ONR-Sponsored Meteorological Technology Aids Recovery of Alaska Plane Wreck

ARLINGTON, Va. — On Alaska’s Mount Gannett, pleasant weather can turn nasty quickly. Sunshine gives way to frigid rain; clear skies fall victim to thick storm clouds and fog. Not ideal conditions for exploring a 63-year-old plane wreck on an isolated, crevasse-riddled glacier.

Last month, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, U.S. Air Force, Alaska Army National Guard and Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used a portable weather station (the Expeditionary Meteorology System, or XMET), developed with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), to monitor conditions at a 1952 crash site of a military transport aircraft, ONR reported in a July 22 release.

“The XMET has been tremendously valuable,” said Terri Paluszkiewicz, a program manager in ONR’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing Department. “We continue to find uses for it in expeditionary situations like the recovery operations in Alaska.”

Transported in a hard-shell case, the XMET is mounted on a tripod and can be assembled in five minutes by two people with no tools. The solar battery-powered system uses sensors to compile real-time measurements of rain, wind, temperature and visibility-relaying hourly weather information via satellite to planners who can use the data to cancel or proceed with a mission. Previously, such detailed information could only come from observers on the ground.

To read more on our story: http://www.seapowermagazine.org/stories/20150722-xmet.html