ARL Weekly News – September 22, 2017

Glenn Rolph and Fantine Ngan attended the International MACCS User Group meeting during September 14-15, 2017 in Bethesda, Maryland. They gave a presentation “North America Reanalysis Data for Dispersion Applications and Recent HYSPLIT Updates” and had discussions with the development group of MACCS (an accident consequence analysis model) on how HYSPLIT can provide support as an input for MACCS modeling.

The project Exploring the Fate of Mercury in Artisanal Gold Mining of the Lake Victoria Gold Field has been selected for 3-year funding by the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program.  Professor Clavery Tungaraza of the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania is the Principal Investigator and Dr. Mark Cohen of the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) is the U.S. Government partner in the project. The project was one of only 27 awarded funding out of 100 full proposals and 454 preproposals in PEER Cycle 6. Mercury emitted from its use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) can have serious occupational, local and regional consequences. Globally, ASGM processes are estimated to be the largest anthropogenic source of mercury emissions to the air.  NOAA ARL carries out research in the measurement and modeling of atmospheric mercury.  PPEER (Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research) is a competitive grants program that invites scientists in developing countries to apply for funds to support research and capacity-building activities on select topics. The applicant researcher must partner with a U.S. government-funded researcher. PEER funding cannot be allocated to U.S. researchers, but NOAA can benefit by leveraging scientific investments that are relevant to development goals in the priority countries. Both the PEER applicant and the U.S. researcher are expected to benefit from one another’s networks and expertise, and partner on truly collaborative research. PEER is administered by the National Academies and USAID, and includes the following partner agencies: NOAA, NASA, NIH, NSF, USDA, USGS, USFS, and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as select industry groups.
Tianfeng Chai attended the 7th international WMO symposium on data assimilation held in Florianopolis, Brazil (September 11-15). He presented a poster entitled “Data assimilation and inverse modeling with HYSPLIT Lagrangian dispersion model”. It summarized several HYSPLIT inverse modelling applications, including the Fukushima nuclear accident, 2008 Kasatochi volcanic eruption, the CAPTEX tracer releases, and the ongoing wildfire smoke project.
Fantine Ngan modified the galwem2arl program to use ecCodes library ( The program converts GALWEM files (Global Air Land Weather Exploitation; the U.S. Air Force’s global product) to ARL format for HYSPLIT applications. It originally uses ECMWF’s GRIB-API library to decode grib2 format. Since GRIB-API support will be discontinued by the end of 2018, The ecCodes developed by ECMWF is the package to handle GRIB files.
The NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP) hosted its first open house in College Park on Saturday, September 16. Turnout was fantastic, with an estimated 1000 people in attendance throughout the day. Visitors were allowed to tour the OAR, NCEP, and NESDIS facilities, laboratories, etc. In addition, visitors could participate in the launches of weather balloons from the grounds of NCWCP, talk with Hurricane Hunter pilots, and learn the intricacies of developing weather forecasts. There was also a ribbon cutting and unveiling of NCWCP’s own Science on a Sphere, on permanent display in the building library. Our SoS is one of only three spheres with high resolution (4K) display. Approximately 200 people toured the ARL facilities, with Dr. Ariel Stein giving an overview talk about ARL in the Plume Prediction Center. The tour then continued with a visit to ARL’s chemistry laboratory, where Dr. Xinrong Ren, Paul Kelley, and Winston Luke gave short presentations and demonstrations concerning the chemistry research programs here (greenhouse gas measurements, air quality measurements, and mercury monitoring, respectively). Dr. Mark Cohen, Rick Jiang, Harry Cikanek (NESDIS STAR director) and his son Alexander served to escort visitors from the lobby to and from the 4th floor. Ogie Olanday helped coordinate everything associated with the ARL tour throughout the day. Steven Levine of NWS volunteered the entire day at the ARL-tour signup table. Overall, the day was a great success, and visitors were interested, engaged, and appreciative of the opportunity to see the workings of NOAA and NCWCP.