Staff Notes Daily Announcements

Exploring the fate of organic molecules in the atmosphere with the hyper-explicit chemical model GECKO-A

Dr. Sasha Madronich
Atmospheric Chemistry Observations & Modeling Laboratory
National Center for Atmospheric Research

The atmospheric chemistry of organic molecules yields important byproducts (e.g., oxidant gases and organic aerosols) that can harm biota and modify weather and climate. However, this chemical system remains poorly understood because (i) a large number of different organic compounds is emitted by major sources (biogenic, anthropogenic, and pyrogenic hydrocarbons), and (ii) each of these emitted precursors can spawn hundreds of partly-oxidized intermediates differing in their chemical, physical, and optical properties. Only a few of these molecules have been studied directly in the laboratory, so that estimation methods are required for other molecules. We have developed a detailed near-explicit model of hydrocarbon chemistry for the atmosphere, the Generator of Explicit Chemistry and Kinetics for Organics in the Atmosphere (GECKO-A), in which different precursors are oxidized through multiple generations to a myriad of intermediate compounds, and ultimately to CO2 and H2O. The model is initialized with available laboratory data where possible, and then uses structure-activity relations (SARs) to estimate kinetics and pathways for reactions lacking direct measurement. This seminar will (i) provide an overview of the organic chemistry relevant in the atmosphere, (ii) give some examples of protocols and SARs used in GECKO-A to extend the applicability of available lab data, (iii) examine model skill in predicting organic particle formation in controlled chamber experiments, and (iv) show some applications to organic budgets on urban, regional, and global scales.

Monday, May 8, 2017
3:30 p.m.
Refreshments 3:15 p.m.
NCAR Foothills Laboratory, FL2-1022, Large Auditorium
Live webcast:

Posted by Caitlyn Quinn at ext. 1308,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Monday, May 8, 2017

Congratulations Chrissy Fladung and Meg McClellan, the grand prize winners of the “Name our new eProcurement Site” Contest. Both Chrissy and Meg individually and independently submitted the winning name entry.  Close to 50 entries were reviewed by our project team panel and 4 were selected for the contest ballot.   The winning entry was a clear winner with over 46% of the votes from staff.

The name of our on-line electronic catalog marketplace site is….


For sharing their creative genius both Meg and Chrissy won:

  • Design Credit ü
  • Renown in Staff Notes Daily ü
  • Kudos from your peers ü
  • Gratitude from the Project Team ü
  • Movie Ticket Prizes ü

Special thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this contest a success!

Posted by Helen Moshak at ext. 1112,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Tuesday, May 2, 2017

NCAR is partnering with colleagues in Europe and the United States on a field project in Portugal, called Perdigão, that will measure wind at an unprecedented resolution, both in time and space. (Story by Laura Snider, Senior Science Writer. Read more.)

Posted by Laura Snider at ext. 8605,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Monday, May 8, 2017

Impacts of climate change on building energy use
Bas van Ruijven, NCAR/CGD

Climate change leads to changes in energy use, mostly through the demand for heating and cooling of buildings. The generic patterns are predictable and well known: demand for heating decreases while the demand for cooling increases. On the global level, these changes largely cancel out, and therefore the net impacts are small. On the regional level, however, changes can be large and vary widely between different studies. This talk explores the potential drivers of these regional differences: different climate models, variation in climate metrics, socioeconomic change and different impact models. Using data from hourly CESM runs, the CMIP5 archive, the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, and three fundamentally different impact models we explore the impacts of climate change on building energy use in the USA and India. 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017
11:00 AM, refreshments at 10:45
Mesa Lab, Main Seminar Room

Live webcast:
For more information, contact Gaylynn Potemkin, potemkin@ucar.edu303.497.1618

Posted by Gaylynn Potemkin at ext. 1618,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The deadline for submitting poster abstracts, Visualization Showcase proposals and Birds-of-a-Feather proposals for PEARC 17 has been extended to Monday, May 8. Tthe Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC) conference is in New Orleans, July 9-13, 2017.

Submissions should emphasize experiences and lessons derived from operation and use of advanced research computing on campuses or provided for the academic and open science communities. Submissions that align with the conference theme—Sustainability, Success, and Impact—are particularly encouraged. See the Call for Participation for more information.

Students whose posters are accepted are eligible to apply for financial support to cover the costs of airfare, shared lodging, and registration fees.

Posted by B.J. Smith at ext. 1273,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Monday, May 8, 2017

After 45 years of dedicated service to CGD, NCAR, and the greater science community, Dennis Shea is retiring.  A celebration was held at the Mesa Lab on 27 April 2017.

Posted by Barbara Ballard at ext. 1358,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Join us for a free, introductory yoga class this Wednesday, May 3, in FLA-2205, 12:05-1:05. Take a break and come learn some basic yoga techniques for breathing, stretching and relaxation. All levels, including absolute beginners, are welcome!

Posted by Jennifer Phillips at ext. 1173,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Wednesday, May 3, 2017

News clips at a glance: April 22 – 28

Total: 70

Summary: Mesa Lab architect I.M. Pei's 100th birthday, the March for Science, and the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center attracted media attention, along with NCAR research findings.

Notable clips:

Cheyenne Supercomputer, (Rich Loft and Gary New, CISL):
Weather Supercomputer Predicts Colorado Floods, Wildfires
(KDVR-TV, Fox31 Denver)

Climate Change and Extreme Weather (Kevin Trenberth, CGD):
Global Warming is Sharply Raising the Risks of Unprecedented Events

If you Think Traffic is Bad Now, Wait for the Inland Migration

March for Science (Paty Romero Lankao, RAL):
Losing Their Religion: Three Top Players in Colorado's Science and Research Community Speak About Egos, Urgency, and Angst
(The Colorado Independent)

I.M. Pei and the Mesa Laboratory:
Essential I.M. Pei: The Century-Old Architect Changed the Way the World Sees Itself

I.M. Pei's Colorado Legacy on the Legendary Architect's 100th Birthday
(Colorado Public Radio)

Climate Change and Snowmelt (Keith Musselman, RAL):
Western Water Crunch has Climate Change Fingerprints, Scientists Find
(InsideClimate News)

Nuclear War and its Possible Impacts (Michael Mills, ACOM):
Climate Scientist Michael Mills Describes the Devastation of a Nuclear Detonation
(World Socialist Web Site)

Infrastructure and Climate Change (Linda Mearns, Seth McGinnis, Melissa Bukovsky, Rachel McCrary, and Doug Nychka, CISL/IMAGe):
Scientists Probe How to Build Roads in a Changing Climate
(Global Construction Review)

Extreme Weather and Climate Change (NCAR):
Extreme Weather Linked to Greenhouse Gases, Global Warming, Stanford Study Says
(San Jose Mercury News, cites previous study by NCAR.)

Social media highlights:

Our birthday wishes to Mesa Lab architect I.M. Pei, who turned 100, received a lot of love. Two tweets reached nearly 5,000 followers, and generated a combined 38 likes and 13 retweets.

Posted by Jeff Smith at ext. 2679,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Friday, May 5, 2017

Parents’ Night Out is a great opportunity for you and your significant other to go out to dinner and a movie!

Contact Stephanie Ivancic, Director of UCAR’s Child Care Center, to sign your child up from 6 pm - 8 pm ($30 for one child or $40 for two children) or 6 pm - 10 pm ($50 for one child and $60 for two children).

Children are welcome to wear their pajamas for a fun evening of movies and pizza! If your child has a video that he or she would like to share, bring it along! Please make sure it is labeled and let the fun begin! Siblings under the age of 7 are welcome, too.

We invite all UCAR employees to take advantage of this fun evening as your child does not need to be enrolled at the UCAR Child Care Center to partake! 

Mark your calendars for future dates:   Friday, June 9 and 23, July 7 and 21.

Posted by Laurie Carr at ext. 8702,

Monday, May 1, 2017 to Friday, May 26, 2017

Progress and Prospects of Advanced Radar Refractivity Retrieval 

Ya-Chien Feng
McGill University 

Radar refractivity is a proxy for two dimensional near-surface moisture fields and can be retrieved within about a 50-km radius of radars. This technique is based on the temporal phase variation from ground targets as an indication of the refractivity change along the radar beam path. Refractivity is most sensitive to moisture variations near the ground. High temporal and spatial resolution refractivity maps have been previously used to study the spatial variation of near-surface moisture associated with convection evolution and boundary layer processes, as well as for assimilation in numerical weather prediction models to improve quantitative precipitation forecasting skills. However, data quality concerns regarding the representativeness of the refractivity maps, simplified assumptions of the retrieval method, and unknown error quantification have limited the applications in recent years. This presentation will introduce recent progress in the development of radar refractivity retrieval algorithms. Three-dimensional refractivity information is provided, consisting of a horizontal map at a given height above the terrain and the averaged refractivity profile over the data coverage. The temporal evolution of the refractivity profile captures the diurnal mixing conditions within the lowest levels of the atmosphere. The observational bias and error of the retrieved refractivity fields are quantified based on an improved understanding of the fundamental characteristics of ground targets and the uncertainties of the phase measurements as well as the retrieval. The knowledge of the error of the retrieved product is essential both for data assimilation and future technique improvements. The operational WSR-88D radar network may someday implement the advanced refractivity retrieval technique. This could advance the understanding of the moisture distribution associated with heterogeneous land surfaces, such as urban-rural contrast, and it might help improve the initialization of near-surface thermodynamic conditions for models at various resolutions.

Semiar will be webcast at:

Tuesday 02, May, 2017 3:30 PM
NCAR Foothills Laboratory
3450 Mitchell Lane
Bldg 2 Large Auditorium (RM1022)

Posted by Meghan Stell at ext. 2043,

Friday, April 28, 2017 to Tuesday, May 2, 2017