Last year, NASA SPoRT submitted a proposal to collaborate with the Operations Proving Ground in Kansas City, Missouri. The effort is focused on evaluating the Meteogram Moving Trace Tool developed by the Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL) with support from NASA SPoRT to include total lightning. One of the top requests from forecasters has been to create a time series plot of total lightning in real-time. SPoRT first began to develop the total lightning tracking tool for use in AWIPS II to use with total lightning observations from the ground-based lightning mapping arrays. The effort has now expanded to SPoRT coordinating with MDL’s meteogram tool for AWIPS II. The advantage of the MDL tool is that it can create time series trends for multiple data sets beyond total lightning (e.g., radar, satellite, models).
This week, the Operations Proving Ground has brought together forecasters, developers, and trainers from multiple organizations to evaluate the use of this tool in several scenarios. The opportunity for face-to-face discussions, training, and evaluation has been invaluable for the MDL and SPoRT developers to assess how the tool may be used in operations and to fix bugs that are found. The face-to-face nature has allowed for bugs or requests for new features to be addressed throughout the day and to test the fixes the following day. The week long evaluation facilitated by the Operations Proving Ground will lead to several improvements to the meteogram trace tool in preparation for its deployment in AWIPS II later this year.