Dr. Ariel Stein participated as an invited lecturer of the Master Interunivesitario en Ingenieria Ambiental, teaching the graduate course entitled “Contamination Atmosferica: Origen, Tratamiento y Control” at the Universidad Internacional de Andalucia in Huelva, Spain. This graduate course is considered one of the top courses in Spain regarding environmental pollution and air quality. The lectures covered an introduction to HYSPLIT and hands-on exercises. This year Dr. Stein gave the lectures via video conference.

Mark Cohen gave a presentation at the Earth System Research Laboratory’s Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Model meeting on February 1, 2018, via webinar: Using spatial and chemical interpolation for source-attribution and calculation efficiency: Some examples for mercury and dioxin. The PowerPoint presentation (available here) outlined a powerful interpolation-based approach that can provide detailed source-receptor information and flexibility to examine alternative emissions assumptions. The underlying concepts and examples from numerous applications were presented.

Mark Cohen gave a webinar to Professor William Landing and his research group at Florida State University (FSU) on February 1, 2018: HYSPLIT Back-Trajectory and Trajectory Frequency Analysis: Illustrative Examples. The PowerPoint presentation is available here. The FSU team has collected aerosol and precipitation samples on several oceanic cruises and would like to examine the origins of air-masses associated with each sample. A set of scripts was developed to efficiently run representative back-trajectories for each sample and to display the results via HYSPLIT’s trajectory frequency analysis. The webinar was “hands-on,” and the FSU participants were led in carrying out the calculations and analysis on their local computers. A few additional webinars are planned to complete the technology transfer process.

From January 29 to February 2, 2018, Paul Kelly, Winston Luke, and Xinrong Ren visited the Grand Bay Atmospheric Mercury Network mercury monitoring site at the NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve in Moss Point, Mississippi, to restore the site after it was impacted by Hurricane Nate in October 2017. The trailer was pulled away from the site in advance of the hurricane, but the wooden fence once surrounding the trailer was destroyed so a new fence was built in January. During the visit, the group performed instrument maintenance and trained the site operator. All instruments are now online.

Drs. Ariel Stein, Rick Saylor, Daniel Tong, and Pius Lee attended a Strategic Implementation Planning (SIP) forum at the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction. Sponsored by the National Weather Service (NWS), this forum solicited governmental and academic institutions to contribute to the NWS weather and climate forecasting operational services in the future three to five years. The NWS has committed to launch the first Next Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS) based on the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory FV3 dynamic and physics as the official global weather prediction system at 13 km horizontal spatial resolution in the second quarter of 2019. OAR research laboratories are contributing atmospheric aerosol sciences to the NGGPS implementation. There are many important emerging topics considered for plans in even longer time frames. These topics are likely to be tackled in SIP phase 2 starting in the fall of 2018. The new topics will deal with coupling of multiple earth models under the Community Mediator for Earth Prediction Systems and Ensemble Data Assimilation.

Drs. Daniel Tong and Pius Lee visited the Atmospheric Sciences Center of Howard University in Washington, D.C. and gave talks about dust modeling work at ARL. Dr. Vernon Morris, Director of the Center, exchanged notes on the subject with Tong and Lee. The center has been participating in dust storm sampling on board NOAA’s Ron Brown during measurement campaigns in the past decade. It was an exploratory visit to brainstorm possible collaboration on dust research that has been getting more attention lately, especially in the Southwestern U.S. where frequency and severity of dust storms have been increasing in the past few decades.

Rick Eckman, Dennis Finn, and Bai Yang held a conference call with David Heist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding a possible tracer study to investigate emissions from roadways. The proposed study is a follow-on to a 2008 study that FRD conducted to investigate the effects of roadside sound barriers on nearby pollutant levels. It would be funded by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and again focus on sound barriers along roadways. This time, the location would be a real roadway with barriers and traffic rather than the simulated barrier constructed at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for the 2008 study. The continued interest in sound barriers is due to their use in environmental assessments related to air quality near roadways. These barriers are used as offsets to diminish the impacts of other factors such as increased traffic volume, but there are ongoing questions about the appropriate level of these offsets.

Jason Rich worked with staff at the INL to improve the dissemination of statements to employees when hazardous weather is imminent. Some activities at the INL must halt due to weather-related circumstances, such as when wind speeds are too high or lightning is nearby. Observations from the NOAA/INL Mesonet are often used to issue such statements.

Brad Reese made considerable progress in developing a new web interface for the HYSPLIT model that does not use the Flash plugin. Based on open-source mapping software called Leaflet, this new interface will hopefully be less vulnerable to unexpected changes in individual company policies than the existing interface. It retains the features from the existing interface, such as scrolling and zooming the map background and the ability to choose from a set of release scenarios developed in advance.

The paper “NOAA Scientists Get a Rare Opportunity to Study the Effects of The Great American Eclipse” by Temple Lee, Michael Buban, Michael Palecki, Ronald Leeper, Howard Diamond, Edward Dumas, Tilden Meyers, and Bruce Baker was accepted for publication in EOS. The article describes the rapid near-surface meteorological changes that accompanied the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. To characterize these changes, the study used 5-min data from the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) and flux observations from a site along the path of totality near Ten Mile, Tennessee, located approximately 75 km southwest of Knoxville. Depending on the proximity of the USCRN station to the path of eclipse totality, temperature decreases ranging from 2-5*C were observed, as were increases in moisture. These findings indicate the sensitivity of the lower atmosphere to a loss of solar energy and highlight the necessity of high temporal resolution, quality-controlled climate observation datasets at the continental scale.​

“Towards a global land surface climate fiducial reference measurements network”; [DOI:10.1002/joc.5458], by Peter W. Thorne, Howard J. Diamond, Barry Goodison, Sean Harrigan, Zeke Hausfather, N. Bruce Ingleby, Philip D. Jones, Jay H. Lawrimore, David H. Lister, Andrea Merlone, Tim Oakley, Michael Palecki, Thomas C. Peterson, Michael de Podesta, Caterina. Tassone, Victor Venema, and Kate M. Willett was accepted for publication in the International Journal of Climatology. The publication proposes that by implementing and maintaining a suitably stable and metrologically well-characterized global land surface climate reference measurements network, that the present-day scientific community can ensure that future generations of scientists have a better set of climate observations. This will aid future adaptation decisions, and help us to monitor and quantify the effectiveness of internationally agreed mitigation steps. This paper provides the background, rationale, metrological principles, and practical considerations regarding what would be involved in such a network, and outlines the benefits which may be realized. The challenge, of course, is how to convert such a vision to a long-term sustainable capability providing the necessary well-characterized measurement series to the benefit of global science and future generations and forms the scientific basis for the Global Climate Observing System Surface Reference Network Task Team chaired by ATDD’s Dr. Howard Diamond.

As chair of the Global Climate Observing System Surface (GCOS) Reference Network (GSRN) Task Team [which reports to the GCOS Atmospheric Observations Panel for Climate (AOPC)], ATDD’s Dr. Howard Diamond will be attending the 23rd Annual AOPC meeting in order to both brief the AOPC on the initial progress and work of the GSRN Task Team (and report on its initial meeting in Dublin, Ireland, in November 2017), as well as to participate in discussions and feedback from the AOPC on the GSRN itself. In addition, given Dr. Diamond’s role as the U.S. GCOS National Coordinator, attendance at this meeting will afford him the opportunity get a sense of the latest developments with respect to other GCOS-related atmospheric science issues. The meeting will take place at EUMETSAT in Darmstadt, Germany, from March 6-9, 2018.

On January 25, 2018, the all-time minimum U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) temperature across the entire U.S. network was recorded at the Ruby, Alaska, station in the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge in north central Alaska. That all-time record network temperature recorded was 47.5º Celsius (-53.5º Fahrenheit). This new record significantly broke the previous all-time USCRN network record set at the USCRN station in Tok, Alaska, in the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge (near the Canadian border) on January 12, 2012, of -46.3ºC (-51.3ºF). The USCRN has been robustly engineered to survive the brutal conditions in Alaska, and the fact that this event was able to be recorded is a testament to the both the design of the system as well as the work of the USCRN engineering team in maintaining and sustaining the system. The USCRN system in Ruby reported on a continuous basis during a period of temperatures that were near those very low levels over a multiple day period and the USCRN (managed by ATDD) will continue to play a very important role in helping to continue to monitor climate across the state of Alaska as well as in the conterminous U.S. For more information, please contact the USCRN Program Manager, Howard Diamond, at 301-427-2475.

Scholastic Magazine, a long-time publisher of a number of magazines that have gone out to K-12 classrooms across the country for several decades, approached ATDD’s Howard Diamond in October 2017 to seek assistance with some long-term global average temperature maps for their 4-page Geography Spin. Specifically, Diamond’s input was requested for the January 2018 issue that focused on the annual winter festival in Harbin, China. While Howard did not create the artwork for the publication, he provided their staff cartographer with the underlying data that was critical to helping them make accurate plots of such data that was published.