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Integrated Sounding Systems (ISS)

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Management and Operation of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, 2008-2013  (University Corporation For Atmospheric Res)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

Integrated Sounding Systems (ISS) are self-contained meteorological observation systems at the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). The ISS combines surface, sounding, and remote sensing instrumentation to provide a comprehensive description of lower atmospheric thermodynamics and winds. The ISS includes a fully integrated set of instruments that provide near-continuous, high-resolution measurements of horizontal and vertical wind components from the surface up through the boundary layer, profiles of virtual temperature up to around one kilometer, and radiation and precipitation data in addition to standard measurements of temperature, pressure, humidity and wind. Each ISS includes communications, data processing and display infrastructure to provide raw data and data products in real time or near real time to researchers remotely or on site.

Education & Outreach

EOL's summer undergraduate engineering internship program provides a unique and valuable experience to prepare engineering students for successful careers. While working at EOL, interns help develop new instrumentation and improve our existing suite of NSF/NCAR lower atmospheric observing facilities. Most internships also offer the opportunity to gain practical experience operating facilities in the field by deploying on one of EOL's NSF-funded research projects. Interns are encouraged to develop their own engineering solutions as they work with and are mentored by professional, experienced engineers and technicians. During the internship, interns have access to a large number of resources such as sophisticated testing and calibration instruments, technical documentation, state-of-the art fabrication capabilities.

Undergraduate as well as graduate students can apply to help with the operation and maintenance of EOL equipment during domestic and international field deployments. Most positions are in support of the Integrated Sounding System (ISS) and the GPS Advanced Upper Air Sounding System (GAUS) with occasional opportunities related to radar and dropsonde operations. Responsibilities often include launching of sondes at predetermined schedules, maintenance of proper operations of all equipment, data collection and processing activities, document preparation as well as help with set-up and tear-down.

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  • Image from an NSF-funded radar facility.
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