GeoWorld July 2012

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NEWSLINK NOAA Launches New Forecast Model for Severe using the latest science and computer techniques to create a more weather-ready nation." Compared with the previous computer model Weather The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) turned to a new computer model to improve weather forecasting, especially for severe events such as thunderstorms and turbulence that can be hazardous to aviators. The Rapid Refresh tool replaces a similar, but dated, computer model and updates every hour to provide a new forecast that covers an 18-hour window for North America. Rapid Refresh was developed by NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, Colo., and NOAA's Camp Springs, Md.-based National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), part of the agency's National Weather Service. The new forecasts are viewed as important for improving aviation safety and efficiency, helping users monitor fast-developing weather conditions. But the model also should serve as a powerful tool for a broad base of users tracking severe weather. "When accurate and timely weather modeling is needed most, the new Rapid Refresh model delivers," said Louis Uccellini, director of NCEP. "This new tool ensures that forecasts are the best they can be by (known as Rapid Update Cycle), Rapid Refresh "pro- vides equal or better forecasts than its predecessor for all variables, from winds to precipitation," said Stan Benjamin, ESRL research meteorologist and lead developer for Rapid Refresh. The updated model features three key improve- ments on the previous model: 1. Rapid Refresh is based on the Weather Research and Forecasting model, a more-advanced numerical weather-prediction model developed through a col- laboration involving NOAA, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Air Force Weather Agency and several other research institutions. 2. Rapid Refresh uses a new observation-assimilation technique that improves short-range forecasts. 3. The new model extends geographical coverage to all of North America—the previous model covered just the contiguous United States. LightSquared Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Mobile-communications provider LightSquared announced in spring 2012 that it had begun voluntary reorganization as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. According to a company statement, the move should help give LightSquared time to "resolve regulatory issues that have prevented it from building its coast-to- coast integrated satellite 4G wireless network." LightSquared serves customers in government, public safety, commercial transportation and logistics. The company invested more than $4 billion to deploy a satellite-terrestrial network for providing high-speed mobile services across the United States. A satellite that LightSquared launched in 2010 was intended to play a critical role in the network, with plans for it to be combined with 4G LTE terrestrial technology to cre- ate a nationwide communications system. Officials at LightSquared, which also is filing a recog- A new NOAA weather-forecasting model updates hourly to provide information that can aid aviation safety and track severe weather events. 6 GEO W ORLD / JU L Y 2O12 nition proceeding in Canada, described the Chapter 11 filing as key for continuing its business operations. "The filing was necessary to preserve the value of our business and ensure continued operations," said Marc Montagner, LightSquared's interim co-chief operating officer and chief financial officer. "The voluntary Chapter 11 filing is intended to give LightSquared sufficient breathing room to continue working through the regula- tory process that will allow us to build our 4G wireless NOAA

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