Daniel E. Wolfe

NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory

Physical Science Division

Weather and Climate Physics Branch

325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305


Deputy Branch Lead

Research Meteorologist

Site Manager Boulder Atmospheric Observatory

Past Chair AMS Measurements Committee

Eureka, Canada March 2006 Installing P-AERI in OPAL (Dan (on fork-lift), Von, Pierre)



Professional Affiliations

Professional Awards

In 1969 Dan entered the U.S. Coast Guard and served as a Marine Science Technician , first aboard the icebreaker Glacier followed by 2 yrs at the Coast Guard Oceanographic Unit in Washington, D.C. This work consisted of both oceanographic and meteorological research and support. While at the Oceanographic Unit he helped plan and carry-out several baseline studies on the marine eco-system in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of Prudhoe Bay, AK. Dan also trained as a diver for 4-weeks in Key West at the Naval Underwater Swimmer's School . Diving duties included several dives beneath the ice in the Arctic Ocean. After leaving the Coast Guard and while attending college, Dan worked as a CO-OP student for the Doppler radar group in NOAA's Wave Propagation Laboratory, participating in the National Hail Research Experiment and helped build an FM-CW radar. Following graduation Dan was hired by NOAA's Boulder Atmospheric Studies group where he helped instrument the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) and conduct several multi-agency boundary layer studies and instrumention comparisons. Dan worked at the BAO from 1978 until 1987 and served as site manager before moving his office into Boulder Daily Camera 1983 . From 1987-1990 he participated multiple field studies including the Convective INitiation and Downburst Experiment, several Front Range air pollution studies and managed the first ETL field tests of the boundary layer wind profilers during the Grand Canyon Visibility Study. During this period he also served on the scientific review panel for the State of Colorado's Senate Bill 77 Visibility Report. In 1991 he was ETL's project leader for the leads experiment (LEADEX), operating the first ever wind profiler on the Arctic ice pack. This Arctic experience carried over into Dan's work at the South Pole where he help operate a 915 MHz wind profiler and setup sonic anemometers for flux measurements. In 1993 he transferred to the newly formed SDID group within ETL to help develop an integrated mobile profiling system (MPS). Other experiences included measuring integrated water vapor using GPS, wind profiler signal processing and quality control, and remote sensor integration and data assimilation. In 2004 Dan became Deputy Branch Chief under Dr Chris Fairall of the Clouds Radiation and Surface Processes Group. As Deputy Dan was responsible for tracking all funding within the Group. In 2006 ETL was reorganized as the Earth Systems Research Laboratory and the Group increased from 15 to 35 people as the Weather and Climate Physics Group. Besides managing the finacial side, Dan oversees the logistics for the SEARCH project in Eureka, Canada and for the annual ship cruises. Dan also participates in one of more ship experiments a year and continues to manage the BAO. Dan has aspirations of retiring soon and coming back part-time work exclusively at the BAO. Hobbies: golf, Volleyball, biking, snorkelling, camping
Family Christmas 1999..Carolyn, Stephanie(18), Spencer(11)
Family 2009..Stephanie(28), Beau Daniel (1), Spencer(21), Dan, Carolyn
40 Years in Science.. Picture history of 40 years as a meteorologist 1969-2009

Research Projects

Denver Brown Cloud Study

In the late 1980's NOAA/ETL played a major role in documenting the meteorology associated with the Denver Front Range Air Pollution. Several major field experiments were conducted, including one to study the impact of Denver's pollution on Boulder.
Brown Cloud monitoring site, Scott Capernter Pool, Boulder Regional Air Quality Council Report 2000

Grand Canyon Haze Study

In late 1990 NOAA/ETL played a major role in documenting the meteorology associated with the air pollution within the Grand Canyon. A major field experiments was conducted that included one of the initail deployments of boundary layer wind profilers. NOAA's Doppler Lidar and surface meteorological stations were also deployed.
Page, AZ power plant plume

LEADEX Arctic Leads field experiment

In 1991 I was selected to head the first NOAA/ETL Arctic project (LEADEX) to study the impact of arctic leads on the atmosphere.
Arctic Wildlife....LEADEX Camp ....Meteological hut....Dan & met station

MPS Mobile Profiling System

Advanced technologies and techniques exist for upper-air meteorological observations using improved remote-sensing instruments, but much has not been implemented and validated in operational systems and much technology has not been transferred to industry for commercialization in standard off-the-shelf supported products. Therefore, in 1992, ETL and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, began a cooperative effort to develop the Mobile Profiler System (MPS), an integrated system of ground-based and satellite-borne remote-sensing instruments, to measure continuously and automatically in real-time profiles of high-resolution wind, temperature, and humidity. MPS was designed as a prototype system to test and demonstrate advanced technologies and techniques. MPS has also served as a platform to develop new technologies and to transfer those technologies to industry. MPS includes (a) a 924-Mhz profiler radar, with a five-beam phased array antenna and with Radio Acoustic Sounding System (RASS), for measuring wind and temperature throughout the lower troposphere; (b) a meteorological tower for measuring wind, temperature, and humidity just above the surface; a four-channel radiometer for temperature and a two channel radiometer for moisture; (d) a satellite-receiving system with global positioning system (GPS) for processing satellite radiometer data; and (e) a balloon sounding system for validation.

Integrating Remote Sensors

Test algorithms that integrate remote sensor data into combined profiles. Sensors include radar wind profilers (915, 404, 449, 50 MHz), ground-based microwave radiometers, satellite-based radiometers, surface meteorological sensors, and laser ceilometers. The basic concept is to take any data available and merge them into a single profile using the strengths of each instruments. Balloon data are used to compare with these integrated profiles. The main advantage of the integrated profiles over balloon data includes reduced man power and therefore reduced cost to obtain much higher temporal resolution. Since balloons have been considered the standard over the years, a lot of effort has gone into the comparison of and understanding of differences seen between a single balloon flight and high resolution integrated data.

South Pole

In Nov of 1993 I was selected to go to the South Pole to relieve the NOAA/ETL winter over person and provide support for the instrumentation. Instrumentation included radar wind profiler w/RASS and sonic anemometers. This equipment was setup in and around the NOAA/CMDL Clean-Air Facility. ..Dans @ South Pole

Surface-based GPS Water Vapor

Retrieval of total precipitable water vapor (PWV) information from Global Positioning System (GPS) data. This is a new technique that takes advantage of the fairly inexpensive GPS data that is becoming more readily available all the time. The total PWV along the path is proportional to the delay in the GPS received signal. Research has shown that absolute values with accuracies better than 2mm of PWV can be calculated. At the present time FSL/ETL has a network of GPS receivers dedicated to continuously monitoring PWV. These data are processed 1-2 days after it is collected using rapid satellite orbits. Our goal is to develop a real time GPS processing system that will be incorporated into NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory for use by the National Weather Service.This work is also being carried out in conjunction with the Scripps Oceanographic Institute, the University of Hawaii, and the University NAVstar COnsortium (UNAVCO).

SHEBA Surface Heat Energy Budget of the Arctic

SHEBA is an international research program designed to document and understand the interaction of atmosphere, ice pack, and ocean in the Arctic. It's goal is to provide measurements that will improve the treatment of Arctic climate in global models. Remote sensors will play a major role in obtaining these measurements. In closely related work, the North Slope of Alaska was chosen as one of the DOE/ARM Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) sites because General Circulation Models have difficulty simulating polar climates and because changes in global climate are likely to be amplified at hight latitudes. Image of the ship and Met City...Polar Bear...

Ft Huachuca Wind Profiler

Radar Wind Profilers (RWP's) have been used for years for weather forecasting, pollution studies, and even to support rocket launches. A new need is now being addressed through funds provided by the Air Force, to support the Tethered Atmospheric Radar System ( TARS). A TARS is a large blimp-like balloon-borne radar system (aerostat) designed to provide low-altitude radar surveillance. Currently there are 11 sites placed across the southern United States, from the west to the east coast. These aerostats "fly" while being tethered to the ground, and constantly scan the horizon tracking airplanes up to xxx miles away. Constant concerns for these aerostats include severe weather (effecting its ability to stay aloft) and safety (both in the air and when retrieving the aerostat). The new 449 MHz radar wind profiler is designed to provide 15 min average winds from 0.15 to 4.0 km above the ground with 0.12 km vertical resolution.. The radar will be located approximately 3 miles from the aerostat site, and is designed to run continuously with little operator intervention. The system consists primarily of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) parts, and is currently being integrated and tested at a field site near Boulder, Colorado.
Portable 449 and Aerostat

Vandenberg Air Force Base Wind Profiler

This 449-MHz wind profiler was the first to have complete integration the new NOAA signal processing. This system has since been moved to replace the Platteville, CO NPN profiler.
Vandenberg 449 Profiler


GroundWinds is a technology demonstration project for a prototype satellite instrument which would provide global wind data for weather forecasting and other earth science applications. Near Mt Wahington in New Hampshire. NOAA/ETL operated it's portable 449 MHz wind profiler for comparisons. Dan at the Mt Washington Observatory: WINDY

Ron Brown Wind Profiler

This system is a combination of a new electronically steered phased array antenna along with NOAA' advanced signal processing. This project received the NOAA Administrators Award in 2001 "For innovative engineering development of a new observing system to improve NOAA's forecast of weather and climate." Ron Brown docked in Dutch Harbor, AK prior to test cruise.

MDSS Federal Highway Road Weather Project

The development of a prototypewinter Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) is part of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Transportation Operations (HOTO) Surface Transportation Weather Decision Support Requirements. (STWDSR) initiative. The objective of the MDSS effort is to produce a prototype tool for decision support to winter road maintenance managers. The MDSS is based on leading diagnostic and prognostic weather research capabilities and road condition algorithms, which are being developed at national research centers. It is anticipated that components of the prototype MDSS system developed by this project will ultimately be deployed by road operating agencies, including state departments of transportation (DOTs), and generally supplied by private vendors.

AMS Measurements Committee Member

I served as a member of the American Meteorological Societies Measurement Committee from 2001-2002 and as Chairperson 2003-2004. As a member my first two years I helped organize the 2001 Symposium on Observations and Instrumentation, putting together a short course entitled INTRODUCTION TO METEOROLOGICAL INSTRUMENTATION AND OBSERVATION TECHNIQUES. As Chairperson I organized the the 2003 Symposium on Observations and Instrumentation, with another short course entitled FUNDEMENTALS OF BOUNDARY LAYER WIND AND TEMPERATURE PROFILING USING RADAR and ACOUTSTIC TECHNIQUES

Ron Brown Atmospheric Instrument Mentor

Dan is the mentor for several atmospheric measurement systems on the Ron Brown. These include the C-band Doppler Radar , 915 MHz Radar Wind Profiler, SeaSpace Inc TeraScan System (satellite images), and the Vaisala MW31 balloon sounding system (thermodynamic and ozonde sondes).


As part of the Eastern Pacific Investigation of Climate (EPIC) program, the UOP group has undertaken a study of Long-Term Evolution and Coupling of the Boundary layers in the Stratus Deck regions of the eastern tropical Pacific. The goal of the Stratus project is to observe and understand air-sea interactions and the surface forcing in the region of the cold tongue/intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). Beginning in October, 2000, we have maintained a fully-instrumented surface mooring at 20°S, 85°W to collect accurate time series of surface meteorology and upper ocean temperatures, velocities and salinities. The data collected will improve our understanding of the air-sea fluxes and sea-surface temperatures in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Sponsors The Stratus experiment is supported through the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research (CICOR), a partnership between the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Principal funding is provided by the NOAA Office of Climate Observations (OCO).
STRATUS Science Crew 2006

SEARCH Study of Environmetal Arctic Change

The principal hypothesis of the SEARCH program is that Arctic climate change is related to the Arctic Oscillation (AO). There have been observations of large scale spatial co-variability between a number of climatic variables (surface temperatures, hydrological balances, cloud cover, winds) with the primary modes of the Arctic Oscillation. Analyses suggest that one of the most significant AO-related trends over the last 50 years is warming in Eastern Siberia and cooling in the northeastern Canada-western Greenland region. Real Time Data Browser

ICEALOT 2008 International Chemistry Experiment in the Arctic LOwer Troposphere

A Springtime Study of Aerosol Properties and Atmospheric Chemistry over an Ice-Free Region of the Arctic. This cruise was on board the R/V Knoor which is famous for discovering the Titantic. We left from WoodsHole, MA crossing the Atlantic where we monitored conditions off the coast of Norway. This study also tried to understand Arctic Haze as we traveled to 80 N just above Svalbard, Norway. The cruise ened in Reykjavik, Iceland where I met up with an Icelandic colleague and visited with his family.
ICEALOT cruise track.. Cruise track Mar 19 - Apr 14, 2008
Glacier crew.. Icelandic friends after 4x4 to the top of a glacier!!

Pictures from the Past Photo Gallery

Selected Publications

Wade, C.G. and D.E. Wolfe, 1989: Performance of the VIZ carbon hygristor in a dry environment. Preprint, 12th Conf. on Weather Analysis and Forecasting, OCT. 2-6, 1989, Monterey, CA, AMS Boston, MA, 58-62.

Wolfe D.E. and C.W. King, 1990: Denver/Boulder visibility: Meteorological aspects and comparisons. Visibility and Fine Particulates, C.V. Mathai-Editor, published by Air and Waste Management Association, Estes Park, CO, Oct., 1989, 479-488.

Ruffieux, D., D.E. Wolfe, and C. Russell, 1990: The Effect of Building SHadows in the Vertical Structure of the Lower Atmosphere in Downtown Denver, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 29, 1221-1231.

Wolfe, D.E., W.L. Ecklund, D.A. Carter, and K.S. Gage, 1991: Evaluation of performance of NOAA's 915 MHZ boundary layer radar during the 1990 Grand Canyon visibility study. Preprint, Seventh Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation, New Orleans, LA, Jan. 12-18, 1991, American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA, 384-388.

Wolfe, D.E., C.W. Fairall, and D. Ruffieux, 1992: Surface Energy Measurements on the Arctic Ice Pack, Preprint, Third Conference on Polar Meteorology and Oceanography, Portland, OR, Sept. 29- Oct. 2, 1992, 72-75.

Mursch-Radlgruber, E. and D. E. Wolfe, 1993: Mobile high frequency minisodar and its potential for boundary layer studies. Appl. Physics B 57,57-63.

Wolfe, D.E., D. Ruffieux, and C.W. Fairall, 1993. The 1992 Arctic Leads Experiment: An overview of the Meteorology. Arctic Rea. J. of the United States, 7, 24-28.

Wolfe, D.E, B. Weber, D. Wuertz, D. Welsh, D. Merritt, S. King, R. Fritz, K. Moran, M. Simon, A. Simon, J. Cogan, D. Littell, and E. Measure, 1994: An overview of the Mobile Profiler System: Preliminary results for field tests during the Los Angeles Free-Radical Study, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 76, 523-534.

Gossard E.E., R.G. Strauch, B. Boba Stankov, and D.E. Wolfe, Measurement of property gradients and turbulence aloft with ground-based radars: 1995, NOAA Tech. Memo. ERL 453-ETL 67, pp. 31.

Wolfe, D.E., B. Weber, D. Wuertz, D. Welsh, D. Merritt, S. King, R. Fritz, K. Moaran, M. Simon, A. Simon, J. Cogan, D. Littell, and E. Measure, 1995: An overview of the mobile profiler system: Preliminary results from field tests during the Los Angles free-radical study, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 76, 523-534.

Wolfe, D.E., S. Gutman, D. Kim, J. Yoe, 1996: Initial Comparison of Integrated Precipitable Water Vapor from GOES/POES Satellite Sensors and Surface-Based GPS Signal Delays, Fall American Geophysical Union Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Wolfe, D.E., S. Gutman, R. Chadwick, P. Fang, Y. Bock, M. Bevis, and S. Businger, 1996: Contribution of Atmospheric Water Vapor to the Total GPS Signal Delay, National Radio Science Meeting 9-13 January, Boulder, CO, pp 272.

Wolfe, D.E., B.L. Weber, D.B. Wuertz, and K.P. Moran, 1997: 449-MHz Profiler/RASS: Meteorological Support for the California Air Resources Board 1995 Mojave Desert Ozone Experiment, NOAA Technical Memorandum ERL ETL-273, pp 96.

Wolfe, D.E., S.I. Gutman, R.B. Chadwick, P. Fang, and Y. Bock, 1998: Developing an operational surfaced-based, GPS, water vapor observing system for NOAA: Network design and project status. 10th Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation, Phoenix, AZ Amer. Meteor., Soc.

Gossard, E.E., D.E. Wolfe, K.P. Moran, R.A. Paulus, K.D. Anderson, and L.T. Rogers, Measurement of clear-air gradients and turbulent properties with radar wind profilers: 1998, J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech.,15, 321-342.

Wolfe, D.E. and S.I. Gutman, 1999: Developing an operational surfaced-based, GPS, water vapor observing system for NOAA: Network design and results. J. Atmos Oceanic Tech., 17, 426-440.

O. R. Cooper, et.al., Large upper tropospheric ozone enhancements above midlatitude North America during summer: In situ evidence from the IONS and MOZAIC ozone measurement network, J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 111, No. D24, D24S05, 10.1029/2006JD007306, 12 December 2006.

J. Livingston, et.al., Comparison of Water Vapor Measurements by Airborne Sunphotometer and Near-Coincident In Situ and Satellite Sensors during INTEX-ITCT 2004. ICARTT/North America/Europe special JGR section 2006

Fairall, C. W., L. Bariteau, A. A. Grachev, R. J. Hill, D. E. Wolfe, W. A. Brewer, S. C. Tucker, J. E. Hare, and W. M. Angevine (2006), Turbulent bulk transfer coefficients and ozone deposition velocity in the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research into Transport and Transformation, J. Geophys. Res., 111, D23S20, doi:10.1029/2006JD007597.

D.E. Wolfe, et.al.,SHIPBOARD MULTI-SENSOR MERGED WIND PROFILES FROM NEAQS 2004 Special Edtion JGR Atmospheres 2006

Brown, S. S., W. P. Dubé, H. D. Osthoff, D. E. Wolfe, W. M. Angevine, A. R. Ravishankara, 2007: High resolution vertical distributions of NO3 and N2O5 through the nocturnal boundary layer. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 139-149.

Cooper, O. R., M. Trainer,...D. Wolfe, et al., 2007: Evidence for a recurring eastern North America upper tropospheric ozone maximum during summer. J. Geophys. Res., 112,

Wolfe, D. E., W. A. Brewer, S. C. Tucker, A. B. White, D. E. White, D. C. Welsh, D. Ruffieux, C. W. Fairall, M. Ratterree, J. M. Intrieri, B. J. McCarty, D. C. Law, 2007: Shipboard multisensor merged wind profiles from the New England Air Quality Study 2004. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D10S15.

Zuidema, P., C. Fairall, L. M. Hartten, J. E. Hare, and D. Wolfe, 2007: On Air–Sea Interaction at the Mouth of the Gulf of California. J. Climate, 20, 9, 1649-1661.

Livingston, J., B. Schmid, J. Redemann, P. B. Russell, S. A. Ramirez, J. Eilers, W. Gore, S. Howard, J. Pommier, E. J. Fetzer, S. W. Seemann, E. Borbas, D. E. Wolfe, and A. M. Thompson, 2010: Comparison of water vapor measurements by airborne Sun photometer and near-coincident in situ and satellite sensors during INTEX/ITCT 2004. J. Geophys. Res., 112

Commerce / NOAA / OAR / PSD / / Weather and Climate Branch

Last update: July 15, 2010