ARL Weekly News – October 27, 2017


Dr. Ariel Stein visited the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences at Penn State University. He held meetings with several faculty and graduated students discussing common research interests for future collaborations. In addition, Dr. Stein gave a presentation entitled “NOAA’s HYSPLIT atmospheric transport and dispersion modeling system: history, applications, and new developments” at the Department’s Colloquium.

Winston Luke and Mark Cohen (ARL) and Erica Nuñez (NOAA Office of International Affairs) participated in a planning meeting for the Global Observation System for Mercury (GOS4M) on Friday, Oct 20, 2017. GOS4M has recently been established as a Flagship Program of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). Nicola Pirrone (CNR – Institute of Atmospheric Pollution, Rome, Italy) and William Sonntag (GEO Secretariat, Geneva, Switzerland) convened the meeting to discuss scientific, organizational and governance issues for the new group with key participants from around the world. Approximately 20 people attended the meeting at the USEPA in Washington DC — in person or remotely — from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, and Russia. GOS4M will include global measurements of mercury in the atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial ecosystems, and biota. It will draw on existing measurement networks and programs and will attempt to facilitate the use of worldwide data from diverse sources using a common framework. It is anticipated that GOS4M will be useful to Parties in the global Minamata Convention mercury treaty as well as policy and modeling stakeholders worldwide. The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) coordinates international efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). It aims to construct a global public infrastructure for Earth observations consisting in a flexible and distributed network of systems and content providers. There are numerous programs within GEO/GEOSS but only four of the programs have been given the Flagship designation. NOAA ARL is expected to play a significant role in GOS4M given its leadership in the science of mercury measurements and it’s three long-term mercury measurement sites within the NADP’s Atmospheric Mercury Network (AMNet) (at Mauna Loa, HI, Grand Bay, MS, and Beltsville, MD).

Drs. Li Pan, Youhua Tang, Barry Baker, Pius Lee, and Hyun Cheol Kim attended the 16th Community Modeling and Analysis (CMAS) Conference in Chapel Hill, NC. CMAS is sponsored by the U.S. EPA and is one of the major science community hubs to exchange knowledge and technological know-hows in atmospheric composition and dynamic sciences. CMAS’ interest is broad in scope to address issues on anthropogenic and/or natural activities that may potentially impact human health and environmental resilience. Youhua gave a talk entitled: Impact of chemical lateral boundary conditions (CLBC) from an advanced global chemistry model as compared to that from NOAA’s simple operational global aerosol model feeding the National Air Quality Forecasting Capability (NAQFC) with dynamic CLBC. Barry gave two presentations with the following titles: (1) A novel approach for identifying dust storms with hourly surface air monitors in the western U.S., and (2) Overview of the model and observation evaluation tool (MONET) version 1.0 for evaluating chemical transport models. Pius gave a talk entitled: An air quality impact study for the recent increase in oil and gas activity over the conterminous U.S. Hyun Cheol Kim presented “Chemical histories of pollutant plumes in East Asia: Use of HYSPLIT-CMAQ tracking tool during the 2015 MAPS-Seoul campaign”. He also co-authored multiple presentations and posters, including two posters that received the best poster awards.



Rick Saylor has accepted an invitation to join the Editorial Board of PeerJ (, an online open access scientific journal. PeerJ has recently expanded its scope and has included 15 additional subject areas in Environmental Sciences including Atmospheric Chemistry, Biogeochemistry and Biosphere Interactions (

Measurement of turbulence in the eyewall of a hurricane, especially a low altitude over the sea has long been an elusive goal. A team led by Joe Cione of the NOAA/AOML has launched six Coyote drones into Hurricane Maria from a NOAA P3 hurricane hunter aircraft on September 22 – 24. These small drones penetrated the eyewall at multiple levels on their way downward to the sea surface. The primary measurements were temperature, pressure, and humidity, but horizontal-wind speed and direction were reported twice per second for most of the flight and up to 10/s early in the flight. Examining the 10/s data over segments of 1 min to 1.5 min length we found that we could likely tease out information on the long-sought strength of the turbulence. Having such information promises improved forecasting of the intensification of a hurricane. These very preliminary results are sufficiently encouraging that we have submitted an abstract to the AMS’s Tropical Meteorology Conference in April, 2018.



Two manuscripts were submitted to the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences based on observations collected by FRD at the Idaho National Laboratory. Their main titles are “Real-word micrometeorology—an arid complex case” parts I and II. Former ARL Director Bruce Hicks is the lead author, with staff from both FRD and ATDD as co-authors. The manuscripts focus on stable conditions and the contributions of winds aloft in generating turbulence near the surface.

The division is continuing to discuss participating in a proposal with the University of California Riverside to investigate dispersion near roadways. This is in response to a request from the Transportation Research Board. The current thinking is that the proposed tracer study be undertaken along roads at the Idaho National Laboratory using a source in a moving vehicle. This would keep the costs down and limit access to the deployed equipment.



SORD Vacancies: An Electronics Technician applicant was selected for employment. The paperwork and initial letter were sent and accepted. No official start time has been determined as yet. The first meteorologist position applicants were interviewed this week. A selection was made and HR will begin to process the paperwork. The second meteorologist position qualified applicant list is being reviewed.

James Wood and Rick Lantrip have begun the Fall calibration/verifications of the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) SORD mesonet. A couple of communication issues were also examined and are still being watched. This activity will continue over the next several weeks.

James Wood and Walt Schalk prepared dispersion calculations and plots for upcoming emergency response exercises in November and December. This information will be used for exercise planning purposes and for field measurement team play.

Walt Schalk analyzed and prepared a document of lightning data generated by Rick Lantrip from the NNSS SORD Lightning Detection System. The data were analyzed and isokeraunic and flash density values were calculated and distributed to NNSS Engineers for planning work.