ARL Weekly News – December 7, 2018

On December 7, ARL Acting Deputy Director Dr. Ariel Stein participated in a full day review of current program activities conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Special Programs Office (SPO). For the last eight years, SPO has led interactions related to public access in the Department of Commerce, other federal agencies, and the National Science and Technology Council, focusing on managing scientific and technical expertise from multiple NIST laboratories to address critical national needs. Key efforts include greenhouse gases, scientific integrity, and open access to research, among others.

Pius Lee participated in the Atmospheric Chemical Mechanisms Conference held at UC Davis December 5-7, 2018. Dr. Lee’s presentation, “The Potential performance differences of the National Air Quality Forecasting Capability (NAQFC) when upgrading the Chemical Transport Model,” was well received and well coincided with the conference’s science foci. NOAA’s NAQFC frontiers align with both of the major topics of the plenary discussions in the conference: (a) Halogen chemistry affecting tropospheric ozone and (b) Gas- and particle-phase products and their mechanisms of formation from monoterpenes and nitrate radicals. These chemical investigations may have strong local influence in the performance of NAQFC as there are significant summertime high biases of surface ozone prediction in coastal regions that may be related to the lack of halogen chemistry in the current operational NAQFC. On the other hand, in the Southeast, NAQFC has perennial low biases in secondary organic aerosol prediction that perhaps can be accounted partially by the new findings in the gas- and particle- formation related to monoterpenes and nitrate radicals.

FRD has received a gas calibration standard for the refrigerant HFO-1234ze to test whether the chemical has any potential as an atmospheric tracer. This is one of the so-called fourth-generation refrigerants having low global warming potentials. As an initial step, a refrigerant sample was analyzed with one of FRD’s gas chromatographs using the same columns that can separate perflurocarbon tracers. These columns do not appear to adequately separate the refrigerant gas, and there is a suspicion that the refrigerant signal peak is overlapping with the large peak associated with the oxygen in the sample. Different columns may be necessary to further evaluate the potential of this chemical as a tracer.

LaToya Myles and Rick Saylor are co-Principal Investigators on a research proposal entitled “Impacts of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition on CO2 and CH4 Fluxes in Coastal Salt Marsh Ecosystems” led by Joshua Fu from the University of Tennessee. The proposal was selected for two years of university funding to support measurements and modeling of the exchange of reactive nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane between the atmosphere and coastal waters.