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, 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 improved frequently updated convection-allowing modeling for severe weather, aviation/transportation, hydrology, and energy applications. We also work 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 observation impact studies

  • 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 experimental models developed in the Global Systems Division which are now operational, helping weather forecasters around the country predict rapidly changing weather conditions including severe thunderstorms, flash flooding and intense snowstorms.

  • Development of global coupled models for improved medium-range to subseasonal forecasts. One of these models is the Flow-following finite-volume Icosahedral Model (FIM). This global model uses an icosahedral grid and an adaptive vertical coordinate system that concentrates around frontal zones and the tropopause.

  • 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.


Improved probabilistic forecasts using convection-allowing model ensembles to identify threats severe flooding events is part of our group's work.

Potential temperature at the tropopause showing colder tropopause temperatures in a 6-wave pattern over the Northern Hemisphere. From a 7-day forecast from the FIM atmospheric model using isentropic coordinates to better capture tropopause features.

Honors and Awards

  • U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medals, 2015, 2006
  • 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
  • NOAA Research Employee of the Year, 2013
  • Colorado Governor's Award for High-Impact Research, 2015

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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, 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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