By Sgt. 1st Class Luis SaavedraNovember 17, 2011
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Nov. 17, 2011) -- Many people have labeled the terrain in Afghanistan as rough and treacherous. People also have observed extreme weather changes as they have traveled from desert to snowy mountain scenery in a matter of hours.
In the mountains, where elevations can exceed 10,000 feet, the weather plays a huge role in how operations are conducted on a daily basis.
The 19th Expeditionary Weather Squadron, in support of 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (LI), erected a Tactical Meteorological Observing Sensor, or TMOS, on Saturday on the north side of the Salang Pass.
Senior Airman Eric Dowling, a staff weather officer assigned to the 19th Expeditionary Weather Squadron, described the TMOS as a rapidly deployable weather sensor that can be placed anywhere in the country to provide accurate weather data.
The sensor is meant to assist U.S. and coalition forces, as well as the local population, to determine when conditions at the Salang Pass might make it impassable, Dowling said.
The sensor provides data on cloud height, lightning detection, wind direction and speed, relative humidity and rainfall accumulation among other atmospheric conditions.
Data will be collected by Afghan Air Force weather observers and passed to the president of the Afghan Meteorological Authority for sharing with the International Security Assistance Force. Local Afghans will be able to call the meteorological authorities in Kabul, get a weather update and decide whether they want to travel that day.
The project started approximately six months ago. It consisted of placing a sensor on the south side of the Salang Pass and another on the north. The sensors now enable the Afghan people a chance to make an educated decision.
The 19th EWXS has provided equipment and training to the local Afghans who monitor the sensors.
Dowling said they definitely needed the data from the Salang Pass and will continue to assist the Afghan weather observers if needed.