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Press Release: NDTO Receives Service Award for Aircraft Project with Weather Modification in South Korea

The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) presented North Dakota Trade Office Manager of Business Development Jiwon Kim with an award in Seoul, South Korea on December 20 for facilitating a contract between KMA and Fargo-based Weather Modification International. North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) member Weather Modification International recently completed the project for KMA, which included the installation, training and delivery of a state-of-the-art atmospheric research aircraft. The aircraft will go on to be used for numerous missions to include pollution monitoring, atmospheric aerosol studies and operational cloud seeding programs, as well as collecting data during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“This project was entirely turn-key to provide KMA with a fully customized King Air 350 aircraft along with the instrument integration and technical training to model weather patterns,” said Neil Brackin, President of Weather Modification International (WMI). “There is also the ability for additional instrumentation to be installed in the future and expanded capability under WMI’s unique Supplemental Type Certificate.”

NDTO’s Kim was involved with WMI from the initial bidding and provided translation of meeting reports, minutes and technical documentation. Kim also performed simultaneous translation at meetings and conference calls regarding descriptions of the aircraft and equipment, aircraft modification, equipment installation and operation of each piece of weather equipment, while providing cultural interpretations throughout the process. In recognition of his introductions and facilitation of the successful contract, KMA awarded Kim with the KMA Administer Award for Service Excellence.

“This award means that not only did KMA appreciate WMI’s hard work to successfully complete the project, but also NDTO’s assistance until its completion,” said Kim. “It is a confirmation of NDTO’s purpose of establishment and goals.”

KMA’s atmospheric research project has been in the works since 2008. Now, nine years later and two years after WMI became involved, the aircraft is ready for flight with 25 pieces of weather observation equipment including dropsonde equipment (to observe weather after being discharged from the aircraft), radiation monitoring equipment, cloud particle and precipitation measuring instruments, a greenhouse gas analyzer, temperature measuring devices and a data collection system.

One of the twin turbo-prop aircraft’s first missions will be meteorological observation at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics beginning on February 9. Temperature, humidity, pressure and wind by altitude will be measured and used for numerical modeling, with the results shared with researchers at the World Meteorological Organization.

In the future, the KMA anticipates a comprehensive stereoscopic observation network on the Korean Peninsula with information gathered via weather aircraft, ground observation, satellite and weather observation vessel.

The North Dakota Trade Office is a membership-based, private/public partnership in Fargo that provides education, research, advocacy, organization and leadership so that NDTO members and North Dakota companies can increase exports and grow their international business.

WMI is the world-leader in atmospheric chemistry, pollution and weather research, weather forecasting and modeling, and weather modification programs. The company is best known for its successful cloud modification projects worldwide to suppress hail and enhance precipitation.  WMI also sets the standard in providing sophisticated ground-based weather radar systems and has been active since the early 1960’s. WMI has conducted research and implemented weather programs in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, totaling more than 35 countries. WMI is a sister company to Fargo Jet Center and is based at their headquarters in Fargo.

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