Weather Forecasting:

New Processing System Faces Uncertainties and Risks

T-AIMD-96-47: Published: Feb 29, 1996. Publicly Released: Feb 29, 1996.

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GAO discussed the National Weather Service's (NWS) Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). GAO found that: (1) NWS has involved its forecasters in defining AWIPS requirements, organizing AWIPS to respond to system changes, and strengthening its in-house software development; (2) NWS risks wasting money on AWIPS because it has not been able to reduce operational costs or improve its forecasts; (3) NWS ability to meet its AWIPS commitments is being jeopardized by a risky development approach that develops one software increment before the next, complicates government and contractor accountability for system integration and performance problems, and omits software quality assurance; and (4) NWS has not realized expected staffing reductions as a result of its modernization program because it underestimated the staff needed to operate and maintain the new systems.

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