2021 ARL News

2021 NOAA Administrator Awards Recognize ARL Efforts in Atmospheric Research

October 29, 2021

Several ARL projects and accomplishments were recognized in the NOAA Administrator’s awards during a ceremony on October 27, 2021, including two bronze medals. The highest honor award granted by the NOAA Administrator, the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal recognizes federal employees for superior performance and is awarded to individuals, groups (or teams), and organizations.

Atmospheric Mercury Monitoring Installation Completed at Barrow Observatory

The inlet of the mercury monitoring system is visible on the left-hand railing of the roof platform at the Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory.

October 18, 2021
Short daylight hours greeted Paul Kelley and Winston Luke of NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory as they traveled to Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow) in Alaska.  Their visit to install a Tekran® mercury speciation system at NOAA’s Barrow Atmospheric Baseline Observatory was overdue, having been previously postponed by COVID travel restrictions. NOAA’s baseline observatories are administered by the Earth System Research Laboratories’ (ESRL) Global Monitoring Laboratory in Boulder, CO and are located in remote regions of the globe to measure the chemical composition of the background atmosphere.

2020’s Economic Slowdown Provides Opportunity to Investigate Ozone Pollution in the U.S.

Normally traffic clogged at rush hour, First Avenue in New York is empty due to lockdown restrictions on March 27, 2020. Image Credit: edenpictures

September 16, 2021

When COVID-19 pandemic began in the US, counties and cities across the nation imposed stay at home orders, closed schools or imposed travel restrictions. From March 2020 onward, many Americans hung up car keys and settled into their homes for work and school. Traffic patterns dramatically changed, and previously smog filled vistas became clearer.

HYSPLIT Migrates to the Cloud

July 26, 2021

HYSPLIT was successfully moved to a cloud based hosting platform run by NOAA’s Web Operations Center at 10:16am on July 15, 2021, once testing was complete. This migration enables the NWS to have HYSPLIT access on an operational platform for 24/7/365 hosting and maintenance by reducing the probability of equipment failures.

NOAA Upgrades Key Air Quality Prediction Model

July 21, 2021

Air quality forecasts not only offer longer term guidance – 72 hours – but also improve ozone forecasting

NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) has delivered significant updates to the Air Quality Model that NOAA’s National Weather Service uses to deliver air quality forecast guidance. NOAA’s partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues daily air quality forecast guidance as part of a National Air Quality Forecasting Capability. These forecasts include information such as the levels of ozone (O3), smoke, dust and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air we breathe.

Which Way Does the Wind Blow?

July 21, 2021

With all due respect to Bob Dylan, atmospheric transport forecasting can be difficult.  When ARL intern Todd McKinney sat down to analyze his University’s super high pressure balloon satellite, K4UAH-6, as it was about to make a pass over Greenland, the high pressure cells gave a wide range of results.

Chemtool Plant Fire Response Informed by HYSPLIT

June 21, 2021

A massive chemical fire started on Monday, June 12, 2021 at the Chemtool plant in Rockton, Illinois. The nature of the chemical fire and the presence of nearby waterways have made fire suppression a challenge, with emergency response lasting for days. Over 45 different fire departments have responded to the event so far, aided by NOAA WFO, the EPA and a variety of Illinois state agencies and the National Guard. Smoke plumes were so large that they were visible from GOES 15, as well as on weather radars.

US Drought Portal Includes USCRN Data

June 17, 2021

Soil moisture data from the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory’s (ARL) US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is now publicly available through the redesigned U.S. Drought Portal. The portal, Drought.gov, which is hosted by NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), was re-launched under a revised National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network. The new network was designed to integrate soil moisture data from sources across federal and state in-situ networks, such as USCRN; remote sensing data; and other modeling capabilities.

HYSPLIT Goes Aloft

June 15, 2021

Todd McKinney, a rising senior at the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH), was a natural choice to intern at ARL this summer. Todd celebrated his first week by taking HYSPLIT on a selfie stick balloon ride to 30000 meters, the lower reach of the stratosphere.

Lightning Produces Molecules that Clean Greenhouse Gases from the Atmosphere

May 19, 2021

Lightning produces molecules that can “clean” the atmosphere, according to research published this month in Science (Brune et al., 2021) and authored by a number of NOAA research scientists. The research demonstrates not only that lightning produces hydroxyl (OH) and hydroperoxyl (HO2), but also produces amounts much greater than expected due to weaker, subvisible electrical discharges. Researchers knew that lightning creates ions and new molecules including OH and HO2, but the amounts observed in this experiment were up to 1000 times what researchers had previously observed in the troposphere.

ARL Scientists Profiled for Women’s History Month

March 31, 2021

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research profiled two scientists at Air Resources Laboratory’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division in Oak Ridge, Tennessee were profiled by for Women’s History Month.

March 1, 2021

HYSPLIT Use in February for Emergency Management

Several NOAA Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) used the ARL developed HYSPLIT tool for a wide range of emergency management situations in February 2021.

February 16, 2021

Dr. LaToya Myles Appointed Director of ARL’s ATDD

LaToya Myles, Ph.D. is now the permanent Director of and Supervisory Scientist of the Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) of NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory.  

January 21, 2021

2020 HYSPLIT Accomplishments and Notable Use Cases

The ARL developed HYSPLIT tool for atmospheric transport and dispersion modeling hosted over 2 million runs in 2020.

January 7, 2021

ARL Researchers Head to AMS Meeting

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) will host its 101st annual conference virtually from January 10-15, 2021. A number of ARL researchers contributed papers on topics ranging from climate observations to boundary layer and atmospheric chemistry and dispersion.


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