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LA JOLLA, Calif. -- For U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, deciding when it's safe to conduct aviation missions is partly dependent on knowing real-time weather conditions.

At forward operating bases throughout the country, that job had to be done manually, but reductions in staffing have made it harder to gather the data. Now, though, the Marines can rely on technology developed at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute called Expeditionary Meteorology System (XMET) to get the weather information they need.

CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman stopped by Scripps as part of Road Trip 2012 to learn about the system.

Caption:Photo:U.S. Marine Corps
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XMET in a box

The XMET system is designed to be highly portable and to be set up by two Marines in five minutes or less.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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Deployment map

On this Web-based XMET screen, it's possible to see where the technology is deployed around Afghanistan. Each green dot on the map indicates a deployment.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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Information screen

In this photograph, it's possible to see the XMET screen, including information about the weather conditions at a specific forward operating base.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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XMET in the lab

Inside the labs at the Scripps Oceanographic Institute, researchers have set up an XMET system to demonstrate its size and portability.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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Deploying XMET

In this U.S. Marine photograph, Marines prepare to deploy XMET in Iraq.

Updated:Caption:Photo:U.S. Marine Corps
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