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High quality wind data from several DCNet meteorological towers showing varying wind speeds and directions. The colors represent wind speed scales. Data are used to drive computer models to better predict movement of hazardous substances and to track severe weather. Image: NOAA.
ARL operates an intensive urban research meteorological network within the National Capital Region, called DCNet. The network has been in operation since 2003 and currently consists of 10 stations, most of them on building rooftops, which collect the standard meteorological parameters (temperature, wind speed and direction). The stations also measure characteristics of atmospheric turbulence. DCNet provides critical data and insights that improve the predictions of where hazardous materials will go; thus improving emergency manager's ability to protect first responders and the public.
With a strong focus on data quality, DCNet is designed to support development of urban monitoring methodologies and observation standards within urban environments. It also provides an intensive dataset for model evaluation and initialization, process studies, and decision support. The data have allowed researchers to determine the spatial and temporal fluctuations of horizontal winds throughout the District, as well as to characterize the atmospheric layer immediately above the urban canopy where winds are poorly predicted by meteorological models. While DCNet is a research network, its observations are used by numerous government security and emergency management personnel for various activities within the National Capital Region.
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