EOL

EOL Seminar - Jeff Stith (EOL/RAF)

Ice particles in the upper anvil regions of mid-latitude continental thunderstorms during the DC3 program

Jeff Stith

Research Aviation Facility, Earth Observing Laboratory

2014 EOL SUPER Internship Presentations

Please join us as we learn about the summer research performed by EOL's SUPER (Summer Undergraduate Program for Engineering Research) interns.

Julian Quick - Humboldt State University

Live Data Monitoring Via Quality Control Metadata

Brandon Butterfield - Arizona State University

Redesign of Automated Giant Nuclei Impactor

Jose Diaz - University of Puerto Rico

EOL Seminar Series - Minghui Diao (NCAR/ASP/EOL)

Cirrus cloud formation and evolution from the microscale to the synoptic scale

Minghui Diao

NCAR Advanced Study Program (ASP)

Earth Observing Laboratory

Scientists detail Front Range air pollution - FRAPPÉ - Multimedia Gallery

News Release Multimedia Gallery Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and partner organizations are launching a major field project across the northern Front Range of Colorado in July 2014 to track the origins of summertime ozone, an invisible but harmful pollutant. The project employs specially equipped aircraft, mobile radars, balloon-mounted sensors, and sophisticated computer simulations to measure local and far-flung pollution sources. Results from the month-long study will provide needed information to officials seeking to ensure that air in the region is healthy to breathe. On this page Video Open House - #NCARsocial - Shared Images Pre-campaign Images   Video Detailing Air Pollution in Colorado - Front Range Air Pollution & Photochemistry Experiment (©UCAR. Video produced for NCAR/UCAR by Ryan Budnick, Hightail Inc.) Pre-campaign Images     FRAPPÉ will sample and examine the atmospheric conditions pertaining to air quality across the northern Front Range of Colorado, including the urban corridor from south of Denver to Fort Collins as well as the adjacent plains and mountains. Study area is indicated in blue. (©UCAR. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) The NSF/NCAR C-130 aircraft is based at NCAR’s Research Aviation Facility (RAF) at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colorado. RAF develops and operates instrumented research aircraft for the atmospheric science community. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin from UCAR Digital Image Library. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) FRAPPÉ participants Kennedy Vu and Roya Bahreini (University of California, Riverside) check on equipment destined for the NSF/NCAR C-130. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Chris Cantrell (University of Colorado Boulder) checks the status of an instrument panel to be flown on the NSF/NCAR C-130 in FRAPPÉ.  (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) The NSF/NCAR C-130 includes pods on each wing (top) where air-sampling instrumentation can be mounted. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Steve Shertz (NCAR) works on circuitry for an air chemistry analysis module to be installed on the NSF/NCAR C-130 for FRAPPÉ. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) The interior of the NSF/NCAR C-130 as preparations unfolded for FRAPPÉ. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Cory Wolff and Al Schanot (NCAR) confer as preparations unfold for the NSF/NCAR C-130 prior to FRAPPÉ.  (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) James Crawford (NASA) addresses journalists at the FRAPPÉ press conference on July 15, 2014, at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.   (©UCAR, photo by Bob Henson. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Dirk Richter (University of Colorado Boulder) works on one of the data analysis consoles to be flown on the NSF/NCAR C-130 in FRAPPÉ.  (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Lisa Kaser (NCAR) works on circuitry for an air chemistry analysis module to be installed on the NSF/NCAR C-130 for FRAPPÉ. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Gabriele Pfister (NCAR) addresses journalists at the FRAPPÉ press conference on July 15, 2014, at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.   (©UCAR, photo by Bob Henson. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)   Open House - #NCARsocial - Shared Images [View the story "NCAR Air Quality Project - Open House" on Storify]        

Scientists launch far-ranging campaign to detail Front Range air pollution

News Release Multimedia Gallery  BOULDER – Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and partner organizations are launching a major field project across the northern Front Range of Colorado this month to track the origins of summertime ozone, an invisible but harmful pollutant. FRAPPÉ Open House at the NCAR Hangar See the Planes, Talk to Air Pollution Researchers The public is invited to visit with the pilots, engineers, and scientists working on the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment, or FRAPPÉ. Please wear close-toed shoes and bring up to 3 children per adult, 6 years and older. More info > Saturday, August 28:00 - noonNCAR Research Aviation Facility10802 Airport CourtBroomfield, CO 80021Map and directions The researchers will use specially equipped aircraft, mobile radars, balloon-mounted sensors, and sophisticated computer simulations to measure local and far-flung pollution sources. Results from the month-long study will provide needed information to officials seeking to ensure that air in the region is healthy to breathe. It marks one of the largest research projects to look at summertime air pollution on the northern Front Range, including Denver, which often exceeds federal standards for safe levels of ground-level ozone pollution despite efforts to reduce emissions. Ozone can lead to increased asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments. It also damages vegetation, including crops. FRAPPÉ will sample and examine the atmospheric conditions pertaining to air quality across the northern Front Range of Colorado, including the urban corridor from south of Denver to Fort Collins as well as the adjacent plains and mountains. Study area is indicated in blue. (©UCAR. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) “Our goal is to produce an accurate and detailed view of all the diverse sources of ozone pollution along the Front Range,” said NCAR scientist Gabriele Pfister, a principal investigator on the project. “We want to fingerprint where the pollution comes from and analyze what happens when it mixes in the atmosphere.” Known as the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (FRAPPÉ), the study will track emissions from both human-related activities and natural sources. It will focus on the urban corridor from south of Denver, north to Fort Collins, as well as the adjacent plains and mountains. Scientists also want to determine how much pollution comes from upwind areas, including other states and countries. Funded through a federal-state partnership, FRAPPÉ is supported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and by the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor. Two major projects converge To provide additional detail across the region, scientists will closely coordinate FRAPPÉ with a second air quality mission taking place on the Front Range at the same time. DISCOVER-AQ (Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality) is a major study led by NASA that seeks to improve the ability of satellites to usefully assess our air quality. “What we learn from these flights will help us to better interpret satellite remote sensing of air quality from geostationary orbit in the future,” said NASA scientist Jim Crawford, a principal investigator on DISCOVER-AQ. “It also will help us to define the best combination of instruments on the ground to connect air quality monitoring networks with satellite information.” The DISCOVER-AQ flights and ground observations will focus on the northern Front Range, while FRAPPÉ will gather measurements from the surrounding region. In all, approximately 200 scientists, technicians, pilots, and students from around the country will converge on the Front Range for the combined projects. The researchers will quantify emissions from industrial facilities, power plants, motor vehicles, agricultural operations, oil and gas drilling, fires, and other sources. They also will measure naturally occurring emissions from trees and other plants that then combine with emissions generated by human activity to form ozone and other pollutants. Profiling air quality in three dimensions Colorado, like other states, relies on a limited number of ground-based stations to monitor air quality and help guide statewide policies and permitting. But a full, three-dimensional picture of the processes that affect air quality, including conditions far upwind and high up in the atmosphere, requires a three-pronged approach with measurements from aircraft, satellites, and the ground. The NSF/NCAR C-130 aircraft, one of the aircraft involved in FRAPPÉ, is based at NCAR’s Research Aviation Facility (RAF) at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colorado. RAF develops and operates instrumented research aircraft for the atmospheric science community. (©UCAR, photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) “By bringing together aircraft, satellites, and ground-based instruments, we can analyze the amounts and types of pollutants that are emitted in the Front Range as well as transported from other places, how they evolve, and how air circulation patterns near the mountains move them around,” said NCAR scientist Frank Flocke, a principal investigator on FRAPPÉ. During the projects, which run from July 16 to mid-August, Front Range residents may notice occasional low-flying research aircraft that are taking measurements of the atmosphere. The aircraft will spiral down at times, taking samples of air as they spiral directly above ground instruments that will be measuring air at the surface and observing the atmosphere above. Ozone, a principal component of smog, forms from the reaction of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide in the presence of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sunlight. It peaks during summer months when sunlight is strongest and air conditions are more likely to be stagnant. Although the scientists will focus on ozone, they will also measure the size and chemical composition of airborne particles to better quantify particle pollution and track its sources. Microscopic airborne particles can have a major impact on people’s respiratory health. The data gathered by the projects will go through a quality assurance process and then become publicly available in about six months. Scientists will use the data to begin publishing research results in about a year. An armada of instruments FRAPPÉ and DISCOVER-AQ will use similar payloads for their aircraft. The teams will conduct wingtip-to-wingtip intercomparison flights several times during the project, sampling air in the same place to make sure the instrument readings are comparable. A network of instruments on towers, rooftops, and other sites will continuously monitor ozone and the gases that react to form it. Other ground-based activities, such as measurements from tethered balloons and from lidars (laser-based radars), will be closely coordinated with the flights. The researchers will draw on forecasts and nowcasts of both weather and air quality from a large number of computer models to assess daily conditions and make final decisions on when to fly and where to gather atmospheric samples. “This is a unique opportunity for the state to work with others on a study that combines ground-based measurements with aircraft-borne sensing,” said Will Allison, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Pollution Control Division. “It will help us more fully understand complex questions such as the factors contributing to ozone formation in the region. And that will help us continue to implement effective measures to reduce air pollution.” “FRAPPÉ is a major collaborative study that will produce the most complete picture ever of summertime air pollution on the Front Range,” said Thomas Bogdan, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which manages NCAR. “This effort will dramatically advance our understanding of air quality and its potential impacts. The results have the potential to help not only people living on Colorado's Front Range, but residents of other metropolitan areas with similar conditions, too.” In addition to NCAR and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the FRAPPÉ team includes scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences; National Park Service; Regional Air Quality Council; Global Ozone Project; Western Regional Air Partnership; Environmental Protection Agency; University of Colorado Boulder; Colorado State University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Wisconsin; University of Cincinnati; Georgia Institute of Technology; University of California, Riverside; Aerodyne Inc.; U.S. Naval Academy; University of Rhode Island; University of California, Irvine; and Princeton University.

EOL Seminar

Airborne Doppler Wind Lidars: Overview and recent research projectsG. D. Emmitt, PhDPresident and Senior ScientistSimpson Weather Associates, Inc.Airborne Doppler Wind Lidars have been used for atmospheric research since the 1970’s. The speaker has been involved with their use since 1981 when NASA/MSFC flew a C02 coherent Doppler lidar on a Convair 990 to map multiple thunderstorm outflow interactions as part of CCOPE.

Earth Observations and Plant Physiology: Testing Ecological Understanding at a Global Scale

The development of global biosphere models has occurred in tandem with the ongoing increase in availability of products that may be used to specify boundary conditions and to test the predictions of these simulations. As representations of the terrestrial biosphere increase in sophistication, these data migrate from use in model initialization to use in validating prognostic model components when these quantities become new ‘moving parts’ as opposed to model inputs.

Students run radar from afar

June 18, 2014 | You can now use software to turn on your car before you leave the office or turn on the lights before you get home. What about operating a sophisticated radar remotely? Students at North Carolina State University are doing just that, learning about severe storm structure and radar operations at the same time. In a first for NCAR, the center’s Colorado-based S-Pol research radar is being operated from 1,600 miles away. Over the last month, four undergraduate NCSU students in Raleigh, North Carolina, have been controlling S-Pol, stationed near the town of Firestone, as well as Colorado State University’s CSU-CHILL radar, located near Greeley. The operations are designed to collect data for a set of NSF-funded education modules led by NCSU atmospheric science professor Sandra Yuter. These undergraduates from North Carolina State University’s Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences got a unique opportunity this spring to operate NCAR’s S-Pol research radar from a distance. Left to right, atop the department building: Sara Berry, Nicole Corbin, Megan Amanatides, and Jason Endries. (Photo courtesy Sandra Yuter.) “I like making my own forecasts and seeing them unfold on the radars in real time,” said NCSU’s Nicole Corbin. “It’s especially neat that we can see the 3-D structure of the storms as they evolve.” Another participant, Sara Berry, pointed out the value of student-directed educational opportunities: “Controlling the radars has given me a more active involvement with the weather. I can choose what I want to scan and study.” Thanks to the project, she added, “I am much more aware of the weather in Colorado than in my own state!” Late May and early June is prime time for severe weather in northeast Colorado, and that climatology held true this year, with hail- and tornado-producing thunderstorms dotting the plains on numerous days. “We are obtaining a fantastic radar data set for the education modules,” said Yuter. “In particular, the vertical slices scanned by the S-Pol and CHILL radars are providing incredible detail on the air flows through the storms.” Although S-Pol is a much larger radar than the kind of portable Doppler units famed for their use in storm chasing, NCAR's engineers devised a system using eight cargo containers to transport and then deploy S-Pol at field projects around the globe. Before this summer, though, the radar had never been remotely operated from a great distance, said NCAR associate scientist Scott Ellis. Since the 28-foot-diameter transmitting/receiving dish was already being steered from computer terminals on site, it might have seemed straightforward to set up the operations from North Carolina. However, there were numerous technical challenges that had to be overcome. One critical component needed for remote operation of S-Pol was a way to monitor system status and notify staff of any issues. According to Ellis, the radar now monitors all of its subsystems and automatically sends a message to a designated phone if it finds any problems. A webcam keeps an eye on the antenna as it scans. And the radar subsystems have been re-engineered so that many issues can now be resolved remotely, relieving the need for staff to be located at the radar during operations. “Making S-Pol remotely operable—from warming up the transmitter, through adjusting the scans, displaying the data in real time, and then shutting down—really adds to the utility of the radar,” said Ellis. “This opens up a big opportunity to expand our user base and to make smaller projects more accessible to researchers. We’re really excited about that.” Ellis hopes that other universities will take advantage of S-Pol’s remote capabilities. He noted that a newly streamlined process allows smaller research and education projects to be carried out without the more involved approvals required for major field campaigns funded by the National Science Foundation (see website for details).    Writer/contactBob Henson, NCAR & UCAR Communications ResearchersSandra Yuter, North Carolina State UniversityScott Ellis, NCARPatrick Kennedy, Colorado State University Funders National Science Foundation Technicians install the transmitter dish for NCAR’s S-Pol radar during a move to its permanent location near Firestone, Colorado, in October 2013. Using dual-polarization techniques pioneered at NCAR and NOAA, S-Pol can distinguish raindrops from hailstones, a crucial difference in evaluating the potential for torrential rain. The National Weather Service recently added dual-polarization capability to its national NEXRAD network of Doppler radars (Photo by Carlye Calvin, © UCAR.)

EOL Seminar: Emergent national (US) and international for NEON Science and the new collaborative opportunities they create

Dr. Russ Lea

CEO of NEON Inc.(National Ecological Observatory Network)

NEON is designed to address research topics in ecological forecasting, global environmental change, management of the carbon cycle, and frontiers in carbon cycle science. Examples of research problems include:-Increases in nitrogen deposition affecting ecosystem services-Increases in global CO2 and temperature-Increased rates of land use change

In search of 60-mile-high waves

May 21, 2014 | Not far from where parts of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy were filmed, a stealthy player in atmospheric science will be under a different type of spotlight this summer. Novel instruments to be deployed in and near southern New Zealand will provide an unprecedented view of gravity waves, a vital atmospheric element little known by the public. Gravity waves form when strong winds strike a large obstacle, such as a mountain range or a thunderstorm. With an effect similar to the rippling waves that spread after a rock is thrown into a lake, this wave of air can travel horizontally for hundreds of miles and vertically to the outer reaches of our atmosphere—more than 60 miles high. Composed of tiny water crystals at altitudes of around 50 miles (80 km), noctilucent clouds owe their existence to gravity waves that alter the polar summer mesosphere, making it the coldest region in Earth’s atmosphere. The clouds are only visible at dusk, when sunlight from below the horizon illuminates them. These noctilucent clouds took shape over Helsinki, Finland, on July 2, 2012. (Wikimedia Commons photo by Timo Newton-Syms.) As the high-altitude waves “break,” somewhat like ocean waves on a beach, they can alter winds and temperatures in ways that influence weather at much lower altitudes. In the stratosphere, gravity waves can produce polar stratospheric clouds that provide sites for ozone-depleting chemical reactions. Higher up, in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere, the waves modify the atmospheric tides that account for large daily variations of winds and temperatures. The waves can even affect the electromagnetic state of the ionosophere, where solar storm effects play out. A lucky person might catch a glimpse of atmospheric gravity waves through Earth’s two highest-altitude cloud types: nacreous (polar stratospheric) and noctilucent. However, the waves themselves are difficult to track and analyze in detail without special equipment. That’s where the DEEPWAVE field project comes in, deploying researchers and equipment in and near New Zealand this winter (during our Northern Hemisphere summer). NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory and university and lab partners in several nations want to find out how the waves evolve and how their influences can be better predicted. “Right now, the effects of gravity waves are poorly understood and very poorly described in our weather and climate prediction models,” says David Fritts (GAT Inc.), one of the project’s four principal investigators. “We devised DEEPWAVE to take advantage of new measurement capabilities,” Fritts adds. “If we can use our knowledge from DEEPWAVE to better understand gravity waves arising from sources over the entire planet, it will help contribute to better weather and climate forecasting in the future.” Cold, dark, and high HIAPER, the NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V aircraft, will serve as DEEPWAVE’s flight platform. The research jet will conduct up to 20 missions in June and July, flying at heights of up to 42,000 feet, in and near gravity waves triggered by the rugged Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island . The region between 40°S and 50°S is known as the “roaring forties,” with only Patagonia and New Zealand blocking winds that race from west to east. Flight managers will keep an eye out for severe turbulence, as well as temperatures that could dip below –94°F (–70°C) at flight levels. “Our pilots have experience flying in all manner of atmospheric conditions,” notes NCAR project manager Jim Moore. “The challenge in DEEPWAVE is to fly above the mountains of Tasmania and New Zealand that can invigorate gravity waves.” HIAPER will be studded with upward-looking equipment, including a new advanced tool for mapping mesopheric temperatures and two new lidars (laser-based radars) that will measure gravity wave structures using light scattered by aerosols, atmospheric molecules, and sodium atoms. On the ground, NCAR is bringing a new wind profiler radar to DEEPWAVE that can track winds aloft at higher altitudes than ever before possible. “Our new modular wind profiler allows scalability to suit the needs of a particular experiment,” says NCAR project scientist Bill Brown. He, colleagues, and students from the United States and the University of Canterbury will operate the profiler and launch dozens of weather balloons from the windy, soggy west slopes of the Southern Alps, where many gravity waves are born. Writer/contactBob Henson, NCAR & UCAR Communications Lead researchers David Fritts, GATS Inc.Ron Smith, Yale University Mike Taylor, Utah State University James Doyle and Stephan Eckermann, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory NCAR project manager Jim Moore   Collaborating institutionsGerman Aerospace Center (DLR)MetService (New Zealand)National Center for Atmospheric ResearchNational Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (New Zealand)UK Met OfficeUniversity of CanterburyU.S. Naval Research Laboratory/Australian Antarctic Division Funders National Science Foundation U.S. Office of Naval Research U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Dive deeper DEEPWAVE (NCAR/EOL) Quick questions and answers (NCAR/EOL) In Graphic Terms One of the most favored locations on Earth for the generation of atmospheric gravity waves is the South Island of New Zealand. As strong west-to-east winds strike the island’s mountains, a gravity wave can form and propagate vertically to heights of more than 60 miles (100 km). (Illustration @UCAR, by Alison Rockwell, NCAR Earth Observing Laboratory.)

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