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Every day, weather forecasters are challenged to accurately assess the potential for severe weather such as flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes, as well as helping to ensure the safety of commercial and private aircraft from threatening thunderstorms, icing and wind shear. On average, more vaporized water (in the form of vapor and clouds) flows over the dry state of Arizona than flows down the Mississippi river. It is this high-energy atmospheric moisture that provides severe weather systems the majority of their strength.


Since the 1940’s, a network of about 70 weather balloon stations across the country have collected information about the atmosphere at twelve-hour intervals. They provide the basic weather measurements from the ground up through the jet stream, the layer of the atmosphere where our weather forms. But weather moves quickly, and a snapshot of the atmosphere just a few hours old can become misleading and unrepresentative. This loss of awareness of the atmosphere makes the forecasters job all the more difficult when predicting severe weather.


Spectra Sensors Inc., a world leader in hi-tech laser-based monitoring systems is proud to announce the availability of the Water Vapor Sensor System II (WVSS-II). The WVSS-II is a revolutionary tool that will help refine and improve weather forecasting by offering for the first time, accurate, reliable and cost effective monitoring of the most uncertain factor in predicting weather patterns; Atmospheric Moisture. The WVSS-II is being installed on the many commercial aircraft slicing through our skies, allowing these aircraft to continuously provide a detailed picture of atmospheric moisture.


By installing the WVSS-II on commercial aircraft that operate in North America, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gains access to valuable real-time moisture data at multiple locations and altitudes throughout the day, creating a four dimensional map of the moisture fueling our weather systems. By utilizing this data, NOAA will better predict weather of all types, and improve management of the nation’s airspace by enabling flights to fly through calmer air for safer, smoother, and less turbulent flights with greater fuel efficiency. If only 30 seconds of each flight were shaved from travel times by improved routing around severe weather, a savings of over $1 billion dollars in annual fuel costs will be achieved by the commercial travel industry lowering passenger fares, reducing demand for foreign energy sources, and reducing carbon emissions to improve air quality.


More importantly, NOAA will have access to vital data needed to improve all weather predictions. Every year flooding and winter storms cause thousands of injuries, deaths and billions in damages, which will be reduced with the data the WVSS-II will provide.


Today, NOAA relies on commercial aircraft with on-board communications systems that relay weather information used in forecasting. The WVSS-II’s innovative design seamlessly installs into existing aircraft systems and is ready to provide the missing moisture data almost instantly with almost no additional infrastructure needed.


The first installations with a major air cargo company and a commercial airline have proven WVSS-II’s ability to deliver high-quality atmospheric moisture data. Decision makers are currently weighing the value of a WVSS-II full-scale deployment within NOAA’s integrated upper-air observing system and its benefits to our nation.


About SpectraSensors, Inc.

SpectraSensors, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of optically based gas analyzers for analytical process markets. SpectraSensors’ Tunable Diode Laser (TDL) gas analyzers measure moisture (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), oxygen (O2), and more.


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For More Information:

Bryce Ford

VP, Atmoshperic Monitoring

+1 800.619.2861



Press Contact:

David Rahemi

+1 714.378.1660