ESRL Global Systems Division

FEMA Funding ESRL in GTAS Pilot Project

It was recently announced that ESRL's Global Systems Division will receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a proposed project involving the Geo-Targeted Alerting System (GTAS). This pilot project and collaborative effort between NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), the Air Resources Laboratory, the National Weather Service (NWS), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could run up to five years. It is aimed at determining how advanced weather and toxic plume dispersion information could be used by state and local government Emergency Operations Centers in the event of a terrorist attack.

The release of biological, chemical, or radiological agents into the atmosphere could potentially kill thousands of people in a matter of hours. The GTAS pilot is a joint alert and warning project that is testing new technologies in an effort to prepare for possible terrorist attacks on 53 major metropolitan cities in the U.S. These technologies would allow managers to predict hazard zones in near real time, and to collaborate on which areas to alert and what the message should be. Then alerts and warnings would be delivered (using reverse-911 notification) to residents in a specific geographic area based on risks and recommended protective measures.

With the GTAS pilot, FEMA can capitalize on NOAA's multi-million dollar information and communications infrastructure and years of experience in warning the public of atmospheric hazards. This project would deploy FX-Collaborate-based systems to five Weather Forecasting Offices (WFOs) around the U.S., and resulting evaluations may be used to generate requirements for the AWIPS II weather forecast system.

With GTAS, NOAA/NWS WFOs support FEMA's goal to reduce losses of life and property from all hazards by providing reliable and accurate information before, during, and after an emergency.

Contact information
Name: Richard Jesuroga
Tel: 303-497-6936
richard.jesuroga@noaa.gov