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Vaisala News 178 / 2008

A day in a hurricane specialist's life Tropical cyclones: The value of Vaisala Dropsondes and lightning data

Building automation at its best Vaisala technology supports stateof-the-art laboratory conditions

Phoenix 2007 Lander on Mars Onboard pressure sensor based on Vaisala BAROCAP® technology

Atmospheric monitoring across Oklahoma City Vaisala Weather Transmitters used for urban weather observations

Contents 3 Presidents Column 4 A day in a hurricane specialist’s life 8 Building automation at its best 15:30 EDT Miami, Florida, USA: a hurricane specialist shows up for the evening shift at the National Hurricane Center (NHC). A hurricane is approaching from the Gulf of Mexico. How does our hurricane specialist act, and what are his decesions based on? Page 4.

10 Phoenix 2007 Lander on Mars 14 Vaisala strengthens its presence in India 15 Not an ordinary holiday flight 16 Atmospheric monitoring across Oklahoma City 19 Vaisala to deliver weather radar equipment to US Federal Aviation Administration

Vaisala in brief – Vaisala is the global leader in weather and industrial measurement solutions. Our goal is to provide the basis for better quality of life, environmental protection, safety, efficiency and cost-savings. – Together with our customers, we influence the lives of hundreds of millions of people. We improve the quality of everyday life by, for example, enabling reliable weather information, aviation and traffic safety, and energy-efficient and high quality operations.

20 Vessel Traffic Services enhance maritime traffic safety 22 Exploring the oceans 23 Hands-on natural science On May 25th, 2008, NASA’s Phoenix 2007 Lander successfully touched down on Mars' northern polar region. The onboard meteorological instrument includes a pressure sensor, based on Vaisala BAROCAP® technology, for atmospheric barometric pressure measurement. Page 10.

25 Briefly noted

Cover photo: Shutterstock Editor-in-Chief: Marikka Nevamäki Publisher: Vaisala Oyj P.O. Box 26 FI-00421 Helsinki FINLAND Phone (int.): + 358  9 894 91

The Oklahoma City Micronet (OKCNET) is a project designed to improve the atmospheric monitoring across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Vaisala Weather Transmitters have been mounted on traffic signals all around the city. Page 16.

Telefax: + 358  9 8949 2227 Internet: Design and Artwork: Sampo Korkeila Printed in Finland by: SP-Paino ISSN 1238-2388

2  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

President’s column

Corporate Responsibility – what is it good for? What is the role of business in society? Is the sole purpose of business to produce profits for its owners, and nothing else? These questions are debated all over the world as you and I make decisions and choices in both our private and business roles, every day. Business is mainly about making profits, that much is true. But it is also a collective of people working as a part of society. There is a long tradition of businesses that have made valuable voluntary contributions to societal wellbeing and development, in addition to contributions resulting from their business activity. Vaisala believes in a world where environmental observations improve daily life. We are privileged to work in a business that positively affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. As the global leader in environmental measurement and an active member of society, Vaisala has a responsibility to act as a good corporate citizen. What does this mean in practice? For Vaisala, this means constantly improving our products’ environmental performance as well as our own environmental performance. It means conducting

business ethically and contributing to the communities we live in. We have done a lot in all these spheres throughout our history. Recently we have assembled information about these activities from across our business areas in a more organized manner. The results can be seen in our first Corporate Responsibility Report, which we plan to publish next year. We believe that responsible business conduct benefits all: the way we manage our relationship with our stakeholders and translate our values and principles into action also affects the long-term success of our own business. Corporate Responsibility activities will not revolutionize the world. However, responsible business conduct can make a significant contribution to addressing the social and environmental challenges we are facing today. Be it as individuals or as representatives of business, our current actions affect future generations and leave a legacy of social, environmental and financial contributions. Together with our customers, we at Vaisala contribute positively to the everyday lives of people all over the world. That's a legacy to be proud of.  n

Kjell Forsén CEO

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Hurricane track forecasts have improved substantially due to Vaisala Dropsonde measurements.

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Nicholas W.S. Demetriades Manager, Applications & Technology and Ronald L. Holle Meteorologist, Consultant Vaisala, Inc. Tucson AZ, USA

A day in a hurricane specialist’s life

Tropical cyclones: The value of Vaisala Dropsondes and lightning data 15:30 EDT Miami, Florida, USA: a hurricane specialist shows up for the evening shift at the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Hurricane Aidan* is located in the Gulf of Mexico with maximum sustained wind speeds of 135 miles per hour (mph) (217 kilometers per hour) and a minimum central pressure of 941 hectopascals. Aidan has been rapidly intensifying all day. The storm was only a category one hurricane less than 24 hours ago with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90 mph (145 kilometers per hour). This is a critical shift for the hurricane specialist. Hurricane Aidan is within 48 hours of landfall somewhere in the northwest Gulf of Mexico along the U.S. coast. It is currently an extremely dangerous category 4 storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 135 mph (217 kilometers per hour) on a scale of one to five on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. A category five hurricane has maximum sustained wind speeds greater than 155 mph (249 kilometers per hour). Most numerical weather prediction models used by NHC are projecting landfall near Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in the U.S. However, two numerical weather prediction models are projecting landfall 300 km east of the Houston area. The specialist needs to issue a hurricane watch when hurricane conditions are expected on the coastline within 36 hours. The specialist is also responsible for issuing tropical storm watches and warnings. A tropical storm watch has already been issued for a large portion of the U.S. coastline in the northwest Gulf of Mexico. A tropical storm warning is issued when tropical storm conditions are expected on the coastline within 24 hours. However, there is a fairly strong outer rainband forming to the north of the center of Aidan. The specialist may need to upgrade the tropical storm watch to a warning during this shift.

Decisions of great importance The hurricane specialist must answer the following questions during his shift. Is Aidan going to make landfall near

Houston? When should he issue a hurricane watch and where? When should he issue a tropical storm warning and where? Will Aidan reach category five intensity or will the rapid intensification stop shortly? Tropical cyclone watches and warnings are coordinated through channels including federal, state, county, and local authorities, television, cable, and radio outlets, the internet, and recorded telephone messages. Upon receipt of this information, emergency managers will start making decisions on which coastal areas to evacuate and provide emergency services. Hurricane specialists understand the financial impact of issuing a watch or warning for a metropolitan area the size of Houston.

Into the eye of the storm An Air Force WC-130J reconnaissance plane, better known as a hurricane hunter, has just finished flying through the center of the storm, launching three Vaisala-NCAR Dropwindsondes along the way. The first dropwindsonde (or, simply, dropsonde) was launched into the northeast eyewall of Aidan, the second into the eye, and the third into the southwest eyewall. The first dropsonde measured maximum sustained wind speeds near the surface of 145 mph (233 kilometers per hour). The second dropsonde, launched into the eye of the storm, measured a minimum central pressure of 930 hectopascals. The third dropsonde measured maximum sustained wind speeds near the surface of 140 mph (225 kilometers per hour). Aidan is continuing to rapidly intensify. Unfortunately, the next scheduled hurricane hunter will not be in the storm for another 12 hours. In the mid-1990s, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), with funding support from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) developed the first dropsondes that took advantage of the Global Positioning System (GPS)

technology. The Vaisala-NCAR GPS Dropsonde, or RD93, was first manufactured in 1997 after a technology transfer license agreement with NCAR was executed. Vaisala-NCAR Dropsondes provide the only direct profile measure of wind speed and direction, pressure, temperature, and humidity within the core of a hurricane. These measurements are critical for measuring its current intensity and understanding the surrounding environment that influences the development and track of the storm. The strongest winds in a hurricane are located within a ring of intense weather near the center of the storm known as the eyewall. The eye of the storm is located in the center of a hurricane and may contain little cloud cover and relatively calm winds. The minimum central pressure of a hurricane is found in the eye and is another measure of storm intensity.

Strongest winds at 500 meters As the hurricane hunter flew in and around the center of the storm, it was taking continuous measurements of the wind at flight level, approximately 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). These measurements showed that the eastern eyewall of the storm contained the highest sustained wind speeds. In the late 1990s, hundreds of Vaisala-NCAR Dropsondes were launched into hurricanes. Scientists at NHC and the Hurricane Research Division (HRD) quickly confirmed that the strongest winds within a hurricane are not at the surface, but at an altitude of approximately 500 meters (or 1,640 feet). Dropsonde measurements of wind speed from 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) to the surface allowed forecasters to better understand the relationship between flight-level winds and surface wind speeds. Since dropsondes only provide a single vertical profile of wind speeds near the surface, specialists at NHC depend on continuous flight-level measurements of wind speed as hurricane hunters fly in and around the center of the storm. Properly translating flight-level wind speeds to surface 178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  5

Hurricane Guillermo Eyewall Dropsonde Trajectories

substantially due to Vaisala-NCAR GPS Dropsonde (RD93) measurements in the environment surrounding the hurricane.

970803h1 GUILLERMO (min.) (max.) Pitch=
















2574 m

Slat= Slon= Rlat= Rlon=

13.90 N 112.54 W 14.02 N 112.47 W

234736 Z Lower Fuselage 120 × 120 km Hurricane Research Division NOAA/AOML Miami, FL

Numbers indicate start and end times of drops

Radar reflectivity image from aircraft showing the eyewall and eye of Hurricane Guillermo (1997). The eyewall is shown by the ring of stronger reflectivities (red and purple colors) surrounding the eye (blue and white colors). The paths of three Vaisala-NCAR dropsondes are shown by the thick black lines. The hurricane hunter aircraft track is shown by the thin black line. The launch and end times show the horizontal path of the dropsondes as they rotated counterclockwise around the center (eye) of the storm. Image: National Hurricane Center.

wind speeds is another critical way to monitor the storm. The confirmation that the highest wind speeds in the eyewall of a hurricane occur above the surface is very important for emergency managers. If a hurricane is going to make landfall near a large city with numerous high rise buildings, people should not seek shelter on the upper floors of those buildings. Hurricanes are actually a category stronger on the Saffir-Simpson scale on the 25th floor of a high rise building than they are on the ground. Most of the damage caused on the upper floors of high rise buildings during hurricane landfalls is due to windows being blown out. As the hurricane hunter is returning to its base, it flies through a rainband developing on the north side of Hurricane Aidan. As it flies through the rainband, the Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) is taking continuous remote measurements of surface wind speed and measures surface wind speeds just under tropical storm strength. However, flightlevel wind speeds measured by the aircraft show sustained winds of moderate tropical storm strength. The SFMR estimates surface wind speeds based on the state (or amount of foam) of the ocean surface. Surface 6  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

wind speed estimates from the SFMR need to be calibrated using VaisalaNCAR Dropsondes. Similar to flight-level wind measurements, SFMR provides continuous estimates while the aircraft is in the storm. Surface wind speeds are critical to forecasters in gaining a better understanding of storm development and current intensity. At the same time as the Air Force hurricane hunter is flying through Aidan, a NOAA Gulfstream IV aircraft is flying at 40,000 feet (12,192 meters) and launching dropsondes in the environment surrounding the hurricane. The Gulfstream IV aircraft launches dropsondes at a much higher altitude than the Air Force hurricane hunter and outside of the hurricane in order to provide numerical weather prediction models with the information they need to improve forecasts. Vertical measurements of wind speed and direction, pressure, temperature, and humidity are immediately sent to the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and assimilated into NCEP and other numerical weather prediction models. NCEP is located in Camp Springs, Maryland and provides worldwide forecast guidance products. Research has shown that hurricane track forecasts have improved

Lightning activity reveals hurricane intensity As the hurricane specialist waits for the next set of numerical weather prediction model data, including the recent dropsonde measurements assimilated from the hurricane environment, he notices some changes in the lightning activity within Aidan. The outer rainband to the north of the storm is now producing very high lightning rates. Most of the lightning produced by a hurricane occurs in the outer rainbands of the storm however not all outer rainbands produce lightning. High lightning rates within outer rainbands of a hurricane indicate strong convection that will allow strong winds above the ground to reach the surface in downdrafts. Vaisala-NCAR Dropsonde measurements in the outer rainbands of hurricanes have shown that the highest winds are not at the surface, but also near 500 meters (1,640 feet). Therefore, high lightning rates in the outer rainband of a hurricane may indicate that stronger winds aloft may reach the surface. The hurricane specialist has also been monitoring an abrupt increase in lightning activity in the eyewall of Aidan over the past nine hours. This increase in eyewall lightning activity has decreased considerably over the last three hours. Research currently being performed at Vaisala and NHC has shown that numerous hurricanes have produced an abrupt increase in eyewall lightning near peak intensity after a rapid intensification period. This abrupt increase will usually cease after 6 – 9 hours. Rapid intensification ends at about the time the lightning rate ceases in the eyewall. The latest numerical weather prediction model results using the dropsonde data from the environment outside of the hurricane have just come in. All models now have tracks that take the storm 300 km east of Houston during landfall. The numerical weather prediction models also predict landfall in 36 hours due to an unexpected increase in forward motion that was not shown in previous model runs. It is time to issue the 23:00 EDT advisory for Hurricane Aidan. The hurricane specialist now needs to process all of this information and come up with the appropriate track and intensity forecast. Let’s now go back to the original list of questions the hurricane

specialist must answer in order to issue the 23:00 EDT advisory for Hurricane Aidan.

Is Aidan going to make landfall near Houston? Vaisala-NCAR Dropsonde data collected in the environment surrounding Hurricane Aidan has provided critical information regarding expected landfall. It is going to be a close call, but the official forecast issued by the hurricane specialist will take the center of Aidan over land 300 km east of Houston.

When should he issue a hurricane watch and where? Once again, Vaisala-NCAR Dropsonde data collected in the environment surrounding Hurricane Aidan has provided critical information on when and where to issue the hurricane watch. Since the storm should increase its forward motion, the hurricane specialist issues a hurricane watch for areas east of Houston indicating that hurricane conditions are possible at locations within the watch area within 36 hours.

Eyewall lightning and maximum sustained wind speed time series for Hurricane Felix (2007). Eyewall lightning shown by the green and blue bars. Green bars represent raw lightning counts. Blue bars represent lightning counts corrected for day/night detection efficiency changes. The red line represents maximum sustained wind speeds within the storm. Notice the eyewall lightning burst early on 3 September 2007 as rapid intensification of Felix comes to an end.

When should he issue a tropical storm warning? SFMR measurements showed surface wind speeds just under tropical storm strength in the outer rainband developing to the north of Hurricane Aidan. However, the hurricane specialist is concerned that stronger (tropical storm force) winds aloft in that rainband will reach the surface based on the observed high lightning rates within that band. This rainband is moving north at a moderate speed and could reach coastal areas within 24 hours. Therefore, the hurricane specialist issues a tropical storm warning for coastal areas in the path of this northern outer rainband. A tropical storm warning means that sustained winds between 39 and 73 mph (63 and 118 kilometers per hour) are expected to reach the coast in 24 hours or less.

Will Aidan reach category five intensity or will the rapid intensification stop shortly? According to the Vaisala-NCAR Dropsondes launched into the eyewall of Hurricane Aidan several hours ago, Aidan was continuing to rapidly intensify. However, over the last nine hours a burst of eyewall lightning has come and gone. In the absence of direct aircraft measurements, the hurricane specialist

Improvement in Hurricane Rita (2005) track forecast due to assimilation of Vaisala-NCAR dropsonde data in the environment outside of the hurricane into the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) numerical weather prediction model. At the time of the forecast, Rita was located in the southeast Gulf of Mexico. The black line shows the actual path of Rita as it made landfall near the Texas/Louisiana, U.S. coastline. The red line shows the forecast without dropsonde data. The green line shows the improved forecast after assimilation of dropsonde data. Image: National Hurricane Center

interprets this lightning burst as a sign Further information: that the rapid intensification of Aidan should end. Therefore, his forecast advi- severeweather/hurricanes sory states that the rapid intensification of Aidan has likely ended and the storm * Hurricane Aidan is a fictitious hurricane name to illustrate actual mission critical should not reach category five intensity actions at the National Hurricane during the next 12 hours.  n Center, utilizing Vaisala products. 178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  7

Building automation at its best Vaisala technology supports state-of-the-art laboratory conditions MIKES is the Centre for Metrology and Accreditation in Finland. It works to ensure that the measurements, tests and inspections carried out in Finland are reliable and internationally comparable, and acts as the Finnish accreditation service (FINAS) for laboratories, inspection and certification bodies, and for the Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) verifiers. MIKES also maintains and develops the national measurement standards system through research, and provides high-class calibrations and expert services in metrology. MIKES uses Vaisala 8  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008


HUMICAP technology in its state-of-theart facilities.

Stability of ambient conditions is vital When MIKES moved into its new facilities on October 1st, 2005, it marked the beginning of a new era for metrology in Finland. The quality of the laboratories meets the highest international standards. For precision measurements, the stability of ambient conditions such as temperature and humidity is of utmost importance. Different principles have been applied in MIKES’ new facilities to

Jukka Kalliokoski Export Engineer Vaisala Helsinki, Finland

Tapio Mansten from MIKES is an expert in intelligent building automation solutions.

achieve very stable conditions, either locally in small instrument cabinets, or in entire laboratories. The measurement spots are sheltered from external interference from the outside world, as well as from disturbances created in other laboratories. In addition to temperature and humidity control, special attention has been paid to vibration control, electromagnetic shielding and electricity.

Focus on air conditioning About 30 % of the total area of the new facilities is devoted to building maintenance technology, mainly the air conditioning equipment required for creating laboratory conditions. There are 36 laboratories that are divided into 20 sections, each with its own dedicated air conditioning system used for temperature fine tuning. This means that the operations in one laboratory will not affect the operations of other laboratories in different sections.

The laboratories with the strictest temperature stability requirements are situated in the underground floors. They must have a constant temperature, and are based on the “room-within-a-room” principle. Most of the laboratories are constructed using the floor diffusion principle. One room in which the temperature can be set at 20+/- 5 °C has been built for the study of the temperature dependence of devices and meters. The desired temperature and humidity in the building is generated in the technical space, where the fresh air is first cooled down to 8.8 °C and the humidity is stabilized to 98% RH. The performance of the two air preconditioning machines is controlled with three Vaisala HUMICAP Humidity and Temperature Transmitters HMT337. There is one transmitter per machine, and a third one in the duct for redundancy. This cool, moist air is distributed to section-specific ventilation systems as replacement air. “There are over two thousand other humidity and temperature measurement points in the building controlling the environment. We have reached remarkable measurement accuracy and


resolution. These are the key elements before being able to adjust and maintain the conditions,” says Tapio Mansten Senior Research Scientist, Electricity, Time and Frequency from MIKES. “To make sure this process runs 24 hours a day with absolute accuracy, we have constructed an independent humidity and temperature monitoring system from 87 Vaisala HUMICAP Humidity and Temperature Probes HMP45A in the most critical locations for verification, logging and alarm. These measurements need to be in line with the building automation system,” Mansten continues.  ■


Further information:

Metrology is the science of measurement, which includes the development of measurement standards and systems for absolute and relative measurements.

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  9

This artist's concept depicts NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander a moment before its 2008 touchdown on the arctic plains of Mars. Image: NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona

The Delta II rocket with the Phoenix spacecraft onboard lifts off. Image: NASA/Sandra Joseph and John Kechele

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Jouni Polkko Senior Researcher Finnish Meteorological Institute Space Research Program Helsinki, Finland

Phoenix 2007 Lander on Mars Onboard pressure sensor based on Vaisala BAROCAP® technology On May 25th, 2008, NASA’s Phoenix 2007 Lander successfully touched down on Mars’ northern polar region. The landing site is at 68 degrees north latitude, 233 degrees east longitude, in an area called Scandia and Vastitatis Borealis Marginal. The landing site is above the Martian polar circle. The local season in Mars is currently late spring-early summer. Therefore the Lander is carrying out its 90- to 150-day mission at a time of year with nightless nights. After the summer season, the approaching winter, and decreasing daylight and available energy will mean that operations will have to cease, and contact with the Lander will be lost. The Phoenix Lander carries a versatile suite of scientific instruments to analyze soil, observe local meteorology and take macro and microscopic images of Mars. The onboard meteorological instrument includes a pressure sensor, based on Vaisala BAROCAP technology, for atmospheric barometric pressure measurement. This instrument was developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

The Phoenix Lander carries a versatile suite of scientific instruments to analyze soil, observe local meteorology and take macro and microscopic images of Mars.

Phoenix science

2. To determine whether the arctic soil


The Phoenix mission has three scientific goals: To study each phase of the history of water at the landing site Geological evidence suggests that liquid water once flowed on Mars and created rivers, lakes and seas. It is assumed that northern lowlands were once covered by sea and the subsurface


ice there may be a remnant of that sea. This conclusion is supported by observations made by the Mars Odyssea orbiter’s gamma spectrometer instrument and other satellite data. The water ice content of near-surface material in the northern polar regions may even be over 50%. This subsurface ice may well be released over a period of millions of years as Mars experiences climate changes due to its wobbling rotation axis. On a shorter time scale, subsurface ice may well “breathe” every day, every season, converting tiny amounts of frost to water vapor and back. In this way, the ice table may slowly rise and recede as the climate changes.

on Mars could support life Life as we know it requires liquid water, but it does not necessarily require the continuous presence of this water. Phoenix is investigating the possibility that some of the ice in the soil of the landing site will melt and become biologically available during the warmer parts of long climate cycles. Phoenix is also investigating the possibility that

certain organic compounds necessary to life as we understand it are present. However, Phoenix will not be carrying out direct microbiological experiments for detecting life. 3. To study the weather on Mars from the

polar perspective The amount of water vapor in Mars’ polar regions varies significantly from season to season. Winds carrying water vapor can move water from place to place on the planet. Phoenix is monitoring temperature, pressure, winds, atmospheric dust, ice particles and clouds. These observations will help to increase the understanding of atmospheric dynamics and interaction between polarand mid-latitudes. The circulation of volatiles (H2O, CO2) in the Martian atmosphere is an important part of the puzzle that is water and life on ancient Mars.

Phoenix Lander and experiments The Lander’s diameter is 1.5 m and its height is 2.2 m, when standing on its three landing legs. Its mass is 540 kg, including a 59-kg scientific payload. The Lander is powered by two solar arrays, measuring a total of 4.2 square meters and with a span of 5.2 m when deployed around the Lander. The power peaks are balanced by a lithium-ion battery, and telecommunication is provided by two UHF band antennas. The Phoenix Lander does not communicate directly with Earth as messages are relayed through the three satellites currently orbiting Mars: Mars 178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  11

Phoenix Mars Lander’s solar panel and robotic arm with a sample in the scoop. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/university of Arizona.

Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Express. Data rates vary between 8 kb/s to 128 kb/s.

is encountered (a dust devil, weather front, etc.), the two-second intervals are restored. The Phoenix Lander’s pressure sensor Pressure sensor instrument is already the fifth Vaisala BAROCAP presThe Finnish Meteorological Institute sure sensor to be used on planetary space developed the pressure sensor instru- missions. Three earlier attempts to get the ment for the Phoenix Lander. The pressure sensor on Mars failed because pressure sensor is based on Vaisala of unsuccessful spacecraft launches or technology and components. It has landings (Mars-96, Mars Polar Lander three BAROCAP pressure sensors, and -99, Beagle-2 -03). The Huygens Lander a THERMOCAP temperature sensor for made a successful landing onto Saturn’s internal temperature monitoring. The moon, Titan, in 2005, and the onboard instrument is built around the Vaisala BAROCAP recorded the pressure profile proprietary ASIC (Application Specific of Titan’s atmosphere during the three Integrated Circuit). hour landing. The pressure sensor is part of the The Finnish Meteorological Institute onboard Meteorological Station, which joined the Phoenix program in 2004. is operated by a computer. When energy Development of the Phoenix pressure and data link capacities allow, pressure sensor was based on experiences from readings are taken every two seconds, earlier projects and on the specific together with mast temperature sensors. requirements of the Phoenix mission. This data is then downlinked to Earth. Several prototypes were built and tested When the Lander’s resources are being at the Finnish Meteorological Institute used by the other instruments, pres- before the final Flight Models were built. sure and temperature data readings are Two “Flight Models” were built and tested. taken at 8-minute intervals. However, One was installed in the Phoenix Lander if an interesting weather phenomenon and the other was a “Flight Spare” model,


® ®

12  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008


in case any problems were encountered with the actual Flight Model prior to launch.

Surface Operations Center based in Tucson, Arizona Jouni Polkko and Henrik Kahanpää from the Finnish Meteorological Institute participated in the Phoenix landing event and the first-week operations in Tucson, Arizona. The Lander was controlled by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, during the interplanetary cruise phase and entry into Mars’ atmosphere. After the landing, operations were taken over by the Arizona University, which maintains the Phoenix Surface Operations Center in Tucson, Arizona. This is the first time that a NASA spacecraft has been operated outside of NASA. The landing took place on Sunday afternoon on May 25th (Tucson local time). The time delay between Mars and Earth was 15 minutes 20 seconds on the landing day, and everything occurs this much earlier in Mars. Therefore, everything had to function correctly during the last phases of approach and landing.

Everything was preprogrammed and had to succeed the first time, with no second try. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory relayed landing event sequence information to Tucson. When the Lander reached Mars’ atmosphere, hot plasma surrounded the Lander and connection was lost for five minutes. After this, information confirming parachute deployment was received, the heat shield was jettisoned and the retro rockets fired. Finally the Lander touched down. The landing had been perfect. After this, connection was shut down for two hours as the Lander deployed the solar panels and other deployables and recharged its batteries. When the connection returned, the first images were received showing the solar panels, which had been opened. At this point it was possible to announce that the landing had been a success and exploration of Mars’ polar region could begin. After the landing the operations crew have started to live by Martian time, as this is how the Lander operates in Mars. Each day on Mars, called “sol”, lasts 40 minutes longer than each day on Earth, so Mars’ time shifts forward by 40 minutes every day. The first scientific data, including meteorological data, arrived on Monday afternoon on May 26th. According to this data, the pressure instrument was working perfectly. Pressure at the landing site on Mars was about 8.55 hPa, and during the following days, the first dust devils had already been observed by the pressure instrument. At the time of writing, the Phoenix operations are continuing as planned and the mission is closing its mid-point. The first proof of subsurface permanent frost has been found. Evidence of an ancient sea has also been discovered. The first analyses of the findings will continue over the next few months. Operations will continue as long as the dimming sunlight provides enough power. Connection will be lost around November or December. Phoenix has not been designed to withstand the Martian polar winter. However, for curiosity’s sake, some attempts will be made to wake the Lander up during the next Martian summer.  n

Phoenix Lander’s pressure sensor instrument.

Instruments onboard the Phoenix Lander The Phoenix payload includes several instruments, three of which are suites of multiple tools. • Robotic Arm for digging and handling samples. The arm is 2.35 meters long, and includes a camera for close-up images. • Surface Stereo Imager for taking accurate stereo pictures of the landing sites. The camera may also be tilted upwards in order to assess conditions in the atmosphere (dust, water vapor, clouds). The camera has two 1 M pixel CCD sensors. • Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer with a mass spectrometer for analyzing soil samples and an oven for heating up the samples. • Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer with an optical microscope, atomic force microscope and electrochemical sensors for inspecting samples. The instrument adds water ( from Earth) to the samples in order to study soluble chemicals. • Meteorological Station with a pressure sensor, three temperature sensors on a 1.2-meter mast, wind sock and LIDAR to carry out experiments to detect dust and ice particles above the Lander.

Further information:

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  13

Vaisala strengthens its presence in India

Serving customers locally is one of the cornerstones of customer focus for Vaisala.

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Vaisala is strengthening its office network by establishing a Liaison Office in New Delhi, India. The office is located in the Regus Business Center, and is the first Vaisala office in India. Vaisala’s business in India is headed by Mr. Sami Haga, Regional Manager. The New Delhi office will initially represent Vaisala’s weather observations product offering. Vaisala will also continue to

Marikka Nevamäki Editor in chief Vaisala Helsinki, Finland

partner with its long-term local Indian agents. “Serving customers locally is one of the cornerstones of customer focus for us. We have some well-established customer relationships in India. With this improved presence we are able to serve existing and new customers in the area even better,” says Weather Sales and Marketing Director Matti Ervasti.  n

Marikka Nevamäki Editor in chief Vaisala Helsinki, Finland

Not an ordinary holiday flight Light aircraft pilots visit Vaisala A group of seven private aircraft pilots visited Vaisala’s headquarters in Finland in summer 2008, and toured the factory floors to see where the most accurate weather measurement instruments in the world are developed. All arrived at the Helsinki Malmi airport in their own planes, most also accompanied by their wives. Helsinki was one of the stops in their tour of Northern Europe – Norway, Finland and Sweden. “We do a one-week tour every year to different parts of Europe. We wanted to visit Vaisala to explore weather equipment suitable for small airfields. I’m particularly interested in lightning detection equipment,” explains Anthony Bowles, one of the pilots. Mr Bowles owns a Cirrus SR22 aircraft. It is a modern piston engine light aircraft, cruising at about 170 kt at between 9,000 and 15,000 feet, and with a range of about 1,000 nm.

IFR rated pilots can fly in demanding conditions All seven are members of the PPL/IR Europe, an organization open to pilots

who are interested in operating a light aircraft under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) in Europe. A pilot who is rated for IFR can keep a plane in controlled flight solely on the data provided by his/her instruments, even if that pilot cannot see anything out the cockpit windows. One of the benefits of the IFR rating is the ability to fly through clouds, which is otherwise not allowed. “This rather demanding flying qualification brought us all together, and the PPL/IR Europe association was formed over ten years ago,” Mr Bowles explains.

“My Vaisala equipment has performed very reliably over the years." “I originally became involved in private flying in 1971 as a young lawyer involved in the planning inquiry for extending the runway at London Gatwick. I had an opportunity to fly in a light aircraft and decided to learn to fly myself. I obtained

my basic license that year, and did my training for the instrument rating in 1974/75.” All pilots must have some meteorological training as part of their qualification. Mr Bowles has an extensive weather station at his house in Corsock, Southwest Scotland. It measures wind, barometric pressure, temperature, rainfall and sunshine. He also has a visibility and present weather sensor, as well as a laser ceilometer. Data collection is automatic and it can be viewed remotely on his personal website. “I also have a remote hill station recording wind, temperature and relative humidity. The data is collected by a Vaisala weather station and transmitted by radio modem back to Corsock, some 5 km away. One of the displays has been developed especially for me,” Mr Bowles explains. “My Vaisala equipment has performed very reliably over the years. I particularly like the open connectivity of the software, which allows for modularity and easy integration.”

Real-time weather data needed throughout Europe The availability of real-time weather data for pilots of small planes is still a challenge in Europe, according to the PPL/IR Europe team. “Icing is a real problem. We need to know where the moist clouds are, so we can avoid them. When you’re flying in challenging conditions, like we all do every now and then, you’re heavily dependent on technology. Reliable information about the surrounding conditions adds to your peace-of-mind. Common weather information throughout Europe would be most useful for us,” all seven agree.  n

David Tucker, Stephen Niechcial, Mark Goodey, Anthony Bowles, Jim Thorpe, David Sowray and Paul Turner visited Vaisala to explore weather equipment suitable for small airfields.

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  15

A Micronet technician deploys a traffic light station on 8 May 2008. The Vaisala Weather Transmitter WXT510 is a key component of the Oklahoma City Micronet.

Atmospheric monitoring across Oklahoma City The Oklahoma City Micronet (OKCNET) is a project designed to improve the atmospheric monitoring across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The project includes two main phases of implementation including (1) the deployment of three new Oklahoma Mesonet sites within Oklahoma City and (2) the installation of a dense network of sites mounted on traffic signals. As of 1 June 2008 all stations have been deployed.

Mesonet stations As part of a joint effort between the OKCNET project and the Oklahoma Mesonet (Brock et al. 1995, McPherson et al. 2007), three new Mesonet sites were installed within Oklahoma City in early 16  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

2007 (Fig. 1). The first site (OKCN) was installed in February 2007 on the campus of the Daily Oklahoman, approximately 7 miles north of the central business district. In April 2007, two additional sites were deployed including one on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City, approximately 4 miles west of the central business district (OKCW), and one approximately 4 miles east of the central business district (OKCE) on Oklahoma City municipal property.

Traffic signal stations The design, testing, and deployment of stations mounted on traffic signals would not be possible or successful without the extensive assistance and collaboration

Jeffrey B. Basara, Ph.D. Oklahoma Climatological Survey University of Oklahoma USA

provided by Oklahoma City officials. Oklahoma City boasts the world’s largest wifi mesh network (communications network made up of radio nodes), and with the assistance of Oklahoma City personnel, the traffic signal sites were designed to utilize the network of wireless access points across the metropolitan area. Each traffic light station consists of a Vaisala Weather Transmitter WXT510 sensor, a datalogger, an enclosure specifically designed for the traffic signals, and hardware to facilitate power and communications across the OKC wifi network. In December 2007, a working prototype station was completed and installed at the intersection of two streets in the central business district of Oklahoma

A mesonet is a network of automated weather stations designed to observe mesoscale meteorological phenomena (atmospheric phenomena having horizontal scales ranging from a few to several hundred kilometers).

Figure 1. Locations of Oklahoma City Micronet stations. The window in the lower right corner of the graphic shows the locations of traffic signal stations within the central business district of Oklahoma City with respect to the primary building structures and streets.

Figure 2. An example of the Oklahoma City urban heat island at 11:00 UTC (6:00 am CDT) on 21 June 2008.

City. A series of tests were completed and all subsequent approvals were acquired from Oklahoma City officials. Given the final approval from Oklahoma City, all remaining sites were fabricated during the spring of 2008. The installation of the remaining 35 traffic signal stations began in the central business district of Oklahoma City and, by 30 May, all sites had been deployed across the metropolitan area (Fig. 1). The deployment of the traffic signal stations was accomplished via a truck rental

Oklahoma City Micronet has already shed new insights regarding atmospheric processes across the metropolitan area.

Figure 3. An example of the Oklahoma City urban heat island at 10:28 UTC (5:28 am CDT) on 31 May 2008.

agreement whereby a trained Oklahoma City technician operated the lift as a Micronet technician installed each station. Next, each site was secured to the pole via stainless steel straps and the station linked to an Oklahoma City wireless access point via an Ethernet cable. The link to the access point established both communications and the power needed to operate the station. Once secured and connected, the technician verified communications with Oklahoma Mesonet personnel and panoramic site

photos were collected. The deployment of each station spanned approximately one hour, which allowed for multiple stations to be deployed in a single day. The compact design and functionality of the WXT510 was critical to the success of the traffic signal stations deployed across Oklahoma City.

New insights into atmospheric processes The spatial and temporal density of observations collected by the Oklahoma City 178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  17

Figure 4. The leading edge of an intense squall line with a bow echo as it propagates through Oklahoma City at 2:02 am CDT on 27 May 2008. Intense precipitation is highlighted as yellow/orange/red. In addition, Oklahoma City Micronet observations include wind barbs, air temperature (oF – upper left), dew point temperature (oF – lower left), precipitation since 0000 UTC (in – lower right), and maximum wind gust during the previous minute (mph – upper right).

Micronet has already shed new insights regarding atmospheric processes across the metropolitan area. For example, because the Micronet spans the gradient from quasi-rural to urban land use conditions, the Micronet has consistently detected an urban heat island as great as 11°F and associated gradient of air temperature due to the varying surface conditions (Fig. 2). However, the air temperature gradient (and associated maximum/minimum values) is often impacted by the magnitude and direction of the near-surface wind conditions as shown in Figure 3, in which temperature values in the northwest portion of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area (downstream of the urban core) were as much as 5°F warmer than locations upstream of the highly populated areas in southeast (and southwest) Oklahoma City. The network has also captured the impacts of severe weather across Oklahoma City. Figure 4 shows Micronet observations as a severe thunderstorm complex with a bow echo began propagating through the metropolitan area during the early morning hours on 27 May 2008. Severe winds were observed along the leading edge of the gust front in advance of the heavy precipitation including a gust to 65 mph at the Micronet site located at SE 15th St. and Central Blvd. (KSW105). The time series data from KSW105 (Fig. 5) also confirm that the strongest winds were observed approximately 6 minutes prior to the 18  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

Figure 5. Time series observations from KSW105 at 2:02 am CDT on 31 May 2008. The KSW105 site is located approximately 1.2 miles southeast of the Oklahoma City central business district.

onset of precipitation and approximately two minutes prior to the decrease in air temperature that occurred during the event. Further, there was a slight decrease in station pressure as the gust front passed followed by a rapid increase (approximately 2 mb) over the following two minutes.

Enhanced observing capabilities With an average station spacing of approximately 3 km, the Oklahoma City Micronet observes atmospheric conditions across the metropolitan area at fine spatial resolution. Additionally, a

key component of the Oklahoma City Micronet is rapid data collection of research quality observations. At each traffic signal site atmospheric conditions are measured and transmitted every minute to a central facility 24/7. Similarly, the observations at the Oklahoma City Mesonet sites are collected every 5 minutes and transmitted to a central facility. All observations receive real-time and archived quality assurance prior to distribution or display. As a result, approximately 600,000 research quality observations are collected each day across Oklahoma City.  n

Further information: References

Brock, F. V., K.C. Crawford, R. L. Elliott, G. W. Cuperus, S. J. Stadler, H. L. Johnson, and M.D. Eilts, 1995, The Oklahoma Mesonet: a technical overview, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 12, 5 – 19. McPherson, R. A., C. Fiebrich, K. C. Crawford, R. L. Elliott, J. R. Kilby, D. L. Grimsley, J. E. Martinez, J. B. Basara, B. G. Illston, D. A. Morris, K. A. Kloesel, S. J. Stadler, A. D. Melvin, A.J. Sutherland, and H. Shrivastava, 2007, Statewide Monitoring of the Mesoscale Environment: A Technical Update on the Oklahoma Mesonet, J. of Atmos. and Oceanic Tech., 24, 301–321.

Vaisala to deliver weather radar equipment to US Federal Aviation Administration Vaisala has signed a 6.9 MUSD contract with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the delivery of weather radar signal processors and software for the FAA Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) network, operating at major airports in the USA. The deliveries will start during the last quarter of 2008. The FAA regulates and oversees civil aviation in the U.S. This contract is related

to an upgrade program for the TDWR radars. The primary mission of these radars is the detection of a hazardous wind shear phenomenon, known as a microburst, which is associated with severe thunderstorms. “The FAA already has Vaisala’s automated weather observing systems, lightning data, and runway visual range systems in use. We are happy to

Dan Donahue FAA Account Manager Vaisala Boston, MA USA

strengthen our great partnership with this contract, which highlights the position of Vaisala Sigmet product line as the global leader in weather radar signal processors and software,” says Martti Husu, Business Unit Manager for the Vaisala Weather Radar.   n Further information:

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  19

Veli-Matti Miettinen Sales Manager Vaisala Helsinki, Finland

Vessel Traffic Services enhance maritime traffic safety Local weather measurements important In the past, maritime traffic monitoring has been carried out with a simple shorebased radar and voice radio system with the aim of enhancing navigation in poor visibility in port areas and their approaches. The Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) concept has since developed into a modern system using multiple sensors. Its objective is to enhance safety, improve the efficiency of maritime traffic and to protect the marine environment. Authorities using the VTS have experienced improvements in sea traffic efficiency and safety, and a reduction in environmental pollution. The number of VTS has grown considerably throughout the world. There are 500 VTS operational today. Over 160 sovereign states are members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). IMO has set out several conventions that are relevant to VTS. The European Community has established a

20  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

vessel traffic monitoring and information system along the coasts of the member states (Directive 2002/59/EC). Encouraged by this legal framework, states worldwide are establishing VTS systems. There are various categories of VTS including coastal, port or harbor, and river services. The IMO Resolution A 857(20) states that a port VTS is mainly concerned with vessel traffic to and from a port or harbor, while a coastal VTS is mainly concerned with vessel traffic passing through the area. A VTS could also be a combination of both types. Recently VTS systems have been built in inland waters as well.

Functions of Vessel Traffic Services The purpose of VTS is to improve maritime safety and efficiency of navigation, safety of life at sea and the protection of the maritime environment and/or

adjacent shore areas, work sites and offshore installations from the possible adverse effects of marine traffic in a given area. The service types that an authorized VTS can offer are information service, traffic organization service and navigational assistance service. The information service maintains a traffic image and allows interaction with traffic and response to developing traffic situations. Traffic organization concerns the forward planning of movements to maintain vessel safety and achieve efficiency. Essential and timely marine information is provided to vessels in the VTS area to assist the on-board decision-making process. Information about meteorological and hydrological conditions is included in these services.

Vessel Traffic Services’ equipment Factors like traffic density, navigation hazards, local climate, topography and the extent of a VTS area set the requirements for VTS equipment. A VTS is typically equipped with communications, VTS radar system, Automatic Identification System (AIS), Closed Circuit TV Cameras (CCTV), meteo/hydro equipment and/or a VTS data system. For a VTS center it is essential to have access to meteorological/hydrological systems, which provide local information relevant to the VTS area. If required by the VTS authority, a VTS center must be able to disseminate local meteo/hydro data to their users and allied services. Meteorological parameters that are typically measured include wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity and visibility. In some VTS areas, hydrological parameters such as tidal level, current speed and direction are required. Meteo/hydro data is obtained most accurately and reliably from sensors, and some tables or databases are also used. Meteo/hydro sensors transmit data typically via a telecommunications link to VTS centers, where the data is presented in graphical and/or numerical format for the VTS operators. VTS operators can use meteo/hydro data for a real-time assessment of the environmental situation in the VTS area and provide data to ships to assist in assessing the waterway conditions. AIS equipment exchanges data from ship-to-ship and with shore-based AIS base stations. AIS binary messages aim to reduce verbal communications, enhance

reliable information exchange and reduce VTS operators’ workload. These messages are dedicated to specific applications, e.g. exchanging meteo/hydro data.

Vaisala has a long history in VTS deliveries For decades, Vaisala has supplied weather solutions to a large number of VTS systems throughout the world. As the global market leader in professional meteorology, Vaisala is the preferred weather solution supplier to many VTS organizations and system integrators. Vaisala’s reference deliveries range from meteo/hydro sensors for navigation aid and automatic weather stations for Port VTS systems to turnkey network weather solutions for coastal VTS systems, which consist of a large number of automatic weather stations with sensors, telemetry, network data collection, management and visualization software, installation and maintenance services.

New superior weather station MAWS410 for VTS and maritime customers Vaisala has gained strong and extensive experience in maritime weather observations through hundreds of demanding customer projects in the harshest marine environment. In addition to numerous VTS installations, our maritime solutions can be found for example at a vast number of ports and harbors, and on vessels and oil/gas platforms worldwide. Vaisala has recently launched a system for premium maritime weather observations - the Vaisala Maritime Observation System MAWS410. It is a superior automatic weather station that is most reliable even in the most demanding weather conditions. The hardware is especially designed to withstand the wet, salty freeze and thaw that are common in different maritime applications. The MAWS410 is unique for marine applications due to the fact that it was designed in accordance with the internationally respected standards for maritime electrical instrumentation and navigation systems. Its anti-corrosive design and EMC characteristics are in compliance with Lloyd’s Register Type Approval System specifications and IEC60945 standard requirements. The system enclosure is of hastelloy/acid-proof stainless steel and its protection class is min. IP66/NEMA4X. This ensures that corrosive sea conditions do not harm the

valuable electronics inside the station and the user can count on a long lifetime with minimum maintenance for the system. The MAWS410 combines Vaisala’s proven sensor technology with the new compact data logger design. All meteorological, hydrological and oceanographical sensors required in VTS installations can easily be integrated to the station. It facilitates the use of heated sensors, which means user benefits in terms of excellent data availability even in icy conditions. Among other enhanced features the MAWS410 offers intelligent data validation, extensive calculations and customerspecific message output options. PC-based Vaisala Maritime Observation Console software is available, providing flexible real-time data visualization and archiving as well as visual observation augmentation to the universal FM-13 SHIP and IMMT-3 messages entered prior to transmission. The Vaisala Maritime Observation System MAWS410 is an excellent choice for maritime applications, where reliable and rugged design, ease of installation, low power consumption, automatic operation, interface with modern telecommunication options and long lifetime are required.  n

Vaisala Maritime Observation System MAWS410 is the ideal tool for premium maritime weather observations.

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |   21

Frank B. DeFina Sales Engineer Vaisala Boston, USA Shanthi Bhushan Senior Embedded Software Engineer, Metocean Data Systems Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Exploring the oceans It has been said that the Earth’s oceans are the last great unknown frontier. One company, Metocean Data Systems, has set out to measure them. Metocean has selected the Vaisala BAROCAP Barometer PTB110 compact pressure sensor to assist in this task, as it offers excellent longterm stability and low power consumption for its drifting buoys. Metocean has responded to the maturing drifting buoy market by introducing a compact and low-cost drifting buoy known as the SVP (Surface Velocity Program Drifter). Metocean produces over 400 spherical drifting buoys per year, and it has now teamed up with Vaisala to meet its customers’ demanding pressure measurement needs.


Stability to endure the rough seas “Metocean features state-of-the-art electronics and embedded software in all of its products. Barometric pressure is one of the most important atmospheric variables. Therefore, the stability of the sensor 22  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

Greg Connor Sales Manager, Metocean Data Systems Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

readings over time is very important,” given time. The more pressure readings says Shanthi Bhushan, Senior Embedded they have in the ocean, the more accurate Software Engineer at Metocean. the mathematical models. Mr. Bhushan The PTB110 has the accuracy and explains how the versatility of the PTB110 stability that is expected in any industry. makes it a good choice for end-users: “The In Metocean’s case, these variables are PTB110 barometer provides excellent paramount. The buoys travel with ocean stability over time, and the temperature currents and are deployed for 12 – 18 readings are highly reliable. It is easy to months at a time. They are subjected to incorporate into Metocean’s electronics temperature extremes and rough seas. and software as there are no calibration This type of application demands read- coefficients to be stored in the buoy elecings that are both accurate and stable. In tronics, and no complex math is required addition, because of a finite battery life, to calculate the barometric pressure.” low power consumption is a must. The PTB110, with an average power consump- Excellent service and tion of less than 4 mA, and long-term high quality products stability of ± .1 hPa/year, meets this “Vaisala is the industry standard for monichallenge. toring various meteorological parameMany of Metocean’s customers are ters. Excellent customer service and high from the scientific community, and quality products convinced Metocean to therefore they require long-term, accu- choose Vaisala barometers for its drifting rate data for their studies. According to buoys,” says Mr. Bhushan.   n Greg Connor, Sales Manager at Metocean, one of the largest customers is the Data Further information: Buoy Cooperation Panel. This organiza- tion maintains over 1250 SVP buoys at any

Marikka Nevamäki Editor in chief Vaisala Helsinki, Finland

"Teachers need support in finding new ways to teach science at schools, and tools to make science education stimulating and engaging." Marikka Nevamäki from Vaisala instructs students on how to fill in their weather diaries with real meteorological symbols.

Henrik Anttila is shown analyzing water samples taken from a lake by his team.

Hands-on natural science Teachers need support in finding new ways to teach science at schools, and tools to make science education stimulating and engaging. Motivating children to study science helps in inspiring a new generation of scientists, and individuals who are able to understand and care for their environment. So far, mankind has not scored high points for acting responsibly and sustainably regarding the environment. New generations are entering a world where environmental matters are in focus more than ever before.

Vaisala participates in an international science and education program for children called GLOBE - Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment. The program was first launched in 1994. The Globe program brings together a worldwide community of primary and secondary school students and teachers, scientists, and citizens. They are all working together to better understand, sustain, and improve the Earth’s environment on the local, regional, and global scales. The goal of the program is 178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  23

Teacher Timo Pakonen leads his group of students through some arid Finnish terrain.

to promote the teaching and learning of science and enhance environmental literacy and stewardship through active and fun hands-on participation.

Over 20,000 schools involved Globe is an interagency program funded by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is supported by the U.S. Department of State, and implemented through a cooperative agreement between NASA and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. Colorado State University (CSU) is also a key partner in Globe. Internationally, Globe is a partnership between the United States and over 100 countries, each of which manages and supports its unique national and regional program infrastructure and activities. Over 20,000 schools around the world are participating in the program.

Learning science through fun and games One of the most recent local-level Globe events was held in Central Finland in August 2008, when schoolchildren from 24  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

around the country and neighboring Estonia got together to compete in the Globe Games, held near the city of Oulu. Teams competed through a series of different tasks, all relating to environmental measurement and natural science. Echo-soundings and water sample analysis were carried out at a lake, soil qualities were analyzed, and different plants and insects identified. Weather observations were made on cloud formation, wind conditions, temperature and humidity. Teams tackled their tasks enthusiastically, and made many new friends during the three-day event. “These kinds of events are a great opportunity for students and teachers to network and learn while having fun and many memorable experiences. It is wonderful to have programs like this to spice up our teaching resources!” says teacher Markku Tossavainen.   n Further information:

GLOBE program provides the opportunity to learn by:

• Taking scientifically valid • • • •

measurements in the fields of atmosphere, hydrology, soils, and land cover/phenology Reporting data through the Internet Publishing research projects based on GLOBE data and protocols Creating maps and graphs on a free interactive website to analyze data sets Collaborating with scientists and other GLOBE students around the world

Briefly noted New humidity and temperature probe from Vaisala


The Vaisala HUMICAP Humidity and Temperature Probe HMP155 is designed to measure humidity and temperature, especially in meteorological applications. It is also suitable for a wide range of instrumentation, for example, recorders, data loggers, and laboratory equipment and monitoring. The HMP155 has a new-generation Vaisala HUMICAP 180R sensor, which provides long-term stability and withstands harsh environments well. The probe structure is solid and the sensor is protected with a sintered Teflon filter, giving maximum protection against liquid water, dust, and dirt. An additional temperature probe is also available enabling fast


measurement response in environments with rapidly varying temperatures. The HMP155 incorporates a patented warmed probe option that is designed for reliable measuring in environments where humidity is near saturation. As the sensor head is warmed continuously, the humidity level inside it stays below the ambient level, which reduces the risk of condensation forming on the probe.  n Further information:

Upgraded ultrasonic wind sensor from Vaisala


The Vaisala WINDCAP Ultrasonic Wind Sensor WMT52 developed for measuring horizontal wind speed and direction is an upgrade of the WMT50. The sensor has no moving parts, no field calibration is required, and it is virtually maintenance-free. The WMT52 housing with the mounting kit is classified as IP66. The transmitter’s new interface card fulfills the EMC/ESD requirements in the Marine IEC60945 standard. The WMT52 complies with the EMC standard EN61326-1; Industrial Environment. The transmitter is ROHS compliant.

Optional features for the WMT52 include heating and a bird spike kit. The WMT52 is designed especially for marine applications but also for meteorology, wind energy, transport, pollution control, and agriculture.  n Further information:

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  25

Briefly noted

Emphasis on comprehensive weather measurement networks The financial impact of severe weather phenomena, such as floods and storms, has been considerable all over the world. For example, in the USA alone, the total cost of the most serious weather disasters over the years 1980-2007 exceeded EUR 385 billion (Source: U.S. National Climatic Data Center, Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters). Weather service providers are focusing on providing increasingly accurate weather data and on improving the quality of forecasts. Vaisala’s global customer group is looking to Vaisala to provide them with increasingly comprehensive and diverse weather measurement networks.

Vaisala to deliver a weather measurement solution to Spain The authorities in the Galicia region, situated in the northwestern corner of Spain, placed an order with Vaisala for

26  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

precisely this kind of diverse weather measurement network. The region’s western and northern coastline borders the Atlantic Ocean. Severe storms and lightning are very common and they cause many injuries and a great deal of property damage every year. Vaisala will provide the Galicia region with a weather measurement solution comprising a weather radar that detects rain, a lightning detection network that detects thunder storms and an upper air sounding system. This solution makes it possible for the data collected from various sources to be combined, and this will noticeably improve the accuracy of the area’s long-range and short-range weather forecasting. The solution also includes a five-year maintenance contract.   n

The Vaisala Weather Transmitter WXT520 is an upgraded version of the WXT510. The WXT520 measures wind speed and direction, liquid precipitation, barometric pressure, temperature and relative humidity - all in one instrument. The precipitation measurement in the WXT520 is unique as it measures accumulated rainfall, rain intensity and duration, all in real time. It is based on the maintenance-free Vaisala RAINCAP sensor. The WXT520 housing with the mounting kit is classified as IP66. The transmitter’s new interface card fulfills the EMC/ESD requirements in the Marine IEC60945 standard. The WXT520 complies with the EMC standard EN61326-1; Industrial Environment. The transmitter is ROHS compliant.


A number of optional features are offered for the WXT520, such as, heating, a bird spike kit, a USB connection, and a new surge protector. The power consumption of the WXT520 is very low; it can use solar panels as an energy source. The WXT520 is suitable for weather stations, dense networks, buildings, golf courses, marinas, harbors, and hotels - almost anywhere where real-time weather data is needed.  n Further information:

Vaisala awarded phase II contract for the National Weather Service Next Generation NOAA Profiler Network Vaisala was recently awarded a second phase development contract for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Next Generation Profiler Network (NGNPN). The National Weather Service (NWS) is utilizing a multi-step, multiyear process for the design, development, manufacturing, and installation of high capability upper air wind profiler observation sites for the United States. The current NOAA wind profiler network was first deployed in 1990 – 1992 and has operated continuously ever since. The NGNPN upgrade will enhance the mission critical data which is distributed in real-time to government and university atmospheric researchers, private meteorologists, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, the Storm Prediction Center, all NWS Forecast Offices, and foreign agencies responsible for weather prediction.

With over 165 installations worldwide, Vaisala is a world leader in remote sensing of the atmosphere. Vaisala’s new windprofiler is a Doppler radar which provides vertical profiles of horizontal wind speed and direction, and vertical wind velocity to an altitude of 16 km above ground level. The system will operate unattended and provides continuous, near realtime atmospheric wind and temperature data with excellent spatial resolution. Vaisala was also awarded phase one of the upgrade project in March 2008. The next phase of engineering design effort for the government is scheduled for completion in March 2009.  n Further information:

(W)LAN and display alarm


Vaisala HUMICAP Humidity and Temperature Transmitter Series HMT330 has been upgraded with a (W)LAN option and a display alarm. The (W)LAN feature makes it easy to add a new humidity transmitter to an existing Ethernet network. Also, applications that do not allow the digging of new holes, or the installation of new cables, benefit from this solution. A new display alarm function is now a standard feature in Vaisala humidity transmitters equipped with a built-in display. With this function the user can set alarm trigger limits for two distinct measured quantities. When the trigger limits are exceeded, a real-time alarm appears on the display. New (W) LAN option is also available for dewpoint, moisture in oil and barometric pressure  n

Further information:

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  27

Briefly noted

Upgraded weather transmitter from Vaisala

Briefly noted Dr. Dmitri Moisseev training conference participants on radar software.

Vaisala at ERAD 2008 The fifth European Conference on Radar in Meteorology and Hydrology (ERAD) was held this year in Helsinki, Finland. A record number of participants - 340 - attended the event. Vaisala participated with its own exhibition stand and also

hosted several special events, such as a visit to EMHI’s (Estonian Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) radar site in Sürgavere, Estonia, and a reception at the Vaisala headquarters.   n

Vaisala selected to elite Cleantech Index (CTIUS) Vaisala has been selected by the Cleantech Group(TM), LLC to join its prestigious Cleantech Index (CTIUS). CTIUS is a stock market index intended to reflect the surging global demand for Cleantech products and services. The Cleantech Index is comprised of stocks of publicly traded companies worldwide that are leaders in Cleantech innovation and commercial deployment across a broad range of industry sectors: from alternative energy and energy efficiency to advanced materials, clean air & water, ecofriendly agriculture/nutrition, clean manufacturing, and more. Cleantech products are defined as knowledge-based products and services that add economic value by reducing cost, raising productivity and/or product performance while 28  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

reducing resource consumption and their negative impact on the environment and public health. Only 76 companies globally have qualified for the Index so far, and approximately half of these are non-US based. Vaisala now joins this elite group that must meet 18 screening criteria just to be shortlisted for selection - including profitability, growth, environmental impact, industry leadership, intellectual property, strategy, management quality, liquidity, and more. There are several investment funds that track the Cleantech Index, such the PowerShares Cleantech ETF (PZD) and the KSM Cleantech ETF in Israel (KSMCTIUS).  n

Briefly noted

Vaisala takes part in Formula 1 Vaisala’s office in Paris has signed a contract with Météo France for the assembly of four Vaisala Weather Transmitters WXT510 and two Vaisala Remote Road Surface Temperature Sensors DST111 to be used at Formula 1 circuits all over the world, in a re-installable mode. Météo France has an exclusive contract with the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) for the supply of weather forecasts on race weekends. The Vaisala equipment will be interfaced directly to Météo France’s computers and software, providing the F1 meterorologists with real-time weather data. The first set of equipment was used at Albert Park for the Australian GP 2008.  n

Vaisala to supply radiosondes to Australia Vaisala and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have signed an agreement to supply radiosondes for the upper air observation network of the Bureau. The duration of the agreement is three years, with an option for one additional year. Vaisala's upper air products are used to provide crucial data for weather forecasting.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology operates one of the world’s largest meteorological observation networks and is an existing customer for Vaisala upper air observation equipment.  n

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  29

Briefly noted Dr. E Philip Krider congratulated by Dr. Eric Betterton, Head Dept of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona.

Professor Philip Krider honored at the ILDC Over 150 atmospheric scientists and lightning experts from around the world paid special tribute to University of Arizona atmospheric sciences professor and renowned lightning expert Philip Krider at the 20th International Lightning Detection Conference, held in Tucson Arizona on April 21 – 23. Vaisala is the organizer of the bi-annual event.

Professor Krider was instrumental in developing the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network, the system that monitors the nearly 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes across the United States every year. The network is owned and operated by Vaisala.  n

New transmitter for moisture in oil measurement Vaisala has extended its moisture in oil product range with the Vaisala HUMICAP Moisture and Temperature Transmitter for Oil MMT162. This new transmitter offers a compact and economical solution for reliable continuous measurement of moisture in oil.


30  |   Vaisala News  178 / 2008

Typical applications for the MMT162 are lubrication systems, hydraulic systems, and transformers. Its measurements can be used for on-line moisture monitoring and as a control function, allowing dryers and oil purifiers to be started only when necessary.  n

Briefly noted Online movie on industrial oxygen measurement


Watch an online movie on industrial oxygen measurement and learn about Vaisala’s SPECTRACAP technology.

Contact the Vaisala News team Marikka Nevamäki Editor-in-Chief

For subscriptions, cancellations, feedback and changes of address, please contact the Vaisala News team by sending an email to Thank you for your intrest.

178 / 2008  Vaisala News  |  31


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Asia and Pacific

Vaisala Oyj P.O. Box 26, FI-00421 Helsinki FINLAND Telephone: +358 9 894 91 Telefax: +358 9 8949 2227

Vaisala Inc. Boston Office 10-D Gill Street Woburn, MA 01801 USA Telephone: +1 781 933 4500 Telefax: +1 781 933 8029

Vaisala KK Tokyo Office 42 Kagurazaka 6-Chome Shinjuku-Ku Tokyo 162-0825 JAPAN Telephone: +81 3 3266 9611 Telefax: +81 3 3266 9610

Vaisala Oyj Stockholm office Isafjordsgatan 22, B 5tr 16440 Kista SWEDEN Vaisala GmbH Hamburg Office Schnackenburgallee 41 D-22525 Hamburg GERMANY Telephone: +49 40 839 030 Telefax: +49 40 839 03 110 Vaisala GmbH Bonn Office Adenauerallee 15 D-53111 Bonn GERMANY Telephone: +49 228 24 9710 Telefax: +49 228 249 7111 Vaisala GmbH Stuttgart Office Bahnhofstr. 3 73066 Uhingen GERMANY Telephone: +49 7161 654 9440 Telefax: +49 7161 654 9450 Vaisala Ltd Birmingham Operations Vaisala House 349 Bristol Road Birmingham B5 7SW UNITED KINGDOM Telephone: +44 121 683 1200 Telefax: +44 121 683 1299 Vaisala Ltd Newmarket Office Unit 9, Swan Lane Exning Newmarket Suffolk CB8 7FN UNITED KINGDOM Telephone: +44 1638 576 200 Telefax: +44 1638 576 240 Vaisala SAS Paris Office 2, rue Stéphenson F-78181 Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines FRANCE Telephone: +33 1 3057 2728 Telefax: +33 1 3096 0858 Vaisala SAS Marseille Office 2, rue de Beausset 13001 Marseille FRANCE Telephone:+33 4 8866 1751 Telefax:+33 1 3096 0858

Vaisala Inc. Columbus Office 1372 Oxley Road Columbus, Ohio 43212 USA Vaisala Inc. Boulder Operations 194 South Taylor Avenue Louisville, CO 80027 USA Telephone: +1 303 499 1701 Telefax: +1 303 499 1767 Vaisala Inc. San Jose Office 6980 Santa Teresa Blvd Suite 203 San Jose, CA 95119-1393 USA Telephone: +1 408 578 3670 Telefax: +1 408 578 3672 Vaisala Inc. Tucson Operations 2705 East Medina Road Tucson, Arizona 85706, USA Telephone: +1 520 806 7300 Telefax: +1 520 741 2848 U.S. Toll Free 1 800 283 4557 Vaisala Inc. Houston Office 1120 Nasa Road 1 Suite 220-E Houston, TX 77058 USA Telephone: +1 281 335 9955 Telefax: +1 281-335-9956 Vaisala Inc. Minneapolis Office 6300 34th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55450 USA Telephone: +1 612 727 1084 Telefax: +1 612 727 3895 Vaisala Inc. Westford Office 7A Lyberty Way Westford MA 01886 USA Telephone: +1 978 692 9234 Telefax: +1 978 692 9575 Vaisala Inc. Regional Office Canada 37 De Tarascon Blainville QC J7B 6B7 CANADA Telephone: +1 450 430 0880 Telefax: +1 450 430 6410

Vaisala Pty Ltd Melbourne Office 3 Guest Street Hawthorn, VIC 3122 AUSTRALIA Telephone: +61 3 9815 6700 Telefax: +61 3 9815 6799 Vaisala China Ltd. Beijing Office Floor 2, EAS Building No. 21, Xiao Yun Road Dongsanhuan Beilu Chaoyang District Beijing 100027 People’s Republic of China Telephone: +86 10 8526 1199 Telefax: +86 10 8526 1155 Vaisala Shenzhen Building 1 17B China Phoenix Building Shennan Avenue Futian District Shenzhen C-518026 People’s Republic of China Telephone: + 86 755 8279 2442 Telefax: + 86 755 8279 2404 Vaisala Shanghai contact address 6F 780 Cailun Lu Pudong New Area 201203 Shanghai People’s Republic of China Telephone: + 86 21 5132 0656 Telefax: + 86 21 5132 0657 Vaisala Regional Office Malaysia Level 9, West Block Wisma Selangor Dredging 142-C Jalan Ampang 50450 Kuala Lumpur MALAYSIA Telephone: +60 3 2163 3363 Telefax: +60 3 2164 3363 Vaisala India Regus Business Center Room No. 418, Level 4 Rectangle 1 Commercial Complex D4, Saket New Delhi 110017 India Telephone: +91 11 4051 4056 Telefax: +91 11 4051 4052

Middle East Vaisala UAE contact address P.O.Box : 9197 Khalifa Al Naboodah Building 1st Floor Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai United Arab Emirates Telephone +971 4 321 9112 Telefax +971 4 321 9113

C210053EN 2008-10

Vaisala Oyj Malmö Office Drottninggatan 1 D S - 212 11 Malmö SWEDEN Telephone: +46 40 298 991, in Sweden: 0200 848 848 Telefax.: +46 40 298 992, in Sweden: 0200 849 849

Vaisala News 178