NOAA 2002-R802
Contact: Jeanne Khouestani
NOAA News Releases 2002
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs

Seats Aboard G-IV Jet Available

From its temporary base in Anchorage, Alaska, the NOAA G-IV jet is collecting important meteorological data over the critical north Pacific Ocean to boost NOAA's ability to accurately forecast storms affecting the western United States and the rest of the nation, the U.S. Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today.

The Anchorage leg of the mission, which began Jan. 20 and ends Feb. 16, is in support of the Winter Storms Reconnaissance 2002 (WSR-02) mission of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction. As in its surveillance flights around hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, the G-IV is measuring the wind speed, temperature and moisture in Pacific Ocean storms approaching the U.S. West Coast. The data, provided by weather instruments called dropwindsondes deployed from the G-IV, are sent in real-time to the National Weather Service supercomputer in Bowie, Md. From there, the data are fed into current numerical weather, climate, hydrologic and ocean forecast models.

"Results have shown that these additional data have a positive impact on our numerical prediction models, and that forecasters have a noticeable advantage for predicting weather associated with winter storms out to five days in advance when they have these data," said Louis Uccellini, director of NCEP.

NCEP's Environmental Modeling Center has developed techniques to detect where the computer forecast models have the greatest need for additional information, and directs the G-IV accordingly. In most cases, this targeted data collection has added substantially to the accuracy of the forecast from 24 to 96 hours in the future, affecting the storm warnings broadcast to U.S. residents from California to the East Coast.

While NOAA has an extensive network of Doppler weather radars, weather balloons, advanced satellites and surface observing systems across the United States, directly measured atmospheric data over the Pacific Ocean is sparse. The surveillance program has allowed NOAA's National Weather Service to analyze pertinent atmospheric data that has never been obtained before.

The winter storms reconnaissance program is fully operational at NOAA Weather Service. Based on NOAA Weather Service field forecasters' input, the NCEP senior duty meteorologist determines the appropriate G-IV flight path.

"The G-IV is particularly suited for these flights because of its speed and range," said Jack Parrish, flight meteorologist and G-IV program director of NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center in Tampa, Fla. "The G-IV is a high-altitude, high-speed, twin-turbofan jet that flies at altitudes up to 45,000 feet."

Once it completes its flights out of Anchorage, the G-IV will shift to a temporary base in Honolulu until the mission ends on March 20.

The NOAA fleet of research aircraft and ships is operated, managed, and maintained by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. OMAO includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps and civilians. The NOAA Corps is the nation's seventh and smallest uniformed service, and, as part of NOAA, is under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information about the G-IV's winter storms mission and for inquiries regarding interviews, photo opportunities, and possible seats available on the WSR-02 flights, please contact:
Mr. Jack Parrish,
cell (813) 833-3275,
local (813) 929-6310;