RSA Development Team Receives the NOAA Technology Transfer Award

A nine-member team from NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory will be presented with the 2005 NOAA Technology Transfer Award at the NOAA Science Center on May 13. This recognition involves the design, development, integration, testing, and implementation of the RSA (Range Standardization and Automation) Weather System, now running at the Eastern and Western Ranges. With the critical impact of weather on space shuttle and unmanned launch vehicle operations, this system meets the stringent requirements of routine environmental support, such as range safety and the advanced planning of launch hazard mitigation, which includes blast damage, toxic release, atmospheric stress, routine maintenance, vehicle transport, and staging.

The honored FSL scientists to receive this award include Dr. Daniel Birkenheuer who pioneered combining satellite radiance and GPS data. Darien Davis managed the RSA workstation project and adapted the AWIPS system to meet the requirements of the RSA program. Herb Grote led the development of the briefing tool that provides the means for presenting weather information to remote end users, and leveraged AWIPS capabilities to greatly enhance the functionality of the briefing tool. Dr. John McGinley was the RSA-LAPS (Local Analysis and Prediction System) project manager, coordinating the efforts of ten federal and Cooperative Institute scientists. He also originated the idea for diabatic model initialization allowing model runs to be started with active clouds and precipitation systems in the initial condition. Paul Schultz made critical contributions to the diabatic initialization and created an innovative, computer efficient cloud physics scheme for the MM5 mesoscale model. John Smart performed critical tasks related to satellite data ingest and setting up static databases such as land use and terrain. Joseph Wakefield acquired the large, diverse set of real-time national and local datasets, and assured that they were properly and reliably processed by the workstation. Linda Wharton organized and reformatted the unique and complex data network at the Ranges for ingest into the LAPS-MM5 system, and managed the LAPS system builds that went into each AWIPS upgrade. Susan Williams staged the various releases of the system and performed the integration tests at FSL, and ensured that all new workstation enhancements met contractor specifications.

This weather analysis, forecast, product generation, and display system developed at the Space Centers is unique in that it is the first such system to incorporate all local weather data, utilize a "hot start" initialization for the model to quickly produce precipitation in very high-resolution model forecasts, and display the results on a Linux AWIPS system in support of a U.S. government operation. Government agencies, such as the FAA, NWS, and USAF, are increasingly dependent on the private sector to provide them with, and support, their mission-critical systems. On the commercial side, potential customers of this technology are the major airlines who depend on weather information for safe and efficient routing of flights. By working with NOAA-FSL, the private sector partners in this endeavor have substantially improved their weather product production and support capability.

FSL acknowledges the contributions of our CIRA (Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere), CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences), and contract partners (unnamed here), whose efforts made these achievements possible.

Contact information
Name: Rhonda K Lange
Tel: 303-497-6045