NOAA REPORT - PDF by gabyion


									                              NOAA REPORT
   Vol. XII, no. 10                                                               October 2003

Isabel: A Forecast Chronicle                                                                       NOAA Recovers
—By Frank C. Lepore
                                                   a busy time in a season expected to
Saturday, Sept. 6, 2003
 9 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time
                                                   produce above-average levels of                 Sonar Lost at Sea
                                                   storm activity.
                                                      Hurricane Fabian and Tropical                —By Jim Milbury

H     urricane specialists at NOAA’s
      National Hurricane Center in
Miami, Fla., are adept at multi-
                                                   Storm Henri pirouette over the
                                                   open Atlantic. In the eastern
                                                   Pacific, Tropical Storm Kevin makes
                                                                                                   I  n September, a NOAA-led team
                                                                                                       aboard the R/V Shearwater
                                                                                                   recovered a sophisticated sonar that
tasking. At this hour, duty fore-                  less dramatic moves.                            had been lost off the coast of
caster Lixion Avila has one eye on                    Each storm is visible to NOAA’s              southern California in August.
the calendar, the other on three                   Geostationary Operational Envi-                    The portable sonar, which can
color-enhanced satellite images.                   ronmental Satellite or its European             be temporarily mounted to a metal
   Other hurricane specialists look                counterpart, METEOSAT, and can                  pipe below a ship, inexplicably
over his shoulder, kibitzing on the                be displayed to weather forecasters             broke off the NOAA Ship David
wording of the public advisory                     as a repetitive sequence of images.             Starr Jordan in over 250 feet of
Avila types on a computer terminal.                A storm’s life is reduced to an                 water 100 miles offshore during a
   Sept. 6 is only four days shy of                animation that provides a good                  NOAA Fisheries cruise in search of
the Atlantic hurricane season’s mid-               estimate of its direction and                   white abalone.
point—climatologically the day of                  intensity.                                         The sonar, no bigger than a five-
greatest frequency for Atlantic                       Along with this activity, forecast-          gallon bucket, is a scarce and
hurricanes and tropical storms. It is              continued on page 6                             highly specialized piece of equip-
                                                                                                   ment with a price tag of $228,000,
                                                                                                   used for research off California and
                                                                                                   Antarctica by NOAA, the National
                                                                                                   Science Foundation and others.
                                                                                                      The loss effectively ended the
                                                                                                   abalone research four days early.
                                                                                                      “We were stunned and in
                                                                                                   shock,” said California State
                                                                                                   University associate professor Rikk
                                                                                                   Kvitek, the operator of the
                                                                                                   multibeam sonar.
                                                                                                      “It was unbelievable,” said John
                                                                                                   Wagner, senior biological techni-
                                                                                                   cian from NOAA’s Southwest
                                                                                                   Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla,
                                                                                                   Calif. “Everyone was just de-
                                                                                                      Initial assessments of the chances
                                                                                                   of recovering the sonar were not
                                                                       Andy Newman for NOAA           There were no large oceano-
In a television interview, National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield uses a GOES sat-        graphic research vessels normally
ellite image to illustrate Hurricane Isabel’s approach to North Carolina’s Outer Banks Sept. 16.   continued on page 2

2                                                                                                            NOAA Report / October 2003

Lost Sonar                                        designed for marine research and
                                                  diving operations around the
                                                                                                 precaution when the divers were in
                                                                                                 the water.
continued from page 1                             picturesque Channel Islands, the                  On Sept. 6, Shearwater departed
used for high sea operations avail-               boat could be used in other coastal            Ventura Harbor with an anxious
able to return to the site. The                   areas as well.                                 but optimistic group of scientists
depth of the sonar was also far                      “We’re all part of NOAA and we              and divers. At 1:30 p.m., the crew
deeper than NOAA’s standard                       all work together,” said Channel               put the ROV in the water where
operating limits for diving. Finan-               Islands sanctuary manager Chris                the last positional data were
cial resources at the end of the                  Mobley. “This was a great opportu-             received from the sonar.
fiscal year were scarce. And even if              nity to work with NOAA Fisheries                  Ten minutes later the control
the sonar was found and retrieved,                and also a great opportunity for our           room erupted in cheers with “high
there was no guarantee it would                   crew to learn about remote operat-             fives” everywhere. The ROV found
still be operational.                             ing vehicle and technical diving               the sonar within 15 feet of the
    “Despite the challenges, we all               operations.”                                   estimated location, sitting on a bed
thought we had to try,” said                         The next hurdle was finding                 of sand.
Melissa Neuman, one of the                        divers with the expertise to swim as              Shearwater’s captain, Luman
NOAA southwest region scientists                  deep as 275 feet, a difficult dive             Moody, held Shearwater in position
and de facto coordinator for the                  even for experienced divers.                   over the sonar, countering deterio-
overall recovery project for the                     Fortunately, the Southwest                  rating wind and current conditions
sonar.                                            Fisheries Science Center was                   while keeping the 300 feet of
    Neuman was soon on the phone,                 already working on another diving              tether line attached to the ROV
mediating conference calls with as                project with just such a group, the            away from the propellers as the
many as 12 participants at a time,                Cambrian Foundation, which is                  divers entered the water.
including scientists, divers, engi-               dedicated to research, education,                 “The Shearwater was able to do
neers and lawyers.                                preservation and exploration of the            this because it was really designed
    The first bit of positive news                aquatic realm.                                 to have a lot of capabilities and
came from the Channel Islands                        Cambrian Foundation divers                  abilities you would normally find
National Marine Sanctuary in                      donated their time, equipment and              on a larger oceanographic ship,”
Santa Barbara, Calif., operated by                expertise to help in the recovery.             said Mobley. “We like to call it a
NOAA’s National Ocean Service.                       The final piece of the puzzle fell          big boat in a small package.”
The sanctuary had recently com-                   into place when the California                    The divers with their bulky
missioned the R/V Shearwater, a                   Department of Fish and Game                    tanks and gauges descended to the
62-foot catamaran. Although                       provided support craft as a safety             sonar following the tether line of
                                                                                                 the ROV. Within two minutes the
                                                                                                 divers were on the bottom. It took
                                                                                                 only another four minutes to send
                                                                                                 the sonar to the surface in an
                                                                                                 inflatable bag. The entire dive took
                                                                                                 less than an hour.
                                                                                                    The moment of truth came
                                                                                                 when Kvitek powered up the
                                                                                                 salvaged sonar in his Cal State
                                                                                                 laboratory in Monterey Bay and
                                                                                                 found it to be operational.
                                                                                                    “We’re very proud of how the
                                                                                                 vessel operated and how each of the
                                                                                                 teams worked together,” said Dana
                                                                                                 Wilkes, the National Marine
                                                                                                 Sanctuary Program’s marine and
                                                                                                 aviation operations coordinator. “It
                                                                                                 was the quality of the people out
                                                       John Sukhil/Calif. Dept. of Fish & Game   there that allowed us to meet each
Divers prepare to descend to recovery an expensive sonar lost off the coast of southern          challenge satisfactorily and over-
California, as the NOAA R/V Shearwater stands by.                                                come them.”
October 2003 / NOAA Report                                                                                                3

                                         Messaging Operations Center.
                                            Without the quick-fix efforts of
                                         the Messaging Operations Center,
                                         Falk said, “we wouldn’t have been
                                         able to get e-mail in or out or
                                         communicate across the organiza-
                                         tion. A lot of the way we do
                                         business and communicate, do
                                         disaster preparedness or anything
                                         else is through e-mail.”
                                            Had the Sobig.f worm struck
                                         during a hurricane, it could have a
                                         catastrophic impact on NOAA’s
                                         ability to get out hurricane fore-
                                         casts and warnings to the public.
                                            Holtzer was the right man in the
                                         right place at the right time to
                       Janet Ward/NOAA                                                                Marc Pulliam/NOAA
                                         defend NOAA from Sobig.f.
Donald Holtzer.                                                                 Lauraleen O’Connor.
                                            But except for happenstance, he

The Employee of                          might instead have been playing
                                         trombone.                              The Team Member
the Month Is                                Holtzer, a Washington, D.C.,
                                         native who grew up in North
                                                                                of the Month Is
Donald Holtzer                           Carolina, earned a degree in music
                                         from the prestigious Peabody
                                                                                Lauraleen O’Connor
—By Dane Konop                           Conservatory of Music in Baltimore     —By John Leslie

W      hen that most insidious of
       chain e-mail messages, the
Sobig.f worm, struck in mid-
                                         in 1982.
                                            “I took lessons from someone in
                                         the Chicago Symphony and got a
                                                                                L    auraleen O’Connor, the NOAA
                                                                                     Team Member of the Month
                                                                                for October, remembers the story
August, some of the largest              masters degree from Roosevelt          well. On Tuesday, June 17 of this
Internet providers nearly shut           University, also in music,” Holtzer    year, she broke her left arm. If that
down under a barrage of millions of      said. “I was trying to get a job       wasn’t bad enough, O’Connor, a
bogus messages. Even though              playing in a professional symphony     contractor with Mitretek Systems
message traffic at NOAA qua-             orchestra.”                            of Falls Church, Va., had signed up
drupled, NOAA e-mail users barely           At about the same time,             to volunteer at the busy NOAA
noticed, thanks in large part to the     Holtzer’s uncle bought an informa-     Fish Fry—the next day.
efforts of NOAA’s Messaging              tion technology business and               “At the time, I didn’t even know
Operations Center in Silver Spring,      recruited members of his family to     my arm was broken, but I knew
Md., led by the October Employee         work there, including Holtzer.         something was wrong when I was
of the Month, Donald Holtzer.               “I was a starving musician. So I    cleaning the crab legs,” she said.
   But it was not an easy fix.           decided to go to work for him,”        Right after the Fish Fry ended,
Holtzer and his four-person staff        Holtzer said.                          O’Connor drove herself to the
worked around the clock on two              He worked there for nine years,     emergency room and came out
occasions, locating and manually         occasionally playing orchestra gigs,   with a cast covering everything
removing infected messages sent to       before coming to NOAA ten years        except her finger tips.
NOAA before an automated patch           ago.                                       Her colleagues say the episode is
could be applied to the mail                “I started out working on a         typical of O’Connor’s work ethic in
system.                                  desktop data base management           her job, setting the environmental
   “The Messaging Operations             system,” he said, in the computer      requirements for the next genera-
Center is the organization that          division of what was then the          tion of NOAA’s geostationary and
runs the boxes that talk to the          Office of Administration, before       polar-orbiting satellites, called the
outside world,” said Gary L. Falk,       becoming the “postmaster at            Geostationary Environment Satel-
director of the Information Tech-” Again, Holtzer was at       lite System Series R, GOES-R for
nology Center, which includes the        continued on page 8                    continued on page 8
4                                                                                                           NOAA Report / October 2003

                                                                                               New Weather
      Focus On…                                                                                Office Opens
                                                                                               in Yap State
                                                                                               —By Delores Clark

                                                                                               W       hat do ancient stone coins,
                                                                                                       manta rays and betelnuts
                                                                                               have in common with weather
                                                                                                   They are all products of the Yap
                                                                                               State of the Federated States of
                                                                                               Micronesia, where the newest
                                                                                               NOAA weather office was dedi-
                                                                                               cated Sept. 17.
                                                                                                   The afternoon-long dedication
                                                                                               ceremony resembled a luau, replete
                                                                                               with native dancers wearing flower
                                                                                               leis and colorful costumes and
                                                                                               tables laden with roast pig, lobsters
                                                                                               and local delicacies.
                                                                         Ellan Taylor/NOAA
                                                                                                   The village of Milew presented
Speakers at the dedication ceremony for the new NOAA weather office in the Yap State of the
                                                                                               the weather office with a large
Federated States of Micronesia were (left to right) John Mooteb, deputy assistant secretary,
Pohnpei Office of Environment and Sustainable Development; Ceasar Hadley, meteorologist in     stone coin once used as currency in
charge, Pohnpei weather Office; David Aranug, meteorologist in charge, Yap weather office;     ancient Yap in payment for good
Genevieve Miller, meteorologist in charge, Guam forecast office; Yap Gov. Robert Ruecho; R.    weather forecasts in the future.
Jeff LaDouce, director, National Weather Service Pacific region; and Tom Hushek, deputy            More than 300 people attended
chief of mission, U.S. Embassy.                                                                the festivities and toured the new
                                                                                                   Yap is one of four island states in
                                                                                               the Federated States of Micronesia,
                                                                                               which stretches across almost
                                                                                               2,000 miles, four time zones and
                                                                                               the international dateline in the
                                                                                               Pacific Ocean just north of the
                                                                                               equator and nine hours west of
                                                                                                   This part of the Pacific is known
                                                                                               for the high number of tropical
                                                                                               storms that develop each year—28
                                                                                               on average.
                                                                                                   Following World War II, Yap
                                                                                               and other Micronesian islands
                                                                                               became part of a United Nations
                                                                                               trusteeship administered by the
                                                                                               United States until gaining sover-
                                                                         Ellan Taylor/NOAA     eignty in 1979. In 1986, the
Residents of Kaday Village welcome the new NOAA weather office on the island State of Yap      Federated States of Micronesia
with a traditional Yapese dance.                                                               continued on page 5
October 2003 / NOAA Report                                                                                                            5

continued from page 4                             With a facade designed to                 Aranug is the first graduate of
entered into a compact of free                 resemble a traditional Yapese             this program. He received his
association with the United States,            structure, the building embodies          degree from the University of
which provides for weather forecast            many safety and energy saving             Hawaii and trained at the Guam
services from NOAA.                            features including reinforced             forecast office prior to assuming the
   The Yap office is one of 10                 concrete walls, typhoon shutters, a       top position at Yap in 1999.
NOAA Weather Service offices in                covered back-up generator and                Life is simple in Yap. There are
the Pacific, including two others in           redundant air conditioning sys-           no traffic lights. There is a weekly
the Federated States of Micronesia.            tems.                                     newspaper, one television station,
   The weather offices in Micro-                  “Construction materials are            which airs two-week old program-
nesia are operated around the clock            environmentally sensitive and             ming from noon until midnight,
by NOAA’s National Weather                     sustainable,” said David Aranug,          one AM radio station and two FM
Service and staffed with country               meteorologist in charge of the Yap        stations that play music and report
nationals, who are employed by                 office. “The builders used non-           community news.
their respective governments                   toxic paints and sealants. Multiple          “In the absence of major media,
through a NOAA-administered                    light levels and energy efficient         disseminating weather information
reimbursable contract, a unique                bulbs were selected for indoor            is a challenge,” Aranug said. “But
arrangement for the Weather                    lighting, and the external lighting       we work closely with the disaster
Service.                                       is directed downward to prevent           management office and our village
   The offices are responsible for             night-sky light pollution. Windows        chiefs to get the word out. Having
collecting surface and upper air               are designed to allow most spaces         our new office up and running with
observations, issuing local adaptive           to be day-lit, if desired. Native         the upgraded communications will
forecasts and warnings and dissemi-            plants and landscaping were               make a big difference when the
nating typhoon, high surf, tsunami             selected for the grounds,” Aranug         next storm hits.”
and other severe weather warnings              said.                                        Yap Gov. Robert Ruecho said,
to the public. The Weather Service                Another feature of the unique          “We are grateful to have this facility
provides technical oversight of the            weather forecasting compact with          in our community and will rest
operations.                                    Yap is a university training program      easier when the next typhoon
   The facility on Yap replaces one            designed to place fully trained local     threatens, knowing that we have
built in the 1950’s and operated               nationals as meteorologists at each       the best technology and trained
by the then U.S. Weather Bureau.               Micronesian weather office.               meteorologists available.”

                                                                      EllanTaylor/NOAA                            Ellan Taylor/NOAA
Kaday Village dancers perform the traditional Micronesian bamboo dance.                  A petite dancer enjoys the festivities.
6                                                                                          NOAA Report / October 2003

Isabel                                 miles east of the northern end of
                                       the Leeward Islands. The storm is
                                                                               home,” sighs one hurricane center
continued from page 1                  moving steadily along a west-
ers monitor another area of dis-       northwest course at 14 mph. Its         Thursday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m. EDT
turbed weather further east in the     sustained winds have increased, as         Forecasters eagerly read the
Atlantic. The mass of clouds, some     forecast, to 135 mph with higher        morning’s data developments for
3,200 miles southeast of Miami,        gusts. Isabel is now a cat 4.           clues to the storm’s intended
shows signs of significant organiza-       The situation elicits concerned     target.
tion. When satellite analyses          comments by assembled forecasters          With sustained winds of 150
indicate winds of 39 mph, Avila        about the destructive effects a cat 4   mph, now 535 miles east-northeast
starts advisory #1 on a storm called   can cause: Storm surges 13 to18         of the northern Leeward Islands,
“Isabel.”                              feet above normal. Extensive wall       Isabel’s trajectory looks as if the
   The advisory notes that Isabel is   failures with some complete roof        storm’s taking aim at south Florida.
moving westward at 22 mph,             structure failures on small resi-       The hurricane, however, is more
bearing 270 degrees, with sus-         dences. Shrubs, trees and signs         than five days away from the
tained winds of 39 mph gusting to      blown down. Destruction of              Miami area. Any forecast at this
50 mph. The forecast indicates the     mobile homes. Extensive damage to       time range is far from certain.
threat of a more powerful storm in     doors and windows. Low-lying               Forecaster Richard Pasch head-
the days to come.                      escape routes cut by rising water       lines advisory #22, “Extremely
                                       three to five hours before arrival of   dangerous Hurricane Isabel contin-
Sunday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m. EDT           the center of the hurricane. Major      ues moving westward.” This time,
   The storm named Isabel be-          damage to lower floors of structures    there is no kibitzing.
comes the fourth hurricane of the      near the shore. Terrain lower than
season. Still some 1,610 miles east    10 feet above sea level flooded.        Friday, Sept. 12, 11 a.m. EDT
of the Leeward Islands, Hurricane      Massive evacuation of residential          Isabel continues its tack west-
Isabel now has sustained winds of      areas as far inland as six miles.       ward, but the storm is edging
75 mph. Hurricane specialist Stacy         Such a storm bringing winds of      closer, now a scant 370 miles east-
Stewart has the day shift. His         that force some 45 miles from its       northeast of the northern Leeward
advisory #7 notes Isabel is growing,   center would be a disaster if it        Islands. Winds have ratcheted-up
but over the open ocean, posing no     made landfall.                          to 160 mph, an extremely danger-
threat to land.                                                                ous cat 5. Isabel’s hurricane force
                                       Wednesday, Sept. 10, 11 a.m. EDT        winds now extend some 70 miles
Monday, Sept. 8, 11 p.m EDT               “Isabel a category 4 hurricane       from center.
   Traveling over very warm water      while continuing to move west-             Advisory #27 also reports that
in the central Atlantic, and with      ward,” reads the headline for the       NOAA and U.S. Air Force Reserve
atmospheric conditions ripe for        11 a.m. advisory. It is an ominous      “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft will
development, Isabel explodes into a    trend.                                  begin their surveillance flights
major hurricane with sustained            Isabel had turned westward late      around the hurricane this after-
winds of 115 mph radiating about       Tuesday, and is maintaining its         noon, providing data critical for
35 miles from its center. Isabel is    westward course.                        initializing NOAA’s Environmental
now a category 3 hurricane on the         Although Isabel is some 750          Modeling Center numerical
1 to 5 Saffir-Simpson hurricane        miles east of the northern Leeward      models.
scale. As a “cat 3,” Isabel becomes    Islands, if one made allowances for
the second major hurricane of the      the forecast error—the average          Saturday, Sept. 13, 5 p.m. EDT
2003 season. Churning some             difference between the storm’s             Since Isabel had earlier weakened
1,265 miles east of the Leeward        forecasted position and it’s actual     slightly, hurricane specialist
Islands, Isabel is moving to the       position 120 hours into the             Stewart’s advisory #31 reads,
west-northwest at 14 mph.              future—south Florida would fall         “Isabel strengthens back into a
   Stewart’s advisory #18 cautions,    under the outer fringe of the “cone     category 5 hurricane. Air Force
“Isabel could become a category 4      of uncertainty” and the hurricane’s     Reserve and NOAA Hurricane
later today or Tuesday.”               possible path.                          Hunters confirm.”
                                          “There is nothing like doing            Isabel is 375 miles northeast of
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 11 a.m EDT           your job, and simultaneously            San Juan, Puerto Rico, with winds
  Isabel’s course is centered 980      worrying about your family and          continued on page 7
October 2003 / NOAA Report                                                                                                             7

Isabel                                   With sustained winds of 105 mph,
                                         Hurricane Isabel is now a lot
                                                                                          of 100 mph are expected. Hatteras,
                                                                                          N.C., reports a wind gust of 79
continued from page 6                    weaker, but still dangerous. A                   mph, with 85 mph winds at
nearly 160 mph. Hurricane-force          category 2 storm is likely to hit                Ocracoke Island, N.C.
winds extend 90 miles from its           North Carolina’s Outer Banks.                       A storm surge of five to eight
center. Isabel’s satellite portrait                                                       feet is expected near and to the
shows a huge, menacing eye.              Wednesday, Sept. 17, 5 p.m. EDT                  north of the point of landfall.
                                            “Large Hurricane Isabel closing                  Near-record tide levels are
Sunday, Sept. 14, 5 a.m. EDT             in on the coast. All preparations to             expected in portions of Chesapeake
   Advisory #35 reads, “Dangerous        protect life and property should be              Bay and its tributaries, causing
Isabel remains just below category       rushed to completion,” Franklin                  major damage.
5 strength.”                             writes in advisory #47.
   At the upper end of the Saffir-          Now located 315 miles south-                  Epilogue
Simpson hurricane intensity scale,       southeast of Cape Hatteras, Isabel                  A hurricane, even a category 2
the distinction in destructive           has increased its forward speed to               hurricane, can produce casualties
potential between 155- and 160-          14 mph. Peak winds are near 105                  and damage far beyond its immedi-
mph winds is only academic.              mph, and hurricane force winds                   ate landfall. Isabel’s large size—
   Isabel’s hurricane force winds        extend 115 miles from the center.                several hundred miles wide—
now extend outward 100 miles                When a storm hits a coast head-               brought tropical storm force winds
from center. Isabel is getting           on, the storm surge can push tides               as far north as Pennsylvania.
bigger, with the potential to inflict    seven to 11 feet above normal                       At least eight deaths were
damage over a larger area.               levels. Battering waves and surge                attributed directly and six deaths
   Isabel’s trajectory has changed,      cause the greatest damage to the                 indirectly to Isabel.
with the storm now moving more           fragile coastline and beachfront                    Some six million homes and
north-northwest.                         buildings.                                       business from North Carolina’s
   While the Turks and Caicos                                                             Outer Banks to New York were
Islands, Bahamas and south Florida       Thursday, Sept. 18, 11 p.m. EDT                  without power for days.
are spared, the Atlantic seaboard           “Eyewall of Isabel coming ashore                 Damage estimates range from $1
appears the intended target.             on the North Carolina Outer                      billion to $2 billion.
                                         Banks,” hurricane specialists                       Without the advance forecasts of
Monday, Sept. 15, 11 a.m. EDT            Franklin and Stewart write in                    the storm, which gave residents in
   Hurricane specialist James            advisory #51.                                    Isabel’s path plenty of time to
Franklin’s forecast reflects a slowing      A hurricane warning is now in                 prepare, the toll on lives and
in Isabel’s forward speed and a          effect from Cape Fear, N.C., to                  property clearly could have been
lessening of its intensity. A turn to    Chincoteague, Va. Sustained winds                much worse.
the northwest is expected over the
next 24 hours. Now 505 miles east
of Nassau, Isabel has sustained
winds of 140 mph 115 miles from
center. Large ocean swells and surf
conditions are affecting the Greater
and Lesser Antilles and the
Bahamas.esday, Sept. 16
   Advisory #42 reads, “Hurricane
watch issued as Isabel moves to the
north-northwest.” A “watch” means
hurricane conditions are generally
possible within 36 hours.
   Franklin reports that Isabel has
made its move, taking aim at the
North Carolina-Virginia coasts.
   Isabel is now 660 miles south-
southeast of Cape Hatteras, moving                                                                               Dane Konop/NOAA
to the north-northwest at 8 mph.         Isabel caused extensive flooding of the Potomac River and other Chesapeake Bay tributaries.
8                                                                                              NOAA Report / October 2003

Holtzer                                 O’Connor                                 for the NPOESS Joint Agency
continued from page 3                   continued from page 3                    Requirements Group and the
the right place at the right time.      short, and the National Polar-           NPOESS Senior Users Advisory
   “That’s when government              Orbiting Environmental Satellite         Group, O’Connor is busy coordi-
basically started using the             System, or NPOESS, which will            nating the complex data-gathering
Internet,” Holtzer said. “I took over   merge the existing satellite systems     requirements of the advanced
managing the Web server there.”         of NOAA, the Defense Department          satellite system.
He then moved to the NOAA mail          and NASA into a single program.             “The tricky part is making sure
hub, set up so that the various            “No matter the challenge,             the NPOESS instruments meet the
types of e-mail systems then            Lauraleen lets nothing stand in her      various environmental observation
operating within NOAA could             way of doing what’s necessary to         needs of all the agencies involved,
communicate with each other.            make our operations successful,”         including some European commu-
   Later, working with the newly        said Gary Davis, director of the         nities,” O’Connor said.
formed Messaging Configuration          Office of Systems Development for           The information NPOESS
Board, he was part of the push to a     NOAA’s Satellite and Information         collects from space will be fed into
single, NOAA-wide messaging             Service.                                 a database that respective agencies
system.                                    Working at a top government           can access and understand. When
   Holtzer continued with his           science agency was hardly what           NPOESS is deployed in 2018,
music on the side, once taking a        O’Connor expected to do while            officials expect it to increase the
month off from work in 1998 to          growing up in the San Francisco          timeliness and accuracy of severe
tour with an orchestra in Germany.      Bay area.                                weather event forecasts and reduce
On tour, he met his wife, Julia, also      When she graduated from San           the potential loss of human life and
a musician. They now live in            Francisco State University with a        property resulting from severe
Bristow, Va., with son Andreas.         degree in liberal arts and elemen-       weather.
   As the manager of the Messaging      tary education, O’Connor had her            Additionally, the system’s
Operations Center, Holtzer said he      sights set on a long career in the       advanced microwave imagery and
now spends his time working with        classroom. But she realized early on     sounding data products are ex-
the various server operators, making    that teaching young children             pected to improve the prediction of
sure NOAA’s e-mail system runs          wasn’t her calling, and joined the       ocean surface wind speeds and
smoothly.                               Air Force. That move sent her to         direction.
   “We tell them how to configure       the University of Utah, where she           “What I enjoy most about my
their mail servers to work within       earned a B.S. degree in meteorol-        job is that it will lead to an im-
the NOAA infrastructure,” he said.      ogy.                                     provement in the weather products,
“And when they have a problem,             Connor’s first assignment in the      which will make a difference in the
they call us up and ask for help—       Air Force was as a staff weather         day-to-day lives of people around
queues filling up, mailboxes filling    officer to the U.S. Army’s Third         the world,” O’Connor said.
up, servers breaking down for one       Armored Division and a forecaster
reason or another.”                     for the helicopter flight operations.     The NOAA Report is a monthly publi-
   Holtzer is now working on            A few years later, she earned an          cation for NOAA employees from the
something new for the NOAA e-           M.S. degree in atmospheric science        Office of Public and Constituent Affairs,
mail community—an enterprise            from Colorado State University and        Washington, D.C.
calendar system, due to debut in        went on to work for the Air Force         Address comments to:
January, that will allow employees      Combat Climatology Center at              Editor, The NOAA Report
to coordinate schedules and plan        Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.         1315 East-West Highway
meetings and other group activities        As an Air Force meteorologist,         SSMC3, room 10853
                                                                                  Silver Spring, MD 20910
electronically and NOAA-wide.           O’Connor had assignments at the
                                                                                  301-713-9042 (voice)
   In the meantime, although he         Pentagon and in Germany. After 21         301-713-9049 (fax)
isn’t quitting his day job anytime      years of service, she retired from the    Email:
soon, Holtzer hasn’t given up on        Air Force in 2000. Her final Air          NOAA Report Online: http://
trombone. He next plays Nov. 1          Force assignment was as the liaison
with the Jewish Community               officer at the NPOESS Integrated          Jordan St. John, director, OPCA
Center of Greater Washington            Program Office.                           Dane Konop, editor
Orchestra in Rockville, Md.                Now, as the executive secretary

To top