To advance NOAA's mission by improving our understanding of atmospheric transport, dispersion and
air-surface exchange processes.
WHAT WE DO
- We conduct experiments to better understand atmospheric transport and dispersion.
- We improve both the theory and models of air-surface exchange processes.
- We develop exciting technology and instrumentation to carry out our mission.
- We support DOE's INL with meteorological forecasts and provide emergency response capabilities.
WHO WE ARE
FRD (Field Research Division), part of the NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory, is a staff of
talented meteorologists, chemists, engineers, and technicians.
IN A TYPICAL DAY
We design and build instrumentation, perform atmospheric dispersion tests, build data collection
devices and analysis software, integrate software and hardware systems, chase hurricanes,
build and launch weather balloons with GPS tracking systems,
and we've even been known to track the balloons across the ocean.
We help design and maintain weather information kiosks around the Southeastern Idaho region, we participate
in outreach and education programs with the public schools, we provide online weather forecasts and
other meteorological information for numerous agencies including the National Weather Service, the INL,
and the INL Emergency Operations Center.
Last year's hurricane season was a real tree breaker, and we were there to measure wind speed and wind turbulence
in real time. If you've ever been outdoors in a windstorm, then you know the wind gusts up and down, rather
than maintaining a steady speed.
It is these brief gusts (turbulence) that can cause the most damage to buildings during a hurricane, so we've set
out to measure them precisely. The results will help engineers determine the design requirements for buildings
to be able to withstand hurricane force winds.
Here you can see an ET Sphere mounted on an SUV for testing. Driving at high speeds creates a hurricane-force
wind on the sphere, and the vehicle's speedometer helps us evaluate the ET Sphere's accuracy. After we were satisfied
with the instrumentation, we set up ET Spheres on the coastline when Hurricanes Frances and Ivan came onshore. Results
from these tests will be available soon!