Introduction     Office Timeline     Then and Now     Staff  

 

Advancements in science and technology has changed National Weather Service's offices and operations throughout the years. Below are a few pictures showing how things were at the NWS Bismarck WFO in the past, and how they are now.

 

 

 

Then
Now
Operations Area
1991
Today
The operations area is where we have numerous resources to access and disseminate weather information. Each workstation has a PC, and an Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS). Through AWIPS, we can analyze satellite, radar, model, upper air, and surface data to create a forecast through a program called Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE). We also use a program within AWIPS called WarnGen to issue severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flood warnings. The operations area is staffed 24 hours a day, usually with one or two forecast meteorologists, and an HMT or meteorologist intern.
Upper-Air Program
Early 1940s
Today
1991
Today
Weather balloons are launched from our office and many other offices around the world twice a day. A balloon pulls a radiosonde high into the atmosphere, and sends back temperature, humidity, and pressure data. A GPS within the radiosonde helps satellites track its location and calculates wind speed and direction. Once the balloon ascends to around 100,000 feet, it pops and slowly returns to the surface with the help of an attached parachute. The data are then sent to Washington DC and used in weather forecast models.
Surface Observations
1991
Today
Surface weather observations changed in the mid 1990s when the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) was introduced. At many airports around the country, these ASOSs constantly monitor air temperature, dew point temperature, pressure, present weather, visibility, wind, cloud cover and cloud heights. The current observations are monitored in our office with hourly and special observations accessible on the web and additional databases.
Office Staff
1938
2012
Staffing of the office has changed many times throughout the years. In the beginning, only men were part of the Weather Bureau. Once many men were drafted for WWII, women stepped into the picture and began taking observations. Today, many men and women work in NWS offices, and they are not all meteorologists. Our office depends on each staff member such as an Administrative Support Assistant, Electronics Technicians, an Information Technology Officer, a Service Hydrologist, Hydrometeorological Technicians, and meteorologists to fulfill the mission of the NWS, which is to protect lives and property.

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