TWC Seminar: Dr. Andy Wood, Development and Operations Hydrologist

NOAA/NWS Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, Salt Lake City, UT

Abstract

NOAA/NWS River Forecast Centers (RFC) perform hydrologic analysis and prediction to make streamflow predictions on a daily basis for the entire US, for purposes ranging from flood risk management to supporting reservoir management for regional water supply allocations. Yet does RFC practice align with perspectives on hydrologic analysis and prediction from the modern, non-operational hydrologic research? With emphasis on the western US, this talk provides insights into current RFC methods, data and process, discusses particular challenges in RFC forecasting, and summarizes notable efforts and opportunities to close science gaps between RFCs and the hydrology research community.

Brief Biography

Dr. Andy Wood’s major professional accomplishments are in research focusing on hydrology, water resources, climate change and renewable energy. His doctoral work applied hydrologic models for the assessment of potential climate change impacts on hydrology and water resources. He developed a popular statistical climate downscaling approach now called BCSD, and developed models and methods for real-time monitoring and prediction of hydrologic conditions and streamflow at monthly to seasonal time scales. As research faculty in the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, Andy created quasi-operational hydrologic prediction systems focusing on scales ranging from small river basins to the continental U.S. One example is the UW Surface Water Monitor ( http://www.hydro.washington.edu/forecast/monitor/ ), the products of which (particularly those related to drought) are still used by public and private sector groups. In 2008, Andy join 3TIER, a Seattle-based firm that provides renewable energy assessment and prediction services for the global wind, solar and hydro energy industry. As 3TIER’s lead scientist, he supervised the company’s research team while also developing new approaches for solar and hydropower prediction, and for hydro energy assessment. In 2010, Andy joined the NOAA Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, where he is the lead developer for hydrologic prediction approaches and also helps manage a staff of operational streamflow forecasters. He recently co-authored an assessment of NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) performance during the devastating 2010 flooding in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Requirements for the nascent NWS Hydrologic Ensemble Forecast Service. Andy is a co-leader of the NOAA MAPP Drought Task Force and the NWS Hydrologic Ensemble Prediction Experiment (HEPEX). He also chairs the Hydrology Committee of the American Meteorological Society.