NOAA 2004-036
Contact: John Leslie

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is using a new computer system that is a critical “first step” in giving users faster, easier access to America’s environmental data. Last month, two NOAA sites began using the system, called the Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS), which provides researchers and policy-makers access to NOAA environmental data and products, obtained either from spacecraft or ground-based observations.

CLASS requires a minimum of two sites, physically separated from each other, with full data processing capabilities, to meet security requirements for disaster backup and restoring data. The two sites – the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. and the Office of Satellite Data Processing and Distribution in Suitland, Md. – are using CLASS simultaneously. Officials pointed to the benefits of a two-site configuration:

  • The sites are active continuously and share the processing load.
  • The sites can search the same data catalog, since they are both synchronized.
  • If there is a system failure, either site is able to run 100 percent of the processing load.

“This is an initial – but significant – step in developing CLASS, which represents NOAA’s commitment to providing a system where researchers and policy-makers can easily access this data for the benefit of the nation,” said Gregory W. Withee, assistant administrator of NOAA’s Satellites and Information Service.

“As NOAA advances the CLASS system,” he added, “it will provide greater access to much of our environmental data, which is essential to minimizing environmental risk and maximizing environmental opportunities through effective planning and operations.”

The NOAA Satellites and Information Service is the nation’s primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. It operates America’s environmental satellites, which are used for weather and ocean observation, forecasting and climate monitoring.

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 the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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