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NOAA EXPANDS WEATHER RADIO COVERAGE, CHAMPIONS SCIENTIFIC EARTH OBSERVATIONS

Oct. 21 — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the expansion of the life-saving NOAA Weather Radio broadcast area in Arizona and focused on the current and future benefits of improved Earth observation during a news conference at NOAA's National Weather Service Forecast Office in Tucson, Ariz. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The expansion of the weather radio broadcast area to Nogales, Ariz., and surrounding communities allows the National Weather Service and other emergency preparedness agencies to achieve its goal of reaching 95 percent of Arizona's population. With the installation of the new NOAA Weather Radio transmitter, 25,000 more individuals now have access to broadcasts of National Weather Service warnings, watches forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day.

"NOAA Weather Radio has proven to be invaluable to the country and a trusted source of information to those who find themselves in severe and dangerous weather," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.""Alerts are broadcast to receivers directly from the meteorologists who issue the warnings at the local National Weather Service Forecast Offices around the country. Now Nogales, Rio Rico, Patagonia, Tumacacori, Carmen, Tubac, Amado and Arivaca Junction will have the superb protection that comes from timely weather warnings."

Additionally, NOAA recently completed the North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) 2004 field campaign in collaboration with other U.S., Mexican and Central American agencies and institutions. NAME 2004 provides an unprecedented collection of detailed atmospheric, oceanic and land-surface observations in the core region of the North American Monsoon over Northwest Mexico, Southwest U.S., and adjacent oceanic regions with the goal of providing better forecasts of the monsoons. The Forecast Operations Center in Tucson supported field operations.

The North American monsoon, though much weaker than the Asian monsoon, exerts a strong influence on the precipitation, temperature and wind patterns in the core monsoon region. Every few years, excessive rains cause serious flooding. Because floods and droughts associated with monsoons can wreak havoc on a region's economy and population, monsoons must be accurately understood and predicted by weather and climate models. The improved forecasts will give communities more time to plan for the conditions.

NAME 2004 is one example of how greater observations will have a huge impact on health, safety and economic stability. NOAA is leading the charge in assembling an international coalition that will build an observation system and share information in unprecedented ways.

Over the next decade, a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) will revolutionize our understanding of the Earth and how it works. With benefits as broad as the planet itself, this U.S.-led initiative promises to make peoples and economies around the globe healthier, safer and better equipped to manage basic daily needs. The aim is to provide the science on which sound policy and decision-making must be built. "

There are thousands of moored and free floating data buoys in the world's oceans, thousands of land-based environmental stations, and over 50 environmental satellites orbiting the globe, all providing millions of data sets, most of these technologies are not yet linked," Lautenbacher said.""Until they are, there will always be blind spots and scientific uncertainty. Just as a doctor can't diagnose health by taking just one measurement, neither can scientists really know what's happening on our planet without taking Earth's pulse everywhere it beats."

Currently many thousands of individual pieces of technology are gathering Earth observations around the globe. They are demonstrating their value in estimating crop yields, monitoring water and air quality and improving airline safety. U.S. farmers gain about $15 of value for each $1 spent on weather forecasting. Benefits to U.S. agriculture from altering planting decisions are estimated at over $250 million. The annual economic return to the U.S. of NOAA's El Niño ocean observing and forecast system is between 13 percent and 26 percent.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.

Media contacts:

Kent Laborde - (202) 482-5757

Related Web sites:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov.
For more information on GEOSS, please visit http://earthobservations.org.
For more information on how GEOSS can benefit you locally, please visit http://www.epa.gov/geoss/whereyoulive.html

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  Page last modified: 11-Mar-2010 9:35 AM