ARL News

DCNet to UrbaNet, and extension to Sterling

August 15, 2003

The ARL DCNet program in Washington DC has received a lot of attention. In essence, the program centers on an array of dispersion-oriented sensors erected downtown. The modeling system that accompanies this makes use of the HYSPLIT model, which is the model now used routinely by the National Weather Service. On large scales, it is planned to drive HYSPLIT using the 12 km ETA outputs. As the area of concern decreases to urban scales, it becomes increasingly important to assimilate local observations. A demonstration system has been running at Oak Ridge for a number of months, and now it is proposed that we take an important nest step. After consultation with the National Weather Service and with the staff of the Sterling, VA, Weather Forecast Office, it has been decided to install one of the prototype systems at Sterling, so that we can now concentrate on refining the systems to best satisfy the needs of forecasters.

As we progress, it is becoming quite clear that the DCNet approach has far broader ramifications than its name indicates. Hence we are now talking in terms of “UrbaNet,” a generalized version of DCNet without a location-specific appellation.

In total, there are four demonstration systems now running – at the Washington Emergency Operations Center as well as at Oak Ridge, Research Triangle Park and Silver Spring. After installation at Sterling, plans call for installation at several more locations so that future development might be a genuine community effort, involving each of the NOAA Line Offices participating in the provision of dispersion products – NWS, NOS and OAR. Within ARL, there are four divisions involved – Silver Spring, Oak Ridge, Research Triangle Park, and Idaho Falls.

Further Information:
Contact information: Bruce B. Hicks
Phone: (301) 713-0684