CIMMS Staff Trains WNI Forecasters

CIMMS staff played an integral role in a recent training exchange with Weathernews Inc., a private weather company headquartered in Japan. The two-year training program, contracted through the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, included both online lesson material, as well as multiple visits to Oklahoma for hands-on forecasting of severe weather events.

wni3Japan, like the United States, has a spectrum of natural disasters including landslides, flash floods, low-end tornadoes, tropical cyclones, wind, and hail events. Since formal meteorological education in Japan focuses on synoptic meteorology, WNI approached OU about how to expand their forecasters’ skills in mesoscale and radar meteorology, as well as their abilities as educators. Leveraging training lessons from NOAA’s Warning Decision Training Division, OU offered a training program specially tailored to WNI’s needs.

The program spanned two years, with each year consisting of a distance learning segment as well as hands-on, in-person training during a month-long wni2visit to Norman. Three WNI forecasters from Japan were selected to take adapted versions of WDTD’s online learning modules. In the first year, these modules covered principles of Doppler radar for weather detection, dual-polarization radar variables for severe weather detection, and basic warning decision-making. In the second year, the modules focused on advanced warning decision-making and flash flood forecasting. Each year, once the modules were completed, the forecasters traveled to Oklahoma for additional instruction from CIMMS staff at the National Weather Center.

When the program concluded in October 2016, the WNI forecasters were tasked with adapting what they learned about conceptual models of severe storms, data interpretation, and warning techniques to their own data sources and customer needs. Researchers hope they will maximize their learning gains and identify new goals for the future, sharing what they learned with their co-workers at WNI.

CIMMS Fellow Dr. Daphne LaDue, a research scientist with OU’s Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, was asked to write the statement of work for this program, and coordinated the overall effort. In addition to LaDue, the following individuals made invaluable contributions towards content development, implementation, and instruction:

Jill Hardy, OU CIMMS
Chris Spannagle, OU CIMMSwni1
Dale Morris, OU CIMMS
Tiffany Meyer, OU CIMMS
Michael Bowlan, OU CIMMS
Steve Mullens, OU CIMMS
Clark Payne, OU CIMMS
Steve Martinaitis, OU CIMMS
Eric Jacobsen, OU CIMMS
Alex Zwink, OU CIMMS
Don Burgess, OU CIMMS
Shawn Riley, OU SoM

The training effort was organized by Dean Berrien Moore III of OU’s College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences. OU CAPS coordinated and hosted the visitors at the National Weather Center. CIMMS provided expertise and manpower to implement the training project. This exchange demonstrates a seamless collaboration across OU organizations in the NWC, and furthers the partnership between WNI and OU, two groups that share a rich history of cooperative work.

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