NOAA 2001-213
Contact: Ron Trumbla


Increasing the amount of weather information available to scientists and educators would provide enhanced environmental monitoring capabilities and additional educational initiatives.

This is the thinking behind the New England Weather Observation Network, a concept unveiled in part by NOAA's National Weather Service this week at the 81st Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Albuquerque, N.M.

According to NWS Scientist James Lee, the New England Weather Observation Network will automatically transmit vital weather data from approximately 200 sensors spaced about 20 miles apart throughout New England and its coastal waters.

"Temperature, pressure, wind speed--a host of weather data--will be transmitted from the network via satellite and will be available in real time via an Internet connection," Lee said.

The program is geared toward providing New England state and local transportation departments, emergency managers, the agriculture community, air quality scientists, climatologists, and meteorologists with enhanced environmental monitoring capabilities and increased educational opportunities. Additionally, up-to-the-minute weather data will enhance weather forecasting across the six-state region. "Scientists and educators throughout New England will benefit from the wealth of environmental data that the network will create," Lee said.

"Massachusetts is routinely confronted by the elusive meanderings of the Gulf Stream and the icy cold Labrador Current, in addition to Canadian Arctic air invasions, explosive Atlantic cyclones and accelerating Great Lakes Clipper storms," said Massachusetts state Climatologist David Taylor. "The New England Weather Observation Network will assist in verifying exact location, intensity and the minute-to-minute changes of these potentially volatile interactions of Mother Nature."

New Hampshire state Climatologist Barry Keim agreed, "New England's weather and climate demonstrates more geographical variability than perhaps anywhere in the world. This variability stems from elevation ranging from sea level to over 6,000 feet, a warm water current to the south, a cold water current to the east, and prevailing westerly winds off of a diverse continent. The New England Weather Observation Network will help us better understand these spatial variations."

Lee, who serves as chief of the Fire and Public Weather Services Branch at NWS headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., got the ball rolling on the program when he was the NWS science and operations officer at the Taunton, Mass. Weather Forecast Office. "For the meteorologist, the more quality information we have, the better our forecasts will be," said Lee, adding that the network will put an unprecedented amount of weather data at the scientist's fingertips.

A cross section of the weather community across New England has come together to help create the network's vision, including The University of Massachusetts at Lowell, The University of Maine, University of Vermont, University of New Hampshire, University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Lyndon State College, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.