As the U.S. becomes increasingly vulnerable to severe weather events—in 2011 alone, the nation endured 14 weather disasters costing $1 billion or more, a new single-year record*—Earth NetworksSM, the provider of WeatherBug® products and services, is proud to partner with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Weather Service (NWS) in building a “Weather-ready” nation.
Earth Networks’ live network of more than 8,000 weather stations across the U.S. and Total Lightning Network power accurate forecasts and timely severe weather alerts delivered to more than 40 million users each month, helping to save lives, protect livelihoods and enhance the national economy in support of the NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative, which was launched in August 2011 and aims to make America safer by building a society that is prepared for and responds to weather-dependent events.
Earth Networks supports the goals of the Weather-Ready Nation initiative through its partnership with NOAA and the NWS, innovative science and technologies that collect and communicate important weather and climate information, mission-critical services provided to state and local governments and the private sector, and partnerships with schools nationwide:
- Improved Forecasts and Severe Warnings: Earth Networks has partnered with the NWS since 2002, providing NWS forecasters with up-to-the-minute data from the largest neighborhood-level weather network in the world, leading to improved weather forecasts, severe weather warnings, emergency response operations and homeland security. In turn, Earth Networks instantly communicates life-saving NWS warnings to a wide range of users through its popular WeatherBug.com website, WeatherBug desktop application, WeatherBug smartphone and tablet apps, and additional desktop and mobile alerts delivered to the public, government agencies and businesses.
- Advanced Lightning Detection: The Earth Networks Total Lightning NetworkTM (ENTLN) is the world’s largest lightning network and the only one that comprehensively measures both cloud-to-ground and in-cloud lightning on a global scale. Lightning is one of the top three storm-related killers in the U.S., and in-cloud lightning is often a precursor of dangerous weather, such as cloud-to-ground lightning, severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, and tornadoes. The ENTLN provides crucial data to first responders and emergency managers, aviation, utilities, schools, and sports and recreation facilities, and also enables Earth Networks’ Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts, issued when lightning activity reaches a threshold indicative of increased potential for severe weather.
- Cooperation in Climate Observation: Earth Networks, in cooperation with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and several other organizations, including NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, is building the largest global greenhouse gas (GHG) observation network, which will measure GHG emissions and make it possible to trace them back to their source. Through an agreement reached in January 2011, Earth Networks will obtain calibration gases from NOAA to ensure consistently accurate measurements, and will share data from the network for use in research and applications to advance climate science and understanding of the impact of greenhouse gases on the Earth’s system.
- Emergency and Disaster Response: More than 100 federal, state and local government agencies utilize Earth Networks information and tools to aid emergency response and keep people safe. For example, emergency managers and public safety officials use Earth Networks’ StreamerRT, a web-based weather visualization tool that displays data from more than 8,000 Earth Networks’ weather stations as well as NWS stations, to monitor real-time radar, lightning, and hyper-local conditions and camera views during severe weather events, such as Hurricane Irene in August 2011, and manmade disasters. In fall 2011, StreamerRT was made available at no cost to officials in Texas to aid in response to wildfires that burned millions of acres.
- Sector-relevant Information: From agriculture, to energy and transportation, numerous sectors impacted by the weather look to Earth Networks for time-sensitive weather information and forecasts. Whether it’s identifying the best time to plant crops; optimizing the generation, delivery and consumption of energy; or protecting airport ground crews from severe weather, the benefits of Earth Networks tools and technologies help hundreds of companies and organizations maintain economic productivity during both routine and high-impact weather.
- School Safety and Education: More than 8,000 schools across the country use Earth Networks weather stations and WeatherBug Achieve, an award-winning software curriculum, to integrate live, local weather data and the latest technology into classroom learning. In addition to educational benefits, WeatherBug Schools receive critical weather alerts that provide advanced warning of severe storms, dangerous heat and other threats. Schools equipped with Earth Networks Total Lightning can receive lightning alerts directly to mobile phones, computers and visual/audible alarms.
- National Mesonet: Since 2001, Earth Networks has worked collaboratively with NOAA and other public, private and academic partners to establish the National Mesonet, which aims to collect and disseminate comprehensive, standardized data from high-density observing networks. National Mesonet data will improve short- and medium-term local weather forecasts, plume-dispersion modeling, climate monitoring and air-quality analyses, benefitting sectors including energy, public health and safety, transportation, water resources and agriculture.
Through a strong and sustained partnership with NOAA and the NWS, other public and private partners and academia, and a commitment to leveraging the latest science and technologies for effective delivery of weather and climate information, Earth Networks looks forward to building a Weather-ready nation prepared to respond to tornado outbreaks, intense heat waves, extreme flooding and drought, and other environmental challenges presented by our day-to-day weather and changing climate.
For more information on NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative, visit www.noaa.gov/wrn
*NOAA: Extreme Weather 2011