ARL Weekly News – August 31, 2018


On August 30, Alice Crawford presented a HYSPLIT overview during a departmental seminar organized by the University of Maryland’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.

A paper titled “Methane Emissions from the Baltimore-Washington Area Based on Airborne Observations: Comparison to Emissions Inventories,” co-authored by Xinrong Ren et al., has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres. In this paper, an aircraft observation-based estimate indicates a mean methane emission rate of 8.8 ± 2.1 kg/s for the Baltimore-Washington region. Methane emission rates in the national and Maryland greenhouse gas inventories for this area are factors of 2.8 and 1.7 lower than the observed, respectively. Reconciliation of the wide range of methane emissions estimates from landfills and the natural gas system is thus necessary. doi: 10.1029/2018JD028851, 2018.

September 3-7, 2018: ARL’s Winston Luke to Present at Asia-Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network (APMMN) Meeting:

Dr. Winston Luke will travel to Manila, Philippines, to participate in the APMMN Meeting and Workshop, whose purpose is to develop a harmonized network of ambient and rainwater mercury monitors in the Asia-Pacific region. The workshop will bring together government officials and experts from over 10 countries to share strategies, experiences, and challenges in conducting and optimizing mercury monitoring in environments ranging from rural to urban. Dr. Luke will present the results of NOAA’s latest research (NOAA is recognized as an international leader in mercury measurements and modeling), and participate in workshop technical training sessions to demonstrate best practices for mercury monitoring.

Dr. Luke’s participation, like that of other international mercury experts, is being sponsored by the U.S. EPA through the International Environmental Partnership (IEP); a program established with EPA Taiwan (EPAT) to build a network of worldwide experts working together to strengthen capacity for addressing environmental challenges. Through IEP, EPA and EPAT address common priorities such as climate change, environmental education, electronic waste management, air pollution, mercury monitoring, and contaminated soil and groundwater. This close partnership has evolved into a robust platform for sharing experience and expertise, as well as assisting environmental agencies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, and Africa. Other workshop hosts include the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Scientists and officials from a number of Asian nations are expected to participate in the meeting/workshop.

ARL HQ Scientists Gave Four Invited Talks at the NOAA Joint Polar-orbiting Satellite System (JPSS) Annual Meeting:

Ariel Stein, Pius Lee, and Daniel Tong gave talks on satellite applications in dispersion and atmospheric chemistry at the 2018 JPSS annual conference held August 27-30, 2018 at the National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park, Maryland. Ariel Stein gave an invited keynote speech titled “Aerosol Products for Atmospheric Transport Modeling Applications; A path forward,” in which he described the current and potential future use of satellite data to improve the performance of transport and dispersion models such as ARL’s HYSPLIT model. Among the emerging techniques that are being explored, inverse modeling has been highlighted as the most promising, with applications ranging from forest fires to nuclear emergencies.

Pius Lee gave a talk under the “Sounding, Ozone, and trace gas Environmental Data Records and Sounding Initiatives Session” entitled, “Potential Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) application to support NWS’ Ozone forecast.” The National Air Quality Forecasting Capability (NAQFC) is hampered from getting an up-to-date emission input to drive its ozone and particulate matter (PM) forecast — both are primary criterion species for human health impact. NAQFC depends on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Emission National Inventory (NEI) to project emission rates. However, EPA data derived by inventory bookkeeping is woefully out-of-date —- at least lagged by five years. NO2 is a key human-activity emitted pollutant precursor species for both Ozone and PM. NO2 is confidently observed by satellite due to its good sensitivities. Satellite-based retrieved NO2 data from JPSS is available. It is extremely useful to update NO2 concentrations and thus update NAQFC forecasting accuracy. Methodologies have been derived to combine surface monitors and satellite-based data to constrain NO2 emission fluxes to improve forecast performance of NAQFC.

Daniel Tong gave two presentations, one plenary talk titled “Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Marine Isoprene — from research to air quality forecasting operations,” and a second titled “Opportunities of JPSS Ocean Color products in atmospheric applications: status and future needs.” The first presentation summarized ARL’s five year efforts to develop a new satellite product (VIIRS isoprene), and how the product is used to support NWS NAQFC operational forecasting. In the second talk, Daniel shared his vision on how the satellite ocean color products could be applied to aerosols and atmospheric composition prediction within NOAA’s Next Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS).

All ARL presentations were well received and stimulated discussions with remote sensing scientists from NOAA, NASA and Harvard-Smithsonian for future collaborations.


The manuscript “The Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2): Observational Field Campaign” was submitted to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, with Jim Wilczak at the Earth System Research Laboratory as first author and Rick Eckman as one of the coauthors. This is an overview manuscript describing the observations collected during the 18-month WFIP2 field campaign in Washington and Oregon. WFIP2 is a major study with many participating organizations focused on improving the skill of weather forecast models in predicting boundary-layer winds for renewable energy applications. FRD deployed a 915 MHz radar profiler, sodars, and surface flux stations during the project.

ARL issued a research highlight related to the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres paper recently published with Dennis Finn as coauthor. The paper “Distinct Turbulence Structures in Stably Stratified Boundary Layers with Weak and Strong Surface Shear” was highlighted on the journal’s cover and is available at The stable boundary layer research in this paper is based on data collected during the Project Sagebrush tracer studies organized by FRD, showing how FRD’s dispersion research directly benefits ARL’s overall boundary layer activities.