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NOAA News Releases 2003
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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded its Bronze Medal to Karl Turner and Derek Lee Loy, program managers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) Pacific Region Office in Honolulu. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The medals were received for superior leadership in the management of the National Weather Service data collection networks throughout the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands.

The awards were presented today in College Park, Md., by retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. The Bronze Medal is the highest honorary award given by NOAA and is granted for a significant contribution to NOAA or the Department of Commerce.

“Through their personal initiative, commitment, and competence, the accuracy and availability of information from the data acquisition network have improved significantly during the past year,” said Jeff LaDouce, director of the NWS Pacific Region. “Better environmental monitoring and collection of data helps us meet NOAA’s goals to improve weather forecasts and warnings and climate change predictions.”

The NWS Pacific Region‘s upper air meteorological data collection network covers an area of more than 20 million square miles and consists of nine island-based stations located throughout the Pacific Ocean basin — a data sparse area. The sites are located in the Hawaiian Islands (2), American Samoa (1), Guam (1), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (1), the Federated States of Micronesia (3), and the Republic of Palau (1). Weather balloons are launched from these sites twice a day simultaneously with others around the globe at 0000 and 1200 UTC (Universal Time Coordinated).

These nine stations form the basis of nearly all the in-situ data available in the oceanic areas of the north Pacific to initialize global computer weather models run in the United States and elsewhere. Combined with these primary stations are a number of secondary stations that add critical climate data that constitute the official U.S. climate database. In addition to supporting the real time data requirements for operational forecasting, this data is used to study and evaluate climate change across this vast area.

“The Pacific upper air program performance scores now routinely exceed the national average mainly due to the efforts of Karl Turner and Derek Lee Loy,” added LaDouce. “Following a thorough program review, they established an on-station operational training program, which includes systems maintenance, and set up alternative communication paths to ensure timely submission of data. To build incentive, they created an awards program. These comprehensive top-to-bottom system improvements have made a huge difference. Further improvements to the communications infrastructure used in the Pacific Islands are also underway.”

Turner, chief of the NWS Pacific Region Data Systems Branch, is married and lives in Mililani. He has three children that live on the mainland.

Lee Loy, manager of the NWS Pacific Region cooperative observer program, upper air program, and volunteer ship observing program, is married, and has three children. He resides in Kaneohe.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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