Quarterly Activity Report
FY2013 Quarter 2
(January - March, 2013)
1. New HYSPLIT/ALOHA Web-Based Interface
2. Testing Distributable Version of HYSPLIT
3. HYSPLIT Transferred to New NCEP Supercomputer
4. Wind Forecast Improvement Project/Duke Energy Study
5. Project Sagebrush
6. Birch Creek Valley Study
7. Mesoscale Forecast Modeling
8. Flux Measurements
9. Consequence Assessment for the NNSS
10. DOE Meteorological Coordinating Council (DMCC) Activities
12. Gulf of Mexico Mercury
14. Cloud Data Adjustments
15. Climate Reference Networks
16. Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment
ARL 2nd Quarter Publications
1. New HYSPLIT/ALOHA Web-Based Interface
Based on several months of testing by a few experienced NOAA HYSPLIT users and NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), the new HYSPLIT/ALOHA web-based interface underwent some significant updates and corrections. This interface will allow weather forecasters to set up a release of a hazardous chemical to the atmosphere using the extensive scenario-based source term configuration of CAMEO/ALOHA. Based on the selections, the model creates a time-varying release rate to feed into HYSPLIT for transport and dispersion. Significant updates and corrections included modifying the method of calculating the 15-minute average air concentrations and simplifying the final plot labeling. Instead of calculating the maximum 15 minute average over 1 hour, the testers decided it would be more advantageous to calculate the maximum 15 minute running average over the user selected time period (in hours) at each grid point and then contouring these results. After some additional items are finished on the ALOHA section, work will begin to implement the system at the NOAA Web Operations Center where it will be made available to WFOs. firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributable Version of HYSPLIT
As more and more researchers are using the web-based HYSPLIT dispersion model, it has become advantageous to start the development of additional web servers to host the application and distribute the computational load. A distributable version of the public web-based HYSPLIT was developed and made available to the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center at the University of Alaska. There they will be testing it using locally prepared HYSPLIT-formatted meteorological data specific to the interests of their community of users. Once they have the system installed and running, any corrections needed to the distribution will be made by ARL before making the system available to other users who may want to install it locally. email@example.com
3. HYSPLIT Transferred to New NCEP Supercomputer
Barbara Stunder, ARL and Jianping Huang, National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) submitted an upgraded HYSPLIT package to NCEP's Central Operations for implementation on the new NCEP Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System. This package includes daily runs for smoke, dust, and generic releases, and as-needed runs for volcanic ash, radiological species, generic forward releases and back-tracking. The plan is for the current supercomputer to be 'turned off'' no later than the end of August, 2013. The dispersion, trajectory, plotting, and associated post-processing programs will be brought up to date. All HYSPLIT applications will use a single dispersion executable. New products for the radiological application include a time-of-arrival product, output in GRIB format, and an experimental radiological advisory product for aviation applications. Products output in Google Earth format will be more closely aligned with display features, and a "projection" file will be included in the GIS output files. A high-resolution (4 km) NAM nest over the CONUS will be output in HYSPLIT-format for subsequent evaluation as input for HYSPLIT smoke and dust modeling. The forecast duration of the 12-km NAM pressure level output ("nam12") will be extended from 48 to 84 hours. firstname.lastname@example.org
Forecast Improvement Project/Duke Energy Study
FRD and ATDD collaborated on reviewing and analyzing data collected from sonic anemometers, sodars, and a radar wind profiler that were deployed in Texas during the DOE-NOAA Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP) and the Duke Energy Ocotillo Wind Farm study. Will Pendergrass, ATDD, presented an analysis of the High Resolution Rapid Refresh forecast model using the FRD data sets employing the same validation procedures developed for the ATDD Ocotillo Wind Farm data sets. FRD and ATDD discussed steps forward to complete the data analysis and develop various publications covering the observation and analysis. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Field Research Division (FRD) refurbished and prepared 562 sampler cartridges for the Project Sagebrush experiment. The samplers will be used to measure the atmospheric tracer, sulfur hexafluoride. The inlet tube on each bag was replaced, and all the bags were sealed to eliminate the need for repeated leak checking during the project. The calibration cartridges used for the gas chromatographs were also refurbished. FRD will replace the inlet tubing on the 135 existing air samplers and check them to be sure they are ready for use. email@example.com
Creek Valley Study
A proposal to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in the final stages of preparation. The majority of the land included in the study is under BLM's jurisdiction. It is anticipated that the proposal will be completed early in April, after final input from partners: U.S. Forest Service Fire Laboratory, Boise State University, and Washington State. It is hoped that the partners can begin deployment by late May. Measurements will be continuous from that time until sometime in September when much of the instrumentation will be needed on other projects.
FRD's equipment for the study has already been fully operational since December 2012. One of the sodars was pulled from service in late March due to data recovery problems and sent to the manufacturer for repairs. The database being generated from the field measurements is being consolidated in preparation for the beginning of data analysis. Specific output from the daily Weather Research Forecast model runs at FRD is being archived for the Birch Creek Valley study. This includes vertical profiles at the three locations where FRD is operating sodars and a radar profiler. Plots showing the model horizontal wind field over Birch Creek and vertical cross sections perpendicular to the valley axis are also being archived. The model output will hopefully assist in the analysis of the Birch Creek field data. firstname.lastname@example.org
Changes have been made to the WRF runs at FRD in an attempt to improve the skill of the wind forecasts. The number of model vertical levels has been increased from 32 to 51 as a way to provide better vertical resolution in the boundary layer. Recent testing suggests this may improve the forecasts of near-surface winds and temperature. The WRF digital filtering initialization (DFI) option has also been activated. With DFI, the model basically runs backward and forward over short time intervals around the analysis time to create initial conditions that are more dynamically balanced relative to the model configuration. This should reduce model spin-up effects during the early forecast hours. The drawback of DFI is that it increases the model run time. Tests are also under way to determine whether there are benefits to using nested 12 km and 3 km grids in WRF rather than the single 3 km grid now in use. email@example.com
Probabilistic WRF forecasts based on Bayesian regression methods are now being displayed on the FRD web site. The system essentially uses the past performance of the model to generate probability density distributions of 2 meter high temperature and 10 meter high winds at specific facilities within the Idaho National Laboratory. These distributions include information on both systematic and random model errors. The performance statistics are periodically updated as new data come in from the NOAA/Idaho National Laboratory Mesonet. On the web site, box plots are used to display basic information about the shape of the probability density distributions, including the median, interquartile range, and the span between the 10th and 90th percentiles of the distribution. firstname.lastname@example.org
Progress was made on a study involving the measurement of carbon dioxide and water vapor fluxes from an arid shrub-steppe ecosystem. This is a multi-year study that is ongoing. Preliminary results have been completed for the years 2007-2009. email@example.com
Assessment for the NNSS
James Wood completed his qualifications and testing to become a full member of the SORD Consequence Assessment Team. James will respond to NNSS emergency response events as a member of the Emergency Response Organization and provide weather information, dispersion modeling, and consequence assessment projections. firstname.lastname@example.org
10. DOE Meteorological Coordinating Council (DMCC) Activities
Walt Schalk participated (via conference call) in a working group meeting to continue updating the American Nuclear Society /American National Standards Institute (ANS/ANSI) 3.11, Determining Meteorological Information at Nuclear Facilities Standard. This voluntary consensus standard is a key component in the siting and maintenance of meteorological mesonets at nuclear reactor and Department of Energy sites. Chapter assignments and the timeline were discussed. email@example.com
The new Weather Operations Center (WOC) rebuild project was completed. All construction was finished and workspace furniture is in place. Telephone and IT networking were installed and are operational. Workstation computers were ordered, received, and installed. Software for consequence assessment activities was loaded onto the new computers. Wall-mounted computer monitors were purchased and mounted and everything is operational. SORD began duty forecast operations in the WOC in February. firstname.lastname@example.org
ACCESS Modeling System
Rick Saylor continued his work on the Atmospheric Chemistry and Canopy Exchange Simulation System (ACCESS) model. He presented a seminar on ACCESS to ARL and others at the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction. The presentation described the context and motivation for the creation of the ACCESS modeling system, briefly described the process included in the initial gas-phase-only version of the model, and presented initial results from a preliminary application of the model to isoprene emissions and chemistry at the Walker Branch forested watershed in East Tennessee. A journal publication describing the ACCESS model in detail was recently published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (see citation in publication section of this report).
In future work, ACCESS will be used to assist in the analysis of gas and aerosol concentrations and flux measurements collected from the summer 2013 joint field campaign that involves the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS) and NOAA's Southeast Nexus (SENEX). The SOAS/SENEX campaign is focused on obtaining a better understanding of the interaction of anthropogenic and biogenic emissions and potential impacts on air quality and climate. ARL/ATDD will participate in SOAS/SENEX via modeling and analysis of results obtained from the field study. email@example.com
12. Gulf of Mexico Mercury
A report on mercury in the Gulf of Mexico, written by Mark Cohen, ARL, David Evans, NOAA National Ocean Service, and other members of the mercury workgroup, was released. The report is titled: White Paper on Gulf of Mexico Mercury Fate and Transport: Applying Scientific Research to Reduce the Risk from Mercury in Gulf of Mexico Seafood. Mercury is one of the priority areas of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). The GOMA mercury workgroup was formed around 2008 and consists of representatives from federal and state government agencies, universities, industries, and other stakeholders concerned with mercury in the Gulf of Mexico. The document lays out the present understanding of mercury sources, transport, fate, pathways into seafood, and identifies populations that may be at risk from consuming seafood with high levels of mercury. It also highlights key research and monitoring priorities to better help managers understand the steps to reduce mercury in seafood. firstname.lastname@example.org
13. Milestones for Climate Reference Upper Air Observations
Dian Seidel participated in the 5th Implementation and Coordination Meeting of the GCOS (Global Climate Observing System) Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN) held in De Bilt, The Netherlands. There were several major accomplishments announced at the meeting, including:
- Successful completion of the first assessment and certification of a GRUAN site, Ny Alesund. A schedule for formally assessing other GRUAN sites was also developed.
- Delivery of the first GRUAN reference-quality data product from sites to the GRUAN Lead Centre and from the Lead Centre to the user community. The data product is vertical profiles of temperature, including traceable uncertainty estimates, from Vaisala RS92 radiosondes. Plans are in place for development of two other GRUAN reference-quality data products in the coming year.
- Formalization of "MeteoMet", Metrology for Meteorology, a European project focused on characterizing uncertainty in meteorological and climate observations, using rigorous metrological methods.
- Development of both an annual GRUAN work plan and a longer-term GRUAN Implementation Plan for 2013-2017. The new plan is timed to coincide with the transition of GRUAN from a preliminary, organizational phase to an operational and expansion phase, pending approval by the GCOS-established Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate later this year.
These annual meetings of the GRUAN community are hosted by national organizations participating in GRUAN and include a visit to the local GRUAN site and discussion of its observational capabilities. The 6th Implementation and Coordination Meeting for GRUAN will be held in March 2014. It will be hosted by Howard University, which operates the GRUAN site in Beltsville, Maryland. NOAA may co-host this international meeting. email@example.com
14. Cloud Data Adjustments
Melissa Free, in collaboration with Bomin Sun of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), completed homogeneity adjustments to total cloud data from National Weather Service data in the continental U.S. Results from this work and comparisons with diurnal temperature range and precipitation data were presented at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in January. The adjusted data showed improved correlations with the other climate variables, while trends in the adjusted data were roughly half as large as those in the original data. These results suggest that much of the apparent upward trend in U.S. cloudiness may be due to changes in observing practices rather than real climate changes. firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff made annual maintenance visits to 21 Climate Reference Network sites, and 29 visits to Regional Climate Reference Network sites. Unscheduled maintenance visits were made to two CRN sites. email@example.com
Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment
John Kochendorfer attended a World Meteorological Organization Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment (SPICE) meeting in Egbert, Ontario, January 15-16. The topics included QA/QC of the data from all sites, updates on each site, and reviewing the data protocols for transmitting the data to Boulder, CO for analysis. Scientists at ATDD and the National Center for Atmospheric Research will have the lead on most of the analysis of SPICE data from all of the sites. firstname.lastname@example.org
Harvard Collaboration to Measure Greenhouse Gases
The Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) participated in the first successful test flight of the Fluxes of Carbon from an Airborne Laboratory (FOCAL) system on board the Centaur aircraft. The Centaur is owned by Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation. FOCAL is a new airborne instrument system, designed by ATDD and Harvard University's Anderson Group, for measuring fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane, two important greenhouse gases. Test flights were made to prepare for an NSF-funded research study that will begin in August, 2013 in the permafrost region of Alaska. ATTD's Best Aircraft Turbulence (BAT) probe is a key part of the FOCAL system. The probe is a custom-designed wind sensor that can be mounted to the front of an aircraft to make high frequency measurements of atmospheric pressure, air temperature, and turbulence-chaotic, three-dimensional air movement that drives upward and downward transport of mass, momentum, and energy between the surface of the Earth and the lower part of the atmosphere.
The test flight was made to obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification and to verify that the instruments, particularly the BAT probe, did not adversely affect the handling and performance of the aircraft. This first test flight represented a major milestone in the development and integration of the FOCAL system.
Additional work is underway with Harvard University to further reduce the weight of the system and to add an additional methane collector to the instrument suite. ATDD will modify the BAT probe cables and internal structure to relieve strain on the cables and further reduce the weight of the BAT-probe system. email@example.com, R. Dobosy, D. L. Senn, C.B. Baker.
ARL 2nd Quarter Publications
Bowman, K. P., J. C. Lin, A. Stohl, R. Draxler, P. Konopka, A. Andrews, and D. Brunner (2013). "Input Data Requirements for Lagrangian Trajectory Models." Early On-Line Release in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Chen, Qiying, Xin-Zhong Liang, Min Xu, Tiejun Ling, and Julian X.L. Wang (2013). Improvement of Cloud Radiative Forcing and Its Impact on Weather Forecasts. The Open Atmospheric Science Journal, 7, 1-13.
Diamond, Howard J., Thomas R. Karl, Michael A. Palecki, C. Bruce Baker, Jesse E. Bell, Ronald D.Leeper, David R. Easterling, Jay H. Lawrimore, Tilden P. Meyers, Michael R. Helfert, Grant Goodge, Peter W. Thorne (2012). U.S. Climate Reference Network after One Decade of Operations: Status and Assessment. Early On-Line Release in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00170.
Dobosy, R., E. Dumas, D. Senn, B. Baker, D. Sayres, M. Witinksi, C. Healy, J. Munster, and J. Anderson. (2013). Calibration and quality assurance of an airborne turbulence probe in an aeronautical wind tunnel. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 30(2), 182-196 doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00206.1.
Garner, G. G., A. M. Thompson, P. Lee, and D. K. Martins (2013). Evaluation of NAQFC model performance in forecasting surface ozone during the 2011 DISCOVER- campaign. Published On-Line in Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, doi: 10.1007/s10874-013-9251-z.
Gilmanov TG, B.K. Wylie, L.L. Tieszen, T.P. Meyers, V.S. Baron, C.J. Bernacchi, D.P.Billesbach, G.G. Burba, M.L. Fischer, A.J. Glenn, N.P. Hanani, J.L. Hatfield, M.W. Heuer, et. al. (2013). CO2 uptake and ecophysiological parameters of the grain crops of midcontinent North America: Estimates from flux tower measurements. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 164:162-175. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2012.09.017
Hicks, Bruce B., Elena Novakovskaia, Ronald J. Dobosy, William R. Pendergrass III, William. J. Callahan. (2013). Temporal and Spatial Aspects of Velocity Variance in the Urban Surface Roughness Layer. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 52: 3, 668-681. doi: 10.1175/jamc-d-11-0266.1
Huang, M., G. R. Carmichael, T. Chai, R. B. Pierce, S. J. Oltmans, D. A. Jaffe, K. W. Bowman, A. Kaduwela, C. Cai, S. N. Spak, A. J. Weinheimer, L. G. Huey, and G. S. Diskin. (2013). Impacts of transported background pollutants on summertime Western US air quality: model evaluation, sensitivity analysis and data assimilation. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, 13, 359-391. doi:10.5194/acp-13-359-2013.
Rolison, J.M., W.M. Landing, W. Luke, M. Cohen, V.J.M. Salters (2013). Isotopic Composition of Species-Specific Atmospheric Hg in a Coastal Environment. Chemical Geology 336, 37-49. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2012.10.007
Saylor, R. D. (2013). The Atmospheric Chemistry and Canopy Exchange Simulation System (ACCESS): model description and application to a temperate deciduous forest canopy, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13, 693-715, doi:10.5194/acp-13-693-2013.
Vellinga, Olaf S., Ronald J. Dobosy, Edward J. Dumas, Beniamino Gioli, Jan A. Elbers, Ronald W. A. Hutjes, 2013: Calibration and quality assurance of flux observations from a small research aircraft. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 30 (2), 161-181 doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00206.1
Walker, J. T., M. R. Jones, J.O. Bash, L. Myles, T. Meyers, D. Schwede, J. Herrick, E. Nemitz, and W. Robarge (2013). Processes of ammonia air-surface exchange in a fertilized Zea mays canopy, Biogeosciences, 10, 981-998, doi:10.5194/bg-10-981-2013, 2013.
Technical Memos and Other Reports
Vogel, Christoph A., J. Randy White, David L. Senn, Thomas S. Wood V, and William R. Pendergrass. A Fast-response Data Acquisition System for Sonic Anenometers. NOAA Technical Memorandum OAR ARL-264. Air Resources Laboratory, Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 14pp. March, 2013.
Vogel, Christoph A., William R. Pendergrass , and J. Randy White. Determining the Effective Mean Wind for Power Generation from High-Frequency Turbulent Wind Flow Measurements. NOAA Technical Memorandum OAR ARL-265. Air Resources Laboratory, Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 15pp. March, 2013.
ARL staff participated in various events at the American Meteorological Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Austin, TX.
- Dian Seidel presented a paper in the 25th Conference on Climate Variability and Change entitled "The Mystery of Recent Stratospheric Temperature Trends." She also participated in meetings of the Committee on Environmental Responsibility (and ended her term as chair of that committee) and the Committee on Improving Climate Change Communication.
- Melissa Free gave a presentation in the 25th Conference on Climate Variability and Change entitled "Changes in U.S. total cloud cover from ground-based weather observations: Real or Artificial?"
- Hang Lee gave a presentation in the 15th Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry entitled: "Effects of Changes in Climate and Emissions on Future Particulate Matter Levels and Composition in the United States." Hang also co-chaired the session: Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Quality I.
- Tianfeng Chai gave a presentation in the 17th Conference on Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for the Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface entitled: "Integrating satellite observations into a 3-D Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) Modeling System, a first step towards generating atmospheric chemistry reanalysis field for the contiguous Unites States."
- Fantine Ngan presented a poster entitled "Meteorological modeling using WRF-ARW for Grand Bay Intensive Summer 2010 and Spring 2011."
- Li Pan gave a presentation in the 15th Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry entitled: "NMMB-CMAQ 4km forecasting system in Houston: model simulation and evaluation."
Ariel Stein participated as an invited lecturer of the Master Interunivesitario en Ingenieria Ambiental, teaching the graduate course entitled "Contaminacion Atmosferica: Origen, Tratamiento y Control", at the Universidad Internacional de Andalucia in Huelva, Spain. This graduate course is considered one of the top courses in Spain regarding environmental pollution and air quality.
Dian Seidel served as a judge at two local fairs: the Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Greenbelt, MD) Science and Engineering Fair on February 13 (as a category judge for Earth Science and special award judge for the American Meteorological Society) and Montgomery County Science Fair, March 16 (as a special judge for NOAA Pulse of the Planet award and AMS award.)
Walt Schalk visited a local Elementary School and gave a weather presentation and demonstrations to a local Cub Scout Pack (#560). The demonstrations included the showing of ABC's "Schoolhouse Rock's, The Weather Show", a visual history of wind and temperature instruments; physical demonstrations of dew and frost, atmospheric circulations, cloud formation, and a dust devil ("tornado box"); and the release and visual tracking of a dozen helium filled latex balloons.
Kip Smith and Rick Lantrip met with three forecasters from the local NWS Weather Forecast Office in Las Vegas, NV. Kip and Rick took them on a tour of the eastern half of the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). They visited the Desert Rock Weather Observatory and numerous NNSS mesonet stations. They provided a little history of the NNSS and the office. The group agreed to work on keeping communications open and to seek opportunities to work together.