AWIPS - (Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System) - computer system used by the NWS for integrating graphics, satellite and radar imagery. AWIPS is a state-of-the-art computer system deployed throughout the NWS in the late 1990s. Forecasters use this system to view numerous meteorological data-sets simultaneously. The system allows forecasters to compare observations, satellite, and radar data to computer model forecast data, in order to produce more accurate forecasts.

 

AWIPS workstation where the meteorologist can study atmospheric models, observational data, satellite data, and other tools of the science to determine the forecast. AWIPS is also the tool used to monitor radar images and issue severe weather warnings.
AWIPS receives its data from the AWIPS SGS Dish. Outgoing data travels through a T-11 land line where it is up-linked in Suitland, MD. Data flows at the speed of light making it virtually instantaneous.

 

The computer processors used by AWIPS and the 88D Radar takes up an entire room. The processors handle billions of bits of data per second.
Click on the image for an enlarged view of a typical AWIPS model display of the atmosphere.

 

AWIPS replaced virtually all of the NWS communications and computer equipment. Up until the early 1980s, the NWS operated with teletype. All forecast and warning products were issued through this system.
The NWS early computer system from the mid 1980s until the mid 1990s, called AFOS, which stood for Automated Forecast Observing System, replaced the teletype and began displays of computer-generated graphics. Data display was entirely in black and white. There was no word-processing capability, and graphics were controlled with a track ball and punch button zoom. Most analysis was still done by hand.

 

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