Data Management and Distribution
Data management services within RAL include a large suite of tools for data generation, archiving, distribution, and visualization.
A wide variety of customer-driven applications yield data assets that include mesoscale models and thunderstorm tracking focused on geographic areas of interest such as the Olympic venues, Hurricane Katrina, civilian and military installations. Ceiling and visibility, wind shear, turbulence, as well as icing forecasts are generated in real time for the domestic and international aviation community and are provided in text, digital, and graphical products.
Weather observations, forecasts, and climatologies are archived on UCAR's Mass Storage System as well as in on-line relational database systems. MySql is commonly used for storing observational data, while gridded data are stored and distributed in a plethora of common meteorological data formats.
The Army sponsored 4DWX program is the first attempt in RAL at using a database to manage most of the primary data in a major operational system. At the onset of the program, an ambitious course was laid out which called for applying database technologies to all of the data sets, including the large 3D output volumes generated from the MM5 community mesoscale modeling system. After a period of extensive testing, it was determined that performance issues and implementation complexity compelled a scaled-down plan for the database, restricting it to the collection of measured observation data sets needed in the 4DWX system. These include all surface, upper-air, and corresponding pseudo-observations (POBS) falling within MM5's domain 2 nest. POBS are created by interpolating MM5 output to each sampled location for all of the measured observations collected in the system, and provide a convenient dataset for computing MM5 validation statistics and model-based climatology.