The Meteorological Development Laboratory first came about in 1964, when it was known as the Techniques Development Laboratory (TDL). MDL is an applied research and development laboratory that seeks to improve diagnostic and prognostic weather information, data depiction and utilization, warning and forecast product preparation, and data and forecast evaluation. Methods used include modern physical, dynamical, and statistical techniques implemented on operational computers.
The mission of the Techniques Development Laboratory was very similar to MDL, translating advances in basic research to real-world applications in meteorology, to increase utility both for the scientist and the ultimate end-user. TDL sought to improve prediction methodology through diagnostic and prognostic methods, and in its era studied new statistical and modeling techniques, climatology, objective analysis, and the use of computers and automation in forecasting. TDL was one of three laboratories within the Systems Development Office, alongside the Integrated Systems Laboratory (ISL) and Equipment Development Laboratory (EDL).