ARL Weekly News – November 20, 2020

Recent Events

US-Canada Air Quality Committee Briefed on Wildfire Smoke

On November 19, 2020 the annual US-Canada Air Quality Committee Meeting was hosted by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and co-chaired by Jennifer Kerr. The Committee meets on science-policy issues affecting the two countries as well as air quality and respiratory human health issues across the globe; the countries alternate hosting. NOAA’s ARL was invited to contribute part of the US perspectives along leaders from the US EPA and the State Department (John Thompson, US Co-Chair). ARL’s Pius Lee was delegated to participate in Dr. Ariel Stein’s capacity and discussed the cooperation between the US and Canadian scientists on wildfire smoke impacted air quality and complementary research on human health.

Other agenda items included National Ambient Air Quality standards and trends, the Air Quality Agreement between the two countries, the Acid Rain Annex to be revisited in 2021, the Biennial Progress Report on Science-Policy Linkage (chaired by Erika Sasser, US EPA); and the Canadian Air Quality Program, which is closely tied to Health Canada. The ECCC office for oil-sand and oil and gas detailed the throughput of pollutants, toxins and greenhouse gas emissions (David Backstrom of ECCC). The remainder of the discussion was led jointly by teams representing both US and Canada and included transportation sector emissions (Jim Bubaugh & Stephane Couroux); and long range transport and land/sea interaction impacting trans-boundary intrusion of toxic pollutants (Luke Valin; Cheryl O’Donnell & Elizabeth Galarneau). Overall, there was about equal representation between the countries with 55 attendees, mainly from Canada’s ECCC and the US EPA.


Bruce Baked Interviewed for Unmanned Systems.

Bruce Baker of ARL was interviewed for the December issue of Unmanned Systems. He discussed the importance of uncrewed systems to obtain high-resolution unique weather information from the boundary layer of the atmosphere, an area unreachable safely by piloted planes yet key to accurate severe storm forecasting. Bruce spoke about the uncrewed systems that ARL/ATDD  is using over land in the lower atmosphere to obtain weather data that can fill a key data gap for predicting tornadoes and other severe storms. He also discussed the importance of longer duration testbeds being established at the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Here, data from rapid profiling weather UAS (WxUAS) are being transmitted to a local Weather Forecast Office to aid forecasters in understanding boundary layer evolutions to improve predictions of local storms. Data from the WxUAS is converted into a format that can be that can be viewed by forecasters in the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System viewed by forecasters in the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System  These testbeds can also facilitate testing of new UAS technologies, sensing strategies, improving data communications, developing concepts of operations, including data management, and expanding BVLOS operations.