UCAR Communications

staff notes monthly

I hope that each of you can take a look at this new SN Monthly column. Short Takes aims to quickly summarize a few of the exciting projects throughout UCAR. Here’s an excellent opportunity for busy people to get a sense of what’s happening across the institution. If you see a particular initiative that might dovetail with your own work, the column includes e-mail addresses or Web pages so you can find out more information.

You’ll notice that not every division or program is included here, and certainly there are dozens, if not hundreds, of projects that could have been listed. But we’re hoping over time to build on this column and include more and more of the invaluable research that is being conducted here. Short Takes will run initially every two to three months, but it may eventually become monthly if there’s enough interest.

If you’re taking part in an activity that you’d like your colleagues to know about, please send an e-mail to SN Monthly editor David Hosansky at hosansky@ucar.edu, or call him at ext. 8611. Enjoy the column!

—Rick Anthes, UCAR president

HAO’s Steve Tomczyk (tomczyk@ucar.edu) is working with Phil Judge and Roberto Casini to build an instrument that will measure the solar corona in two wavelengths (in the vicinity of a coronal emission line) and two light polarizations. Such an instrument would advance understanding of the strengths of magnetic fields and loops in the corona, as well as of coronal mass ejections—which have an impact on Earth’s atmosphere. Taking measurements of the corona is highly challenging because it is one million times less bright than the solar disk, but the HAO team hopes to have the ground-based instrument, known as a coronal multichannel polarimeter, in operation in early 2003.

A new national database of historical flood damage is expected to stimulate further research and discussions on national flood policy. Mary Downton (ESIG) and Roger Pielke Jr. (formerly of ESIG, now with the CU Center for Science and Technology Policy Research) reanalyzed flood damage estimates collected by the National Weather Service from 1926 to 2000. The work, sponsored by NOAA’s Office of Global Programs, included supplementing weather service damage estimates with reports from other federal and state agencies, evaluating data accuracy, and recommending ways of using the data to minimize the impact of estimation errors. At ESIG, Zoe Miller contributed to development of the database, and Jennifer Oxelson developed the Web site. A full report, including state and national flood damage estimates, is available at www.flooddamagedata.org.

About 80 scientists discussed a broad range of developments at a recent COSMIC workshop, Radio Occultation Science. The workshop, sponsored by NSF and the National Science Council of Taiwan, examined such topics as recent advances in radio occultation science and methods, as well as the status and results of radio occultation missions. Beginning in 2005, COSMIC’s satellites will probe the atmosphere using the technique, with each satellite intercepting a GPS signal after it occults, or passes through, the atmosphere close to the horizon. (The atmosphere slows and bends the GPS signals, and calculations of this slowing and bending can be inverted to obtain accurate profiles of important weather and climate parameters, including atmospheric temperature, moisture, and pressure and electron density in the ionosphere.) The proceedings of the workshop, which was co-convened by COSMIC’s Bill Kuo and Chris Rocken, may be found at www.cosmic.ucar.edu/2002Conference/index.html.

Scientists in ACD’s Global Modeling Group and their collaborators have found a new ozone maximum in the middle atmosphere. Using models and observations, Daniel Marsh and Anne Smith, in collaboration with Guy Brasseur (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany) and Martin Kaufmann and Klaus Grossmann (Wuppertal University, Germany), showed that there is a local maximum in ozone centered near 60 miles (100 kilometers) in altitude during the high-latitude winter. The maximum, which results from a shift in the chemical interactions between ozone (O3) and hydroxyl (OH), results in more than ten times the usual background levels of ozone. For more information, see www.acd.ucar.edu/science/asr01.html, and click on science highlights.

The fine-scale detail in a turbulence model can help improve the portrayal of moisture flow between surface and air in a larger-scale model, according to results from MMM’s Edward Patton, Peter Sullivan, and Chin-Hoh Moeng. The team coupled a land-surface model from NOAH (which comprises the National Centers for Environmental Protection, Oregon State University, the Air Force, and the Hydrologic Research Lab of the National Weather Service) and a large-eddy simulation model, developed at NCAR, that depicts turbulent motions. A control run, in which soil moisture was held uniform across the target area, was compared with runs in which variations in soil moisture occurred on scales ranging from 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) down to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles). When variations were on the order of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles), the turbulence in the NCAR model interacted with the larger-scale motions in the NOAH model to help transport moisture from soil to the overlying air more efficiently. Funding is coming from NASA’s Land Surface Hydrology Program. For more information, see www.mmm.ucar.edu/highlights/patton_0602/ patton.html.

A broad range of techniques for assessing the accuracy of forecasts was discussed at a recent FL workshop, Making Verification More Meaningful. The workshop, sponsored by the FAA’s Aviation Weather Research Program, examined such topics as scaling impacts, grid vs. point verification, limitations due to unevenly distributed observations, and development of operationally relevant verification measures and approaches. The Aviation Weather Research Program is preparing a summary of the workshop discussions. RAP’s Barbara Brown, Tressa Fowler, and Inger Gallo helped organize the workshop, along with NOAA’s Jennifer Mahoney. For more information, go to www.rap.ucar.edu/research/verification/ver_wkshp1.html.

ESIG’s Michael Glantz, with support from NOAA’s Office of Global Programs, brought 23 international participants to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on 18–19 June for a workshop: Water, Climate, and Development Issues in the Amudarya Basin. The notion of transferring water from the Ob and Irytysh rivers in Siberia was presented by the participant from Uzbekistan as an urgent need. With the waters from the Amudarya and the Syrdarya continuing to diminish because of heavy agricultural use and the prolonged drought in the region, Afghanistan’s new government may assert its dormant water rights, affecting nearby countries downstream. As in the past, a drought disaster and political change drew attention to a region’s dependence on climate and water resources. The full report is available at www.esig.ucar.edu/centralasia.


Also in this issue...

The NCAR Library offers a potpourri of products

Our new buildings: UCAR purchases Center Green

One—no, two—new Delphi coordinators

Team UCAR/NCAR leads Boulder’s Bike-to-Work Day

Powerful new version of CCSM aids in climate analysis

Random Profile: Terri Cantrell

It’s a family tradition

Teaching educators

Crisis phone line available to staff

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