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ESRL Physical Sciences Research Review

9-12 March 2010 • Boulder, CO

Laboratory scientific reviews are conducted every four years to evaluate the quality, relevance, and performance of research conducted in OAR laboratories to both internal and external interests, and to help strategically position the laboratory in its planning of future science. These reviews are intended to ensure that OAR laboratory research is linked to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Strategic Plan, relevant to NOAA Research mission and priorities, and consistent with NOAA planning, programming, and budgeting.

This review covers physical sciences research at ESRL's Global Systems Division and Physical Sciences Division over the past four years.

Theme #1: Climate, Weather, and Water Physics

Supporting NOAA's mission to provide better projections of future climate as well as short term forecasts of extreme events, requires improved understanding of physical processes in the Earth system. These include:

  1. quantifying air-sea interactions, particularly those associated with high-wind situations;
  2. quantifying the land-atmosphere-cloud processes that control energy budgets in the rapidly changing Arctic;
  3. improving the representation of boundary layer processes, which mediate the exchange of carbon dioxide with the surface and influence air quality;
  4. quantifying the roles of key physical processes in modulating the water vapor budget, including transport and precipitation;
  5. examining global teleconnections, particularly from tropical regions that influence regional climate; and
  6. assessing mechanisms that govern the regional and global transport of atmospheric chemical species and black carbon, which affect regional air quality, precipitation processes, and climate.

Theme #2: Modeling, Data Assimilation, and Advanced Computing

Linking observations and physical processes through data assimilation is the foundation for numerical modeling. NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) produces global and regional modeling and data assimilation systems coupling atmospheric, ocean, chemistry, land-use, and other earth system components of the NOAA operational suite running at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction and at Weather Forecast Offices. These models support NOAA's broad weather warning and forecast mission as well as other federal, state, and local agencies for such applications as fire weather, the nation's space program, and defense tactical operations. ESRL also develops advanced, high-performance computer architectures as the means for handling the enormous computational demands of global-scale environmental models. This modeling, assimilation, and advanced computing research are critical for NOAA's role in environmental monitoring and for producing forecast guidance from minutes to millennia.

Theme #3: Climate, Weather, and Water Services

Bridging the gaps between science and decision-making is critical for an informed society to anticipate and respond to weather and climate extremes and their impacts. Successful climate, weather, and water services must fully utilize the capacity of the nation's physical science research enterprise to meet the environmental challenges posed by climate variability and change, particularly with respect to extreme events. Observations, process studies and applications-research are combined at ESRL to advance the delivery of climate, weather and water information by NOAA to support policy and decision making. This is aided by ESRL's hosting of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) program office and the Western Water Assessment (WWA), which allows close interaction of ESRL scientists with their staff who are addressing the immediate needs of decision makers. ESRL's investments in attribution research helps inform society on how to invest in critical infrastructure in risk-prone areas, and puts current climate extremes in the context of long-term change. Many of ESRL's efforts focus at the watershed scale, where the impact on people and the economy are the greatest. In supporting these efforts, ESRL has created a delivery system of research products that utilizes and adds value to routine reanalysis data and develops new methods to improve predictions, such as Reforecasting, applying Ensemble Kalman Filter methods to historic data and operating the Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT) program to deliver information at watershed scales.

Theme #4: Technology Transfer and Outreach

Research and development advances are essential to enhancing more sophisticated and informed services. ESRL's mission includes the transfer of research developments to operations and applications in order to fill the gaps identified by the stakeholders and decision makers using NOAA's weather and water products and services. The formalized transition of validated models, verification and information systems, data analysis tools, information products, and observing systems into operational use by public and private sector forecasters and decision makers for the protection of life and property is at the heart of ESRL science and technology activities. ESRL develops sophisticated tools for improving the weather forecast process, operates and participates in research testbeds for providing the infrastructural and testing bridge between research and operations, develops and improves specific services for high impact weather decision support (such as to the aviation community), and conducts outreach and education programs employing their technologies (such as Science On a Sphere and Virtual Worlds) to provide the public with a better understanding of NOAA's scientific research.

Theme #5: Earth System Observation and Analysis

At the heart of better understanding the Earth system are reliable observations of critical processes from watershed to global scales and from minutes to years. ESRL's observational efforts seek to improve the characterization of physical processes in its coupled modeling systems and provide improved statistical and conceptual models of the Earth system. To this end, ESRL supports an array of ground- and ship-based observing systems deployed in polar regions, at sea, and across the U.S. In addition ESRL maintains a climate diagnostics capability that produces a suite of products used by the climate research community and has led to the development of a new historical reanalysis using only surface pressure observations. The ability of individual observing systems and analyses to improve our understanding and modeling of the earth system must be evaluated within the context of currently available observations. ESRL develops, tests, and evaluates newly emerging observing systems such as piloted and unmanned airborne systems. ESRL examines the relative impact of existing data systems using Observing System Experiments (OSEs) and conducts Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) to estimate the potential impact of proposed new observing systems.


Day 1: March 9, 2010
Time Title Speaker
8:00 Welcome: Introduction and Charge to Reviewers Richard Spinrad
8:05 Keynote by Sr. Science Advisor to NOAA Administrator Paul Sandifer
8:20 Overview of NOAA Research Planning Craig McLean
8:35 Welcome; ESRL Organization Overview, Physical Sciences Research and Priority Setting Alexander MacDonald
8:50 New Advances: Global Assimilation and Modeling Jeffrey Whitaker
  New Advances: Global Assimilation and Modeling Jin Lee
9:10 ESRL Research - PSD William Neff
  ESRL Research - GSD Steven Koch
Theme #1: Climate, Weather and Water Science
Co-Leads: Chris Fairall, Jim Wilczak
10:30 Climate, Weather and Water Science Overview Chris Fairall
10:40 Air Sea/Ice Fluxes Chris Fairall
10:55 Misrepresentation of Tropical SSTs in Climate Models Prashant Sardeshmukh
11:10 Diagnosing Times Scales of Atmospheric Moisture Transport Matt Newman
11:25 Landfalling Impacts of Atmospheric Rivers: From Extreme Events to Long-term Consequences Paul Neiman
11:40 Summary & Way Forward Jim Wilczak
Theme #2: Modeling, Data Assimilation, and Advanced Computing
Co-Leads: Stan Benjamin, Zoltan Toth
1:45 Overview and Global Modeling Stan Benjamin
2:05 Data Assimilation and Rapid Cycling Numerical Weather Prediction Steve Weygandt
2:25 WRF-Chem &8212; Development and Applications
(Alaska Fires .mov) (Dispersion .avi)
Georg Grell
2:40 Forecast Uncertainty/Applications Paul Schultz
2:50 Advanced Computing Mark Govett
3:00 Summary and Way Forward Zoltan Toth
Day 2: March 10, 2010
Theme #3: Climate, Weather and Water Services
Co-Leads: Randy Dole, Robert Webb
Time Title Speaker
8:00 Overview Randy Dole
8:15 Research to Improve Climate, Weather and Water Services Marty Ralph
8:30 Development of an Attribution Services Capability Martin Hoerling
8:45 The Western Water Assessment Kristen Averyt
9:00 The National Integrated Drought Information System Roger Pulwarty
9:15 Summary & Way Forward Robert Webb
Theme #4: Technology Transfer and Outreach Activities
Co-Leads: Sher Schranz, Jennifer Mahoney
1:15 Overview Sher Schranz
1:50 Science Transition Processes Mike Kraus
1:30 Weather Information Display Systems Tom Lefebvre
2:10 Outreach and Education Beth Russell
  Outreach and Education Eric Hackathorn
2:30 Summary & Way Forward Jennifer Mahoney
Day 3: March 11, 2010
Theme #5a: Weather System Observations and Analysis
Lead: Bill Moninger
Time Title Speaker
8:00 Overview Bill Moninger
8:20 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Sara Summers
8:35 GPS-Met Seth Gutman
8:50 Summary & Way Forward John Brown
Theme #5b: Climate System Observations and Analysis
Lead: Marty Ralph
9:00 Overview Randy Dole
9:30 Polar (Arctic) Observations and Processes Taneil Uttal
9:10 Historical Reanalysis Gil Compo
9:45 Summary & Way Forward Marty Ralph


Day 1: March 9, 2010
Theme #1: Climate, Weather and Water Science
Physical Influences on Satellite-Based Sea Surface Temperature Measurements and Uncertainties Gary Wick
Large-Scale Air-Sea Interaction: Remote Influences on Tropical Pacific Variability Michael Alexander, Antonietta Capotondi, Jamie Scott, Amy Solomon, De-Zheng Sun
Scale Interactions within the Madden-Julian Oscillation George N. Kiladis, Patrick T. Haertel, and Katherine H. Straub
Measurement/Parameterization of Air-Sea Gas Transfer Jeffrey Hare
Evidence for Deposition of Black Carbon in the Springtime Arctic J.R. Spackman, R.-S. Gao, W.D. Neff, J.P. Schwarz, L.A. Watts, D.W. Fahey, J.S. Holloway, T.B. Ryerson, J. Peischl, O.R. Cooper, C.A. Brock
Air-Sea Fluxes in Hurricane Models J.-W. Bao, C. W. Fairall, S. A. Michelson, and L. Bianco
Ocean Acoustic Mapping of Hurricane Wind Fields Alexander Voronovich and Cécile Penland
Orographic Precipitation Processes Paul J. Neiman, Allen B. White, F. Martin Ralph, Brooks E. Martner, David E. Kingsmill, Ellen M. Sukovich, Mimi Hughes
Impacts of Asian Dust on Cloud Microphysics and Precipitation during an Atmospheric River during the CalWater Early Start Campaign Andrew P. Ault, Jessie M. Creamean, Christopher R. Williams, Cassandra J. Gaston, F. Martin Ralph, and Kimberly A. Prathe
Processes in the Cloud-Atmospheric Boundary Layer-Surface (CAS) System Impacting Arctic Surface Energy Fluxes P. Ola G. Persson, M. Shupe, A. Solomon, A. Grachev, and T. Uttal
Hydrometeorological Testbed (HMT) Ensemble Modeling
Isidora Jankov and Huiling Yuan
Parameterization of Land-Surface Processes in the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) and Rapid Refresh (RR)
Tatiana Smirnova, Stan Benjamin, and John Brown
Theme #2: Modeling, Data Assimilation, and Advanced Computing
Towards an Earth System Model: Chemistry in the FIM and its effect on forecasting weather and air quality
Georg A. Grell, Tom Henderson, Stuart A McKeen, Jian-Wen Bao and Saulo Freitas
Space and Time Multiscale Analysis System (STMAS)
Yuanfu Xie, Steven E. Koch, Steve Albers, and Huiling Yuan
Rapid Refresh (RR) and High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR)
Ming Hu, Tanya Smirnova, Curtis Alexander, Steve Weygandt, Stan Benjamin, John Brown, and Joe Olson
Enabling Science with Graphical Processing Units (GPUs)
Jacques Middlecoff and Mark Govett
Probabilistic Thunderstorm Guidance from a Time-Lagged Ensemble of High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) Forecasts
Curtis Alexander, Doug Koch, Steve Weygandt, Stan Benjamin
Improving the Accuracy of Satellite Moisture Measurements
Daniel L. Birkenheuer and Seth I. Gutman
NIM: Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Model
Jin Lee and A. E. MacDonald
High Performance Computing at ESRL: Supporting the Computational Needs of ESRL's Scientists and Modelers
Craig Tierney2, Leslie Hart1, Pam Weber1, Lee Cohen2, Chris Harrop2, Ed Moxley3, Forrest Hobbs4, Nathan Dauchy4,, Eric Schnepp4, Glen Pankow
Progress Made Towards Including Wildfire in Real-Time Cloud Resolving Forecasts at NOAA/ESRL
Steven Peckham, Georg Grell, Saulo Freitas, Martin Stuefer, Stuart McKeen Tanya Smirnova, Stan Benjamin, Karla Longo and William "Ruddy" Mell
New ways of discretizing the atmosphere/ocean for earth system prediction
Rainer Bleck, Jian-Wen Bao, Stan Benjamin, Jin Lee, Sandy MacDonald, Jacques Middlecoff, Tom Henderson, John M. Brown, Shan Sun and Ning Wang
Progress toward an ESRL earth system model: Coupling FIM to an isopycnal-isocahedral ocean
Rainer Bleck and Shan Sun
Ensemble Kalman Filter Development at ESRL Jeffrey S. Whitaker, Thomas M. Hamill, Gilbert P. Compo, Philip Pegion
Parameterization of Diabatic Processes in FIM: Implementation, Evaluation and Improvement
J. -W. Bao, G. A. Grell, J. M. Brown, M. Fiorino, S. Benjamin, and J. Lee
Day 2: March 10, 2010
Theme #3: Climate, Weather and Water Services
The NOAA, California Department of Water Resources and Scripps Hydrometeorology Testbed Legacy Project
Allen White, Marty Ralph, Mike Anderson, Art Hinojosa, Mike Dettinger, and Dan Cayan
The NOAA Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT) Soil Moisture Observing Networks: Linking the Soil to Weather and Climate Processes
Robert Zamora F. Martin Ralph Timothy Schneider
Howard Hanson Dam Rapid Response and NOAA's New Mobile Atmospheric River Observatory
Allen White, Scott Abbott, Jesse Leach, Clark King, Jim Jordan, Dan Gottas, Marty Ralph, and Robin Webb
Assessment of Extreme Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts and Development of Regional Extreme Event Thresholds Using Data from HMT-2006 and COOP Observers
F. M. Ralph, E. Sukovich, D. Reynolds, M. Dettinger, S. Weagle, W. Clark, P. J. Neiman
Integrated Water Resources Observing Systems and Networks
Jim Jordan, R. Cifelli, S. Abbott, K. Clark, T. Coleman, D. Costa, J. Gibson, D. Gottas, D. Hazen, P. Johnston, C. King, D. Kingsmill, J. Leach, F.M. Ralph, T. Schneider, A. White
NOAA Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT)
Tim Schneider, Seth Gutman, Dave Kingsmill, Marty Ralph, Woody Roberts, Isidora Jankov, Allen White, Bob Zamora
NIDIS Research and Implementation - Developing Early Warning Information Systems Across Climatic Timescales
James Verdin
The U.S. Drought Portal
Michael Brewer and Mark Svoboda
WWA, Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation
K.B. Averyt, A. Ray, J.J Barsugli, K. Wolter, M. Hoerling, N. Doesken, B. Udall, R.S. Webb
Climate, Growth and Drought Threat to Colorado River Water Supply
Balaji Rajagopalan, Kenneth Nowak, James Prairie, Mar=n Hoerling, Benjamin Harding, Joseph Barsugli, Andrea Ray and Bradley Udall
NOAA's Potential Role in Renewable Energy
James Wilczak, M. Marquis, E. Weatherhead, S. Benjamin
Applications of HMT Science to "Operational Forecasting"
Woody Roberts, Patricia Miller, Tim Schneider, and GSD/ISB Staff
* Physical Sciences Division Tour *
The Climate Response to 2007 Arctic Sea Ice Loss
Martin Hoerling, Judith Perlwitz, Jon Eischeid, Xiao-Wei Quan, TaiYi Xu, and Arun Kumar
Using reforecasts to improve probabilistic weather predictions
Tom Hamill, Jeff Whitaker, and Gary Bates
Attribution of Evolving North American Climate Conditions
Judith Perlwitz, Martin Hoerling, Jon Eischeid, Taiyi Xu1, and Arun Kumar
Prospects for Improving Subseasonal Predictions
Kathy Pegion and Prashant D. Sardeshmukh
Seasonal Forecasting of Thermal Stress Conducive to Mass Coral Bleaching Events
C. Penland, L. Matrosova, R.S. Webb, R.S. Pulwarty, G. Liu, C.M. Eakin, S. Lynds, T.R.L. Christensen, S.F. Heron, J.A. Morgan, B.A.A. Parker, W.J. Skirving, A.E. Strong
The Impact of Stratospheric Ozone Hole Recovery on Antarctic Climate
Judith Perlwitz, Steven Pawson, Ryan Fogt, Eric Nielsen, William Neff
Distinct Causes for Two Principal U.S. Droughts of the 20th Century
Martin Hoerling, Xiao-Wei Quan, and Jon Eischeid
PSD Interactive Data Analysis and Plotting Web Pages
Barb DeLuisi, Don Hooper, Greg Keith, Cathy Smith, Tim Coleman, Dan Gottas
Distinguishing the roles of natural and anthropogenically forced decadal climate variability: Implications for prediction
Amy Solomon and Matt Newman
Climate variability and the collapse of a Chinook salmon stock
S. T. Lindley, M. Mohr, W. T. Peterson, C. Grimes, J. Stein, J. Anderson, L. W. Botsford, D. Bottom, C. Busack, T. Collier, J. Ferguson, C. Garza, A. Grover, D. Hankin, R. Kope, P. Lawson, A. Low, B. MacFarlane, K. Moore, M. Palmer-Zwahlen, F. B. Schwing, J. Smith, C. Tracy, R. S. Webb, B. Wells, T. Williams
Regional Experimental Seasonal Forecast Guidance: A 10-year Track Record in the Southwestern U.S.
Klaus Wolter
International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmospheric Data Set (ICOADS)
Scott Woodruff, Sandra Lubker, Steve Worley and Eric Freeman
Theme #4: Technology Transfer and Outreach Activities
NOAA Modeling GUI Tools
Jeff Smith
AWIPS Technology Transfer
Joanne Edwards
What is the FX-Net Program
Jebb Stewart
Forecaster X-Window Collaboration System (FXC)
Greg Pratt
Network-Enabled Verification Service (NEVS): Improving the Quality of Weather Forecasts for Operational Decisions
Nick Matheson, Missy Petty, Dan Schaffer, Tim Pease, Sean Madine, Geary Layne, Steve Lack, Jennifer Mahoney, and Andy Loughe
NOAA Interdisciplinary Scientific Environmental Technology (ISET) Educational Partnership Program
Tracy Hansen, Chris Harrop, Isidora Jankov, Steve Koch, Tom LeFebvre, MarySue Schultz, Cathy Smith, and David Welsh
Getting to Know NOAA: ESRL Education and Outreach Ann Reiser and Barb DeLuisi
Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS) Technology Transfer
Steve Albers, Brent Shaw, and Ed Szoke
Precision Air Drop System (PADS): Local Analysis and Prediction System (LAPS) Wind Forecasts Improve Air Drop Target Accuracy
Linda Wharton, Steven Albers, Daniel Birkenheuer, John McGinley, and John Smart
The DTC and Hurricane Modeling Activities
L. Bernardet, L. Nance, S. Bao1, C. Harrop1, N. Surgi, W. Kuo, S. Koch, and B. Brown
Personal Weather Advisor (concept idea) Decision Support in Weather-Sensitive Situations
Paula McCaslin and Kirk Holub
ARkStorm - A West Coast Storm Scenario
D. A. Cox; L.M.Jones; F.M. Ralph; M.D. Dettinger; M. Hughes; K. Porter; S.C. Perry; P.L. Barnard; D. Hoover; C.J.Wills; J.D. Stock; W. Croyle; J.C. Ferris; G.S. Plumlee; C.N. Alpers; M. Miller; A. Wein; A. Rose; J. Done; K. Topping
* Global Systems Division Tour *
Graphics Processor Units (GPUs) Explained
Mark Govett
Day 3: March 11, 2010
Theme #5a: Weather System Observations and Analysis
Observation Sensitivity Experiments (OSEs) at ESRL
Tracy Lorraine Smith, Stan Benjamin, and Bill Moninger
Recent Field Exercises: Observations in Support of Operations and Research
Edward Tollerud
Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE)
Nikki Privé, Yuanfu, and Scott Mackaro
Long-Term Trends in the Temporal Patterns of Weather
Betsy Weatherhead
MADIS — The Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System
Patricia A. Miller, Michael F. Barth, Leon A. Benjamin, Randall Collander, and Tom Kent
WISDOM (Weather In-Situ Deployment Optimization Method)
A.E. MacDonald, J. Nicinska, R.B. Chadwick, Y. Xie, J. Jordan, and T. Ayers
Theme #5b: Climate System Observations and Analysis
The Boulder Atmospheric Observatory for Climate, Weather, and Water Monitoring
D. Wolfe, W. Neff, A. Andrews, J. Kofler, J. Williams, B. Bartram, D. Welsh, L.C. Patrick, S.J. Oltmans, and J.C. Williams
The Ronald H. Brown Weather-Climate Physics Observing System
Ludovic Bariteau
Comparisons of In Situ Observations of Bulk Near-Surface Meteorological Variables, Turbulent and Radiative Fluxes, and Cloud Properties with Operational NWP Models in the VOCALS Region
Diane Stanitski, C. W. Fairall, R. Weller, E.F. Bradley, Huai-min Zhang, W. Hankins, and A. Beljaars
Science in the Arctic: Providing Scientific Leadership for Topic-Driven Pan-Arctic Research
Lisa Darby
New Technologies in EM Scattering to Retrieve Properties of Ocean Surface Waves Including Tsunamis
Valery Zavorotny and Oleg Godin
Space-Borne Estimates of Atmospheric Water Cycle Parameters
Sergey Matrosov, Gary Wick, Christopher Williams, and Darren Jackson