ARL Weekly News – November 10, 2017


Following a science evaluation and approval from the NCEP Director, HYSPLIT upgraded code was delivered to NCEP Central Operations for the planned April 2018 implementation. The HYSPLIT transport and dispersion model itself has no significant changes. Main changes with this release include adding HRRR, removing RAP, and changing to quarter-degree from half-degree GFS hybrid-level.

One revised script was delivered to NCEP Central Operations which fixed a graphics format conversion bug in the HYSPLIT Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) post-processing program. This should be implemented soon.

Barbara Stunder attended the NOAA workshop “Building a Weather-Ready Nation by Transitioning Academic Research to NOAA Operations” held in College Park, MD, Nov. 1-2, 2017. It was acknowledged that academics do not necessarily have an incentive to see their work transitioned to NOAA operations but that to do so, having a Fed partner is very helpful. NOAA programs such as JTTI and NGGPS provide some funding opportunities for the “valley of death” between research and operations. The research-to-operations transition was also depicted by analogy to a baton handoff in a relay race, with both parties having vested interest in success. A concept of a software “container” was described that can help facilitate transfer among collaborators; a container would have README files, run scripts, namelist/configuration files, case studies with all necessary input files, and verification data. It was noted that evaluation metrics are typically science-based rather than decision-maker-based and that sometimes short-term improvements might be made to models at the expense of long-term improvements. Social scientists can facilitate better communication between researchers and operations people and how decision-makers act on various products.

Ariel Stein and Chris Loughner attended the CO2 Urban Synthesis and Analysis (“CO2-USA”) Workshop November 6-7 at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Ariel Stein led a discussion session on the future of atmospheric modeling. The need for future model improvements to reduce model bias, new model evaluation datasets, and a better understanding of model uncertainty were discussed. Chris Loughner presented his current work of enhancing the HYSPLIT modeling system by adding new modeling schemes and providing new datasets and benchmark model simulations for model evaluation.


FRD has completed most of the material required for a joint proposal with the University of California Riverside focusing on dispersion near roadways. The proposed work includes a tracer study in which samplers would be placed along lines perpendicular to a road on both sides, and tracer would be released from moving vehicles. Some releases may take place at grade-separated intersections. The proposal is in response to a Transportation Research Board announcement, with a due date of 15 November.


James Wood and Rick Lantrip continue the Fall calibration/verifications of the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) SORD mesonet. This activity will continue over the next couple of weeks.

James Wood, Rick Lantrip, and Walt Schalk participated in an emergency response exercise as the Consequence Assessment Team (CAT) for the NNSA Nevada Field Office. The exercise was conducted on the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). In this event, the activities to be conducted were discussed and local weather data and weather forecasts were provided and dispersion products were generated based on the worst case event information provided for the scenario. In addition, the CAT worked with field measurement teams to help identify/locate the plume. These events were conducted with the DOE/NNSA/NFO Emergency Response Organization.

Walt Schalk participated in a conference call/GoToMeeting with Ariel Stein, Will Pendergrass, and Rick Eckman about NCEP model evaluations studies being conducted by Pendergrass.