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Lessons Learned and Initial Best Practices Converting from MDL matrices to GFE Formatters. David Zaff NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office, Albany, New York November 4, 2003. ALB IFPS Methodology Before (prior to 06/03). 1 st draft: GFE 2 nd draft: Matrix

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lessons learned and initial best practices converting from mdl matrices to gfe formatters

Lessons Learned and Initial Best Practices Converting from MDL matrices to GFE Formatters

David ZaffNOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office, Albany, New YorkNovember 4, 2003

alb ifps methodology before prior to 06 03
ALB IFPS Methodology Before(prior to 06/03)
  • 1st draft: GFE
  • 2nd draft: Matrix
    • All fine tuning done through matrix
    • All updates done through matrix – Grids would not change for up to 12 hrs.
  • 3rd draft: post editing ZFP
  • 4th draft: post editing SAF
alb ifps methodology before prior to 06 031
ALB IFPS Methodology Before(prior to 06/03)
  • More time was often spent on the matrix than on the grids
  • Little detail in grids
  • Grids showed poor consistency
    • Between offices
      • (no use of ISC)
    • Meteorologically across our grids
      • (ex Def R- w/ a 50% PoP)
    • Forecast vs. Reality
      • Both in short term and meteorologically (unrealistic temp changes)
alb ifps methodology now
ALB IFPS Methodology NOW
  • GFE always open
    • GRIDS are the “flagship product”
  • ZFP/SAF produced from the GRIDS
    • (Actually all text products are produced from grids)
alb ifps methodology now1
ALB IFPS Methodology NOW
  • Biggest change:
    • We’ve taken a step out of the forecast process
    • We have a better relationship between the grids and the text
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • 1) Any Workload improvement?
  • 2) Matrix vs GFE Formatters – any time savings?
  • 3) Four Reasons the text is post edited
  • 4) Amount of text editing varies from forecaster to forecaster
  • 5) The SAF and ZFP
lessons learned1
Lessons Learned
  • 1) Is there any workload improvement??
lessons learned2
Lessons Learned
  • 1) Is there any workload improvement??
  • YES!!!
  • Because you remove a step in the forecast process – there is indeed a workload improvement
  • BUT – you spend more time and effort in the grids
  • Don’t forget – this is where the meteorology is!

“grid ache”

lessons learned3
Lessons Learned
  • 2) Is producing text quicker via GFE Formatters than with the Matrix?
lessons learned4
Lessons Learned
  • 2) Is producing text quicker via GFE Formatters than with the Matrix?
  • Yes and No!
    • GFE Formatters are a HUGE time saver
    • GFE Formatters do not save any time because you have to put much more effort into the grids
  • The point is that while in the grids, you spend more time thinking in terms of meteorology and less time working with text output
lessons learned5
Lessons Learned
  • 3) Four Reasons the text is post edited (in the post Matrix era):
    • 1) Grid problems
    • 2) Large zone groupings (we use Xnow)
    • 3) Cosmetic wording changes
    • 4) Formatter problems
lessons learned6
Lessons Learned
  • Four Reasons the text is post edited:
    • 1) Grid Problems:
      • Most text issues are grid related
        • Often the grids do not match the desired text
      • Problem 1:
        • It is easy to modify the grids to “fit” the desired text. The result is that the grids are not consistent in reality or meteorologically
        • There is a learning curve here! The ability to adjust grids to match text w/out compromising grids takes time
lessons learned7
Lessons Learned
  • Four Reasons the text is post edited:
    • 1) Grid Problems:
      • Most text issues are grid related
        • Often the grids do not match the desired text
      • Problem 2:
        • Often it is too easy to simply edit the text.
          • It takes time to adjust the grids and rerun the formatter
        • This leaves the problem for the next forecaster
lessons learned8
Lessons Learned
  • Four Reasons the text is post edited:
    • 2) Large zone groupings
      • We use Xnow – there are other alternatives
      • Problem:
        • The zone groupings are determined independent of GRIDS, and output therefore doesn’t always turn out as expected.
      • Solution 1: Regroup zones
      • Solution 2: Nudge grids (not recommended in most cases)
lessons learned9
Lessons Learned
  • Four Reasons the text is post edited:
    • 2) Large zone groupings
      • We use Xnow – there are other alternatives
      • Ultimate solution: One zone/county one group!
        • While this will increase the size of the ZFP and therefore increase proofreading time, it will greatly improve formatter’s capability – less errors overall!
lessons learned10
Lessons Learned
  • Four Reasons the text is post edited:
    • 3) Cosmetic wording changes
      • Forecasters need to let go of wording that do not meteorologically add to the forecast.
      • Example:
        • GFE output - Partly cloudy this morning then becoming mostly cloudy
        • Modified text - Increasing clouds
      • While the above change makes for a cleaner forecast, it does not add meteorology to the forecast.
lessons learned11
Lessons Learned
  • Four Reasons the text is post edited:
    • 3) Cosmetic wording changes
      • Cosmetic wording changes are not an efficient use of forecaster time.
      • Our expertise and therefore our time should be put into the grids.
lessons learned12
Lessons Learned
  • Four Reasons the text is post edited:
    • 4) Formatter Problems:
      • Pros:
        • You have total control
      • Cons:
        • It takes time to fix problems without overriding grids or introducing new errors
lessons learned13
Lessons Learned
  • 4) Amount of text editing varies from forecaster to forecaster
    • Tough problem
      • The GFE has a very steep learning curve
        • (and you thought differential equations were hard!!)
      • Some take to the grids like a video game, and pick up smart tools and and ways to make the “grids work” such that the text comes out as expected.
lessons learned14
Lessons Learned
  • 5) The SAF and ZFP
    • This is ALY’s biggest problem:
      • We massage the grids for the ZFP, with (hopefully) minimal text edits.
      • THEN, we have do it all over again with the SAF
lessons learned15
Lessons Learned
  • 5) The SAF and ZFP
      • The SAF contains large sampling areas
      • Larger areas mean more potential wording issues
      • Same problem with large zone groupings
lessons learned16
Lessons Learned
  • 5) The SAF and ZFP
  • Solution??
  • We don’t have one yet!
    • An easy one would be to ABANDON THE SAF, and simply use the ZFP
    • Better – add in local effects.
initial best practices
Initial Best Practices
  • Quickly test wording by looking at one zone group and one period output.
  • Control text detail without modifying grids
  • Test/Non-operational GFE box
  • Get everyone involved!
  • Issuance Times
lessons learned17
Lessons Learned
  • One more comment:
  • ALY switched from Matrix to GFE formatters in June, AND we switched from NWS directive C-11 to 10-503
  • How many folks contacted us about the change???
lessons learned18
Lessons Learned
  • One more comment:
  • ALY switched from Matrix to GFE formatters in June, AND we switched from NWS directive C-11 to 10-503
  • How many folks contacted us about the change???
    • ZERO!!!!
initial best practices1
Initial Best Practices
  • Quickly test wording by looking at one zone group and one period output.
    • It normally takes 20s-30s to run the formatter for all zone groupings and all forecast periods To make a change to the text you:
      • edit the grids
      • rerun the formatter
      • wait ANOTHER 20-30 seconds…
    • This process begs the forecaster to ignore the grids and focus on the text, introducing grid-text discrepancies!
    • The formatter runs VERY quickly when running through one zone, one period!!!!!!!!
initial best practices2
Initial Best Practices
  • Quickly test wording by looking at one zone group and one period output.
    • To run, you need to choose three items:
      • Choose issuance time
      • Choose period of interest
      • Choose zone grouping (ex NYZ052>054)
    • Then you can rerun the above over and over again easily after quick grid edits.
initial best practices3
Initial Best Practices
  • Control Detail text detail without modifying grids
    • GFE Formatters come with a default set of statistical sampling techniques can be overridden semi-permanently, but these cannot easily be changed on the fly.
    • The MDL matrix allows the forecaster to change the wording detail
    • ALY formatters preserve this useful capability via a GUI designed by Vasil Koleci and local formatter adjustments.
initial best practices4
Initial Best Practices
  • Control Detail text detail without modifying grids
    • With this tool, you can have a high amount of detail in the grids, and gloss over some of this in the text, or leave ALL the detail if you prefer.
    • Problem: forecasters reluctant to simplify text, and high detail in wording can be confusing.
initial best practices5
Initial Best Practices
  • Test/Non-operational GFE box
    • This is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to testing nearly everything related to the GFE:
      • Smart Tools
      • Smart Initialization
      • And most importantly – FORMATTERS
    • You are SEVERELY limited and will place yourself in a dangerous spot if you work on formatters/GRIDS that are operational.
initial best practices6
Initial Best Practices
  • Test/Non-operational GFE box
    • The GFE provides the software needed to quickly transfer GRIDS, Formatters, Smart tools, etc from one machine to another.
    • With an RPP box, you can work on operational grids and formatters in realtime….but offline
initial best practices7
Initial Best Practices
  • Get everyone involved!
    • The grids are an ever changing, always current database.
    • Note – ALY is not doing this…
initial best practices8
Initial Best Practices
  • Get everyone involved!
    • Why write nowcasts saying it’s going to rain in 2 hrs, when the grids only have a chance of rain?
  • Springfield MO: the whole staff is involved
    • HMTs, Interns, all levels of forecasters and the management team
initial best practices9
Initial Best Practices
  • Get everyone involved!
    • One person on short term
    • One person on next significant Wx event
    • One person on extended
    • Leave all other grids as is to preserve consistency and prevent “yo-yo-ing” forecast
      • (Use MOS data to update Max/MinT if you find this improves point-based verification stats)
initial best practices10
Initial Best Practices
  • Issuance Times
    • If you have an “always up to date set of grids”, then why have issuance times?
    • You ought to be able to send out a new text product once an hour…
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