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GSL and the new Impact-based Decision Support System Engine

March 28, 2024


As short-term weather forecasts are becoming more accurate, a paradigm shift has steadily occurred among weather forecasters. Meteorologists have gone from making a forecast, to helping people make use of the forecast—from determining what the weather is going to do to determining how the weather will impact people.

The Impact-based Decision Support System (IDSS) Engine project at GSL and NWS is one example. IDSS Engine is a web-based decision-making tool that helps meteorologists in the NWS provide clear, timely, and precise guidance to key stakeholders who need decision support for their upcoming weather-dependent events. This may be a county fire marshal scheduling a prescribed burn, an event coordinator planning an outdoor music festival, or a transportation official allocating staff for an impending snow storm.

IDSS Engine has a user interface that provides simple visualizations for analyzing and sharing the expected timeframes where weather conditions at an event’s location may approach impactful criteria (e.g. heat index above a certain level, low humidity + high wind gusts, freezing rain on roadways, etc.). IDSS Engine will display the likelihood of that criteria being met, for how long, and the expected intensity.

The IDSS Engine will enhance the decision support efforts of the NWS by customizing forecast information to user needs in an easy-to-use interface. The IDSS Engine will play a pivotal role as NOAA pushes the boundaries from just making forecasts, to a future of personalized weather information for informed decision making.

GSL expects development to continue on IDSS Engine throughout the next year, with testing to begin summer 2025.