Cutting-Edge Weather Equipment to Call Ogden, Utah, Home

Ogden-based Tempus Global Data and Utah State University will deliver "next generation weather data" to commercial and government customers.

by Mitch Shaw, McClatchy News Service / April 7, 2014 0

The future center of the universe for weather forecasting will be located in Ogden, Utah.

That's what officials from Ogden-based Tempus Global Data are saying after signing a new deal with Utah State University to deliver "next generation weather data" to commercial and government customers.

Alan Hall, Tempus president and chief executive officer, said his company will provide the weather data through the use of "Sounding & Tracking Observatory for Regional Meteorology" instruments, which are built exclusively by Utah State.

The STORM instruments are designed to be affixed to satellites flying in orbit miles and miles above the Earth, and are able to constantly observe a predetermined spot.

"It's essentially an eye in the sky that looks at the Earth like an MRI would look at your body," Hall said.

According to the Tempus website, the instrument measures a dense grid of temperature, moisture and wind which can then be used for atmospheric analyses and operational weather predictions.

Hall said that STORM, which is far more sensitive than current weather satellites, will better predict localized severe weather, determining things like the timing and destination of hurricanes and tornados, with accuracy never seen before.

Once data is collected it would then be sold to the government and other interested parties.

"We're going to be able to say things like, 'Four days from now, there will be a tornado at Fourth and Main Street in Oklahoma City,'" Hall said. "But it will be much more exact and precise than anything that is currently out there."

STORM is a derivative of a similar instrument built as part of a former NASA program. The government spent approximately $400 million on research for the instrument, but it never flew because the program was canceled.

Hall said the technology will be crucial in industries like mining, farming and aviation -- essentially anything that is dependent upon or impacted by weather.

"We'll be able to tell farmers way in advance what they can expect to see in terms of weather," he said.

Tempus is in the process of raising nearly $150 million to start the program. Eventually six STORM instruments will be placed in orbit.

Construction on the first system, which is scheduled to be attached to the Hong Kong-based AsiaSat's AsiaSat 9 satellite, is expected to begin by June.

Tempus's worldwide headquarters will be located in Ogden, which Hall says will be a boon for the local economy.

"It means there will be new employment," he said. "There will be the jobs with Tempus, but there will also be construction jobs related to building our facilities here and we also envision other companies that will come in and complement Tempus."

Tempus is in the process of securing a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which once obtained, will give it the go-ahead to launch the system.

Hall said his company is already working with potential investors to raise money for the program.

"We're in the beginning stages of building partners and gathering the financial organizations that will invest," Hall said. "It's an exciting time. Every year, millions of people are adversely affected by the results of severe weather and they're dependent upon data provided by outdated weather sensors.

Our number one job is to change that paradigm -- to provide better information to those who need to know so that we can enable decisions that may help save property and lives."

Hall is the founder, chairman and former CEO of MarketStar Corp., a global outsourced marketing and sales company with a focus on assisting high technology companies increase sales. Hall founded Grow Utah Ventures, and is the former chairman of the Utah Technology Council.

©2014 the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah)