ARL Weekly News – September 20, 2019

Dr. Pius Lee will attend the 37th International Technical Meeting on Air Pollution Modelling and its Application (ITM 2019) in Hamburg, Germany, from September 23-27. While there, he will present “Satellite-aided regional dust forecast to mitigate impact of valley fever and visibility-impairment adverse effects in Southwestern United States,” co-authored by his ASMD colleagues Daniel Tong, Youhua Tang, Barry Baker, and Patrick Campbell. For more information, please visit

ARL scientists have been providing support for the Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality (FIREX-AQ) campaign this summer, a joint NOAA-NASA measurement intensive: in-situ mercury measurements by Drs. Winston Luke, Xinrong Ren, Akane Yamagawa and Mr. Paul Kelly; and flight path planning and atmospheric constituent analysis support by Drs. Pius Lee, Daniel Tong, Youhua Tang and Patrick Campbell. The campaign has finished its measurement phase targeting wildfire emissions and has largely transitioned its equipment to Salina, Kansas for a second phase making meteorological and chemical constituent measurements in prescribed agricultural biomass burns. The distinction between strong buoyant wildfire plumes and mixed smoldering/less buoyant convective plumes from prescribed burns is decisive in determining smoke injection heights in the atmosphere, and thus the fate of these smoke plumes. Our team will continue to support this phase of the FIREX-AQ; however, mercury measurements will not be conducted.

NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS-M) ProjectFest: On September 20, Ariel Stein, Howard Diamond, and Alice Crawford participated in the NCAS-M ProjectFest held at the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park, Maryland. The intent of ProjectFest was to match up prospective NOAA science mentors with students from NCAS-M which is a consortium of 13 universities from across the country (including Puerto Rico). As part of ProjectFest, both Howard and Alice made three-minute lightning round presentations on their work in climate science and the HYSPLIT model respectively. This was followed up by sessions where prospective NOAA science mentors could meet individually with students who might be interested in doing a 12-week NOAA Experiential Research and Training Opportunities (NERTO) that are done at a NOAA facility [see]. Students in the NCAS-M program are required to do one NERTO project as part of their degree requirement (either undergraduate or graduate). The largest benefit of this exchange was for the universities to make even better contact with NOAA scientists willing to be involved in student mentoring efforts. So, even if nothing specifically comes out of this session, there are long-term benefits that will build as a result of ProjectFest.

Barry Baker attended the Meteorology and Climate – Modeling for Air Quality (MAC-MAQ) conference held at the University of California Davis in Davis, CA. Here he presented a talk titled “Forecasting Dust Emissions from Regional to Global Scale using Satellite Data In NOAA FV3.” The talk discussed the implementation of NOAA ARL ASMD’s dust emission model, FENGSHA, into the next generation NOAA aerosol model, (GEFS-Aerosols). A new time-varying soil erodibility map was also presented using the satellite bidirectional reflectance distribution function albedo that includes seasonal changes instead of a static factor. The original abstract follows. Authors include Barry D. Baker, Rick D. Saylor, Daniel Tong, and Kerstin Schepanski. The NOAA ARL FENGSHA dust emission model has been implemented into the NOAA Next Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS; FV3-CHEM) and is currently used for the NOAA National Air Quality Forecast Capability. FENGSHA uses threshold velocities derived from wind tunnel and field measurements by Dr. Dale Gillette for each soil type. The idea is that once mobilization begins the resulting emission is not dependent on the soil size distribution, removing sensitive model parameterizations while making it more flexible for different model resolutions. A new of FENGSHA will also be tested that improves prediction of the soil wind stress by redefining the drag partition and eliminating inconsistencies inherent in using the boundary layer friction velocity and z0/h. The threshold friction velocity is also transformed in a similar way that allows for a dynamic surface threshold velocity independent of soil particle size. Results will be shown comparing FENGSHA to existing dust modules within FV3-CHEM including the AFWA scheme.

Rick Lantrip, James Wood, and Wayne Bailey completed all activities to prepare the Desert Rock Weather Observatory on the Nevada National Security Site for activities possible with respect to the “Storming Area51” social media event. Rick and James worked a modified forecast shift on Saturday and Sunday to support the actions of the Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Field Office.

Walt Schalk travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee, to attend the annual DOE Emergency Management Issues – Special Interest Groups and DOE Meteorological Sub-Committee (DMSC) meetings. Walt organized, planned the agenda, and ran the DMSC meeting. The DMSC meeting included a talk by Dr. Bruce Baker, ARL/ATDD about using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to take meteorological parameters and a talk by a Savannah River National Laboratory meteorologist to possibly use radar precipitation estimates to replace wedge gauge readings. There was also a discussion regarding what constitutes a “DOE Qualified Meteorologist”. Walt also met with the Steering Committee to brief on DMSC activities of the past year and the DOE Program Manager to discuss new projects and expansion of the DMSC DOE Meteorological Assist Visit program.

Walt Schalk visited ARL/ATDD and discussed future potential collaboration including use of UAS to measure meteorological parameters.