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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 Commerce.

        "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         community;

        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

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Page last modified: Wednesday, 20-Oct-2004 19:16:00 UTC