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Chad Kahler, from NOAA Western Region, visits HMT in Boulder

September 5, 2014

Chad Kahler, hydrologist in the Science and Technology Infusion Division (STID) at the National Weather Service (NWS) Western Region, visited HMT colleagues in Boulder in July to talk about collaborations on precipitation and hydrologic research. One of the priorities for the STID is to work with local Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) and River Forecast Centers (RFCs) to improve hydrologic services across the western region as well as assess new tools to help improve forecast guidance.

NWS hydrological services are provided primarily by the RFCs and WFOs. The RFCs mainly use the NWS River Forecast System hydrological forecast system, which is based on the Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting (SAC-SMA) and Snow-17 models, and applied for selected forecast points on the major rivers. The RFCs are moving to the new Community Hydrologic Prediction System-Flood Early Warning System (CHPS-FEWS) computing platform which has enhanced capabilities for integration of large data sets, specialized modules to process the data, and open interfaces to allow easy integration of existing modeling capacities.

HMT has recently installed the distributed version of the SAC - Research Distributed Hydrologic Model – integrated in the CHPS-FEWS system – for the Russian River watershed in CA. The modeling environment was established at the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) to support WFO hydrologic service responsibilities in the Russian as well as to assess the impact of different precipitation forcings on streamflow.

Chad Kahler
Chad Kahler

During his visit, Chad and HMT researchers discussed how the ESRL CHPS-FEWS computing environment might be used to test high resolution precipitation data sets to improve hydrologic forecasting across different watersheds in the west. We also discussed how the distributed modeling approach might be used by the San Francisco Bay Area WFO to support flash flood forecasting for small tributaries.

Contact: Rob Cifelli