Staff Notes Daily Announcements

TIAA Individual Counseling Sessions for June 2018:

Thursday, June 14, 2018
CG1 - Board Room 3150 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
FL2 - Room 1002 

Click here or call their Scheduling and Service Group phone reservation center at: 1-800-732-8353. 

These sessions are in high demand, so if you have to miss your appointment, be sure to contact TIAA as soon as possible so they can fill your time slot.

Posted by Alyssa Fronk at ext. 8710,

Friday, May 25, 2018 to Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Boundary layer mixing in the HWRF model
Robert Fovell
University at Albany, State University of New York

The role of planetary boundary layer (PBL) mixing in influencing storm size, track, and intensity, is investigated utilizing semi-idealized simulations with the Hurricane WRF model. In previous work (Bu et al. 2017), we demonstrated that significant variations in storm size can result from different PBL schemes, owing in large part to disparities in the vertical mixing of water vapor with respect to magnitude and depth. The potential impact on both storm size and intensity motivates a closer examination of PBL mixing in tropical cyclones, and comparisons with available observations.

For some time, the operational HWRF model has been using a version of the GFS PBL parameterization, which is known to generate excessive boundary layer mixing.  In the past, this mixing was restrained via the introduction of an external parameter, and the current version incorporates a more targeted mixing cap.  The HWRF model code has been revised to permit two additional PBL schemes, YSU and MYNN, to operate both with the model and with the GFDL surface layer scheme used to make real-time forecasts.  YSU is similar in many respects to the operational GFS scheme, but tends to generate much less mixing and shallower boundary layer depths owing to important differences in assumptions.  MYNN prognoses turbulent kinetic energy, and is frequently used in the ARW version of WRF.  These schemes have been evaluated in semi-idealized simulations and evidence that MYNN deserves further consideration will be presented.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Posted by Jessa Johnson at ext. 2751,

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 to Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The latest Safety Notes Newsletter is now available on the HESS website. In this edition:

  • Spot the OSHA Violations
  • Office Safety Tips
  • New Employee Orientations
  • Upcoming Safety Training
  • Safety Reminders
  • Safety in Action Recognitions

The Safety Notes newsletter is brought to you by the Safety & Security Committee and HESS. It is a quarterly newsletter highlighting seasonal safety information.

Posted by Susannah Martinez at ext. 8583,

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 to Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ground-based eye-safe networkable micro-pulse differential absorption lidar (DIAL) for thermodynamic profiling in the lower troposphere

Dr. Kevin Repasky
Montana State University

The importance of thermodynamic profiling has been underscored by a series of National Research Council (NRC) reports as well as a report to the National Science Foundation and National Weather Service.  A recent review article details the state of remote sensing of lower tropospheric thermodynamic profiles.  In this review paper, it was demonstrated that huge observational gaps exist with respect to thermodynamic profiling in the lower troposphere, and low-cost ground-based passive and active remote sensing systems are suggested as the best means to close these observational gaps.

In an effort to develop low-cost ground based active remote sensing instruments to address the needs of the science community, researchers at Montana State University (MSU) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have developed an eye-safe diode laser based (DLB) micro-pulse differential absorption lidar (MP-DIAL) for water vapor profiling in the lower troposphere.  Currently, two MP-DIAL instruments are operational and have been deployed at the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (FRAPPE), the Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) experiment, the Perdigão experiment, and the Land Atmosphere Feedback Experiment (LAFE).  For each of these field experiments, the MP-DIAL was run unattended and provided near-continuous water vapor profiles from 300 m above the ground level to 4 km (or the cloud base) with 150 m vertical resolution and 5 minute temporal resolution.  Three additional MP-DIAL instruments are currently under construction and will result in a network of five MP-DIAL instruments for ground based weather and climate research experiments.  Taking advantage of the broad spectral coverage and modularity of the DLB MP-DIAL architecture, a high spectral resolution lidar (HSRL) has been developed at NCAR for aerosol profiling and work has begun on the development of a DIAL instrument for temperature profiling in the lower troposphere.

In this talk, an overview of the DLB MP-DIAL technique will be presented.  The talk will include a discussion on the development and current status of the MP-DIAL for water vapor profiling and including data from recent field experiments.  Furthermore, the status of the development of the MP-DIAL for temperature profiling will be discussed.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018, 3:30 PM - Refreshments 3:15 PM
NCAR-Foothills Laboratory - 3450 Mitchell Lane
Building 2 Large Auditorium (Room 1022)   

Posted by Erin Fundalinski at ext. 8713,

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 to Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Total: ~1,000; ~$1,990,000 advertising value
Summary: New UCAR partnership, congressional briefing on oceans forecasting, Hurricane Harvey, acid rain, forecasting improvements, and a new climate model

Notable clips:

UCAR signs partnership with Skymet Weather Services (UCAR, Tony Busalacchi)
Daily Camera
Boulder's UCAR enters partnership boosting India weather forecasting

UCAR hosts congressional briefing on oceans and long-range forecasting (UCAR, Tony Busalacchi; and CESM, Gokhan Danabasoglu)
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
The Key to Extended Forecasting Is the Ocean

Ocean heat content linked to Hurricane Harvey’s intense rainfall (CGD, Kevin Trenberth)
The Washington Post
Because of climate change, hurricanes are raining harder and may be growing stronger more quickly
(This story was picked up by hundreds of publications, including NPR and USA Today, and was highlighted in a Washington Post editorial.)

Hawaiian volcano will likely cause acid rain and volcanic smog (ACOM, Sasha Madronich)
USA Today
Hawaii volcano: Acid rain will fall, but it won't be harmful — and 'vog' is in the forecast
(This story was published in dozens of publications.)

Hurricane forecasts are improving (RAL, Jonathan Vigh)
Palm Beach Post
Storm ‘cone’ slims down

How plants influence weather and climate (CGD, Gordon Bonan)
Inside Science
The Connected Fates of Trees Thousands of Miles Apart

DOE releases new climate model (CESM)
DOE’s maverick climate model is about to get its first test

Social media highlight:
Our recently created Instagram page grew by more than 30 percent in the last two weeks after we began promoting it on our other social media channels. Follow along with us @NCAR_UCAR.

Posted by Ali Branscombe at ext. 8609,

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 to Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Interpretable Deep Learning for Severe Weather Prediction and Stochastic Parameterization

David John Gagne II

The likelihood of tornadoes, hail, and severe winds is associated with the spatial structure of a thunderstorm and its near-storm environment. Existing statistical and machine learning modes for predicting these hazards, however, do not explicitly encode spatial information and focus on aggregate statistics. Deep learning models include convolutional spatial encoding layers that can learn storm structure. In this study, deep learning methods are evaluated for severe hail forecasting and are compared with less complex methods. An experiment is conducted with storm patches extracted from the NCAR convection-allowing ensemble to predict the probability of microphysics-derived severe hail over an hour from upper-air dynamic and thermodynamic fields. The convolutional neural network significantly outperforms the other models in Brier Skill Score. The convolutional neural network was interpreted to identify important input variables and storm structures. The neural network encoded physical storm features, such as wind shear, strong lapse rates, and favorable flow patterns for hail growth. 
Machine learning and deep learning models also have the potential to serve as sub-grid parameterizations for numerical weather and climate models. An initial feasibility study for this approach has been conducted with the Lorenz ‘96 chaotic dynamical system model. Generative adversarial networks (GANs), a technique for using one neural network to train another neural network to produce conditional samples of arbitrary distributions, are used to model the sub-grid forcing in the model. The GANs are compared with polynomial regression on both weather and climate time-scales. The GANs can approximate the true forcing distribution and with stochastic noise layers can produce ensemble error and spread that is competitive with the baseline model.

Thursday, May 31
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Posted by Jessa Johnson at ext. 2751,

Thursday, May 17, 2018 to Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Statistical Approach towards improving Predictability of Cold Season Precipitation Type and Amount for the HRRR-TLE

Paul J. Roebber
Distinguished Professor, Atmospheric Sciences Group
Department of Mathematical Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

In this DTC-sponsored study we explore a method to improve the predictability of cold season precipitation type for the operational High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Model Time-Lagged Ensemble (HRRR-TLE) through application of unique postprocessing techniques. TLEs are a computationally efficient method for improving probabilistic forecasts as the differences between model runs can provide an additional measure of initial condition uncertainty. Here, given that precipitation will occur, we apply evolutionary programming using HRRR-TLE forecast inputs for each of the three time lags to construct logistic regression equations calculating the probability of rain (pRN), probability of mixed precipitation (pMX), probability of freezing rain (pZR), probability of ice pellets (pIP), and the probability of snow (pSN). These equations are derived for 5 regions from 100°W eastward across the CONUS. These probabilities are then bias corrected using a decaying average process and optimal weights for each time-lagged ensemble member are developed using Bayesian Model Combination (BMC). These forecasts provided enhanced probabilistic information for both the areal distribution of cold season precipitation and the timing and location for precipitation phase transitions.
Friday June 15, 2018

Posted by Jessa Johnson at ext. 2751,

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 to Friday, June 15, 2018

Let's call it a day on Friday June 15, 3:00 - 6:00 PM at the Foothills Lab Courtyard!

Please join the EAC and help kick the summer off with an all-staff party.

Appetizers and refreshments will be served. Bring your families and take some time to relax with your colleagues!

We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information, contact Toni Wallace at ext. 8716,

Posted by Toni Wallace at ext. 8716,

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 to Friday, June 15, 2018

Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), together with the Boulder Fire-Rescue Department (BFRD), are planning an 85-acre prescribed burn on Shanahan Ridge this month. The burn area is southeast of the Mesa Lab.

The burn will take place some time between Wednesday, May 9, and the end of the month. The exact date will be based on wind and weather conditions, and firefighters will monitor the burn at all times until it is fully extinguished. Ignition could occur as early as 10:00 a.m. OSMP and BFRD will notify the community, including UCAR, prior to ignition.

Smoke from the burn area will likely be visible from the Mesa Lab and other parts of town. The burn area is over a mile south of the Mesa Lab and neither firefighters nor firefighting equipment are expected to be accessing the NCAR property during the burn.

For more information, please visit the City of Boulder web page for planned burns.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Dave Maddy at or 303-497-1134.

Posted by Alexandra Branscombe at ext. 8609,

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 to Thursday, May 31, 2018

April 30, 2018 - June 29, 2018 

Mixed Media Drawing and Watercolor by Ileana Barbu  

Ileana Barbu’s formations as a sculptor infused her artistic view with the fascination of three-dimensionality and the constant impulse of understanding forms in all angles. Drawing is an obsession for her – line and form in all their aspects have been a constant in her artwork. Her body of work can be viewed as a conglomerate of different directions, but she always returns back to line or linear compositions. Even when she “paints,” what really matters to her is the underlying structure. The paintings are, in fact, colored drawings. Ileana is fascinated with the human figure in all its aspects: physical, spiritual, natural, social and historical-temporal. Lately, she has been drawn to the images of trees – but also through the prism of human expression. Each “tree” is in fact another facet of herself.  

Mixed Media Painting by Frederick Pichon  

Frederick Pichon’s paintings reflect his personal interests in design, architecture, science and history. He is grounded in the pictorial tradition of Western art and perspective, but this body of work is contemporary. As a skilled draftsman, he loves precise drawing, but tries to be open to other stylistic expressions, so his work may straddle abstraction and representation, and incorporate materials, collages, computer images and more. His images express a position on man in the universe, both humanistic and technical to reflect on our condition. A good piece is a meditative work that opens on a different level of reality. 

Art Reception: Saturday May 5th from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the Mesa Lab cafeteria.

All artists work will be on display in the UCAR Community Art Galleries at the NCAR Mesa Lab. 

Preview all artists work on the NCAR/UCAR Community Art Calendar





Posted by Audrey Lewis at ext. 2570,

Monday, April 30, 2018 to Friday, June 29, 2018