Monday, 14 January 2002: 10:15 AM
Improving management of the NWS upper-air network
The National Weather Service (NWS) has developed a set of new performance measures to assist upper air offices, regional offices and national headquarters better manage various aspects of the program. In today's world, use of performance measures is becoming increasingly important for the managing of complex networks, such as the NWS upper air network. Radiosondes are flown from 102 locations from the Caribbean to Guam and from Alaska to Pago Pago, American Samoa in the Southern Hemisphere. Each month, performance data are gathered from each location related to; 1)logistics, i.e., how many balloons, parachutes, radiosondes, etc., are on site; 2) performance of the equipment during flight, e.g., how high the balloon/radiosonde went; and 3)information about radiosonde failures, for example, how many radiosondes failed after launch and before reaching 400 hPa. These data are then transmitted, electronically, to the NWS Headquarters for data basing using an OracleŽ data base system. From the data base a host of graphics and spreadsheets can be produced for viewing the data at several different levels. Anomalies in the data when displayed can be identified quickly and problems averted. Examples of how these tools can be used to better manage the program will be presented. These tools will be of special importance when NWS transitions to the new GPS-based radiosondes scheduled for testing and deployment in 2002.