Tuesday, 15 January 2002: 11:30 AM
Road-Weather: Improved Forecasts—NOAA's Environmental Technology Laboratory Looks Ahead
The mission of the Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL) is to perform atmospheric research developing new remote-sensing systems based on the theory of radio, radar, light, and sound wave propagation and to develop innovative ways to use these remote-sensing systems to study atmospheric processes. These stand-alone systems are capable of probing regions not readily accessible by direct measurement. Remote-sensing technology is currently being employed to address the problems surrounding aviation weather and the time has come to embrace "Surface Transportation" and road-weather observations. In this paper we will review current ETL remote-sensing technology (radar, radiometer, lidar, satelite). This presentation will be followed by a discussion of ways to apply this technology in support of surface transportation. Included will be the potential of remote sensors to monitor road conditions as well as to monitor the atmospheric conditions directly affecting the roads. Information about the freezing level and precipitation type are examples of atmospheric conditions that can have impact both as individual measurements and as input into forecast models. Improving the model forecasts will also have a positive impact on the Dynamic Integrated forecast System (DICAST) results critical to the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS). It is only natural that remote-sensors probing the atmosphere be included in a national road-weather observation network. MDSS has opened the door for the transfer of current and future remote-sensing technology to aid surface transportation.