About Atmospheric Science Technology
Forecasts are produced by a staff of meteorologists in a state-of-the-art weather office on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The facility boasts a S-band Dual-Polarized Doppler Weather radar, full weather satellite capabilities utilizing the Man-computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS), upper air and surface meteorological measurement systems, lightning detection equipment, and an atoll-wide system of automated surface observing stations (mesonet).
RTS Weather provides specialized meteorological support to RTS during mission operations, as well as daily support to the general public, aviation and marine communities. We also support a variety of scientific research efforts. As a ground validation site for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), we collect dual-polarized Doppler weather radar data, rainfall measurements from rain gauges on seven islands within the atoll, and rainfall drop-size distribution information via disdrometers. We help monitor global climate change by collecting data for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Monitoring Division and the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program.
About the Location
Kwajalein Atoll is part of the Ralik (meaning sunset or western) chain of the Northern Marshall Islands. Kwajalein Atoll is approximately 2,100 miles southwest of Hawaii, or about half-way between Hawaii and Australia. RTS Weather is located on Kwajalein Island, the largest of the approximately 100 islands that comprise Kwajalein Atoll. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and at just under nine degrees (or approximately 540 nautical miles) north of the equator, Kwajalein’s climate is tropical-marine. Kwajalein’s weather is dominated by trade winds and the island averages about 100 inches of rain per year; most of which occurs during the “rainy” season (May-December). Kwajalein Atoll is on the eastern edge of the Western Pacific typhoon generation zone - an area where tropical depressions frequently form. While full-fledged tropical storms and typhoons are a rare occurrence at Kwajalein, they do occur; about once every 5 and 10 years, respectively.