The Research Applications Lab (RAL) is a melting pot of interdisciplinary expertise. Its diversity in skills, knowledge, training, and professional and personal experience makes RAL perfectly positioned to address modern-day environmental challenges. Combining an array of experts, such as geoscientists, software engineers, mathematicians, geographers, physicists, ecologists and economists has proven to be a successful business model in RAL’s 40+ years of providing tailored forecasts to society at large.

Numerous sectors have benefited from RAL’s cross-disciplinary culture over the years. Forecasts have improved dramatically since the 1980s, when pilots and air traffic controllers were just learning about deadly microbursts that plucked aircraft from the skies. Since then, RAL experts have conducted R&D for many other needs. Forecasts have been designed for decision makers in, for example, wind energy planning, wildland fire and flood mitigation, even highway managers seeking data in real time.

Scientists and engineers in RAL are leveraging their work over the past 40 years and are now addressing emerging needs, such as finer-scale forecasts in cities (from block to block), in complex terrain, and over the oceans, to name a few. With improved observations, data assimilation, modeling and artificial intelligence and machine learning, research challenges thought to have been insurmountable not too long ago can now be tackled by the RAL community.

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Evaluating the Potential for and Impact of Cloud Seeding

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