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January 10, 2008

ULM’s atmospheric sciences program granted use of multi-million dollar equipment

A $5,000 Space-Time Adaptive Processing grant will enable Dr. Boniface Mills and Dr. Sean Chenoweth in ULM’s geosciences department to purchase equipment allowing the university access to cutting edge meteorological data.

After eight months of negotiations with the National Weather Service, Mills was granted the rights to obtain and use the multi-million dollar Weather Event Simulator software for scientific research and training of atmospheric science students.

The grant provides the extremely fast computer workstation needed to perform the displays and special graphics. Such software is usually only located at Weather Forecasting Offices and U.S. research facilities. ULM will be one of the few universities in the region to have such advanced meteorological training software.

This information can be displayed in many different ways, including by overlaying complex data over satellite imagery. Students and professors will be able to study everything from severe storms to watching a hurricane make landfall with greater detail and clarity.

The software is also known as the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System simulator, and allows the operator to overlay a variety of saved meteorological data and imagery resident on the hard drives or DVD disks. This system will enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the students before they enter the workforce. It acts as a facsimile to the real AWIPS used at the WFOs, where the forecasters display and interpret real-time meteorological data.

The meteorological case studies will be provided by the National Weather Service at no cost. The Weather Event Simulator at ULM’s geosciences computer laboratory will be also supported by the NWS office located in Shreveport. The setup of this system will enable ULM to be one of first universities to acquire the complete software for the AWIPS II system in 2011.

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