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NOAA Profiler Network (NPN) Information

NOAA Profiler Network

The Radar Operations Center (ROC) primarily supports the WSR-88D, but the National Weather Service (NWS) also recognizes the great benefits of Wind Profiler radar technology. As a result, a proof of concept wind profiler system was developed and deployed in the 1990s. That equipment provided the basis of NWS specifications for acquisition of a new NOAA wind profiler capability.

The NWS purchased four new 449 MHz Profilers in 2011. Designed to operate autonomously and continuously, these vertically looking phased array radars provide upper air wind data for use in a variety of analyses and forecasting tasks. Deployed by the ROC, the three systems in Alaska support meteorology and aviation safety, especially an enhanced capability to forecast the path of volcanic ash. The locations for the wind profiler sites are Talkeetna, Homer, and Anchorage, Alaska. The testbed system is installed at the ROC campus in Norman, Oklahoma.

The wind profiler unit uses preprogrammed operational modes to determine the speed and direction of the wind at different heights directly above the unmanned radar site. Since the wind profilers are at remote sites, the new equipment is designed to operate in a degraded mode in the event of most types of equipment failures. Control software detects and reports problems to NWS maintenance personnel for future correction during site visits. If necessary, the ROC can assist maintenance personnel with NPN problem solving, repair and/or restoration activities, making on-site service and maintenance a cooperative effort among local NWS Weather Forecast Offices, NWS Alaska Region Headquarters and the ROC personnel.

Current NPN Network

  1. Deployment of NPN Update 6.1
  2. Development of NPN Build 7.0, to be released in 2023, which will include:
    1. Security update and bug fixes
    2. Porting of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) from X/Motif to the GTK+ language to increase supportability and maintainability
    3. Improvements to SMART Restart logic to improve data quality
    4. Updates to simplify the process of log collection and retention
    5. Power manager upgrade
    6. WFO CMS computer upgrade
  3. Analysis of how best to migrate and update NPN communications as part of the Government wide transition to the new Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) communications contract.
  4. Planning for future modifications to fielded equipment, such as an upcoming refresh of the Profiler computers used at the Weather Forecast Office (WFOs) and in the NPN shelters.

Major ROC responsibilities for NPN include:

  • Provide life cycle support for hardware and software
  • Provide routine operations and maintenance support
  • Support Configuration and change management
  • Support for maintenance manuals and depot repair
  • Support procurement and expansion of NPN, as required