Pentagon Shield


To provide an airborne-hazard assessment and prediction system, in order to protect the people working in and around the Pentagon.


Pentagon Shield is the latest in a series of antiterrorism projects at RAL. All have a common theme: to provide information about winds, temperature, humidity, and other weather conditions, so security officials can predict the path of a toxic plume and quickly evacuate people. The project involves combining data from four models continually in real time, thereby providing Pentagon officials with detailed information about the local atmosphere and any signs of a toxic release.

To predict weather features that could affect toxic plumes, RAL draws on years of experience in developing systems that detect wind shear and turbulence at airports, as well as on NCAR’s sophisticated modeling capabilities. The Pentagon system is especially complex, as it involves mapping atmospheric conditions on scales ranging from an entire region (the mid-Atlantic) to a single building (the Pentagon). The system combines computer weather forecasting models and high-tech sensors, including a lidar developed at ATD.