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Category Archives: Engineering Solutions

AOML Temperature Sensor to be Deployed at Reef Sites Worldwide

Researchers with AOML’s Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division have entered into a collaborative agreement with Reef Check Foundation to deploy an AOML-designed temperature sensor at coral reef sites around the world. Measuring only six inches in height, the inexpensive, highly-accurate sensors will greatly enhance efforts to more precisely monitor small-scale temperature fluctuations that occur at reefs over time and at various depths.

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Scientists Use 3D Printing Technology to Study Water Chemistry at Coral Reefs

AOML researchers have taken an innovative approach to studying the changing carbonate chemistry of seawater at shallow coral reef sites. Using 3D printing technology made possible by the new Advanced Manufacturing and Design Lab at AOML, researchers with the Acidification, Climate, and Coral Reef Ecosystems Team, or ACCRETE, have created a water sampler in-house.

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Tropical Storm Fred

On September 5th, NASA’s Global Hawk took off from Wallops Island, Virginia to fly a 24 hour mission over Tropical Storm Fred. The Global Hawk launched dropsondes to measure the wind structure of the storm and gathered other meteorological data such as temperature and moisture with instruments on board. The Global Hawk is part of NOAA’s Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) field campaign. 

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New Antenna System Design Improves Reliability and Significantly Reduces Cost

Scientists and engineers from NOAA have successfully designed, built, and tested a new antenna system that dramatically increases data transmission reliability while drastically reducing operating costs. The new Iridium-based transmission system, developed by NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) & the Cooperative Institute for Marine & Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), has no restrictions on data format or size, allowing data from various ocean and land-based observation platforms to be transmitted more reliably and at a fraction of the cost of the older Inmarsat-C platform. Since completion, the Iridium system has been adopted on a number of Expendable Bathythermographs (XBTs) observation transects and have been simultaneously tested and implemented in other AOML observing systems.

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New X/L-Band Satellite Receiving System Premieres at AOML

After months of preparation, on September 16th contractors completed the installation of a new X/L-band satellite receiving system on the AOML roof. Funded by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, the new system includes a radome-protected, 2.4-meter antenna and associated data processing and storage equipment. This project is designed to demonstrate the value of improved turnaround times from satellite observations to availability of processed data for operational applications.

The new system augments AOML’s existing L-band antenna, in place since 2000, and expands AOML’s ability to receive telemetry for remote monitoring of environmental conditions. It also enables AOML to create products in support of climate research and operational weather forecasts from the next generation of NOAA’s polar-orbiting satellites, including the Suomi National Polar ­orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and Joint Polar Satellite System constellation (JPSS). Sensors received by the new antenna include the Cross-track Infrared Sounder, Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder, Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite, and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite.

The dual nature of the new system provides backup reception for the Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) and MetOp satellites, a series of three polar orbiting meteorological satellites operated by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. POES and MetOp satellite telemetry are received by the L-band system. The use of both antennas allows AOML to expand the range of satellites and sensors received, solve previous pass-scheduling problems, and guarantee the operational distribution of the Argos Data Collection and location System in-situ data to the Argos program. Infrared and microwave sounder data from the system will be delivered to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction for assimilation into numerical weather prediction models.

NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) chose AOML as the site for the system

because of its unique location, as well as other advantages: immediate technical support; excellent line-of-sight that ensures optimal coverage of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. east coast regions; low radio-frequency interference; close interaction with federal and university researchers; synergy with a community of local entities; and good bandwidth for rapid product dissemination. AOML also hosts the Caribbean-Gulf of Mexico regional node of NOAA’s CoastWatch program and will host NOAA’s Atlantic OceanWatch node, which expands upon the CoastWatch program by gathering satellite observations over large ocean and/or global areas.

  • First true color image received at AOML from the visible infrared imager radiometer suite sensor. September 18th 2014

  • Radome is placed over the satellite dish. Credit: NOAA/AOML

  • Radome is lifted to the AOML roof. Credit: NOAA/AOML

Originally Published September 2014 by Shannon Jones

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