The Special Operations and Research Division (SORD) is located in both the Las Vegas, NV and Idaho Falls, ID areas. SORD-NV has two locations in Southern Nevada, at both the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) Complex in North Las Vegas and on the DOE/NNSA’s Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) supporting the DOE/NNSA Nevada Field Office. SORD-ID is located in Idaho Falls, ID and supports the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory for the DOE Idaho Operations Office.
SORD’s capabilities are in meteorology and atmospheric transport and dispersion. ARL’s capabilities are used to support the two sites with meteorological measurements, mesoscale modeling and forecasts, and atmospheric dispersion modeling in the event of an accidental chemical or radiological emergency. Local weather observations and predictions protect staff and facilities, especially for activities dealing with radioactive, explosive, or toxic materials. SORD weather observations and modeling also support improved weather predictions and warnings for the entire region. Predictions of the atmospheric transport and dispersion of hazardous materials and air pollution provide essential information for mitigating risks for staff, first responders, and the public. By providing key atmospheric information to decision-makers, SORD has supported essential work to improve national security and to protect the atmosphere, human health, property, reduce weather related injuries and fatalities, and to keep people safe during disasters.
ARL scientists conduct research that helps advance the understanding of processes occurring in the atmospheric boundary layer (the layer of the atmosphere closest to and most influenced by what happens at the Earth’s surface). The research includes collecting observational data with an emphasis towards improving weather simulation in the boundary layer, improving wind forecasts for wind energy, and to better understand the movement and dispersion of air pollutants.
Originally a part of the U.S. Weather Bureau, the SORD-ID office, located in the Upper Snake River Plain of Southeastern Idaho, was created in 1948 for the purpose of describing the meteorology and climatology surrounding the area of the National Reactor Testing Station, now known as the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory. Work is conducted through a cooperative agreement between NOAA and the U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office.
SORD-NV, located in the extreme southern Great Basin, has provided research support on the NNSS for the DOE/NNSA and its predecessors since 1956 when it was a part of the U.S. Weather Bureau. The NNSS is an expansive outdoor laboratory and experimental area that conducts hazardous chemical spill testing, emergency response training, conventional weapons testing, and waste management and environmental technology studies with a focus on national security. Work is conducted through a cooperative agreement between NOAA and the U.S. DOE/NNSA Nevada Field Office.