somewhat unclear. While correlations of 500 mb heights forecast five days in advance to what values verify at grid points, or scores based upon other RMS errors clearly show what Prof. Mass outlines above, it's also true that none of these measures tell us much about which model is anticipating the geometry of future patterns the best, or pattern shifts the best. By the way, in the last 10 days or so the GFS is doing very well (in the Northern Hemisphere) relative to the ECMWF.
Third, Prof. Mass points out some good examples of the ECMWF anticipating major forecasting issues in the Pacific Northwest this past winter (better than did the GFS). However, further south in California, the GFS really nailed the pattern shifts that occurred in late January (to end our prolonged dry period with a bang) and the two other major storminess episodes in March (that also featured "bangs") not only in general geometry but also in the details, whereas the ECMWF caught on to all three of those, but somewhat late.
So, it's not so cut and dried. I will agree with Prof. Mass that the ECMWF is the best model right now. I also agree that there major philosophical and political issues that should not be governing funding of numerical weather prediction.
Is it any surprise that our scientific progress has slowed after two terms of an administration that literally sent plane loads of money to Iraq and heavily edited scientific reports to support their agenda?