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NOAA Celebrates New Building Site Selection
College Park, Md. -- Today, at the University of Maryland Enterprise Campus, the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others celebrated the launch of
M-Square, a new crossroad where government, private industry, technology and science converge
to be one of the nation.s largest research parks. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of
"For NOAA, this event represents the final site selection of the country's new National
Center for Weather and Climate Prediction," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C.
Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA
administrator. "Being close to the research community provides a synergistic, collaborative link
to accelerate the transfer of research breakthroughs into operational products that serve the
nation's needs to improve climate, weather and water predictions."
The new building will replace NOAA's existing World Weather Building in Camp Springs,
Md., and employ approximately 800 people. The new 250,000 sq. ft. facility is expected to
break ground in April 2005 and open in late 2007. This site will be the headquarters for NOAA's
National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).
"The entire spectrum of operational forecast products from climate to weather, including
ocean and precipitation forecasts will be produced at this NOAA facility. NCEP is where
America's weather and climate forecasting begins," said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of NCEP.
In addition to NCEP's Office of the Director, five of the nine national centers will be
located at M-Square. They are the:
Climate Prediction Center, which assesses and forecasts the impacts of short-term
climate variability, emphasizing enhanced risks of weather-related extreme events, for
use in mitigating losses and maximizing economic gains;
Environmental Modeling Center, that develops and improves numerical weather,
climate, and ocean prediction through a broad program in partnership with the research
Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, which provides nationwide analysis and
forecast guidance products out through seven days;
NCEP Central Operations, that sustains and executes the operational suite of numerical
analyses and forecast models and prepares NCEP products for dissemination; and the
Ocean Prediction Center, that issues weather warnings and forecasts out to five days for
parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Also, the facility will house three other NOAA offices: the Office of Oceanic and
Atmospheric Research's Air Resources Laboratory and the National Environmental Satellite,
Data, and Information Service's (NESDIS) Satellite Services Division and NESDIS' Office of
Research and Applications.
The Air Resources Laboratory serves as the source of atmospheric transport and
dispersion capabilities to the National Weather Service, to NOAA as a whole, and to a wide
range of external users. Bruce Hicks, director of ARL, "expressed excitement with the
opportunities that will exist through collocation with the operational elements of NOAA and the
University of Maryland research staff."
"We are pleased that the new home for our research on the use of satellite data to
improve environmental warnings and forecasts will be conducted in close proximity to NCEP
and adjoining the University of Maryland," said Gregory W. Withee, assistant administrator
for NOAA's Satellites and Information. "This will also be the location where we will prepare some
selected NOAA satellite based operational products and where we will provide real time access
to the full suite of satellite data and products for the benefit of the public and government."
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the
prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental
stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.
Relevant Web sites:
Photos of the Ceremony Celebrating the Launch of the M-Square UMD Research Park
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction
NOAA Office of Research and Applications
NOAA Air Resources Laboratory