Meteorological Equipment

1. Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS). ASOS is the primary weather recording system at KNPA. It is designated to automatically collect, process, and archive weather sensor measurement data. ASOS is capable of monitoring sky condition, visibility, present weather and intensity, obstructions to visibility, pressure, temperature, dewpoint, wind speed and direction, and precipitation amount. In addition to the monitor at the Facility, a second ASOS monitor is located in the control tower. Sensor groups are located 1235’ north of the centerline of Runway 07L-25R. Observers can also manually enter data into this system. ASOS became the primary sensor group for NAVTRAMETOCFAC on 26 April 1995. All other observing equipment serves as backup to the ASOS.

2. Temperature and Dewpoint Instruments

a. Electric (ML-450A/UM) and sling psychrometers are maintained in the observer spaces.

b. The Questemp Area Heat Stress Monitor, which is on loan from NASP Branch Medical Clinic but maintained in the observer spaces, is used to compute wet-bulb global temperature (WBGT). WGBT is passed to NASC for determination of physical training flag conditions aboard NAS Pensacola.

3. Pressure Instruments

a. A Belfort Marine Microbarograph is located in observer spaces.

b. Digital Altimeter Sensor/Translator (ML-6661/F). This system, known as the DASI, is located at the observer desk and is utilized to transmit and display a digital altimeter setting to remote indicators. DASI indicators are located in the Facility, the control tower, and in the Radar Air Traffic Control Center (RATCC).

4. Wind Instruments

a. The AN/UMQ-5 Aerovane is located on the roof of the tower at the southwest corner of the Operations Building.The height of the Aerovane is 77.5’ AGL.

b. An ID-586/UMQ-5 wind speed and direction display, calibrated to True North, is mounted in the forecast spaces on the north bulkhead.

c. Four wind indicators, calibrated to Magnetic North, are mounted in the control tower.

d. The Digital Remote Wind Speed Indicator (ID-2447/U), a component of the DASI system, is located on the east bulkhead in the observer spaces. There are four additional indicators located in the tower and seven additional indicators located in RATCC.

e. The hand-held anemometer (PMQ-3) is maintained in its case and stored in the operational spaces.

5. A standard 4 inch plastic rain gauge is located on the roof of Building 1852.

6. Weather Radar Equipment. NAVTRAMETOCFAC operates and maintains a WSR-88D Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) Principal User Processor (PUP) terminal that is part of the national, multi-departmental NEXRAD system. Weather data is received from a dedicated line connected to the actual radar site in Mobile, Alabama. Watchstanders have the ability to access selected other NEXRAD radar sites by using dial-up capabilities.

Radar horizon problems combined with complicated calculations used by the NEXRAD radar, make it difficult for the radar site to detect tornadic activity (TVS) beyond 55 nm. NAS Pensacola is located 52 nm east-southeast (113 deg) from the Mobile NEXRAD radar site. Under standard atmospheric conditions, the lowest altitude that phenomena may be detected over NAS Pensacola is approximately 4,900 feet. This altitude may lower slightly during super-refractive and trapping conditions but will not vary significantly enough to detect tornadic activity that has reached the surface. Careful analysis of Storm Relative Motion (SRM) and Base Reflectivity products within the lower elevation slices for distinct indicators of tornadic activity is essential to setting the appropriate warnings for areas at, and south of, NAS Pensacola. Beyond the 55 nm range these indicators may not extend past two elevation slices so the strength of the indicators at the level of detection becomes increasingly important. Additionally, it is this radar horizon limitation which renders the NEXRAD unreliable for detecting waterspouts which may develop over Escambia Bay.

7. A Radio Shack 12-154 Weatheradio Alert II is used to monitor weather watches, advisories and warnings issued by the National Weather Service for the local area.

8. An ICOM VHF Marine radio is located under the counter at the SRF workstation and is used to keep Port Operations advised, via channel 74, of potentially hazardous weather in their operating areas.

9. METOC Integrated Data Display System (MIDDS). MIDDS is the command’s principle aviation weather support system. The system uses a multi-tasking client-server architecture and handles the ingestion, processing, display, and dissemination of meteorological and oceanographic (METOC) data at forecaster workstations and remote display monitors. MIDDS has six workstations. Of these six workstations, two support a bank of computer display monitors (the “Wall of Thunder”), while the remaining four serve as workstations for the Forecaster, Sub-Regional Forecaster (SRF), Observer, and Training. MIDDS software upgrades are issued periodically, which continue to improve the level of performance of the system. The principle MIDDS software packages are described below.

a. The Satellite, Alphanumeric, NEXRAD and DIFAX (SAND) package automatically ingests and updates several streams of METOC data for use by the forecaster, including:

1) High resolution visual and infrared (IR) Geostationary Operational and Environmental Satellite Variant (GVAR) imagery received via local satellite antennae and server.

2) Alphanumeric data from the DoD’s Automated Weather Network (AWN).

3) The national NEXRAD radar mosaic product is periodically retrieved, and raw radar data from the NEXRAD sites at Slidell, Louisiana, Montgomery, Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, Eglin AFB, and Tallahassee, Florida can be accessed and serve as backups to the local NEXRAD PUP.

4) Digital Facsimile (DIFAX) broadcast, which is generated by National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and includes output from standard numerical model (i.e. NGM, ETA, AVN) runs as well as selected forecast products.

b. The Joint METOC Viewer (JMV) is a menu-driven software package that allows either dial-in or NIPRNET access to Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FLENUMMETOCCEN) products.These products include Naval Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS), Wave Advection Model (WAM), other Navy METOC model output, NCEP model outputs, and European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) prediction data.

c. The Optimum Path Aircraft Routing System (OPARS) is used to request and receive optimum aircraft routing based on the NOGAPS model output data.

d. The methods used to obtain alphanumeric data from AWN are currently in transition as the METOC community tests various options due to the phase out of the Contel Meteorological Workstation (CMW).For the foreseeable future, the primary system will be theObservation Data Distribution – NAVMETOCCOM (ODD-N) system, which is an extension of the JMV/METCAST Data Distribution and Display System.The secondary system, the Alphanumeric Data Support System (ADSS), is a web-based/dial-in alphanumeric solution developed by NAVLANTMETOCCEN.The tertiary back-up is direct connect to the Air Force WPMDS servers.Several public web sites are also available for alphanumeric data retrieval and transmission.

e. UNCLASSIFIED Geophysical Fleet Mission Program Library (GFMPL). This is roughly the same software suite used by afloat Operations Aerology (OA) divisions and Mobile Environmental Teams (METs) to provide tactical forecast products. However, the unclassified version does not contain any of the classified databases used to generate classified sensor performance predictions.The applications which are used most often are the Solar and Lunar Astronomical Program (SLAP) prediction programs.

10. The Lightning Position and Tracking System (LPATS) is a personal computer (PC)-based system that receives, processes, and displays lightning stroke data via a KU-band commercial satellite.Data is obtained from the National Lightning Network with the Network Control Center (NCC) in Tucson, AZ.Software provides the user the ability to plot and track lightning data within a user-specified area.The current LPATS system configuration consists of a C-100 Earth Station Satellite receiver (dish antenna), an Equatorial Controller Unit, a Marta System P100 MHz CPU, and a video graphics adapter (VGA) monitor.
Concept Mapping Toolkit
Insitute for Human and Machine Cognition
The University of West Florida