February 3, 2005
NASA Installs Climate-Observation System
PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) -- NASA has installed a climate-observation system at a former U.S. military base bordering the Panama Canal that will allow scientists to monitor forest fires, earthquakes and tropical storms.
The installation, which officials of the U.S. space agency were inaugurating on Thursday, will collect data as part of a larger network headquartered at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.
The "Regional Mesoamerican Visualization and Monitoring System" is based at The Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean, a division of UNESCO at the former Fort Clayton and near the Pacific opening of the canal. The base was reopened as the U.N. headquarters in Panama in October.
In addition to detecting and measuring such events as seismic movements, tropical storms and forest fires, the center's modern technology will provide high-resolution images of the phenomena, said Water Center director Emilio Sempris. The center also will predict weather patterns, Sempris said.
Environmentalists, engineers and other experts will be able to access the satellite-collected data on a Web page, a tool that could help in disaster prevention, a news release from the center added.
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