NOAA and Honeywell to explore using HALAS upper air data to help with weather forecasting

NOAA and Honeywell to explore using HALAS upper air data to help with weather forecasting

February 7, 2024 – NOAA’s National Weather Service and Honeywell Aerospace Technologies signed a two-year cooperative research and development agreement to deploy a high-altitude ground-based LiDAR atmospheric sensing system (HALAS) and to evaluate the upper air data collected to determine if it can aid in forecasting. With the weather.

Honeywell’s ground-based HALAS system uses a rapid series of laser pulses to provide near-real-time atmospheric measurements. HALAS enables forecasters to obtain weather data up to 100,000 feet above the Earth’s surface, although NOAA meteorologists intend to focus on data below 40,000 feet, where planes fly and the atmosphere is more dynamic. HALAS will collect observations including atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speed and direction, similar to weather balloons.

“Understanding the atmosphere above the surface is vital to predicting the development of weather phenomena, from localized afternoon thunderstorms to extended snowstorms and tornadoes,” said Jordan Gerth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s National Weather Service Office. “This research project could help us identify a new way to more easily collect the feedback we need.”

Honeywell’s High Altitude LiDAR Atmospheric Sensing System (HALAS) measures atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speed and direction. Credit: Honeywell

“Honeywell’s High Altitude LiDAR Atmospheric Sensor System (HALAS) is a remotely operated ground-based weather information system that provides near real-time high-altitude atmospheric measurements in less than three minutes,” said Matt Piketty, vice president and general manager. Navigation and Sensors, Honeywell Aviation Technologies.

Under CRADA, NOAA and Honeywell will:

  • Evaluate the utility of the ground-based HALAS system for the observing needs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), particularly as operational observation in support of the National Weather Service.
  • Develop an on-site demonstration of the HALAS system for data analysis and evaluation.
  • Explore value creation, cost savings, data rights, and sharing models if a long-term network of HALAS systems can meet NOAA’s mission.

The ground-based HALAS system for this research project will be located on the National Weather Forecast Office’s Baltimore-Washington property in Sterling, Virginia. Technicians will design a static prototype of the HALAS installation that can be used for potential expansion and deployment of HALAS to additional forecast offices.

NOAA regularly collaborates with private sector companies through CRADAs to conduct research and development work that is mutually beneficial and helps accomplish NOAA’s mission.

Media Contact: Maureen Oleary,, 202-578-5257

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