Technology Being Developed to Increase Accuracy of Long-term Weather Forecasting
Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC) , a provider of innovative optical products and advanced engineering services, today announced that it had received a $2.1 million, one-year contract from the University of New Hampshire as part of a larger grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This follow-on contract will allow demonstration of MAC’s Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) atmospheric wind measurement technology on a high-altitude balloon platform (BalloonWinds), providing wind measurements from 100,000 feet down to the ground. The BalloonWinds system is based upon Michigan Aerospace Corporation’s unique technology for making wind measurements in clear air, with or without the presence of aerosols. Ground-based systems are currently in operation in New Hampshire and Hawaii and airborne systems are in development. Four flights of BalloonWinds are planned, starting in 2006. The success of BalloonWinds will ultimately pave the way for permanent satellite-based systems in the future. Such global wind measurements will significantly enhance the accuracy of long-term weather forecasts and are relevant to many civil, military and homeland security applications.