85th AMS Annual Meeting

Thursday, 13 January 2005: 9:45 AM
Capital project test warning system: collaboration between NOAA and the Department of Homeland Security
Rich Jesuroga, FSL, Boulder, CO; and U. H. Grote, D. A. E. MacDonald, B. B. Hicks, D. R. B. Chadwick, D. J. A. McGinley, P. M. Kenul, M. Paese, and C. Golden
The release of biological, chemical or radiological agents into the atmosphere in the Washington, D.C. area could potentially kill tens of thousands of people in a matter of hours. The Capital Project (CP) Test Warning System is designed to examine an advanced “life-threat” warning system that can rapidly and precisely warn the public of a toxic release and provide official safety information to the public. This system will use data from the Advanced Weather Information Processing System (AWIPS), FSL’s X-window Collaboration system (FXC) developed by the NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL), dispersion models from the Air Resources Laboratory (ARL), and a reverse 911 public notification system. The CP Test Warning System is based upon the multimillion dollar National Weather Service (NWS) infrastructure and capitalizes on 50 years of experience of warning the public of atmospheric hazards.

Using the AWIPS database, the FXC workstation allows users at various locations to simultaneously participate in real-time weather briefings. For the CP Test Warning System, FSL will install FXC workstations at the Sterling Weather Forecast Office (WFO), the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), and the Washington D.C. Emergency Operations Center. Likewise, ARL will deploy the HYbrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model at the Sterling WFO, HSOC and NCEP. In the event of bio/chemical release in the Washington D.C. area, forecasters using the FXC workstation at the Sterling WFO will provide a live weather briefing for the emergency operations centers listed above. Dispersion information and atmospheric conditions depicted during the briefing will allow homeland security operations staff to quickly identify those areas under threat from a toxic plume, and initiate a reverse 911 call out to those residents and businesses in the plume area.

This paper will focus on how NOAA’s use of data systems developed by FSL, ARL, and the private sector can be used to support the DHS effort to protect the Washington, D.C. area during a potential toxic release.

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