The Warning Decision Training Division (WDTD) develops and delivers training on the integrated elements of the warning process involving a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office and its partners. WDTD instructors develop and deliver a variety of in-residence, teletraining, and on-line asynchronous training content to meet this mission. Our primary goal is to increase expertise among NOAA/NWS personnel and their core partners so that they can better serve the public during warning operations.
Warning Decision Training Division
Office of Chief Learning Officer
Above Ground Level (AGL) - An expression used with height measurements to indicate the measurement is for the heigh above the ground at that location (in contrast to above mean sea level or above radar level).
Advanced Warning Operations Course (AWOC) - The Advanced Warning Operations Course is a blended learning course designed to provide every NWS Forecaster (Meteorologist and Hydrologist) training on advanced warning decision making techniques.
Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) - The AWIPS is the hardware and software the NWS uses to acquire, process, view, and store data from numerous sources (including those products received from the RPG).
Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) - A free-form text product issued by each NWS Warning Forecast Office to explain the current and near future weather-related topics that will impact the upcoming forecasts and warnings that the forecast office will issue.
Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) - The surface weather observing network (supported by the NWS, Federal Aviation Administration, and Department of Defense) designed to support aviation operations and weather forecasts by collecting automated surface observations.
Base Data Distribution System (BDDS) - A subcomponent of the WSR-88D system that was added as part of the Open Radar Product Generator system upgrade. The BDDS provides real-time access to base data for NWS partners to provide value added products for their customers.
BUFKIT - BUFKIT is a forecast profile visualization and analysis tool kit developed by the staff at the National Weather Service to view model output profiles and forecast parameters at high vertical and temporal resolutions.
Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) - A study conducted to capture how experts at a particular task think, what they know, how they organize and structure information, and what they seek to understand better.
County Warning Area (CWA) - The region where each Weather Forecast Office is responsible to provide locally generated forecast and warning products. While not always true, the forecast office is generally located towards the center of the CWA.
Digital Mesocyclone Detection (DMD) - The Digital Mesocyclone Detection (DMD) product is similar to the MDA, with the key difference being that DMD is a rapid update product that is available after each elevation scan (while the MDA is available only at the end of each volume scan).
Displaced Real-Time (DRT) - A term used to describe the process of setting the system clock backwards on a WES-enabled Linux workstation so that archived data from the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System can be displayed as when it was originally received.
Distance Learning Operations Course (DLOC) - The Distance Learning Operations Course is a blended learning course designed to provide all new NWS Forecasters (Meteorologist and Hydrologist) training on the use of the WSR-88D when making forecast and warning decisions.
Ducting - A special condition of superrefraction in which the radar beam becomes trapped within a layer of the atmosphere. A condition of warm, dry air overlying relatively cool, moist air may result in ducting.
Facilitators - The facilitator is the person at a local NWS office who provides assistance, support and guidance to students throughout a course. Facilitators are usually the SOO, DOH, Training Officer, or other designate in the office.
Flash Flood Monitoring and Prediction (FFMP) - The Flash Flood Monitoring and Prediction (FFMP) system is an integrated suite of multi-sensor applications which detects, analyzes, and monitors precipitation and generates short-term warning guidance for flash flooding automatically within AWIPS.
High-Resolution Precipitation Nowcaster (HPN) - A rainfall nowcasting algorithm that produces regional, gridded, one-hour rainfall nowcasts using input data generated by the High-Resolution Multisensor Precipitation Estimator, which is software that runs at most WFOs as part of the FFMP application.
Hydrometeorology Technician (HMT) - Staff member(s) at a local National Weather Service office that provide a range of technical support and assistance to shift operations and other basic activities in the office.
Ice Jam - A phenomenon where large chunks of ice get caught up on a bridge, or other structure, and block the flow of water through a hydrologic drainage system. Ice Jams during the Spring, or mid-Winter rapid ice melts, can result in significant flooding.
Incident Meteorologist (IMET) - NWS forecaster who is stationed on-site with firefighters and/or emergency management personnel during significant events that require constant contact between NWS meteorologists and the people responsible for mitigating the impacts of the on-going event.
Information Technology Officer (ITO) - The staff member in each NWS Weather Forecast Office who is responsible for maintaining the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System and other computer equipment necessary for weather operations in the office.
Instructional Component (IC) - An organizational unit for training material in the different tracks of AWOC for which a student must pass an exam to receive credit. Each IC is made up of one or more lessons which cover the objectives for that topic.
ISO File - An archive file, or disk image, that is used by most Windows and Linux software vendors to create file systems on CDs and DVDs. ISO files can be mounted as a file system (just like a disk) and can be easier to distribute than actual disks.
Local Area Prediction System (LAPS) - An objective analysis system that integrates observational data from numerous data platforms into a very high-resolution grid. These grids can then be analyzed by forecasters to determine current conditions or used as input fields for forecast models.
Local Storm Reports (LSR) - Text products issued by NWS weather forecasters containing information on reports of severe weather that have occurred in their local area. These reports may be phoned in to the office, submitted on-line, reported by HAM radio operators, or shown on TV.
Melting Level - The level where frozen precipitation particles melt into water during their descent to the surface. The melting level usually appears about 1,000 ft. above the bright band on radar displays.
Mesocyclone - A three-dimensional region in a storm that rotates cyclonically, meets a series of criteria related to its intensity and temporal consistency, and is closely correlated with severe weather.
Mesocyclone Detection Algorithm (MDA) - The Mesocyclone Detection Algorithm (MDA) was developed by NSSL to develop a more robust algorithm than the Mesocyclone algorithm that was deployed with the WSR-88D.
Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) - A long-lived line of thunderstorms that often results in strong, if not damaging, winds occurring over a large area for several hours. Hail, flash flooding, and even tornadoes are also sometimes reported within a MCS.
National Weather Service (NWS) - The NWS is the federal agency responsible for issuing weather, hydrological, and climate forecasts and warnings for the U.S. to protect the life and property of its citizens and to enhance the national economy.
Open Radar Data Acquisition (ORDA) - A software and hardware update to the Radar Data Acquisition unit using open source technology and replacing equipment that was deployed when the WSR-88D was originally fielded.
Open Radar Product Generator (ORPG) - A software and hardware update to the Radar Product Generator that used open source technology and replaced equipment that was deployed when the WSR-88D was originally fielded.
Operational Build (OB) - "OB" refers to specific versions of AWIPS. After AWIPS was fielded, the developers switched to a more open source architecture to the system. As a result, the release versions were renamed "Build" to "Operational Build" to highlight the change.
Outflow Boundaries - The leading edge of horizontal air flow resulting from cooler, denser air sinking and spreading out at the surface. Outflow boundaries often are caused by the downdraft of thunderstorms.
Post-Mortem - A detailed examination or evaluation of a significant event from which some lessons may be learned to improve future performance. In AWOC, post-mortems most often refer to meteorological events.
Probability of Precipitation (POP) - A forecast product that indicates the certainty with which weather forecasters think a measurable (.01" or more) precipitation event will occur at any given point during a defined forecast period.
Professional Competency Units (PCU) - Subcomponents of the Professional Development Series where knowledge and performance standards are determined and training is developed to ensure that forecasters are capable of performing their jobs in a proficient manner.
Professional Development Series (PDS) - An organizational structure for training in the National Weather Service where the subject is divided into a series of professional competency units (PCUs) with specific courses and/or modules are developed.
Pulse Storms - A particular classification of convective storms that are typically short-lived, lack well-defined storm structure, and can produce damaging winds near the ground as the storms collapse and dissipate.
Pulse-Storm Downburst Prediction (PSDP) - A series of workshops organized by the Warning Decision Training Branch in the mid-to-late 1990s to discuss research on the science and forecast techniques related to dry and wet microbursts events through the U.S.
Quantitative Precipitation Estimate (QPE) - An estimate of the total precipitation that fallen during a specified period of time. QPE values are usually calculated from reflectivity (or related) products from the nearest available radar.
Quasi-Linear Convective System (QLCS) - A multicellular thunderstorm complex that, generally, has a linear appearance (i.e., MCS, squall line) but also exhibits localized storm-scale vortices that can behave very similar to low-level mesocyclones and are capable of producing tornadoes.
Radar Data Acquisition (RDA) - The RDA is the component of the WSR-88D system that includes the radar transmitter, antenna, receiver, and associated hardware that produced the base data sent to the RPG for processing.
Radar Operations Center (ROC) - The agency (funded by the National Weather Service, Department of Defense, and Federal Aviation Administration) that provides meteorological, software, maintenance, and engineering support for all WSR-88D systems.
Range Folding (RF) - The display of multiple trip return which differs from the actual location of the target. A multiple trip return appears at the difference of the true range and a multiple of the unambiguous range.
Refraction - The process in which the direction of energy propagation is changed as the result of a change in density. Large changes is the refractive index of the atmosphere can cause subrefraction and superrefraction.
Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN) - The data network that the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System uses to transfer data from the Network Control Facility to each Weather Forecast Office (or other location that owns an AWIPS).
Science and Operations Officer (SOO) - A member of the management team in each Weather Forecast Office, the SOO is responsible for the local training and research efforts in their office. The SOO is a key partner (and local facilitator) in WDTB's training efforts in each local office.
Severe Weather Statement (SVS) - A product issued by NWS weather forecasters to provide follow-up information on a previously issued severe weather warning (tornado or severe thunderstorm). The SVS product can be used to continue, cancel, correct, or expire a warning.
Short Term Forecast (NOW) - A text-based product issued by NWS forecasters to alert NWS partners and the general public of significant weather conditions that are forecast to occur in the next several hours.
Side Lobes - Concentrated elements of focused power outside the main radar beam. Backscatter from side lobes can be displayed as if it were in the main beam. Ground clutter is a common result from side lobes.
Situation Awareness (SA) - The process of acquiring the perception of the elements in the environment within a volume space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future.
Storm Total Precipitation Product (STP) - A product generated by the WSR-88D Radar Product Generator that specifies the quantitative precipitation estimate for all areas within 124 nm of the radar data acquisition unit location.
Supercell Thunderstorm - A classification of thunderstorm that is often associated with severe and tornadic thunderstorms. Supercells have strong, rotating thunderstorm updrafts, among other storm features, that allow them to last longer than most common thunderstorms.
Superrefraction - Bending of the radar beam in the vertical which is greater than under standard refractive conditions. This causes the beam to be lower than indicated, and often results in extensive ground return as well as an overestimation of cloud top heights.
System for Convection Analysis and Nowcasting (SCAN) - An integrated suite of multisensor applications which detects, analyzes, and monitors convection and generates short-term probabilistic forecast and warning guidance for severe weather automatically within AWIPS.
Teletraining - A delivery method of distance education where the instructor and students are in different locations, viewing training visuals on monitors (or projectors) and utilizing teleconferencing technology for audio communication.
Three-Body Scatter Spike (TBSS) - An area of enhanced reflectivity that is often seen down the radar beam radial from an area of significant hail. In addition to enhanced reflectivity, TBSSs often have near-zero radial velocities and high spectrum width values.
Thunderstorm Downdraft - The region of a thunderstorm where air descends towards the surface. Downdrafts can occur in a thunderstorm because the air in that region is relatively stable or because the wind fields in the thunderstorm force air towards the surface.
Thunderstorm Updraft - The portion of a thunderstorm where relatively unstable air flows into the storm and rises. A stronger, or faster, a thunderstorm updraft usually results in stronger, more intense severe weather associated with that thunderstorm.
Tornadic Vortex Signature (TVS) - The radar "signature" of a vortex indicative of a tornado or tornadic circulation. The WSR-88D employs an algorithm that uses the base moment data to detect these circulations.
Tornado Warning Guidance (TWG) - A series of joint research products between WDTB and the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) to determine potential relationships between radar signatures and environmental data that might improve lead time in tornado warnings issued by the NWS.
Unit Control Position (UCP) - Prior to the WSR-88D upgrade to an "open systems" infrastructure, the UCP was the component of the WSR-88D system that ingested base data, processed that data, and produced products for viewing by users.
Valid Time Event Code (VTEC) - The short line of text at the beginning of each watch/warning/advisory product issued by the NWS. VTEC allows NWS partners to quickly access critical information (e.g., product type, start & stop time) and relay it to customers in a timely fashion.
WarnGen - An application that is part of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System that allows forecasters to create and issue short-fuse (severe thunderstorm, tornado, and flash flood)warnings and follow-ups statements.
Warning Decision Making (WDM) - Warning Decision Making refers to the process of how a forecaster makes the decision to issue (or not issue) a warning on a particular storm, as well as mentally processing all of the data inputs that go into making that decision.
Weather Event Simulator (WES) - The Weather Event Simulator is an application that provides case playback and simulation capabilities from archived AWIPS data. The WES is effectively a data pump and a training interface for AWIPS.
Weather Event Simulator Scripting Language (WESSL) - WESSL is an application that utilizes scripts written to enhance the capabilities of WES by adding interaction, maps, and other non-AWIPS visuals and text to the simulation experience.
Weather Surveillance Radar - 88 Doppler (WSR-88D) - The dedicated meteorological surveillance radar deployed by the NWS that significantly improved the quality of reflectivity data available and added the capability of Doppler velocity and spectral width data.