GCOS TECHNICAL SUPPORT CENTER REPORT
CARIBBEAN AND CENTRAL AMERICA
DECEMBER 2004 – February 2005
rd3 Quarterly Report
INTERMET, INC. April 20, 2005
Danny L. Foster
Sarasota, FL 34240
Danny L. Foster
7732 Castleisland Drive
Sarasota, FL 34240
Business fone/fax + 941 379 3536
Home + 941 378 1313
Cell + 540 420 2255
The following report describes the activities of the Contractor during the period
December 2004 thru February 2005. The contractor’s activities were reduced during Dec-
Jan because of the holiday season. During this period the Contractor was asked to
provide 2 interim reports. See Attachment A
The Satellite Communication links from the GCOS sites to NOAA Centers, DWD, UK,
and JMS using the MetLab or the Corobor systems is not satisfactory and does not work
reliably and in some cases it doesn’t work at all. Certain sites have abandoned their
Satellite system and send their observations and CLIMAT/CLIMAT TEMP messages to
NOAA NCEP/NCDC via email using the NOAA EDIS system. The routine is for
NOAA to insert the observations and CLIMAT/CLIMAT TEMP messages onto the GTS
or other circuits for normal distribution. This EDIS system seems to work satisfactorily.
The solutions or “fixes” needed to reliably use the METLAB and Corobor systems are
not trivial and require a lot of interactions between the vendors, NOAA gateway, and the
GCOS site itself. The Contractor has not been successful in getting the appropriate
people in NOAA to work with the sites to solve any of the communications problems.
GUAN SITES (now includes Curacao as the 7th observatory)
While the observatories performed reasonably well during the period, the nagging
problems with the Proton Hydrogen Generators, the communications links with NOAA,
and inadequate expendables hinders the performance of certain sites.
Performance of Observatories during Dec-Feb 2005-04-27
630 Observations were expected during this period and only 445 we received at NCEP
according to the THANKS2 report.
360 Observations were expected from the 4 sites using the Proton Energy hydrogen
generator. 80 observations were missed because of faults with the Proton Energy
Expendable supplies for GUAN sites.
The outlook for the provision of expendables (sondes and balloons) at the 7 sites is favorable for the next 6 months.
Barbados Fully supported by NOAA
Jamaica Fully supported by NOAA
Curacao Fully supported by NOAA
Belize Fully supported by NOAA
Manzanillo Full national support
San Jose NASA & GCOS providing short term support. Long term is
Bogota Urgently needs support for RS-92 sondes. Limited budget
and demands by Hurricane Conference for observations at
Rio Hache is competing for funds needed for Bogota.
The Contractor dedicated a substantial amount of time and effort in attempting to resolve the power supply problems at the Proton Energy hydrogen sites. Because the Proton generators may or may not be under some type of maintenance contract or continuing warranty the Contractor is limited in providing support. The Contractor must be careful not to violate some part of any NOAA agreement with Proton. Neither the observatories nor the Contractor are privy to NOAAs existing agreements with Proton Energy.
The Proton generator in Curacao failed again in December 2004. Both the master and slave power supply units failed as they have at the other sites in the Caribbean. NOAA recommended they do not install new power supply units until they install the promised surge protection system. NOAA/Proton has promised a power surge protection system at all the sites in the Caribbean. The Contractor discussed the situation with the Director of the Netherlands Antilles Meteorological service and decided they could not discontinue the upper air program while they wait for the NOAA/Proton surge protection system. Therefore the Contractor performed a mission to the site and worked with the staff to reenergize the old Stuart Hydrogen Generator. Currently the old generator is providing enough hydrogen for one observation per day. This is a very tenuous situation and the old generator could fail any day.
The water used to generate hydrogen at certain sites requires considerable filtration and the sites need extra filters. The Contractor has been providing these extra filters.
Observations Received at NCEP during Dec-Feb 2005
60Percent of Possible40
20Percent of Possible0BarbadosJamaicaCuracaoBelizeSan JoseManzanilloBogotaAverageObservatory
Soundings Exceeding 50, 20, and 10 Millibars during Dec thru
908070Above 50 Mbs6050Above 20 Mbs40Above 10 Mbs3020100
Number of Soundings
Note: Average heights can be significantly increased by using larger balloons such as . Curacao600 or 800 grams balloons.
San JoseSystem Problems
ManzanilloThe Contractor continues to believe there are internal problems at those observatories
using the Intermet Systems IMS1500C, Imetos data reduction program. The Contractor Bogota
has alerted NOAA to the problems. The Contractor keeps the GUAN sites aware of each
Averageothers problems in an attempt to foster discussions concerning common problems and
share solutions and better ways of operating their sites. See Attachment B
The winds computations for Barbados had been in question by NCEP since the new
IMS1500c was installed several months ago. The winds continually showed a bias of
several degrees. The Contractor working with Barbados and with NCEP has solved this
problem and the winds are now considered accurate.
With the exception of the above intermittent height errors and the wind bias problem, the observations have been quite accurate according to the NCEP monthly Inventory reports which shows only a few rejections per month at the most.
Bogota used RS80 radiosondes during Dec/Jan. Winds cannot be computed at Bogota using the RS-80 sonde because of rf interference problems. In addition, no observations were reported during February because of communications problems with the MetLab/NOAA link. The contractor and the Colombian authorities have repeatedly asked NOAA to include them on the EDIS system without any success.
The Contractor was asked to provide some support to the observatory on Galapagos Island, Ecuador. The contractor found a difficulty with the Proton Generator and helped the staff on the island solve the problem. The government has since discontinued the email capability on the island. The contractor is willing to add Galapagos as part of his responsibility.
CLIMAT TEMP REPORTS
Hadley Centre reports that 4 of the 7 observatories in the Caribbean submit the CLIMAT TEMP reports most of the time. Belize, Curacao, and Jamaica submitted 9 of 12 CLIMAT TEMP reports. Discussions with the Directors of the Meteorological Services present a perplexing problem. The Directors assured the contractor that they do not compile or send any CLIMAT TEMP messages to anyone. The contractor has contacted Hadley Center and NOAA NCDC to determine who creates and sends in these CLIMAT TEMP messages. No one at either center seems to know. The Directors also want to see the CLIMATE TEMP messages to ensure the integrity of their data.
NOAA/NCEP THANKS2 AND UPPER AIR INVENTORY REPORTS
The contractor has worked very closely with the Directors and Managers of the upper air observatories to ensure the observations are received at the Centers. During missions to the observatories the contractor routinely the upper air staff how to view and use the THANKS2 report as well as the monthly Upper Air Inventories. These two reports are very important to the Directors and Managers to evaluate the performance of their staff. The use of these reports does promote better performance among the observatories. The contractor translated the THANKS2 report into Spanish for our colleagues in Latin countries. See Attachment C
GSN SITES (16)
The Contractor does not do realtime monitoring of the exchange of synoptic and metar reports from the 16 sites. This would be too difficult and time consuming for the contractor. However, monthly evaluations of site activities are performed and the sites are queried if there are a significant number of missing observations.
The contractor has performed missions to all the GSN sites with the exception of those in Mexico. The missions to Mexico are scheduled to begin on May 22, 2005.
During the past 4 yea