Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics Focus Area
WAD researches the dynamics of the atmosphere to improve our understanding of the fundamental processes that drive weather.
The Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics focus area (WAD) supports research to obtain accurate measurements of the atmosphere that help improve short-term, subseasonal, and seasonal weather predictions at local, regional, and global scales. Weather includes everything from localized microphysical processes that occur in minutes, to global-scale phenomena that can occur for an entire season. WAD helps improve our knowledge of the fundamental processes that drive these systems and inform the operational infrastructure upon which other federal agencies rely, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Department of Defense (DOD). WAD further supports research into profiling winds, temperature, humidity, pressure, and aerosols; air-sea and land-atmosphere interactions; and lightning occurrences.
WAD Research Questions
Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics addresses the following overarching questions:
How can sub-seasonal to seasonal weather forecast duration and reliability be improved?
How can we improve predictive capability for weather, including extreme events?
What is the role of deep convective towers and precipitation on a tropical storm’s life cycle?
To what extent are storm intensification processes predictable?
How can we use NASA, NOAA and other countries’ satellite observations innovatively and transition new algortithms, data, and tools to weather forecast operations at our partner agencies?
WAD Associated Missions
The table below lists all the NASA Earth missions that are relevant to the Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics focus area in all phases.
Learn more about WAD
The Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics focus area is split into three different research programs that help focus and advance our understanding of the Earth:
Atmospheric Dynamics and Precipitation Science
WAD studies the dynamics of the atmosphere, precipitation, and wind to better understand the conditions that drive specific weather events. This research improves computer models, algorithms, and data assimilation that support short-term to seasonal weather prediction and understanding. To do this, WAD observes atmospheric phenomena associated with the water cycle – including precipitation, severe storms, lightning, and tropical cyclones – to determine the relationship between atmospheric thermodynamics, dynamics, storm structure, and convection; ocean surface properties; and radiation within weather systems. Ultimately, WAD hopes to improve process models in these areas, provide initial conditions and assimilation of data to better characterize and understand weather systems, and develop long-term time series of atmospheric analyses to support weather and climate studies.
Satellite Data Assimilation
WAD supports research in two areas to help advance satellite data assimilation.
The Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) uses comprehensive global models and data assimilation techniques to maximize the impact of satellite observations in climate, weather, and atmospheric composition prediction. To achieve this goal, GMAO develops models and assimilation systems for the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface; generates products to support NASA instrument teams for field campaigns and the NASA Earth Science Research and Analysis program; and undertakes scientific research to inform modeling system development pathways.
The Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) is a partnership among NASA, NOAA, and DoD. Its mission is to accelerate and improve the quantitative use of research and operational satellite data in weather, ocean, and environmental analysis and prediction models.
Short-term Prediction Research and Transition
The Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT) takes the data products and algorthims from NASA research satellites and transitions them to NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). SPoRT aims to improve short-term forecasts on a regional scale.
WAD News and Information
Earth Observatory | July 3, 2019
It is the “rain” in the term “rainforest” that makes possible the diverse ecosystem teeming with plants and animals. That doesn’t mean a rainforest is always wet: tropical rainforests are known for having distinct wet and dry seasons. But new research shows that the summer dry season in the Congolese rainforest of central Africa is growing longer.
Earth Observatory | June 29, 2019
It’s early summer and Europe is already feeling the heat. Many parts of the continent saw the hottest temperatures so far for 2019, with some cities recording their hottest day on record.
SVS | June 3, 2019
NASA has a unique and important view of hurricanes around the planet. Satellites and aircraft watch as storms form, travel across the ocean and sometimes, make landfall. After the hurricanes have passed, the satellites and aircraft see the aftermath of hurricanes, from downed forests to mass power loss.
WAD for Scientists
Scientific Meetings and Conferences
TRMM/GPM Science Team Meeting
4-8 November 2019
Research and Funding Opportunities
Solicited program elements relevant to WAD are publicized through the Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) NASA Research Announcements (NRAs) on the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) website. Past, open, and future solicitations can be searched and viewed on NSPIRES.
2019 solicitations of interest to the Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics community:
- Decadal Survey Incubation Study Teams: Planetary Boundary Layer and Surface Topography and Vegetation
- A.10 Ocean Salinity Science Team
- A.11 Sea Level Change Science Team
- A.12 Surface Water and Ocean Topography Science Team
- A.23 Terrestrial Hydrology
- A.25 The Soil Moisture Active-Passive Mission Science Team
- A.26 Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics
- A.28 GRACE-FO Science Team
- A.30 Airborne Instrument Technology Transition
- A.32 Interdisciplinary Science in Earth Science
- A.33 Earth Science Research from Operational Geostationary Satellite Systems
- A.40 Understanding Changes in High Mountain Asia
NASA Research Resources, Associated Programs, and Partnerships
Access NASA data related to WAD and learn more about center-level WAD programs and partnerships at the links below:
- 2017 Earth Science Applications from Space
- 2015 Weather Focus Area Workshop Report
- 2007 Earth Science Applications from Space
- Global Hydrology Resource Center
- Precipitation Processing System
- EOSDIS Distributed Active Archive Centers
- Ames Earth Science Division
- Applied Sciences SERVIR Global Program
- Global Modeling and Assimilation Office
- Goddard Space Flight Center Atmospheric Sciences
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory Earth Atmsopheric Sciences Section
- Land Information System
- Langley Science Directorate
- Marshall Earth Science Office
- Precipitation Measurement Missions Science Team
- Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center
- Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation
- Joint Program Planning Group (JPPG)
- U.S. Office of Federal Coordinator for Meteorology
- NOAA U.S. Weather Research Program
- World Meteorological Organization
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow
Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics Focus Area