SAIC provides weather access to keep missions moving forward, no matter the weather
Every time it rains, every hour the sun shines, and every time a severe weather event occurs, you may not think of it, but meteorologists across the country collect massive amounts of data. Weather affects almost every aspect of our lives, and leveraging that data offers potential benefits while also mitigating impacts.
The National Weather Service (NWS), as part of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), produces a huge amount of weather data, including land and marine surface observations, weather satellite observations, and weather forecast data. NOAA provides a broadcast of this critical weather data directly via the NOAAPORT satellite. However, pulling the data straight from the source can be an extensive investment, as it requires a satellite downlink station with knowledge of configuration, operations, and maintenance.
The volume of collected and distributed data has increased exponentially over the last decade, as has demand for access to that data, and will likely continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Consequently, that demand for access has put a strain on the NOAA’s aging dissemination infrastructure. The biggest strain on that infrastructure, as expected, always occurs during periods of severe weather, and as expected those are the same periods the public wants and needs frequent updates. Increasingly devastating weather events such as hurricanes and forest fires only further exacerbate the need for this data in a timely and reliable manner.
On Nov. 19, 2020, NWS weather partners received a webinar invitation from NOAA to discuss limiting weather data access to the public. An excerpt from the public notice follows:
“As demand for data continues to grow across National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) websites, we are proposing to put new limits into place to safeguard our web services. The frequency of how often the public accesses these websites has created limitations and infrastructure constraints. To add new or upgraded streams of data, the NWS is considering a reduction in the number of connections into our system. The mitigation will reduce the strain on our infrastructure, ensuring a more robust level of service for all of our customers.” – Brian Gross, Acting Director, NCEP
The webinar took place a few weeks later on Dec. 8 during which the NWS proposed limiting public access to no more than 60 downloads of data per minute, to be implemented in phases beginning Spring ‘21. Due to public outcry and feedback, webinar participants and NWS reached a temporary compromise with the limit being changed to 120 downloads per minute by an individual user from selected NOAA sources.
Breaking up cloudy futures
But many NOAA users still need access to large feeds of data, free of bandwidth or download limits. That’s where SAIC comes in. Our weather team maintains a 24/7 operations center that supplies weather data directly from the NOAAPORT satellite and the Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite (GOES) EAST and GOES-WEST satellites. This ensures that new restrictions placed on weather data doesn’t affect our customers’ operations.
SAIC understands that reliable, near-real-time weather information is critical to mission operations. From organizations with their own meteorological staff that need reliable data collated from redundant sources, to companies who just need an answer to a business question that weather impacts we can design a solution that meets any need.
The SAIC weather team has been working in the weather industry since 1993, and has a long history of working as a partner with NOAA and serving the private industry with weather data that is difficult or expensive to acquire directly from NOAA or international weather agencies. Overall, our weather team has reliably and consistently provided this data to our customers for over 20 years with multiple secure channels to ensure data communication and a 99.9% or better availability.
SAIC has provided weather information to:
- Energy companies to aid them in predicting load demand
- Transportation/logistics companies that need to understand how weather will affect their day-to-day operations
- Airlines that use weather information for their flight operations
- State departments of transportation agencies that need weather information for deploying resources to respond to snow and heavy rain
- U.S. Military (Army Corps of Engineers and Navy Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center)
Predicting clear skies
Sources all over the world similar in size and scale to the NWS produce immense amounts of weather data. Our SAIC team uses those sources while providing a one-stop shop that will pull in and collate all the data customer needs, with redundant sources to reduce risk, and deliver it in a variety of ways (FTP, LDM, Cloud, and Satellite) to meet the needs of the mission.
Additionally, SAIC can provide custom alerting, data processing, or advanced analytics to optimize your mission-critical operations. Alternatively, if a customer desires to collect the data themselves, SAIC offers a unique, configurable, turn-key NOAAPORT Gateway system capable of receiving the full NWS satellite broadcast.
As we navigate the complexities of climate change, mission-critical and timely weather data will become increasingly important. SAIC can set any organization up for a successful path forward with our Weather Operations Center and our exceptional depth of expertise and insights to meet the challenges and demands of today’s ever-changing global climate.
For more on everything SAIC does for weather-affected missions, visit our Weather and Climate page.