Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA): What is the NCEP RTMA and how can it be used?

Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA): What is the NCEP RTMA and how can it be used?
The NCEP Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA), provides current conditions in digital form on the NWS National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) 5-km grid. This product was upgraded in early July 2007 to the point where its use by forecast offices is now encouraged for situational awareness, creating short-term forecast grids, and evaluating recent forecast grids and forecast bias. Unique to the RTMA is an uncertainty or error estimate for some of its analysis parameters. These uncertainty estimates perhaps could be used to determine when a forecast is “good enough”. This Webcast discusses why the RTMA and its parent project, the Analysis of Record, were created, how the RTMA is generated, and its capabilities, limitations, and possible applications. The Webcast includes extensive discussion about how representative individual observations are and how they are handled by the analysis. The topics covered include: * The context for developing the RTMA and related future developments * Use of the RTMA in the human forecast process * The steps in generating RTMA products: forecast, downscaling, observation data sets, quality control, two-dimensional variational analysis (2d-var), “uncertainty” estimates, multisensor precipitation analysis, and GOES Effective Cloud Amount * Limitations related to how RTMA products are generated * How an observation affects the 2d-var analysis * Issues raised by the analysis using accurate observations which are not representative of their surrounding area * Preliminary performance assessment over complex terrain * Key changes under development for future RTMA implementations