Congratulations to past and present members of the NWS-NC State Mid-Atlantic and Southeast CSTAR group which received the 2015 Dr T. Theodore Fujita Research Achievement Award from the National Weather Association on Wednesday. The award was presented for “15 years of collaborative operations-to-research and research-to-operations contributions, resulting in significant improvements to forecast and warning operations across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.”
Since the CSTAR program was established in 2000, the collaboration has produced a long list of contributions to operational meteorology and improvements to forecasts and warnings through a series of collaborative research projects. The projects this group has tackled over the last 15 years cover a broad and diverse range of topics including winter weather, severe convection, and tropical cyclones. The efforts have involved university faculty and students at NC State and NWS personnel representing at least 16 different field offices across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, as well as 4 national centers (SPC, NHC, WPC, and EMC), with the results being applied even more broadly across the NWS.
These research efforts have resulted in the development of various operational tools and techniques such as forecast flow charts, conceptual models and indices, AWIPS procedures and smarttools, web displays, and numerous presentations (conferences, office workshops and webinars), and training modules. The collaborative nature of the relationships within this group often evolved the typical R2O efforts into an O2R2O framework, where operational meteorologists bring problems to the researcher’s attention, who utilize their expertise to develop improved techniques for the forecasters. These efforts have also lead to the development of a 5-step process for collaborative research, shown to the right. In addition, interactions with operational forecasters have extended beyond the projects with 21 NC State CSTAR student alumni going on to careers in NOAA with 2 former university CSTAR principal investigators moving on to NOAA as well.
The success and accomplishments of this collaboration would not have been possible without the contributions of more than 100 collaborators including academic partners and students willing to engage with operational forecasters, forecast staff who have participated in these projects in addition to their primary operational responsibilities, and NWS regional scientific service divisions who have provided tremendous support and leadership. Finally, much appreciation is extended to NOAA for providing support for the CSTAR program.