A new high-speed computer workstation called the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) is the centerpiece of the modernization of the National Weather Service. AWIPS is the nerve center of operations at all 116 modernized Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) and 13 River Forecast Centers (RFCs). It is capable of receiving, processing, and helping NWS forecasters analyze huge amounts of weather data from a variety of sources:
The AWIPS system is composed of two primary elements - the forecast office or site level components (shown above) and the communications network (shown below). At the WFO sites (local NWS offices), the workstations currently being deployed are the main interface between the local forecasters and the national AWIPS. A communications network feeds data to each AWIPS site. After the current testing and evaluation of the system is completed, AWIPS will distribute information among the NWS sites and provide for dissemination of information to the public and other outside users.
AWIPS communications network
A one way, point-to-multipoint satellite broadcast service called NOAAPORT will be used to distribute the very large amounts of data products which are collected/produced at NOAA central facilities. Data distributed via the NOAAPORT will be accessible not only to all NWS forecast offices, but also to any appropriately equipped ground station operated by local government (civil defense), private sector organizations, and universities.