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NOAA seeks partnership to help develop world’s best weather model

March 20, 2020
A supercell thunderstorm in Kansas on May 27, 2019.

NOAA is seeking a technology partner to help design and build the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC). This extramural center will accelerate scientific research and engineering to create the world’s most accurate and reliable operational weather forecast model. 

NOAA is in search of proven expertise in software engineering, software infrastructure development, and the delivery of world-class support services to government, academic and industry research scientists — those who will collaborate within the EPIC structure. 

“Through EPIC, the United States has a unique opportunity to harness the talents of the most brilliant modelers in the world to advance operational global numerical weather prediction,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “Advancing our operational weather modeling capability will improve forecasts and lead to more resilient communities.”

EPIC is a joint effort across the Weather Enterprise (private, public and academic) to improve operational modeling skill by making it easier for developers across all sectors to collaborate using common modeling infrastructure to improve the nation’s operational weather model. This approach leverages combined skills and resources, and lowers barriers to interaction and shared ideas through the use of cloud computing and a community modeling approach called the Unified Forecast System.offsite link  

A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued on Monday, March 23, and calls for an award of up to $45 million for 5 years. Offerors have until May 11, 2020, to submit proposals. For more information, please see the EPIC Synopsis. After careful review of the proposals, NOAA plans to make the award by Fall 2020.

The RFP is part of a major, multi-step effort to solidify NOAA’s international leadership role in weather modeling. In mid-February, NOAA announced it will triple operational supercomputing capacity. The new supercomputers will provide operational capacity to quickly transition research and development advancements, including those under EPIC, into operations at NOAA’s National Weather Service. Earlier this month, NOAA publicly released the first round of user-friendly computer codes for medium-range weather prediction. The release will enable other government, academic and industry researchers to help NOAA accelerate the transition of modeling research innovations into weather forecast operations. 

The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 is the driving force behind the latest steps by NOAA to dramatically advance numerical weather prediction. The law directs NOAA to prioritize improving weather data, modeling, computing, forecasting, and warnings for the protection of life and property and to enhance the national economy. Congress further called for NOAA to accelerate community-developed scientific and technological enhancements to its operational numerical weather prediction in the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2018.

Media contact

Monica Allen, (202) 379-6693.