Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Stanley G. Benjamin

Research Interests

I am a senior scientist for advanced modeling systems at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (Global Systems Division) in Boulder, Colorado. My interests lie in data assimilation, including for clouds, radar and boundary layer; improved parameterizations to address cloud-radiation systematic errors; and global subseasonal coupled (atmospheric-ocean-aerosol) modeling and forecasting. Our group in GSD works closely with the National Weather Service on improving NOAA’s operational models. We focus on improving frequently updated convection-allowing modeling for severe weather, aviation/transportation, renewable energy, and hydrology/flooding applications. Toward all of these goals, our group works on improving model representations of the boundary layer, land surface, and stable and convective clouds including aerosol interaction.

Current Research

  • Development of Rapid Refresh (RAP) and High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), two experimental models developed in the Global Systems Division which are now operational, helping weather forecasters around the country predict rapidly changing weather conditions including tornadoes, flash flooding and severe snowstorms.
  • Data assimilation (including storm-scale ensemble data assimilation) including observation impact studies and cloud/hydrometeor initialization.
  • Coupled atmospheric-ocean modeling toward improved prediction and predictability from tropical convection (MJO) and stratospheric sudden warming events.

Some of my branch’s current projects include:

  • Development of Rapid Refresh (RAP) and High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), two hourly updated models developed in the Global Systems Division which are now operational, and upcoming versions of similar models using the NOAA Unified Forecast System (UFS).
  • Development of global coupled models for improved medium-range to subseasonal forecasts.   Our group applies an advanced suite of physical parameterizations for global models (now, the NOAA Unified Forecast System – UFS, using the FV3 dynamic core) at medium-range and with coupling at subseasonal-to-seasonal scales.  
  • Development of improved representation of clouds and boundary layer and data assimilation to improve HRRR and RAP for applications for severe weather prediction and for the aviation/transportation community and for renewable energy, including ongoing wind and solar energy projects for the Department of Energy and NOAA, to improve energy management toward more efficient use of renewable energy.


map of great lakes, lake-effect snow

Improved short-range HRRR forecasts including for lake-effect snow is being accomplished by coupling atmospheric model with lake models.

Representation of subgrid-scale cloud processes is resulting in more accurate short-range (HRRR) forecasts but also for medium-range global forecasts.

Representation of subgrid-scale cloud processes is resulting in more accurate short-range (HRRR) forecasts but also for medium-range global forecasts.

Honors and Awards

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medals, 2015, 2006
  • NOAA Technology Transfer Award, 2017
  • Colorado Governor's Award for High-Impact Research, 2015
  • NOAA Research Employee of the Year, 2013
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medals, 2010, 1998
  • NOAA Office of Atmospheric Research Outstanding Paper Awards, 2010, 2008, 2006
  • American Meteorological Society Fellow, 2004

View Publications

  • Sun, S, BW Green, R Bleck and SG Benjamin (2018), Subseasonal Forecasting with an Icosahedral, Vertically Quasi-Lagrangian Coupled Model. Part II: Probabilistic and Deterministic Forecast Skill. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 146 (5) 1619-1639, issn: 0027-0644, ids: GI5KS, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-18-0007.1
  • Jankov, I, J Berner, J Beck, HL Jiang, JB Olson, G Grell, TG Smirnova, SG Benjamin and JM Brown (2017), A Performance Comparison between Multiphysics and Stochastic Approaches within a North American RAP Ensemble. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 145 (4) 1161-1179, issn: 0027-0644, ids: ES2AY, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0160.1
  • James, EP, SG Benjamin and M Marquis (2017), A unified high-resolution wind and solar dataset from a rapidly updating numerical weather prediction model. Renew. Energy Version: 1 102 390-405, issn: 0960-1481, ids: EF9CM, doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2016.10.059
  • Green, BW, S Sun, R Bleck, SG Benjamin and GA Grell (2017), Evaluation of MJO Predictive Skill in Multiphysics and Multimodel Global Ensembles. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 145 (7) 2555-2574, issn: 0027-0644, ids: FF8XS, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0419.1
  • Lin, HD, SS Weygandt, AHN Lim, M Hu, JM Brown and SG Benjamin (2017), Radiance Preprocessing for Assimilation in the Hourly Updating Rapid Refresh Mesoscale Model: A Study Using AIRS Data. Weather Forecast. Version: 1 32 (5) 1781-1800, issn: 0882-8156, ids: FP1YA, doi: 10.1175/WAF-D-17-0028.1
  • Powers, JG, JB Klemp, WC Skamarock, CA Davis, J Dudhia, DO Gill, JL Coen, DJ Gochis, R Ahmadov, SE Peckham, GA Grell, J Michalakes, S Trahan, SG Benjamin, CR Alexander, GJ Dimego, W Wang, CS Schwartz, GS Romine, ZQ Liu, C Snyder, F Chen, MJ Barlage, W Yu and MG Duda (2017), THE WEATHER RESEARCH AND FORECASTING MODEL Overview, System Efforts, and Future Directions. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 98 (8) 1717-1737, issn: 0003-0007, ids: FF9WD, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00308.1
  • Lin, HD, SS Weygandt, SG Benjamin and M Hu (2017), Satellite Radiance Data Assimilation within the Hourly Updated Rapid Refresh. Weather Forecast. Version: 1 32 (4) 1273-1287, issn: 0882-8156, ids: FE4WJ, doi: 10.1175/WAF-D-16-0215.1
  • Hu, M, SG Benjamin, TT Ladwig, DC Dowell, SS Weygandt, CR Alexander and JS Whitaker (2017), GSI Three-Dimensional Ensemble-Variational Hybrid Data Assimilation Using a Global Ensemble for the Regional Rapid Refresh Model. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 145 (10) 4205-4225, issn: 0027-0644, ids: FJ6VM, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0418.1
  • James, EP and SG Benjamin (2017), Observation System Experiments with the Hourly Updating Rapid Refresh Model Using GSI Hybrid Ensemble-Variational Data Assimilation. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 145 (8) 2897-2918, issn: 0027-0644, ids: FF8YW, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0398.1
  • Pichugina, YL, RM Banta, JB Olson, JR Carley, MC Marquis, WA Brewer, JM Wilczak, I Djalalova, L Bianco, EP James, SG Benjamin and J Cline (2017), Assessment of NWP Forecast Models in Simulating Offshore Winds through the Lower Boundary Layer by Measurements from a Ship-Based Scanning Doppler Lidar. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 145 (10) 4277-4301, issn: 0027-0644, ids: FJ6VM, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0442.1
  • Benjamin, SG, JM Brown and TG Smirnova (2016), Explicit Precipitation-Type Diagnosis from a Model Using a Mixed-Phase Bulk Cloud-Precipitation Microphysics Parameterization. Weather Forecast. Version: 1 31 (2) 609-619, issn: 0882-8156, ids: DM2ZJ, doi: 10.1175/WAF-D-15-0136.1
  • Smirnova, TG, JM Brown, SG Benjamin and JS Kenyon (2016), Modifications to the Rapid Update Cycle Land Surface Model (RUC LSM) Available in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 144 (5) 1851-1865, issn: 0027-0644, ids: DM1SX, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0198.1
  • Katona, B, P Markowski, C Alexander and S Benjamin (2016), The Influence of Topography on Convective Storm Environments in the Eastern United States as Deduced from the HRRR. Weather Forecast. Version: 1 31 (5) 1481-1490, issn: 0882-8156, ids: EP5EF, doi: 10.1175/WAF-D-16-0038.1
  • Benjamin, SG, SS Weygandt, JM Brown, M Hu, CR Alexander, TG Smirnova, JB Olson, EP James, DC Dowell, GA Grell, HD Lin, SE Peckham, TL Smith, WR Moninger, JS Kenyon and GS Manikin (2016), A North American Hourly Assimilation and Model Forecast Cycle: The Rapid Refresh. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 144 (4) 1669-1694, issn: 0027-0644, ids: DM1RY, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0242.1
  • Peckham, SE, TG Smirnova, SG Benjamin, JM Brown and JS Kenyon (2016), Implementation of a Digital Filter Initialization in the WRF Model and Its Application in the Rapid Refresh. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 144 (1) 99-106, issn: 0027-0644, ids: DB6MT, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0219.1
  • Bleck, R, JW Bao, SG Benjamin, JM Brown, M Fiorino, TB Henderson, JL Lee, AE MacDonald, P Madden, J Middlecoff, J Rosinski, TG Smirnova, S Sun and N Wang (2015), A Vertically Flow-Following Icosahedral Grid Model for Medium-Range and Seasonal Prediction. Part I: Model Description. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 143 (6) 2386-2403, issn: 0027-0644, ids: CJ0TL, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-14-00300.1
  • Wilczak, J, C Finley, J Freedman, J Cline, L Bianco, J Olson, I Djalalova, L Sheridan, M Ahlstrom, J Manobianco, J Zack, JR Carley, S Benjamin, R Coulter, LK Berg, J Mirocha, K Clawson, E Natenberg and M Marquis (2015), THE WIND FORECAST IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (WFIP) A Public-Private Partnership Addressing Wind Energy Forecast Needs. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc. Version: 1 96 (10) 1699-1718, issn: 0003-0007, ids: CU8AW, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00107.1
  • Pan, YJ, KF Zhu, M Xue, XG Wang, M Hu, SG Benjamin, SS Weygandt and JS Whitaker (2014), A GSI-Based Coupled EnSRF-En3DVar Hybrid Data Assimilation System for the Operational Rapid Refresh Model: Tests at a Reduced Resolution. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 142 (10) 3756-3780, issn: 0027-0644, ids: AQ0OK, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-13-00242.1
  • Zhu, KF, YJ Pan, M Xue, XG Wang, JS Whitaker, SG Benjamin, SS Weygandt and M Hu (2013), A Regional GSI-Based Ensemble Kalman Filter Data Assimilation System for the Rapid Refresh Configuration: Testing at Reduced Resolution. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 141 (11) 4118-4139, issn: 0027-0644, ids: 240AB, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-13-00039.1
  • Hamill, TM, JS Whitaker, M Fiorino and SG Benjamin (2011), Global Ensemble Predictions of 2009's Tropical Cyclones Initialized with an Ensemble Kalman Filter. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 139 (2) 668-688, issn: 0027-0644, ids: 739PE, doi: 10.1175/2010MWR3456.1
  • Hamill, TM, JS Whitaker, DT Kleist, M Fiorino and SG Benjamin (2011), Predictions of 2010's Tropical Cyclones Using the GFS and Ensemble-Based Data Assimilation Methods. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 139 (10) 3243-3247, issn: 0027-0644, ids: 833AP, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-11-00079.1
  • De Pondeca, MSFV, GS Manikin, G DiMego, SG Benjamin, DF Parrish, RJ Purser, WS Wu, JD Horel, DT Myrick, Y Lin, RM Aune, D Keyser, B Colman, G Mann and J Vavra (2011), The Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction: Current Status and Development. Weather Forecast. Version: 1 26 (5) 593-612, issn: 0882-8156, ids: 834FI, doi: 10.1175/WAF-D-10-05037.1
  • Bleck, R, S Benjamin, J Lee and AE MacDonald (2010), On the Use of an Adaptive, Hybrid-Isentropic Vertical Coordinate in Global Atmospheric Modeling. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 138 (6) 2188-2210, issn: 0027-0644, ids: 622QE, doi: 10.1175/2009MWR3103.1
  • Moninger, WR, SG Benjamin, BA Jamison, TW Schlatter, TL Smith and EJ Szoke (2010), Evaluation of Regional Aircraft Observations Using TAMDAR. Weather Forecast. Version: 1 25 (2) 627-645, issn: 0882-8156, ids: 610AQ, doi: 10.1175/2009WAF2222321.1
  • Benjamin, SG, BD Jamison, WR Moninger, SR Sahm, BE Schwartz and TW Schlatter (2010), Relative Short-Range Forecast Impact from Aircraft, Profiler, Radiosonde, VAD, GPS-PW, METAR, and Mesonet Observations via the RUC Hourly Assimilation Cycle. Mon. Weather Rev. Version: 1 138 (4) 1319-1343, issn: 0027-0644, ids: 602CP, doi: 10.1175/2009MWR3097.1