ESRL Global Systems Division

MADIS assists the National Weather Service with Homeland Security

In a recent announcement, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) and AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. (AWS) unveiled a major new public-private partnership that will bolster the government's ability to respond to a homeland security event and protect lives and property.

In the event of a homeland security incident involving airborne hazardous materials, the NWS will now have available real-time weather data from the AWS WeatherNet network to help them provide precise weather forecasts to government agencies and emergency managers. The AWS WeatherNet network, established in 1993, is a highly dense, nationwide commercial network that includes more than 6000 automated weather station locations based primarily at schools.

To assist the NWS, the Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL) has agreed to do all of the initial work in ingesting, quality controlling, and assessing the AWS observations. Specifically, in the NOAA plan for initial assessment:

  • AWS data will be sent to the FSL every 15 mintues for ingest into the FSL Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS);
  • FSL will quality control and gather statistics on sensor performance and provide feedback to AWS; and
  • FSL will display the observations on its surface observation web page (see to allow for subjective assessment; and will also ingest the observations into their experimental data assimilation and forecast model systems for objective evaluation.

Through MADIS, FSL will also distribute the observations to NWS field sites for operational assessment within AWIPS, and to the NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction for model development and sensitivity studies.

Work will begin at FSL by pulling in observations from nearly 100 AWS stations located in New England. The observations will be added to the over 5000 "mesonet" observations already collected by MADIS from various state and local government agencies, universities, research organizations, and private firms.

More information:

Contact information
Name: Patty Miller
Tel: (303) 497-6365