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MetService helps out in the tropics.


MetService helps out in the tropics.

For the first time ever, valuable environmental measurements of temperature and humidity in the atmosphere over the Northern Cook Islands are now being made, thanks to support provided by MetService. This information will assist in the monitoring of climate change.

Penrhyn, in the Northern Cooks, is only seven degrees away from the equator. A wind-finding radar station was installed here back in 1978,initially for a one year research project. Data proved so useful that more has been collected over the years under various funding bodies.

The station was initially funded by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and New Zealand. The present fund providers are the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Secretariat of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Kingdom Met Office. The Cook Island Government makes the site available and facilitates re-supply arrangements.

>From 1 November 2004 the programme at Penrhyn has been expanded by MetService engineers to include additional atmospheric measurements.

"Our engineers have helped in upgrading this site so that it can now release radiosondes," commented MetService Manager for International Development and Services, Tony Veitch. "These small electronics packages will be carried aloft by weather balloons daily up to a height of thirty kilometres, reporting a full range of temperature, pressure, and humidity readings."

With increasing interest in better understanding the effects of climate change, these data will be used by climate scientists around the world. The United Kingdom Met Office has donated the necessary ground equipment and upgraded the hydrogen gas plant while the GCOS Secretariat is meeting the costs of refurbishing the station and has donated a year's supply of radiosondes.


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