As shown below, NOAAPORT basically consists of a satellite receive system in which multiple data types which originate at the NWS are uplinked to a satellite, then downlinked back to a properly-equipped ground station (satellite dish) for processing by the customer. Types of data that are transmitted on NOAAPORT include text data, such as forecasts, watches and warnings, satellite imagery, radar data, and computer model data.
In 2005, the NWS completed a switchover to a scalable circuit technology called Digital Video Broadcast-Satellite (DVB-S), which allowed information to travel at up to 10 megabits-per-second (Mbps). In the past 5 years, the amount of weather information that is being sent over the NOAAPORT signal has increased such that the current "pipe" of 10Mbps is no longer large enough to support new data types that are ready to be distributed on NOAAPORT. Thus, on Friday (June 17, 2011) at 7pm CDT, the NWS will switch off the current DVB-S feed and will begin using a new DVB-S2 feed, which allows data to flow at 3 times the rate (30Mbps) of the current feed.
What will be the end result? The larger feed will allow new weather technologies like enhanced model data, next generation satellites that are coming online, and an ever-increasing amount of radar data (including the newest dual polarization products now in test) to be distributed to customers and vendors. This means that these weather vendors will then have access to the latest weather technology, which they can then pass on to the public!
|Typical NOAAPORT satellite dish - photo courtesy Danny Lloyd|
So, be watching in the next several months to years for new weather information to become available, much of it thanks to the upgrade of the National Weather Service's primary data distribution system - NOAAPORT.
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