Hydrometeorology Modeling and Applications

Lead: Rob Cifelli  |  CIRES Team Coordinator: Darren Jackson

Fresh water is one of our nation's most precious and valuable natural resources. Water managers require accurate and timely forecasts to inform risk-management decision making. Knowledge of precipitation amount and uncertainty, land surface properties, and streamflow information is also needed to produce robust forecasts of hydrologic extreme events. Recent studies have shown that climate change will increase the occurrence of extreme precipitation events over time, further highlighting the need for reliable information.

The Hydrometeorology Modeling and Applications Team uses observations and models to improve physical process understanding and guide model development associated with too much or too little water. This includes evaluation and improvement of forcings for hydrologic prediction as it relates to the National Water Model. HMA also provides guidance on observing network design, model data assimilation and analysis, and predictions that can be applied in National Weather Service operations as well as informing local, regional, and national communities, planners, and decision makers.

Current Research Activities

IMPROVING understanding of processes controlling and quantitative estimates of extreme precipitation amounts and distribution.
FEMA flood photo
EVALUATING streamflow, soil moisture, and surface fluxes in NOAA’s National Water Model (NWM), and developing prototype tools for use in forecast operations.
IMPROVING process understanding of drought with respect to its drivers, trends, and impacts.
convective clouds
EVALUATING precipitation forecasts and estimates, and other hydrologically relevant atmospheric variables, and developing prototype tools for use in forecast operations.