ARL Weekly News – September 21, 2018

Walt Schalk and James Wood gave a tour to about 15 to 20 people consisting of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and Department of Defense (DoD) representatives on Tuesday, 9/18. The tours were a part of the Federal Expertise Training program hosted by the Nevada National Security Administration. The tour took place at the Desert Rock Weather Observatory at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). A verbal history of the SORD program and support of the testing program was given. SORD’s current activities were also presented. The numerous instrumented sites that SORD maintains for NNSS Programs (SODAR, mesonet and lightning detection network) and hosts for NOAA Programs (Climate Reference Network, SURFace RADiation Network) located in the immediate Desert Rock area were discussed. As a finale, a Pilot Balloon (PIBAL) release was demonstrated.

A Vaisala Lightning technician was at SORD all week, working with SORD personnel to upgrade the hardware of our four lightning detection sensors, prepare for the addition of another sensor that will significantly enhance and improve our current system/network, and to provide some initial training. Vaisala will return in the near future to upgrade the detection data processing software that will improve location accuracy and better delineate between inter-cloud and cloud-to-ground strikes.

Scientists from ATDD attended a workshop on September 20 hosted by The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), Office of Research & Engagement at Cherokee Farms Innovation Campus and Research Park. The purpose of the workshop was to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations between ATDD and faculty from UTK, the UT Space Institute, and the UT Institute of Agriculture. Four research topics – Global Weather and Climate Modeling; Reactive Nitrogen Measurements and Modeling; Boundary Layer Observations and Simulation; and Forest Ecosystem Interactions with Weather and Climate – were discussed during brainstorming sessions with each group. Research ideas were identified and refined for future projects and proposals. The following ATDD scientists participated in the workshop: Howard Diamond, John Kochendorfer, Tilden Meyers, Michael Buban, Nebila Lichiheb, Rick Saylor, Temple Lee, Praveena Krishnan, and LaToya Myles. Bruce Baker, Director of ATDD, along with Stacy Patterson, Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development in the UT System, provided opening remarks. Bruce LaMattina, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Development at UTK, provided the workshop charge and participated in brainstorming sessions. For more information contact LaToya Myles ( or Rick Saylor (

Memorandum of Agreement Related to the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) in Alaska: The long-term success of the USCRN is based largely on the excellent working relationships that we cultivate with a variety of local site hosts across the nation, and particularly in a harsh environment like in Alaska. Approximately 25% of our USCRN stations in Alaska (current and proposed) are hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) via their National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Program. While the working relationship between USCRN engineers and USFWS personnel are excellent, in order to make things easier for USFWS personnel to assist us with some de minimis tasks associated with the maintenance and operation of our stations (e.g., use of their float planes, purchasing some items, etc.) it was decided that a formal MOA was required; no long-term financial commitments were made by either side as a result of this MOA, and no funds will be required to be transferred between the agencies, and this is clearly stated in the MOA. After about an 18-month coordination process, and after the go-ahead from the NOAA General Counsel to pursue this, on September 18, 2018, the MOA was formally signed by the ATDD Director, C. Bruce Baker, and put in place; this was after the sign-off by the the directors of 7 NWRs in Alaska along with their regional director. While this will not really change our day-to-day operations in Alaska, it will make such interactions much easier for USFWS personnel as well as making things easier for the USCRN engineers. For more information, please contact Howard Diamond at 301-427-2475.