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Map of U.S. West Coast states indicating where a combined network of coastal Atmospheric River Observatories will be deployed by September 2015.
Map of U.S. West Coast states indicating where a combined network of coastal Atmospheric River Observatories will be deployed by September 2015.

New agreement to extend Atmospheric River Observatory network into Oregon and Washington

September 2, 2014

NOAA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have recently signed an inter-agency agreement for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to work with NOAA’s Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT) and Scintec AG to construct, deploy, operate and maintain a new network of three atmospheric river observatories (AROs) for the Oregon and Washington coasts. Construction will occur over the next year at ESRL's Physical Sciences Division, with a goal of deploying the observatories by September 2015. This network compliments a similar network of AROs being deployed in California by HMT through an agreement with the California Department of Water Resources (CA-DWR).

With the decommissioning of the NOAA Profiler Network, a gap remains in tropospheric wind observations, especially along our Nation’s heavily populated coastal regions, that will not be addressed by operational satellite observing systems. Each ARO includes a ¼-scale 449-MHz wind profiling radar that provides wind and temperature profiles every hour from near the surface up to ~8 km for winds and ~2 km for temperatures, depending on weather conditions. DOE and CA-DWR understand the importance of the observations provided by the wind profilers for weather monitoring and wind energy. The data will be provided publicly to NWS operational forecasters and other end users as well.