HYSPLIT Team Captures OAR Outstanding Scientific Paper Award

December 2018

“NOAA’s HYSPLIT Atmospheric Transport and Dispersion Modeling System” earned OAR’s 2018 Outstanding Scientific Paper Award in the category of Weather. Authors Ariel Stein, Glenn Rolph, Barbara Stunder, Mark Cohen, Fong (Fantine) Ngan, and retiree/contractor Roland Draxler will receive their award during a ceremony held at NOAA’s Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters. Originally scheduled for December 5, this event will now be held in early 2019.

The paper, originally published as the featured cover article for the December 2015 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, shares 30 years of historical evolution, highlights numerous uses of the model, and addresses recent research and development activities.

It seems only fitting that a paper focused on one of the most utilized and referenced atmospheric dispersion models currently available would quickly garner the attention of researchers in the field of Geosciences. This paper accumulated such rapid and significant numbers of citations that the Web of Science declared it a “hot paper” just four months after publication, meaning that it earned a spot among the top one-tenth of one percent in a bimonthly period. Confirmation of its status as one of the most influential research papers quickly followed when it earned the title “Highly Cited Paper,” identifying its placement in the top one percent by field and publication year. Today, Web of Science places the citation count at 730 and Google Scholar has it approaching 930. By comparison, the last complete, peer-reviewed reference paper written by HYSPLIT developers was 20 years ago and its citations number over 1,300.

One cannot help but speculate that the enormous popularity of this paper contributed to back-to-back years of record-setting HYSPLIT usage in 2016 and 2017, with simulations numbering just over one million and 1.2 million, respectively. For more information about ARL’s HYSPLIT model, please visit https://www.arl.noaa.gov/hysplit/hysplit/.

About the award:

The Outstanding Scientific Paper Award recognizes the preeminent science that OAR employees and affiliates publish through rigorous peer review processes. Three awards are given out, one in each category corresponding to NOAA’s mission goals: Climate, Oceans and Great Lakes, and Weather.

Evaluation factors for this award include citation statistics; relationship to other recent work in the field, with a focus on originality; evidence/likelihood that the paper will have an important and enduring impact on progress in its field; and relevance to the NOAA mission in terms of research contribution.

About Web of Science:

A human-curated database that tracks the number of times an article has been cited by other articles, books, or sources. Considered more accurate than other available databases and therefore used by official organizations as the standard.

UPDATE: The ceremony took place on March 12, 2019.

The five authors with their award, along with two senior NOAA managers.
Authors Fong (Fantine) Ngan, Ariel Stein, Glenn Rolph, Barbara Stunder, and Mark Cohen, along with Acting Chief Scientist and OAR Assistant Administrator Craig McLean (left) and NOAA Chief of Staff Stuart Levenbach (third from right). Credit: NOAA
BAMS cover with headline "Model Trajectory"
Credit: BAMS