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

Stanley G. Benjamin

Research Interests

Benjamin is a senior scientist advisor for a group that focuses on developing the next-generation weather and earth-system models, data assimilation techniques and other research projects aimed at improving seamless prediction of extreme weather from short-range to seasonal time scales.

Current Research

  • Development of Rapid Refresh (RAP) and High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), two experimental models developed in the Global Systems Laboratory 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 Laboratory 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

  • Fujisaki-Manome A; Mann GE; Anderson EJ; Chu PY; Fitzpatrick LE; Benjamin SG; James EP; Smirnova TG; Alexander CR; Wright DM. (Dec 2020). Improvements to Lake-Effect Snow Forecasts Using a One-Way Air-Lake Model Coupling Approach. Journal of Hydrometeorology , 21(12), 2813-2828. 10.1175/JHM-D-20-0079.1
  • James EP; Benjamin SG; Jisamon BD. (Nov 2020). Commercial-Aircraft-Based Observations for NWP: Global Coverage, Data Impacts, and COVID-19. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology , 59(11), 1809-1825. 10.1175/JAMC-D-20-0010.1
  • Demuth, JL; Morss, RE; Jankov, I; Alcott, TI; Alexander, CR; Nietfeld, D; Jensen, TL; Novak, DR; Benjamin, SG. (Aug 2020). Recommendations for Developing Useful and Usable Convection-Allowing Model Ensemble Information for NWS Forecasters. WEATHER AND FORECASTING , 35(4). 10.1175/WAF-D-19-0108.1
  • Turner DD; Hamilton J; Moninger W; Smith M; Strong B; Pierce R; Hagerty V; Holub K; Benjamin SG. (Feb 2020). A Verification Approach Used in Developing the Rapid Refresh and Other Numerical Weather Prediction Models. , 8(3), 39-53. 10.15191/nwajom.2020.0803
  • He, SW; Smirnova, TG; Benjamin, SG. (27-Dec 2019). A Scale-Aware Parameterization for Estimating Subgrid Variability of Downward Solar Radiation Using High-Resolution Digital Elevation Model Data. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 124(24), 13680-13692. 10.1029/2019JD031563
  • Pegion, K; Kirtman, B; Becker, E; Collins, DC; LaJoie, E; Burgman, R; Bell, R; DelSole, T; Min, D; Zhu, YJ; Li, W; Sinsky, E; Guan, H; Gottschalck, J; Metzger, EJ; Barton, NP; Achuthavarier, D; Marshak, J; Koster, RD; Lin, H; Gagnon, N; Bell, M; Tippett, MK; Robertson, AW; Sun, S; Benjamin, SG; Green, BW; Bleck, R; Kim, H. (OCT 2019). The Subseasonal Experiment (SubX): A Multimodel Subseasonal Prediction Experiment. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, 100(10), 2043-2060. 10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0270.1
  • Zhu, KF; Xue, M; Pan, YJ; Hu, M; Benjamin, SG; Weygandt, SS; Lin, HD. (DEC 2019). The Impact of Satellite Radiance Data Assimilation within a Frequently Updated Regional Forecast System Using a GSI-based Ensemble Kalman Filter. ADVANCES IN ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 36(12), 1308-1326. 10.1007/s00376-019-9011-3
  • Kim, JH; Sharman, RD; Benjamin, SG; Brown, JM; Park, SH; Klemp, JB. (JUN 2019). Improvement of Mountain-Wave Turbulence Forecasts in NOAAs Rapid Refresh (RAP) Model with the Hybrid Vertical Coordinate System. WEATHER AND FORECASTING, 34(3), 773-780. 10.1175/WAF-D-18-0187.1
  • Sun, S, BW Green, R Bleck and SG Benjamin. (MAY 2018). Subseasonal Forecasting with an Icosahedral, Vertically Quasi-Lagrangian Coupled Model. Part II: Probabilistic and Deterministic Forecast Skill. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 146(5), 1619-1639. 10.1175/MWR-D-18-0007.1
  • Lin, HD, SS Weygandt, AHN Lim, M Hu, JM Brown and SG Benjamin. (OCT 2017). Radiance Preprocessing for Assimilation in the Hourly Updating Rapid Refresh Mesoscale Model: A Study Using AIRS Data. WEATHER AND FORECASTING, 32(5), 1781-1800. 10.1175/WAF-D-17-0028.1
  • Hu, M, SG Benjamin, TT Ladwig, DC Dowell, SS Weygandt, CR Alexander and JS Whitaker. (OCT 2017). GSI Three-Dimensional Ensemble-Variational Hybrid Data Assimilation Using a Global Ensemble for the Regional Rapid Refresh Model. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 145(10), 4205-4225. 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0418.1
  • 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. (AUG 2017). THE WEATHER RESEARCH AND FORECASTING MODEL Overview, System Efforts, and Future Directions. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, 98(8), 1717-1737. 10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00308.1
  • James, EP and SG Benjamin. (AUG 2017). Observation System Experiments with the Hourly Updating Rapid Refresh Model Using GSI Hybrid Ensemble-Variational Data Assimilation. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 145(8), 2897-2918. 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0398.1
  • Lin, HD, SS Weygandt, SG Benjamin and M Hu. (AUG 2017). Satellite Radiance Data Assimilation within the Hourly Updated Rapid Refresh. WEATHER AND FORECASTING, 32(4), 1273-1287. 10.1175/WAF-D-16-0215.1
  • Jankov, I, J Berner, J Beck, HL Jiang, JB Olson, G Grell, TG Smirnova, SG Benjamin and JM Brown. (APR 2017). A Performance Comparison between Multiphysics and Stochastic Approaches within a North American RAP Ensemble. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 145(4), 1161-1179. 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0160.1
  • Green, BW, S Sun, R Bleck, SG Benjamin and GA Grell. (JUL 2017). Evaluation of MJO Predictive Skill in Multiphysics and Multimodel Global Ensembles. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 145(7), 2555-2574. 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0419.1
  • 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. (OCT 2017). Assessment of NWP Forecast Models in Simulating Offshore Winds through the Lower Boundary Layer by Measurements from a Ship-Based Scanning Doppler Lidar. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 145(10), 4277-4301. 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0442.1
  • James, EP, SG Benjamin and M Marquis. (MAR 2017). A unified high-resolution wind and solar dataset from a rapidly updating numerical weather prediction model. RENEWABLE ENERGY, 102, 390-405. 10.1016/j.renene.2016.10.059
  • Katona, B, P Markowski, C Alexander and S Benjamin. (OCT 2016). The Influence of Topography on Convective Storm Environments in the Eastern United States as Deduced from the HRRR. WEATHER AND FORECASTING, 31(5), 1481-1490. 10.1175/WAF-D-16-0038.1
  • Smirnova, TG, JM Brown, SG Benjamin and JS Kenyon. (MAY 2016). Modifications to the Rapid Update Cycle Land Surface Model (RUC LSM) Available in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 144(5), 1851-1865. 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0198.1
  • 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. (APR 2016). A North American Hourly Assimilation and Model Forecast Cycle: The Rapid Refresh. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 144(4), 1669-1694. 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0242.1
  • Benjamin, SG, JM Brown and TG Smirnova. (APR 2016). Explicit Precipitation-Type Diagnosis from a Model Using a Mixed-Phase Bulk Cloud-Precipitation Microphysics Parameterization. WEATHER AND FORECASTING, 31(2), 609-619. 10.1175/WAF-D-15-0136.1
  • Peckham, SE, TG Smirnova, SG Benjamin, JM Brown and JS Kenyon. (JAN 2016). Implementation of a Digital Filter Initialization in the WRF Model and Its Application in the Rapid Refresh. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 144(1), 99-106. 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. (JUN 2015). A Vertically Flow-Following Icosahedral Grid Model for Medium-Range and Seasonal Prediction. Part I: Model Description. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 143(6), 2386-2403. 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. (OCT 2015). THE WIND FORECAST IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (WFIP) A Public-Private Partnership Addressing Wind Energy Forecast Needs. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, 96(10), 1699-1718. 10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00107.1
  • Pan, YJ, KF Zhu, M Xue, XG Wang, M Hu, SG Benjamin, SS Weygandt and JS Whitaker. (OCT 2014). A GSI-Based Coupled EnSRF-En3DVar Hybrid Data Assimilation System for the Operational Rapid Refresh Model: Tests at a Reduced Resolution. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 142(10), 3756-3780. 10.1175/MWR-D-13-00242.1
  • Zhu, KF, YJ Pan, M Xue, XG Wang, JS Whitaker, SG Benjamin, SS Weygandt and M Hu. (NOV 2013). A Regional GSI-Based Ensemble Kalman Filter Data Assimilation System for the Rapid Refresh Configuration: Testing at Reduced Resolution. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 141(11), 4118-4139. 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. (OCT 2011). The Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction: Current Status and Development. WEATHER AND FORECASTING, 26(5), 593-612. 10.1175/WAF-D-10-05037.1
  • Hamill, TM, JS Whitaker, DT Kleist, M Fiorino and SG Benjamin. (OCT 2011). Predictions of 2010's Tropical Cyclones Using the GFS and Ensemble-Based Data Assimilation Methods. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 139(10), 3243-3247. 10.1175/MWR-D-11-00079.1
  • Hamill, TM, JS Whitaker, M Fiorino and SG Benjamin. (FEB 2011). Global Ensemble Predictions of 2009's Tropical Cyclones Initialized with an Ensemble Kalman Filter. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 139(2), 668-688. 10.1175/2010MWR3456.1
  • Bleck, R, S Benjamin, J Lee and AE MacDonald. (JUN 2010). On the Use of an Adaptive, Hybrid-Isentropic Vertical Coordinate in Global Atmospheric Modeling. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 138(6), 2188-2210. 10.1175/2009MWR3103.1
  • Moninger, WR, SG Benjamin, BA Jamison, TW Schlatter, TL Smith and EJ Szoke. (APR 2010). Evaluation of Regional Aircraft Observations Using TAMDAR. WEATHER AND FORECASTING, 25(2), 627-645. 10.1175/2009WAF2222321.1
  • Benjamin, SG, BD Jamison, WR Moninger, SR Sahm, BE Schwartz and TW Schlatter. (APR 2010). Relative Short-Range Forecast Impact from Aircraft, Profiler, Radiosonde, VAD, GPS-PW, METAR, and Mesonet Observations via the RUC Hourly Assimilation Cycle. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 138(4), 1319-1343. 10.1175/2009MWR3097.1
  • Benjamin, SG, D Devenyi, SS Weygandt, KJ Brundage, JM Brown, GA Grell, D Kim, BE Schwartz, TG Smirnova, TL Smith and GS Manikin. (FEB 2004). An hourly assimilation-forecast cycle: The RUC. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 132(2), 495-518. 10.1175/1520-0493(2004)132<0495:AHACTR>2.0.CO;2
  • Benjamin, SG, GA Grell, JM Brown, TG Smirnova and R Bleck. (FEB 2004). Mesoscale weather prediction with the RUC hybrid isentropic-terrain-following coordinate model. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 132(2), 473-494. 10.1175/1520-0493(2004)132<0473:MWPWTR>2.0.CO;2
  • Devenyi, D and SG Benjamin. (2003). A variational assimilation technique in a hybrid isentropic-sigma coordinate. METEOROLOGY AND ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS, 82(4-Jan), 245-257. 10.1007/s00703-001-0590-y
  • Smirnova, TG, JM Brown and SG Benjamin. (AUG 1997). Performance of different soil model configurations in simulating ground surface temperature and surface fluxes. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 125(8), 1870-1884. 10.1175/1520-0493(1997)125<1870:PODSMC>2.0.CO;2
  • SMITH, TL and SG BENJAMIN. (MAY 1993). IMPACT OF NETWORK WIND PROFILER DATA ON A 3-H DATA ASSIMILATION SYSTEM. BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, 74(5), 801-807. 10.1175/1520-0477(1993)074<0801:IONWPD>2.0.CO;2
  • BENJAMIN, SG, KA BREWSTER, R BRUMMER, BF JEWETT, TW SCHLATTER, TL SMITH and PA STAMUS. (APR 1991). AN ISENTROPIC 3-HOURLY DATA ASSIMILATION SYSTEM USING ACARS AIRCRAFT OBSERVATIONS. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 119(4), 888-906. 10.1175/1520-0493(1991)119<0888:AITHDA>2.0.CO;2
  • BENJAMIN, SG. (JUL 1989). AN ISENTROPIC MESO ALPHA-SCALE ANALYSIS SYSTEM AND ITS SENSITIVITY TO AIRCRAFT AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS. MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW, 117(7), 1586-1603. 10.1175/1520-0493(1989)117<1586:AIMSAS>2.0.CO;2