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From the publisher of Meteorological
Technology International magazine and organiser
of Meteorological Technology World Expo

Research equipment mission approach aborted

A mission carrying more than 2.5 tonnes of research equipment, cargo and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) has failed to dock.

A problem with the GPS system occurred on 22 February, three days into the mission, when the SpaceX supply ship Dragon was less than a mile from the ISS. The approach was aborted, although NASA has since confirmed that neither the station nor its six-person crew were in any danger. Another attempt is to be made on Thursday, 23 February.

“As a pilot it is sometimes better to accelerate and circle around than attempt a difficult landing,” French astronaut Thomas Pesquet tweeted from the ISS. “Same in space – we’ll be ready tomorrow!”

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New weather alerts not dependent on networks

The Weather Company and its parent group IBM have introduced new mesh network alerts technology that will help keep cell phone users connected even when internet connection is limited or power outages have caused network disruptions.

The developers hope that the technology will allow people in developing countries to communicate about severe weather events or disasters as they unfold. It is to be made available in emerging markets across Asia, Latin America and Africa through The Weather Channel app for Android devices, which will use peer-to- peer connections within the mesh network to send alerts to individuals via their smartphone devices. The mesh network technology links other nearby phones to extend the signal to help keep users connected and informed.

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NOAA names SETS contract winner

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded a US$113m Systems Engineering and Technical Services (SETS) contract to Vencore, a Virginia-based information solutions provider.

Under the terms of the contract, which initially runs for a year, with four one-year options, Vencore will support NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS).

NESDIS acquires and manages the nation’s operational environmental satellites; operates NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI); provides data and information services including Earth system monitoring; performs official assessments of the environment; and conducts related research.

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A lidar lightning first

In a national first, US scientists have used high-resolution lidar data to determine lightning’s impact on tropospheric ozone.

Scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) have used the university’s Rocket-city Ozone Quality Evaluation in the Troposphere (RO3 QET) lidar to measure ozone that was chemically produced by summertime lightning over the USA. Following further development, the research could play an important role in air quality prediction and assessment.

The UAH team estimated lightning nitric oxide emissions based on the observations of Vaisala’s US National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN). They then measured the resulting ozone created by the lightning downwind of the storms, where clear conditions allowed lidar to function, and quantified the ozone enhancements due to lightning.

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South Doodlakine Doppler radar images now online

Images from Australia’s South Doodlakine Doppler radar are now available on the website of the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology.

The South Doodlakine radar is the second of three Doppler radars that are part of an A$23m (US$18m) project managed by the Government Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA).

The images from the radar will allow farmers to access real-time information on rainfall and wind, and are intended to help transform the way they do business. Emergency services operating in the area will also benefit from this real-time information. The first radar, at Newdegate, came online in October 2016, and images from the third Doppler radar, at the Watheroo site near Marchagee, are expected to be available online from April 2017.

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