Raytheon Intelligence and Space to Lead New Center Advancing US Weather Forecasting

NOAA’s Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) was created to accelerate community-developed scientific and technological enhancements into the operational applications for numerical weather prediction. Please see https://wpo.noaa.gov/Programs/EPIC for more. (Image credit: NOAA)

NOAA has announced that Raytheon Intelligence and Space has been chosen to design and develop the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC), an extramural center that will unite academia, industry and government to help create the most user-friendly and user-accessible comprehensive Earth modeling system.

Raytheon Intelligence and Space, a division of Raytheon Company, brings to EPIC proven expertise in scientific leadership, software engineering, software infrastructure, and delivery of support services to government, academia and industry researchers who will collaborate within the EPIC framework.

”Extreme weather events, exacerbated by climate change, are increasing,” said Craig McLean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist and NOAA assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “EPIC will help the United States diversify the community that contributes to improving weather forecasting to save lives, protect property, and strengthen our economy.”

“The creation of EPIC is a foundational piece in a major, multi-step effort by NOAA to expand and strengthen community modeling and help us accelerate the improvements in operational weather and climate forecasting,” said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director, NOAA’s National Weather Service. “This effort will improve forecasts and decision-support activities to ensure communities are ready for, and respond to, oncoming extreme weather, water, and climate events.”

EPIC is a collaborative effort involving the larger research community from academia, public agencies, and private industry — known as the Weather Enterprise — to contribute to the overall development of the operational models used by NOAA’s National Weather Service to meet its mission of saving lives and property. EPIC will facilitate the community modeling approach by making it easier for developers across diverse sectors to contribute to the development of these operational models using a common modeling infrastructure.

These research collaborations are already helping NOAA accelerate development of the nation’s Unified Forecast System (UFS), a community-based, comprehensive Earth modeling system, which is becoming the core of NOAA’s operational Numerical Weather Prediction applications.

In order to support the accelerated drive to improve weather modeling to help save lives, protect property and strengthen the nation’s economy, NOAA is tripling its operational supercomputing capacity. New supercomputers and cloud computing capabilities are also being leveraged  to quickly transition research and development advancements, including those that will occur through EPIC, into operations at the National Weather Service.

UFS is integrating numerous environmental models into a unified Earth modeling system that will be used to predict weather from local to global domains at time scales from minutes to seasons. This unified system allows better collaboration between NOAA and the extramural science community, and will accelerate the development and integration of innovation into NOAA’s operational weather forecast systems.

To encourage community collaborations, NOAA has publicly released user-friendly computer codes for medium-range and short-range weather prediction. NOAA has also recently upgraded its flagship global weather modeloffsite link to improve forecasting of high-impact weather events such as hurricanes, severe weather outbreaks, rainfall, and blizzards.

EPIC is a national priority supported by the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, which calls for NOAA to prioritize improving weather data, modeling, computing, forecasting, and warnings for the protection of life and property and to enhance the national economy. Congress codified EPIC and further called for NOAA to accelerate community-developed scientific and technological advances to its operational numerical weather prediction in the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2018.

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