83rd Annual

Monday, 10 February 2003
A rapid meteorological response capability for emergency management
Mark C. Beaubien, Yankee Environmental Systems, Inc, Turners Falls, MA; and W. H. Bauman and D. C. Sautter
A self-contained meteorological emergency response vehicle (MERV) is described that provides emergency management weather support during natural disasters and/or homeland defense incidents. Fully automated on-site surface and upper air meteorological data is required to feed dispersion models during nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon attacks, as well as during natural disasters where conventional weather observations are unavailable (forest fires, earthquake aftermath, etc.). The system provides continuous automated in-situ measurements of surface pressure, temperature, humidity (PTU), and winds, as well as full upper air profiles from radiosondes and low level PTU and winds from a tethersonde. In addition, it provides remote sensing of boundary layer winds from Doppler lidar and present weather images from a color total sky imager. The sky imager with its horizon-to-horizon view is used to provide users with near real-time images of sky cover and visibility. The suite of instruments represents an approximation of a government weather office.

The system is envisioned to be deployed by unskilled personnel and can be operated with minimal user training, avoiding the need for a trained meteorologist. Internet connectivity provides remote monitoring, control and diagnostics, and real time data is output in standard meteorological formats. The core of the system is an automated radiosonde launcher mounted on a trailer or pickup truck, which supports the other met sensors. The launcher is capable of automatically inflating and releasing sequences of multiple radiosondes at predetermined times or remotely on demand. The launcher uses standard radiosondes from most manufacturers. Alternately, a tethersonde can be deployed providing PTU and winds about every 250 m up to 1.5 km altitude. An eye-safe Doppler lidar is used to obtain high-resolution boundary layer winds, providing u, v, and w wind components in the boundary layer. Measuring the vertical moment of the wind will provide a valuable input to transport models to determine the three dimensional dispersion of a substance such as radioactive fallout.

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