2011-2016 Implementation Plan for Cooperative Agreement #:NA11SEC4810003

Dr. Vernon R. Morris, Director and Principal Investigator

Participating Institutions

  • Howard University (Lead Institution)
  • Jackson State University
  • University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • University of Maryland College Park
  • State University of New York at Albany

I. Introduction

Purpose of the Implementation Plan

The purpose of the implementation plan is to provide a roadmap for execution of the programmatic activities of the CSC, the key goals and deliverables, the administrative structure and operations, and key strategies and approaches for fulfilling the programmatic objectives.

Synopsis 

In August 2011, the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) was awarded a five-year cooperative agreement by NOAA-EPP. This cooperative agreement ensures that NCAS will “produce quality students through quality research”.  Over the next five years NCAS is dedicated to: (1) producing a diverse group of highly trained professionals for the NOAA and broader atmospheric and environmental sciences workforce, and (2), performing research and applications in two thrust areas: Climate, weather, and air quality prediction and analyses in support of the NWS missions in “Weather and Water” and “Climate”.  This implementation plan is a succinct summary of the research and education strategies and milestones that will assure a successful completion of the goals and objectives stated in the proposal

To successfully achieve the goals and objectives stated in the proposal, it is critically important to build an effective management structure at NCAS.  Section IV describes the organizational chart of the center, its decision making process for sciences, education and outreach, as well as center’s personnel roles and responsibilities in administrative and financial managements.

During this new funding cycle, NCAS will increase the number of African American PhDs in Atmospheric Sciences in the US.  NCAS will also make significant impacts in the production of Hispanic advanced degree-holders in NOAA-related sciences (Marine Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physics).  NCAS has generated national attention with unprecedented impact on the national statistics in minority PhD production in atmospheric sciences.  Section V describes education and outreach goals, strategies and approaches, and their associated performance matrices that ensure continuation of NCAS’ impact on national statistics.

A principal goal over the next five years is to continue NCAS’ grow into a national resource in atmospheric sciences research and training – competitive with other national facilities and programs.  It is expected to benefit NOAA and its users directly by demonstrating model skill enhancements resulting from NCAS research advances and by assisting in the transfer of such advances to NOAA operations. Section VI provides details of goals and strategies, as well as approaches and performance metrics in research and sciences to successfully achieve this objective.

Deliverables

The main mission over the proposed funding cycle in the education and outreach is to continue to support the production of well-trained African American PhDs in Atmospheric Sciences for the nation.  NCAS will support HUPAS and other NCAS academic programs in order to sustain their roles as leading producers of Hispanic advanced degree-holders in NOAA-related sciences (Marine Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physics).  NCAS has generated national recognition for its unprecedented impact on the national statistics in minority PhD production in atmospheric sciences.  NCAS will continue to produce graduates who are uniquely suited to replace the aging NOAA workforce.   NCAS programmatic activities will also increase exposure of NOAA career opportunities and NOAA services to URM college students and faculty at MSIs, to K-12 students, and to the public sector.  Finally, NCAS will deliver significant research-to-operations products for NOAA in algorithm development, novel sensor development and evaluation, and model development.

Risk Analysis

We recognize that the current budget uncertainty within EPP and within NOAA places several programmatic elements at risk.  NCAS will seek advisement and inputs on de-scoping the specific programmatic elements from the NCAS external advisory committee, the NCAS technical advisors, and EPP staff.  NCAS will perform regular evaluations on a semi-annual and annual basis to evaluate performance and determine recommendations and actions to be taken on the programmatic elements of highest risk.  NCAS will seek to follow the standard ISO 31000 risk management principles and guidelines.  The NCAS executive committee (Director, Deputy Director, Distinguished Scientist, lead institutional PIs) will serve as the primary body for the internal evaluation of risk.

 

A.  Center Administrative Function

Organization chart

NCAS-Org-Chart

Center Personnel Roles and Responsibilities

Director

Dr. Vernon Morris will serve as the Director of NCAS. Dr. Morris is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Atmospheric Sciences.  He has served PI and Director of NCAS since its inception in 2001.  Because of its strategic importance to the success of the NCAS, the Center Director will have direct reporting obligations to the office of the Senior Vice-Provost for Research This line of reporting places NCAS in a unique position to obtain an audience with the University’s chief research officer.  The Center Director will dedicate 44% of his time during the academic year to the management, research and administration of the award and 70% of his time during the summer.  This corresponds to a 50% workload dedicated to NCAS activities on an annual basis.  The Center Director will be the lead advocate and representative of the CSC and will manage the Center activities so that they respond to NOAA mission needs.  The Director will lead strategic planning and guidance for executing Center goals.  He will also lead efforts for planning new or revised program goals and objectives. The Director will design the overall scientific focus and plans for NCAS and provide oversight and management for implementation of all aspects of the Center.

Deputy Director
Dr. Everette Joseph, an active researcher in the Center since 2001, will serve as the Deputy Director of NCAS. The Deputy Director will represent the Director on an as-needs basis.   The Deputy Director will commit ~40% time to this position during the calendar year.  Dr. Joseph is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Graduate Program in Atmospheric Sciences.  The Deputy Director will serve as the lead scientist for the Beltsville Research Facility and the lead coordinator for the surface observation programs within the CSC.
Distinguished Scientist

Dr. Tsann-Wang Yu served as the Distinguished NCAS Scientist from 2005 through 2012. NCAS is currently in the process of appointing an interim Distinguished Scientist until a permanent faculty line can be established for this position at Howard University.  The Distinguished Scientist will assist the Director with providing overall research direction to the Center.  His responsibilities will be to develop significant research projects for NCAS, with other Cooperative Science Centers, with other minority Serving Institutions, other NOAA science and research facilities, and other relevant governmental agencies.   The Distinguished Scientist will seek new opportunities for NCAS research and collaboration with NOAA and other agencies as well as serve as senior internal advisor to the Center.

Education Lead

The original was Dr. Cynthia Winston.  Dr. Winston is an Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Psychology and the Director of the Identity and Success Research Laboratory.  Dr. Winston is a recognized expert in the psychology of success for minorities in science and engineering education, and mixed method psychology engineering research design.  She led the coordination of the NCAS education programs and strategic planning and evaluation through September 2012. NCAS is in the process of identifying a new Education lead and is currently interviewing faculty in the School of Education.

Program Coordinator

Ms. Kimberly L. Smith will serve as the Program Coordinator of NCAS.  Ms. Smith will report directly to the Director.  She will be responsible for the daily operations of the NCAS office and as such have supervisory responsibility for core staff, program management and planning.  Ms. Smith will be responsible for programmatic functions involving the students, student tracking and scheduling, generating monthly activity reports, ensuring the generation of the annual reports, student databases, and ensuring that internal (on-campus) reports are delivered to NOAA in timely fashion.  Further responsibilities of the Ms. Smith are to provide follow-up reports for major meetings and programmatic interactions and maintaining priorities of NCAS in event planning and scheduling.

Budget Analyst

The budget analyst will maintain financial records and reporting, handle purchases, arrange travel settlements and disbursements to all NCAS personnel and participants, and other office duties as required.  The Budget Analysis will also be responsible for tracking and ensuring that subcontracts and related grants are set up and maintained. The Program Manager will identify the responsible financial counterparts in each institution and meet with them via quarterly teleconferences or as needed to discuss and update financial reporting and student financial tracking.  The purpose of this procedure is to improve the speed and efficiency of spending and financial reporting.

Outreach Coordinator

The Outreach Coordinator will be responsible for the administration of the outreach components of NCAS including collecting content for publicity documents, newsletters, website maintenance and upkeep, brochures, and press releases.  The Outreach coordinator will also provide oversight for the publicity program for NCAS, and coordinate NCAS-approved external outreach activities. The Outreach Coordinator will also be responsible for implementing the approved programmatic outreach activities.

Center Decision-Making Process for each Specific Area

Decision-making will be driven be ongoing evaluations within the NCAS management.  These evaluations include EPP reporting, the External Advisory Board (EAB) assessment, internal evaluations by the Executive Management Team (EMT), the Internal Science Management Team (ISMT) and the external CSC Review.  Each of these evaluations will be objectively pursued and based on the metrics and deliverables expressed in the science and education plans of the Center.

The table below lists the Program elements and the contributing decision-making teams associated with them.

Program Element(s) Contributors
Education, Outreach, and Recruitment EAB, ECOC NOAA EPP
Research  NOAA Technical Monitors, ISMT, EAB
Administration NOAA EPP, EMT, EAB, Director
Postdoctoral Fellows Program NOAA Technical Monitors, EMT

Decision-making Criteria and Metrics will include, but not be limited to research productivity, student productivity, student recruitment, and impact of student programs (in terms of students participating in programs and results of student surveys).  The NCAS evaluation plan is limited in the sense that there are elements of transitioning model parameterizations, data sets, and new observational methodologies resulting from NCAS research advances into NWS operations that are beyond our control.

All feedback from each evaluation process will be reviewed by the NCAS executive management team and discussed with other appropriate members of NCAS when required.  The NCAS executive management team will assume the responsibility for implementing corrective actions that will address any item presented in the evaluation elements that might prevent NCAS from achieving any of its specific goals.

Education, Outreach and Recruitment

The Education and Community Outreach Working Group will implement the programmatic aspects of this strategic plan with the goal of broadening the diversity and capacity of the nation’s STEM workforce (with emphasis on increasing engagement of African Americans, Hispanics, and other underserved populations).   The activities of this working group will be integrated with the research of the SBE, Climate, Weather, and Air Quality Working groups.  NCAS research, observations and data collection, data distribution and analyses, and evaluation, will be used as teaching tools by the education, outreach, and workforce development components.  Several partnerships with several private sector companies and the other NOAA Cooperative Institutes have been forged over the past five years.  These partners will continue to play a major role in the NCAS activities including K-12 projects, in workforce development activities, professional development, and as sponsors of STEM internship programs.

Science  and/or Research

NCAS decision making process for each of working group lies in the responsibility of the Center Director, Deputy Director, Distinguished Scientist, and the NOAA Technical monitor(s) (thereafter called SEC – the Science Executive Committee).  Dr. Everette Joseph will serve as the leader in the area of weather and climate research, Dr. William Stockwell will serve as the leader in the area of air quality research, and Dr. Terri Adams-Fuller will serve as the leader in the area of social, behavioral, and economic sciences (SBE).  The leaders in each specific area will provide recommendations to the SEC in all key decisions affecting the design of research strategies and approaches for a particular project. In the event that any of the research projects is found to be unsatisfactory or unproductive based on findings from NCAS regular science teleconferences, annual science reviews, and on further scientific discussions with specific partners, the SEC will investigate causes of the problems and suggest proper strategies for addressing the issue so as to ensure that the overall center research program is successful and meets the NOAA / EPP performance and evaluation metrics.

Administrative (including reporting)

Each of the Partner Institutions will have an institutional co-PI who assumes responsibility for managing the education and research training components at their home institution, integration of the various components, and serve as the primary point of contact for the EAB and the NCAS. The institutional co-PIs are given in the table below.  The individuals in this table comprise the Executive Management Team (EMT).  Each institutional co-PI will be responsible for fulfilling the Terms and Conditions of their respective subcontracts.

NCAS will host two regular teleconferences – one for the EMT that focuses on administrative, educational, and reporting issues and another that focuses on science.  These teleconferences will be held on alternating months.  In addition, a new procedure will be implemented that will require each partner institution to provide a monthly status update to NCAS main office.  This status update will be a brief synopsis of the Partner’s activities of the past month.  This will aid in the production of materials such as keeping the NCAS Website update and provide information for the NCAS Newsletter. It is expected that the PIs at each institution will meet on at least a monthly basis to assure the integrity of the status update.

Working Group Meetings (for projects within the climate and weather prediction, air quality analysis and prediction teams) will be held on a regular basis to assure that there is sufficient interaction and coordination among the NOAA collaborators and the researchers within each project. A science teleconference (including PI’s and Technical monitors) will be held on a bi-monthly basis. The annual meeting of all members of the science team (the Science Team Meeting) will be established in the new cycle. This meeting will be rotated among relevant NOAA facilities and partnering institution facilities.  In the past this meeting has been co-located with the annual advisory board meeting.  It is anticipated that this cost-effective practice will continue.

Lead Investigator Institution Principal Role/Responsibility
Vernon Morris HU PI and Director
Everette Joseph HU Deputy Director
Rosa Fitzgerald UTEP Institutional co-PI
Roy Armstrong UPRM Institutional co-PI
Xin-Zhong Liang UMCP Institutional co-PI
Qilong Min SUNYA Institutional co-PI
Loren White JSU Institutional co-PI
TBD HU Education Lead

External Advisory Board

An external advisory board (EAB) will be comprised of approximately ten individuals taken from NOAA (outside of NOAA Education), other federal agencies, academia, and private sector professionals who have stature and knowledge in critical areas of expertise that support NCAS programmatic activities.  The EAB will be formed within the first year of NCAS.  The role of the external Advisory Board is to:

  • Serve as an advocacy group on behalf of the Center
  • Review Center plans, activities, and management
  • Provide guidance and oversight on the research, educational, and outreach programs of the Center,
  • Assist in promoting the visibility of the Center,
  • Help to identify additional and future funding opportunities, and
  • Assist in long-term strategic planning for the Center

The external advisory board interacts with the leadership of the Center through a face-to-face annual meeting, teleconferences (semi-annual), and email communications (as needed).  These meetings will usually be coordinated to coincide with the NCAS annual meetings.  Prior to the annual meetings, External Advisory Board members are provided with semi-annual reports and other NCAS publications and updates.  A semi-annual teleconference will also be utilized to keep EAB members up to date on Center activities and needs as well as to exchange information of use to the Director

  • External Advisory Board Meeting
    • The NCAS advisory board meets once a year to critically review Center progress, provide recommendations to the NCAS executive administrative team, and to communicate recommendations to the vice-Provost for Research at HU regarding the Center.  NCAS will also continue to use its advisory board as reviewers of major proposals, professional contacts for establishing collaborations, and for assistance in long-term Center planning.  NCAS will continue to seek well-balanced representation of the board members from NOAA and the broader atmospheric sciences community.
    • This group will assess NCAS performance based on the strategic plan, implementation plan, and science plan, relevance to NOAA missions, and relevance and productivity with respect to critical issues in atmospheric sciences.
  • Written feedback will be delivered to the vice-Provost for Research and Director and subsequently disseminated to the NCAS PIs.
  • The Vice Provost for Research will review the management and fiscal operations of NCAS on an annual basis in consultation with NOAA.

NCAS will report to NOAA based on the guidelines of the CSC Handbook (semi-annual performance reports) and per requests of the NOAA EPP program staff.

Postdoctoral Fellows Program

The NCAS Postdoctoral fellows will adhere to the guidelines as required by the CSC handbook.  All postdoctoral fellows will report to their advisors on the relevant research tasks that they have been assigned.  All work will be included in the semi-annual performance reports.

Center Financial Management

Center financial management will be executed via the hire of a budget analyst who will maintain an internal ledger of expenditures to track the award budgetary processes.  The budget analyst and other relevant NCAS staff (Program Coordinator or Director) will meet regularly with the institutional financial officers assigned to the award to reconcile the internal ledger with the University (Post-Award Service Unit) accountants who are responsible for providing NOAA with financial reports.  The invoices from each institutional partner will be reviewed by the PI of the institution before submission to the lead institution.  It is reviewed by the NCAS budget analyst and approved by the Director before final submission to the University office of the Chief Financial Officer for payment. Again, NCAS will meet regularly with the PASU staff to ensure efficient financial management of the award.

Key Success Criteria

Key success criteria parallel the NCAS performance metrics.  These will include but not be limited to the following categories:

  • Students trained in NOAA mission sciences
  • Degree production at all levels in Meteorology, Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Sciences, and Environmental Sciences (with particular emphasis on PhD production)
  • Enhanced perception of STEM (from outreach programs)
  • Number of students exposed to NOAA mission sciences and career pathways
  • Number of refereed manuscripts
  • Annual amounts of leveraged funding
  • Number of NOAA Collaborations

B.  Center Education and Outreach Function

Overview

NCAS has adopted a four-tiered approach to developing a talent pipeline in atmospheric sciences from underrepresented minorities and underserved communities.  It is comprised of programs that address the five key factors that have been attributed to attrition at the transition points along the education pathway; Access, Mentoring and Motivation, Professional Development, Education, and Distinction (as indicated by Degree or Career).   The figure below illustrates conceptually the aim of NCAS to provide greater access to education, mentoring, and professional development at early stages and sustain these critical inputs as a way of maintaining the pipeline so that the students can distinguish themselves with advanced degrees and/or careers within NOAA or in STEM fields for other employers.

NCAS will leverage the unique legacies of its MSI partners, the technical capacities of its participating scientists in academia, government, and private sector, in consultation with NOAA to build and strengthen successful outreach programs for a comprehensive pipeline development and education strategy.  NCAS will use the knowledge and experience gained over the past ten years to buttress these efforts.  NCAS executes a focused recruitment program that feeds into the undergraduate, pre-graduate, and graduate degree programs.  NCAS will execute graduate program elements that enhance student preparation through conference mentorship, summer workshops, student exchange, and new courses.  NCAS will be enhancing our K-12 activities over the next five years by Adopt-A-School Program in Puerto Rico and teacher training in both Puerto Rico and El Paso.  The key features of each activity are detailed below.

Goals

The proposed research, training, and development is specifically designed to support the Weather and Water, Climate, Mission Support Goals and all of NOAA’s cross-agency priorities: workforce development, integrated Earth observations, state-of-the-art research, an environmentally literate public, and building strong national and international relationships.  The partnership of six schools will build on the capacities developed, collaborations established, and lessons learned over the past ten years as a NOAA Cooperative Science Center. This science plan will define the NCAS research design; the education, workforce development and community outreach activities; and the integration of social, behavioral, and economic sciences translational research.  The translation of basic research into applications and societal benefits will be an integral component of the initiative.  For example NCAS will build an observational testbed to aid the transfer of emerging observational technologies to into NWS operations.  On societal benefits NCAS is broadening access to STEM educational opportunities in the NOAA sciences through enhancement of hands-on research experiences for students spanning the K-12 spectrum in concert with broader community outreach.

Strategies and Approach

NCAS has developed recruitment strategies and mentoring programs, and has implemented numerous successful educational and outreach efforts that focus on impacting students enrolled in all of the NCAS partner institutions at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. NCAS will provide summer research internships to a wide variety of undergraduates and transitioning graduate students at NOAA facilities (including the sea-going vessels when available) and the NCAS facilities (particularly observational HUBC, Isla Magueyes).  The internships will continue to serve as a primary recruitment tool for NCAS graduate programs.  Over the lifetime of the HUPAS program, nearly 60% of the enrollees have participated in an NCAS internship.  NCAS will raise this level of these interactions to enhance recruitment and the level of program visibility through advertisements, mass mailings, social networking, and Center Directors’ teleconferences.

NCAS will leverage the legacy of its MSI partners and knowledge gained from successful outreach programs to sustain and grow the talent pipeline in support of our education strategy.  NCAS will execute a focused recruitment program that feeds into the undergraduate, pre-graduate, and graduate degree programs.  NCAS has also developed graduate program elements that enhance student professional development through conference mentorship, summer workshops, student exchange, and new courses.

NCAS will sponsor K-12 activities over the next five years that include additional weather camps in Puerto Rico and middle school outreach in Washington, DC, El Paso, Texas, Jackson, MS, and in both San Juan and Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The key features of each activity are outlined below.

NCAS faculty, staff and students will participate in key national conferences including, but not limited to the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the National Weather Association (NWA), the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), the American Society for Limnology and Oceanography (ALSO), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the National Conference for Black Physics Students (NCBPS).

Colour of Weather Networking Mixers

NCAS will team with Colour of Weather, Inc. to co-sponsor networking mixers promoting diversity in atmospheric and environmental sciences at various professional meeting venues. The Colour of Weather” mixer events have been co-hosted by NCAS, NOAA, Howard University, and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) at the AMS Annual Meetings since 2004. These events have provided a unique recruitment opportunity for HUPAS, and have recently been elevated to a level of national recognition.  These formerly ad hoc events are now not only co-sponsored by the AMS, they are the featured diversity event at the annual conference. Colour of Weather, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmental literacy, diversity and inclusion in science education through community service and other activities that provide access to information, knowledge, technical consultation and support, and research.

Advanced Research Training Programs

Summer Enrichment Programs

NCAS will conduct a limited suite of summer workshops that rotate amongst the partner campuses.  This activity will be combined with technical workshops given at major professional meetings and aligned with the capabilities of the NCAS partnership (e.g. lidar applications, aerosol measurements and analyses, modeling).  Efforts will be made to ensure that applicants are from the NCAS partners, then from the other NOAA Cooperative Science Centers have full access to the training before opening it up to other Colleges and Universities.  All eligible students will be invited to apply through conference recruitment, email invitations/notifications, and website announcements (EPP and NCAS webpages).

NCAS Postdoctoral Fellows Program

NCAS will support a minimum of two postdoctoral fellows in one of the thematic areas of weather, climate, air quality across the CSC and anticipates the support of additional postdoctoral researchers and/or research associates on each of the other partner campuses.  The postdoctoral appointments will be awarded on an annual basis with an option for re-appointment based on performance.  This program is a continuation of the highly successful postdoctoral program implemented during the first five years at HU, UTEP, and UPRM.  In addition to the NCAS faculty mentor, each postdoctoral fellow is expected to work in direct collaboration with a NOAA civil servant.  The NCAS Postdoctoral Fellows will receive support for travel, professional development (technical skills training where relevant), and be included in the strategic planning, project management, and student mentoring.  The NCAS post doctors will also have a special meeting to discuss concerns and peer mentor during the Science Team Meetings.

Course and Seminar Delivery Mechanisms

NCAS will implement a regular series of exchange lectures each year that will involve faculty from each academic institution and/or their NOAA collaborators to visit another partner institutions and MSIs to discuss research opportunities, NOAA science, and opportunities for enhanced collaboration.  Some of the seminars delivered during these exchanges will be broadcast over the web in the form of webinars and videotaped for later use as an instructional tool at the MSIs.  One course has already been identified as candidates for webinar or online formats.  Current Topics in Atmospheric Sciences is a semester course taught within the Howard University Graduate Program in Atmospheric Sciences (HUPAS).  The theme of the course changes each semester but covers research issues at the forefront of weather, climate, and air quality of national importance.  This course routinely involves NOAA scientists as guest lecturers.  NCAS will aim to make this course content available online to all partner institutions.  Other courses will be identified based on need and expertise requirements within the partnership that can enhance academic programs.

Undergraduate Research and Exchange

All partners within NCAS will support undergraduate researchers during both the summer and academic year – including opportunities for undergraduate student exchange among partner institutions. NCAS will host a small cadre of students (primarily upper-level undergraduates who have indicated an interest in graduate programs at one of the NCAS partners) during the summer in the Washington, DC area for research internships at Howard University, NCEP, NESDIS, and other NOAA facilities.  This 8-10 week summer program will provide a stipend, provision of room, board and a meal plan, a NOAA-relevant research experience, and technical writing and presentation training. The summer program will culminate with a joint research colloquium in which students from all summer internships come to Washington, D.C. to deliver an oral presentation to a joint audience of NOAA representatives, mentors, and NCAS partners.

Field Training Experiences

The NCAS partners will coordinate a suite of field training experiences for students involved in center research.  It has been accepted that research training and mentoring is an efficient way of attracting and retaining students in STEM fields.

Faculty at Howard University will collaborate with AOML and NESDIS scientists in order to conduct research cruises aboard the Ronald H. Brown and other NOAA vessels to investigate aerosol processes in the marine environment. NCAS will support training and research activities that provide students with meaningful experiences in deploying meteorological and oceanographic instrumentation for climate and weather research and data analyses.  UPRM routinely hosts short (hours to days) to modest (days to weeks) field experiments aboard research vessels in the Caribbean and Tropical Atlantic.

NCAS will also entrain students into field experiments that may arise from other collaborations with NOAA at surface sites in Beltsville, MD and other locations to be determined over the course of the cooperative agreement.

Facility Tours

NCAS will leverage its partnership with NOAA and its current research platforms for engaging students on facility tours at the various NCAS facilities: the Howard University Beltsville Campus, the Jackson, MS, the NCAS facilities at the Isla Magueyes Research Station, and the observational facilities at UTEP.

K-12 Objectives and Activities

The primary goal for the NCAS K-12 activities is to provide mechanisms to retain students’ interests in STEM studies and careers at the transition points during pre-college education.  NCAS proposes to use the rubric described on page 24 to enhance access to STEM knowledge for K-12 students, to provide mentoring and motivation, and to provide some opportunities for professional development.  The specific activities are described below.

High School Weather Camps

Weather Camps will be conducted each summer at four NCAS partner sites: Howard University, UTEP, Jackson State University, and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. These two-week live-in camps will afford students with an immersive opportunity to learn about basic weather systems, modern forecasting techniques, the impact of climate change, and the nature of catastrophic weather events. Students will also participate in small group discussions with experts in weather-related fields, conduct meteorological observations and experiments, and visit government and private sector organizations involved in the delivery of weather information to the public. In addition, students will have the opportunity to enhance their non-technical skills, such as: oral and written communication, effective participation in teamwork, and steps involved in the college application process.  Each high school camp will utilize the unique environment of its region to capitalize on local interests that focus on climate, tropical systems, and oceanography.  A suite of common materials and lessons has been developed over the past five years to be used as a resource for the camps.  Leveraged funding will be sought to enhance the NCAS weather camp activities and to potentially extend the camps to other venues and partnerships.

UPRM K-12 Student Workshops

NCAS PIs will conduct Workshops to K-12 students of the Puerto Rico public school system in collaboration with the UPRM Sea Grant College Program to promote the ocean literacy as well as the sustainable and wise use of marine resources.

NCAS Adopt-a-School Program

NCAS will forge partnerships with several middle and elementary schools in order to directly address the decline in the number of graduating high school students pursuing STEM majors in college.  This decline is even more significant in school children from underrepresented groups.  This age group is critical for the development of a strong pipeline of domestic talent for the nations future workforce.  Specifically, NCAS has initiated agreements with local schools (see letters of support in the appendices) in Washington, DC – Cleveland Elementary School and the Howard University Middle School for Math and Science (MS)2, Jackson, MS – Piney Woods Country Life School and Brandon High School, and the Alejandro Tapia y Rivera school in Lajas, Puerto Rico.  NCAS has agreed to provide the following:

  • K-6 Classroom visits to assist teachers with lessons and experiments relevant to STEM
  • Consultation with science coordinators to assist with program development and to liaise with education specialists at the Universities (e.g. Howard University School of Education)
  • Encourage and provide professionals (faculty, post doctors, and graduate students) for participation in Career Days
  • Access to summer day camps to keeping students, especially those from underrepresented groups engaged in science activities throughout the year
  • Provision of STEM content to assist teachers with curriculum development
  • Summer internships for teachers at these schools to participate in research with NOAA scientists and/or NCAS researchers
Science Fests

The Science Fests are scientific demonstration events that encourage hands-on participation and active learning to engage and retain students’ interests.  NCAS will continue to host community Science Fests in conjunction with student groups (e.g. GSAAS, the UPRM student chapter of the AMS, and a local non-profit (Colour of Weather, Inc.) in the Washington, DC community throughout each year.  The particular dates and venues will be coordinated in consultation with members of the Bates Area Community Association (BACA), and the adopted schools.  NCAS has conducted Science Fests in Washington, DC in the past with significant success with support of BACA (October 9, 2010) and has participated in the National Science and Engineering Expo on the Washington Mall (October 22-25, 2010).  NCAS will continue to seek leveraged support for these activities from local and national organizations.

NCAS has also supported student and faculty participation at booths in the Weather Fest of the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (2009 and 2010) and will continue these activities at least biennially throughout the five-year period.  The Weather Fest activities at the annual meeting will aim at involvement of students from across all partnering academic institutions and we will seek high school volunteers from the NCAS high school weather camps where available.

Partnerships to Existing Programs

NCAS will seek to leverage strengths of successful programs that are operating in the academic institutions and their surrounding communities.  The specific strategies for developing these partnerships will be determined by the outreach coordinator to be hired under this award and included in the implementation plan.  Some examples of potential partners include the Upward Bound program; the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), and Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) Program.

For example, NCAS partners HU and UTEP have already collaborated with their institutional Upward Bound Programs over the past year to support both weather camps and STEM career expositions.  The goal of this program is to increase the rate at which participants, high school students from low-income families and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree, complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. These partnerships play a significant role in invigorating interest in the STEM sciences of underrepresented and underserved populations thru a variety of programs including but not limited to: hands-on STEM career exhibitions, STEM career shadowing, and guest STEM lectures.  An agreement between NCAS HU and its Upward bound program has been established (see letter of support in the appendices).

Public Relations

To increase the visibility of NCAS in the community, the Center is proposing a multi-tiered approach to promote its research, training and outreach components to government, private organizations, and the academic and external communities. To this end, NCAS will simultaneously conduct an annual “NCAS Day” at each respective institution that will be widely broadcasted through either the internet or via videoconference depending on the intended audience and available resources. The content will primarily contain professional presentations and panel discussions. These broader communities will also be given the opportunity to tour NCAS facilities to gain an understanding of the research conducted within the Center.

Performance Metrics with Milestones and Timeline

The NCAS performance metrics will include but not be limited to the following categories:

  • Students trained in NOAA mission sciences
  • Degree production at all levels in Meteorology, Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Sciences, and Environmental Sciences (with particular emphasis on PhD production)
  • Enhanced perception of STEM (from outreach programs)
  • Number of students exposed to NOAA mission sciences and career pathways
  • Number of refereed manuscripts
  • Annual amounts of leveraged funding
  • Number of NOAA Collaborations

Performance metrics with milestones and timeline and five year deliverable are provided in Appendix II-A.

Key Success Criteria

Key success criteria parallel the NCAS performance metrics.

C.   Center Scientific Research Function

Overview

This section describes details of the science and research component of the implementation plan.  NCAS has successfully established research and training capacity in observations and numerical modeling through prior NOAA/MSI funding. In the area of climate and weather prediction, research during the past five years has been conducted to evaluate and improve model prediction of convection, tropical cyclone track, and boundary layer processes.  NCAS has also conducted studies of the impact of soil moisture and surface boundary forcing on seasonal precipitation prediction using NOAA/GSM and CWRF, respectively.  Emphasis will be placed on more applications of the NOAA operational in these studies during the next five years.  Building upon the previous NCAS experience a new emphasis of NCAS research during the next five years is in data assimilation. The implementation plan for climate and weather research is described in Section 6.1. Details of the milestones and deliverables for this research area during the next five years research are provided in Appendix II-B.

Air quality research represents a new area of emphasis. Research in this area focuses on the impact of atmospheric chemistry on multiple scales (local, regional and global scales) on the ability of air quality models to make forecasts of ozone and particulates on all scales.  The implementation plan for air quality analyses and forecasting, including data assimilation for air quality are discussed in Section 6..2. Details of the milestones and deliverables for this research area during the next five years research are provided in Appendix II- C.

The observation program established at Howard University Beltsville Campus (HUBC), the mesonet systems at JSU, and surface observation facilities at other NCAS campuses (UTEP and UPRM), host a wealth of instruments that routinely measure surface fluxes, urban and coastal/marine boundary layer meteorological parameters, profiles of water vapor, ozone and aerosols within the troposphere that are important for weather, climate and air quality research. Developments of observational capabilities and goals and strategies are described in section 6.3. Details of milestones and deliverables for this area during the next five years research are provided in Appendix II – D.

The plans for conducting social economics and behavior sciences will be described in Section 6..4. Details of milestones and deliverables for this area during the next five years research are provided in Appendix II-E.

Goals

The proposed research, training, and development is specifically designed to support the Weather and Water, Climate, Mission Support Goals and all of NOAA’s cross-agency priorities: workforce development, integrated Earth observations, state-of-the-art research, an environmentally literate public, and building strong national and international relationships.  The partnership of six schools will build on the capacities developed, collaborations established, and lessons learned over the past ten years as a NOAA Cooperative Science Center. This plan will define the NCAS research design; the education, workforce development and community outreach activities; and the integration of social, behavioral, and economic sciences translational research.  The translation of basic research into applications and societal benefits will be an integral component of the initiative.  For example NCAS will build an observational testbed to aid the transfer of emerging observational technologies to into NWS operations.  On societal benefits NCAS is broadening access to STEM educational opportunities in the NOAA sciences through enhancement of hands-on research experiences for students spanning the K-12 spectrum in concert with broader community outreach.

Strategies and Approach

The strategies and approach for each of the research activities are discussed below in the following sections, note that some of the research activities were listed in the original proposal, but are scoped down or deleted due to budget constraints of the first year of the award.

1.1. Climate and Weather Analyses and Prediction

1.1.1  Surface-Atmosphere Interactions and PBL Processes
Activity 1. Turbulence Structures and Fluxes over Inhomogeneous Surfaces

The goal of this research is to improve understanding of surface-atmosphere interaction and PBL processes thereby leading to the development of more accurate physical parameterizations in NOAA NWP modles to properly account for the processes in atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers.

In this project we will quantify turbulence structures under the influence of sub-mesocale eddies and characterize the deviations of turbulence structures over different surfaces, and investigate how sub-mesocale eddies interact with the ASL turbulence and their contributions to flux exchange of momentum, heat, and water vapor.  The data used in this study were measured in a cotton field in California, a water surface in Mississippi, forest surfaces in Alaska, and an inhomogeneous land surface in the Howard University Beltsville Atmospheric Measurement Site (HUBC) in collaboration with scientists at Howard University, Jackson State University, and NOAA. The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, JSU, and UMCP, and JSU will serve as the lead institution on this effort.

1.1.2  Convection, Microphysics, and Cloud-aerosols Radiative Effects
Activity 1. Investigate Direct Effect of Aerosols in New NCEP GFS-GOCART Model

This project will use aerosol data collected at HUBC, and AEROSE experiments for case study evaluation of the system.  Moreover, techniques developed at NCAS (e.g., Min et al,2008 and 2010) will be used to upscale multi-platform observations and statistical analysis for evaluating the model.  An early preliminary analysis suggests that the new system with on-line aerosols improved the near surface temperature warm bias in GFS.  It is believed that this improvement is due to a more realistic and a higher temporal and spatial treatment of the aerosol direct effect in NEMS-GFS-GOCART. Also there may be improvement in hurricane track forecasts due to impact on large-scale circulation.  NCAS will assist NCEP in understanding these potential improvements in the NEMS-GFS-GOCART system by conducting detailed data analysis of the model results.  One NCAS student will begin this work as part of that student’s dissertation research.   The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, SUNYA and UMCP.    HU and SUNYA will serve as lead institutions on this effort.

Activity 2.  Process Studies of Aerosol-Cloud Indirect Effect

For numerical modeling studies, a cloud-resolving model (CRM) will be used to study the detailed effects of aerosols on cloud microphysics processes.  The CRM provides a crucial link between observed macro- and microphysical properties of clouds and aerosols for understanding the processes of aerosol-cloud interaction and for evaluation of operational model results. This research is to analyze and understand how homogeneous and heterogeneous ice nucleation and droplet freezing processes influence the ice clouds through CRM simulations with coupled observations. More importantly, NCAS will investigate what and how microphysical processes associated with mineral dust are influenced by cloud dynamics and thermodynamics, and their impacts on cloud formation processes. The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, SUNYA and UMCP.   SUNYA will serve as the lead institution on this effort.

1.1.3  Model Development for Climate
Activity 1. Improving the Physics Representation and Prediction at Regional Scales

Improved physics representation will be developed for surface-atmosphere interaction, cloud-aerosol-radiation interaction, precipitation and hydrology, planetary boundary layer, land surface and upper ocean processes, aerosol direct radiative effect and mineral dust long-range transport. A major focus will be on improving the model ability to more accurately depict these processes at finer resolutions (1-10 km). An advanced approach will be developed for precipitation, surface temperature, wind and solar energy, PBL height, soil moisture, surface runoff and stream flow, surface evaporation and transpiration. The skill improvement will be achieved through developing the optimized physics ensemble approach and advanced data assimilation techniques. The approach in particular will take advantage of the unprecedented comprehensive ensemble of alternative parameterization schemes built-in the CWRF and the emerging petascale supercomputing resources to determine the optimal sub-ensemble of a manageable size with the best physics configurations that most realistically capture observations. The main objective of this research is to enhance the regional climate mission of the newly formed NOAA Climate Services.   NCAS scientists will work with NCEP /CPC scientists and those of other NOAA agencies such as ARL, CICS to achieve this research objective. The NCAS team involved in this research will include UMCP and HU.   UMCP and HU will serve as lead institutions on this effort.

1.1.4  Enabling Greater Decision Support Applications of Satellite Data and Improved Radiative Transfer Treatment in NOAA’s Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM)
Activity 1.  Forward modeling and Closure Studies to Improve CRTM

The proposed research will develop a fast and accurate radiative transfer model for application in the CRTM.  These studies are aimed at helping the JCSDA understand the skill of the control version of the CRTM.  The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, SUNYA, UTEP, JSU and UPRM.  HU and SUNYA will serve as lead institutions on this effort and will work with faculty and students on the partner schools.

Activity 2. Remote Sensing of Vegetation States

NCAS proposes to use a novel microwave-based satellite vegetation index developed at SUNYA along with collocated VIS-NIR vegetation indexes to develop a high temporal and spatial global vegetation index (and vegetation health index) for NOAA mission for both weather and climate service. Specifically, in collaboration with NOAA NESDIS, NCAS will: 1) explore applicability of microwave-based satellite vegetation index in monitoring vegetation states and crop yields; and 2) develop a high temporal and spatial global vegetation index (and vegetation health index) by combining high temporal microwave-based satellite vegetation index and high spatial vegetation indexes. Also we will study the multiple-scale vegetation-atmosphere interaction by combining our high temporal and spatial global vegetation index with measurements of cloud, precipitation, radiation and other atmosphere states parameters. We will examine and quantify ecosystem changes for climate service.  The outcomes of this research project will also have strong applications for NOAA weather and climate forecasting models. The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU and SUNYA.   SUNYA will serve as the lead institution on this effort.

1.2 Air Quality Analyses and Forecasting

1.2.1   Formation and Fate of Air Pollutants for Air Quality Forecasting
Activity 1. Understanding of Ozone and Aerosol Formation

This research is to participate in collecting and utilization of HUBC, AEROSE, UTEP and other available chemical laboratory measurement data to improve the understanding of ozone and aerosol formation and their chemical fate.  NCAS students will be involved in the collection of field data, especially at Beltsville and UTEP and laboratory measurements for this project. Development of the chemistry includes new efforts to develop the Regional Atmospheric Chemistry Mechanism, heavily used by NOAA and other Federal agencies such as EPA for air quality forecasting.  In particular new chemical data will be implemented and the chemistry will be extended to better treat the formation of particulate matter and climate relevant aerosols.  Data will be available from HUBC and UTEP.  The El Paso-Juarez Airshed exhibits high ozone episodes.  UTEP currently monitor daily columnar ozone in this region using our MFRSR equipment and the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) provides UTEP with surface ozone readings.

Numerical calculations of actinic flux and photolysis rate parameters using improved radiative transfer models will be performed in order to update chemical data (quantum yields and absorption cross-sections) used by the radiative transfer models.  These are necessary laboratory elements to improve air quality forecast models.  The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, UTEP and JSU.   HU will serve as the lead institution on this effort and will work with faculty and students of the partner schools.

Activity 2.  Evaluation and Development of Atmospheric Chemistry Mechanisms

This project focuses on the evaluation and development of the atmospheric chemistry used by NOAA for air quality forecasting.  Included in the chemical studies are ozone, particulate matter and the aerosols that impact climate. NCAS will use improved atmospheric chemistry understanding to improve NOAA air quality models.  The measurements will provide key data on aerosols that supports development of the Regional Atmospheric Chemistry Mechanism.  In particular this project will supply new data and model evaluation that will be very important for better treat of the formation of particulate matter and climate relevant aerosols.  For the performance evaluations of air quality models and their representation of chemical and physical Processes, this entails performing simulations from CMAQ over different geographical scenarios (e.g., coasts, complex high terrain areas and urban areas.  Observations of ambient pollutant concentrations, emissions, meteorology, and other relevant variables from HUBC, UTEP and other sites will be used to examine the ability of regional-scale air quality model to predict pollutant concentrations by correctly capturing physical and chemical processes, and their relative importance as incorporated in the model. The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, UTEP and JSU.  HU will serve as the lead institution on this effort and will work with faculty and students of the partner schools.

Activity 3.  Atmospheric Chemistry Sensitivity and Process Analysis

Atmospheric chemistry sensitivity and process analyses in support of chemical data assimilation will be conducted.  Emissions, atmospheric chemistry, aerosol and cloud effects, deposition processes, boundary layer heights and meteorological transport determine the atmospheric mixing ratios of air pollutants.  The mixing ratios of trace gas are calculated by solving Eulerian continuity equations for each species.  Process analysis is used to quantify the change to air pollutant mixing ratios attributable to each process within the model.  Within each continuity equation there are a large number of parameters and constants.  Sensitivity analysis is used to calculate the response of pollutant mixing ratios to small perturbations to constants, parameters or to the initial state (such as the three dimensional concentration fields).  An understanding of process and sensitivity analysis is critical for the development of chemical data assimilation methods.  The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, JSU, and UTEP. HU will serve as the lead institution on this effort and will work with faculty and students of the partner schools.

Activity 4.  Air Pollution Effects on Visibility

T-matrix codes will be used to obtain extinction coefficients for irregularly shaped aerosol particles, which are characterized by an index of refraction (representative of their chemical composition), and our aerosol inverse reconstruction model, used in conjunction with MFRSR optical depth data, to retrieve aerosol size distribution and concentrations. In addition, we will use the methodology to retrieve single scattering albedo to obtain additional information on the chemical composition of the aerosol particles. Purchased equipment will include an aerosol particle counter to obtain experimental values of particle size and concentration and a 8364-E Dual Technology Visibility Sensor to obtain extinction coefficient and visibility range. The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, UTEP and JSU.   UTEP will serve as the lead institution on this effort and will work with faculty and students of the partner schools.

1.2.2    Mineral Dust Observations and Characterization
Activity 1. AEROSE Data Analyses

Over the next five years, NCAS proposes to exploit the AEROSE/PNE data set in continued and extended collaborations with NOAA scientists from OAR/ARL, NESDIS/STAR, and NCEP/EMC.   Studies will be conducted to analyze aerosol to determine the chemical evolution of the mineral dust aerosols during long-range transit.  Single-particle analysis will consist of scanning electron microscope for surface elemental composition and morphology and Fourier Transfer Infrared for the organic components.  A suite of standard techniques, including atomic absorption, ion chromatography, and total organic carbon analysis, will be used to characterize bulk filter samples. The observations obtained during AEROSE will be used to initialize and evaluate NWS models and model chemistry for aerosol interactions (mineral dust and biomass burning aerosols) in the marine boundary layer.  AEROSE data will be used for improving our understanding of tropical atmospheric chemistry and meteorology.  In particular, the environmental factors contributing to the wave one nature observed for the distribution tropical tropospheric ozone (e.g. lightning, stratospheric injection, biomass burning, advection of urban air masses) will be investigated using a combination of in situ and satellite data and model simulations.

NCAS will continue to take advantage of piggyback opportunities to extend the AEROSE data and make important improvements based on lessons learned.  For example an important missing component of AEROSE is sampling of the vertical distribution of aerosols.  In the most resent field experiment NCAS partnered with Leosphere Inc that provided cost effective access to an automated vertically pointing lidar.  This opportunity would be available on future AEROSE.  This information would significantly improve the data.  NCAS is also pursuing leverage funds to obtain procure such a lidar.  Enhancement would also be made to improve the sampling of aerosol compositions and physical properties with acquisition of new samplers.  A recent partnership with NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) would improve the quality of the aerosol optical properties that are obtained.  NASA/GSFC has agreed to provide expert help on quality control of this data for quick access to the data. There would also be an opportunity to apply lessons learned through NCAS HUBC collaboration with NWS/ Office of Operation Services (OOS) and NASA to apply methods that would allow for better quality control of upper air data for satellite validation.  Regarding satellite validation, the launches of new NOAA operational satellites are expected within or close to the funding period.  These include NPP, NPOESS, and GOES-R.  More active calibration and validation studies are anticipated through NESDIS/STAR on sensors such as Cross-track Infrared and Microwave Sounder Suite (CrIMSS) on NPP/NPOESS, and also Advance Baseline Imager (ABI) on GOES-R.  AEROSE data would be critical component of the NPP/NPOESS CrIMSS calibration and validation strategy at NESDIS/STAR.  The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, SUNYA, UTEP and JSU, and UPRM.   HU and UPRM will serve as lead institutions on this effort and will work with faculty and students of the partner schools.

Activity 2. Chemical Characterization of Crustal Aerosols

NCAS will perform laboratory and field-based, detailed physical and chemical characterization of dust particles and the soils that emit them from the land surface.  Single-particle and bulk analytical techniques to determine the properties of aerosols from distinct dust emission sites and land surface types will be implemented.  The goals are 1) to improve source apportionment of mineral aerosols impacting El Paso and other Western cities and (coupled with modeling) to document and quantify trace long-distance transport of dust aerosols across the United States.  2) to improve characterization of the relationship of land surfaces (geomorphic classification) to factors influencing dust aerosol emissions, with a goal of improving the implementation of preferential dust sources in aerosol emission and transport models and thus lead to improved forecasting of dust events.  3) to establish quantitative relationships between the concentration of iron in filtered samples  and the spectral response using visible reflectance spectroscopy.  The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, UTEP and UPRM.   UPRM and UTEP will serve as lead institutions on this effort and will work with faculty and students of the partner schools.

Activity 3. Optical Characterization of Dust

The AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) is a network of ground-based sun photometers that measure atmospheric aerosol properties. The AERONET provides continuous observations of spectral aerosol optical depth (AOD), precipitable water, and inversion aerosol products in diverse aerosol regimes.  Inversion products can be retrieved from almucantar scans of radiance as a function of scattering angle and include products such as aerosol volume size distribution, aerosol complex refractive index, optical absorption (single scattering albedo) and the aerosol scattering phase function. The La Parguera AERONET station has been in operation at Isla Magueyes since 2000. The AOD processing includes the spectral de-convolution algorithm (SDA). This SDA algorithm yields fine (sub-micron) and coarse (super-micron) aerosol optical depths at a standard wavelength of 500 nm. The fraction of fine mode to total aerosol optical depth can be also computed.

The Multi-Filter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR) uses independent detectors and the automated shadow-band technique to make spectrally resolved measurements of global direct and diffuse components of solar irradiance at six wavelengths (415, 500, 615, 673, 870 and 940 nm) and with a broadband channel. A light-scattering methodology using the MFRSRs, located in the city of El Paso, in conjunction with a robust aerosol inverse reconstruction model will be used to characterize optical properties of aerosols in situ for the El Paso-Juarez Airshed (Pearson, Fitzgerald and Polanco, 2007).  In addition, a methodology to retrieve Single Scattering Albedo (SSA) values using Direct to Diffuse (DDR) irradiance ratios will be used for the El Paso-Juarez Airshed.  The SSA values provide us with information of the presence of reflective or absorptive aerosols present in the atmosphere, which also depends on their chemical composition.  The Tropospheric Ultraviolet and Visible  (TUV)  and (Moderate Resolution Atmospheric Transmission (MODTRAN) Models will be used to obtain the calculated DDR irradiances, and the experimental irradiances will be obtained from MFRSR instruments located in the city of El Paso.

The retrieval algorithm developed at UTEP will be applied to the MFRSR measurements to derive information on the aerosols optical and radiative properties, such as aerosol optical depth (AOD) and Angström exponent. Complementary number density measurements will be integrated to enhance measurements and analysis at the UPRM site. The NCAS team involved in this research will include UPRM and SUNYA, and UTEP.   UPRM and UTEP will serve as lead institutions on this effort.

1.2.3 Satellite Algorithm Developments for Aerosols

Activity 1.  Algorithm development for improved satellite retrieval

The aim of this project is first to implement an empirical model that has the purpose of predicting PM2.5 ground concentrations from satellite values of aerosol optical thickness (AOT) and subsequently to develop new algorithms for improved satellite retrievals of air pollution. A complete correlation between satellite and ground-level measurements will provide a solid basis to sense remotely events of high particulate matter concentrations. It has been successfully shown that an empirical model can create a regression between daily PM2.5 concentrations and AOT values from a satellite. This study relies on satellite and ground instruments information. Thus, the data collection and its proper processing is an indispensable joint operation that determines the accuracy of the results. Satellite data is provided by the MISR level 2 aerosol data collection, which is processed at the Atmospheric Sciences Data Center at NASA Langley Research Center.  We propose to implement this methodology for the El Paso-Juarez Airshed and to subsequently develop new algorithms for improved satellite retrievals of air pollution. The NCAS team involved in this research will include UTEP and SUNYA, and UTEP will serve as lead institutions on this effort.

Activity 2. Development of Saharan Dust Index and New Satellite Products

The main objectives of this activity are: (1) to quantify the effects of dust aerosols on incident levels of solar UV and PAR radiation reaching Puerto Rico; (2) to analyze CREWS radiation data to generate a Saharan Dust Index as a NOAA/CREWS operational product, and (3) once this relationship is established using field radiation measurements, a similar approach will be tested using satellite-based data (e.g. OMI).

Radiation data from the nearby Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) station will also be used. This NOAA station was installed in La Parguera, Puerto Rico, in January 2006 through collaboration between Jim Hendee (AOML) and Roy Armstrong (UPRM). The CREWS Station is an instrumented array of meteorological and oceanographic instruments (see http://www.coral.noaa.gov/crews). The basic instrument suite contains sensors for wind speed and gusts, wind direction, air temperature, precipitation, barometric pressure, sea temperature, salinity, tide state, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) above and below water and ultraviolet-B above and below water. The raw data are presented on the Web in near real-time, and are also reviewed and archived for access via the Web after they are quality controlled at a later time. The CREWS station uses an expert system to generate coral bleaching alerts and provides surface-truth for calibration/validation of NESDIS satellite products. This station will enhance the observational capability of the adjacent Isla Magueyes Island NCAS instrumented site.  The NCAS team involved in this research will include UPRM and HU, and UPRM will serve as lead institutions on this effort.

1.2.4 Estimating the Societal, Economic and Health Impacts of Air Quality and Air Quality Forecasting.
Activity 1.  Economic Value of Air Quality Forecast Information

Observational data of ozone, particulate matter and their precursors are available from Beltsville.  These data will be used to evaluate air quality forecasts.  Additional metrics will be used that are relevant to a cost benefit analysis in addition to comparing forecasted and observed concentrations. These metrics include: (1) The number of times that an unhealthy event is correctly forecasted, (2) the number of times that an unhealthy event is forecasted when it does not occur and (3) the number of times when the air quality forecast predicts healthy air when the air was observed to be unhealthy.  In collaboration Dr. Anne Thompson and her colleagues at Pennsylvania State University (and with leveraged funding from the National Science Foundation) these cost-benefit metrics will be multiplied by the economic costs and benefits to determine the current overall cost-benefit of air quality forecasting. The NCAS team involved in this research will include HU, UTEP, and JSU.  HU will serve as the lead institution on this effort.

Activity 2. Development of Modeling Tools for the Direct Assessment of Toxic Air Pollutant Effects

Mercury and its compounds are important toxic air pollutants and much relevant research is performed at NOAA/ARL in Silver Spring.  Atmospheric mercury exists in three forms:  elemental (vapor phase), oxidized compounds in the vapor phase, and in a number of compounds found associated with aerosol particles.  The most significant public health danger associated with mercury is believed to be the developmental neurological toxicity of methylmercury. The dominant pathway for exposure to methylmercury is via the consumption of fish contaminated with the pollutant, arising from formation in aquatic sediments (after atmospheric deposition or other loading to the aquatic ecosystem) and bioaccumulation in the aquatic food chain. The behavior of mercury in the biosphere is a consequence of mercury’s intermediate chemical reactivity and its unique physical properties. Much of the research at NOAA/ARL involves the development of measurement methods and models for tracking and understanding the atmospheric fate and transport of the mercury emitted from various anthropogenic and natural sources.  This activity complements the NOAA/ARL research by focusing on the modeling of the biological effects of mercury so that its health impacts on the nervous system can be more fully assessed.

The programming language NEURON is being used to construct trial arrays of simulated neurons.  The structure and numerical structure of these models are surprisingly similar to air quality models and therefore NCAS air quality modeling experience provides a “modeling toolbox” that can be applied to this problem.  Improved parameterizations of mercury toxicity will be applied to the simulated neurons and the degradation of neurological network will be estimated. Comparisons will be made between known effects of mercury toxicity and the modeled network degradation. The ultimate objective is to determine if a model based on this research can be developed to improve understanding and better quantify the health effects associated with the atmospheric mercury deposition to aquatic ecosystems being studied at NOAA/ARL. The NCAS team involved in this research will include UTEP, JSU, and HU. HU will serve as the lead institution on this effort.

Activity 3.  Exploring Airborne Biodiversity

Aerobiological samples have been collected during the AEROSE cruises between 2006-2010 and in Washington, D.C. since 2007.  Preliminary analysis has indicated the presence of enhanced fungal counts coincident with high mass regions of the advected air masses (e.g. dust storms, pollution events).  Additionally, these studies have revealed a significant flux of plant pathogens that may be harmful for major crop types and indigenous species in the Caribbean and the eastern US.   We propose to extend these collections and perform longitudinal analysis of data collected in locations where air quality is a consistent concern and NCAS has the capacity to obtain long-term observational data.  These will include (but not be limited to) the Howard University sites in the Washington, DC metropolitan region, the tropical marine environment during the AEROSE research cruises, and at the Isla Magueyes field station. We will seek to identify any significant associations between the observed microbial distributions and other air quality and meteorological variables.  These associations may provide key indicators of climate and/or environmental change.  Lastly, we seek to compare microbial populations in various environmental and meteorological regimes.  These data will be archived and compared against data collected in Africa (West Africa and regions of the Sahel), in Puerto Rico, and in selected cities in the continental US.

The sampling plan involves deployments of a compact set of instrumentation to collect simultaneous samples of airborne biota on filters, aerosol samples, and size-resolved measurements of aerosols.  Analyses of the relevant environmental variables affecting the airborne distribution of biota will include HYSPLIT back trajectory analysis, synoptic analysis, and analysis of in situ observations of meteorological parameters as reported elsewhere. [Greene and Morris, 2006]  The microbiological analysis will involve a robust combination of phylogenetic and genomic analysis methodologies to obtain complete identification of all collected species.  The NCAS team involved in this research will include UTEP, JSU, and HU. HU will serve as the lead institution on this effort.

Expected outcomes from this study include the characterization of baseline conditions of microbial distributions in an urban airspaces, the development of a catalog of aerobiological species in various environments (e.g. mid-latitude urban, transitional continental zones, tropical marine, tropical urban, and a greater understanding of the seasonality and meteorological factors affecting airborne microbes.  This information can be utilized for improving dust forecasts and air quality forecast products of the NWS.   Israel Matos (San Juan WFO) is a collaborator on this project (focusing on the dust forecast products for Puerto Rico).  NCAS will seek more collaborators within NOAA that have interests in the implications of these studies to air quality as well as to coastal and ocean health and sustainability.

1.3.   Observational Program in Support of NCAS Research and Training

1.3.1  Emerging NWS Operational Observing Technology Testbed at  HUBC
Activity 1.  All-Weather Ground-Based LIDAR for NWS

The National Weather Service has requested new and innovative ideas in compact eye-save all-weather ground-based water vapor profiling lidars ( NOAA SBIR I & II.)  NCAS will continue to collaborate with NWS and private companies in evaluating and testing technologies that are currently being developed under NOAA SBIR Phase I and Phase II funding.  Candidate technologies will be field tested at the Beltsville laboratory along side our existing lidar systems.  Our systems (previously developed under NCAS funding) are well established and validated to provide state of the art water vapor measurements.  (Adam et al)

Activity 2. Extending Decision Support Based Application of NWS Ceilometer Network

In the United States, the ceilometers that are a component of the Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) and Automated Weather Observing Systems (AWOS) that are used by the NWS and FAA effectively comprise an operational lidar network. However, ceilometer data is used primarily for calculating the height of cloud base and cloud layers and the vertical profiles of aerosol backscatter used in the cloud base height calculations are not utilized nor saved.  Currently, 100’s of ceilometers with ASOS/AWOS network are being operated but their data are not fully exploited.  These data sets include aerosol loading profiles and can be used to provide boundary layer characteristics, frontal signatures, transient waves that may trigger storms as well as indications of particulate pollution.  NCAS will accelerate collaboration with NCEP and NWS on testing a limited area network of ceilometers for boundary layer studies.

Activity 3 Global Climate Observational System (GCOS) Upper Air Network (GRUAN)

The reliable detection of the vertical structure of changes in climate variables in the atmosphere requires very high quality atmospheric observations with well-characterized measurement uncertainties. While the GRUAN provides upper air measurements over large regions of the globe, these are primarily for operational weather forecasting and as a result seldom include systems to guarantee data quality such that the data are suitable for long-term trend detection. This was formalized between 2005 and 2007 when a reference upper-air network consisting of eventually 30-40 sites worldwide was planned. HUBC was selected as part of the initial set of seven sites and is involved in the formulation of the implementation and data flow documentation. The network, known as GCOS Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN; GCOS-112, GCOS-134) is being led by the NOAA Climate office. Profile measurements from Beltsville will contribute to the long-term data quality and formulation of the network.

Activity 4. Microwave Radiometer Profiling and Nowcasting

Recent advances in the application of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data have shown that a short-term forecasting of severe weather is possible. Examples include microburst products that have been reported to be effective in the “assessment and short-term forecasting of downburst potential and associated wind gust magnitude”.  The primary two products, the GOES sounder Microburst Windspeed Potential Index (MWPI) and a new two-channel GOES imager brightness temperature difference (BTD) product have been demonstrated to show predictive capability and value for assessment of downburst potential. A comparison of the GOES Nowcasting data products with ground-based wind and thermodynamic profiles as well as convective potential indicators (e.g. CAPE) that can readily and continuously derived from the Micro-Wave Radiometer have not been reported. Located between three major international airports (IAD, DCA, BWI), Beltsville offers an ideal place for development of this research and its transition to operations. An extensive collaboration between the private industry (Radiometrics Inc), Howard University and NESDIS/STAR has been initiated to pursue this effort.

Activity 5. Washington D.C. Lightning Mapping Array Demonstration Project

NCAS will continue collaboration and support of the Washington D.C. Lightning Mapping Array Demonstration Project Risk Reduction for GOES Lightning Mapper Data at HUBC and on Howard University main campus.  A former NCAS student and current NOAA employee Sheri Dixon worked on this project as part of her MS thesis.  The following is a description of the project from Smith et al.  “A 10-site, ground-based total lightning mapping array (LMA) has been installed in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area in 2006. The total lightning data from DC LMA are being processed in real-time and derived products are being provided to the forecasters of the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Sterling, Virginia. The NWS forecasters are using the products to monitor convective activity along with conventional radar and satellite products. Operational experience with these products is intended to inform decision making in how to best utilize in NWS operations similar data available from the GOES Lightning Mapper.”

Activity 6. Demonstration of Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA) of PBL Information.

NCAS HUBC will continue to serve as a reference site for evaluating not only the operational RTMA PBL heights but also other observed data that are used for information for the RTMA such as PBL heights derived from aircraft data (ACARS) and GPS (COSMIC).  To improve the RTMA PBL heights NOAA/NCEP is applying observed data such as ACARS, COSMIC and radar wind profiles with spatially distributed PBL heights in the analysis.  But analysis of these products shows various inconsistencies.  PBL heights from other observations such as MPLNET and CALIPSO will be used for independent verification of the RTMA PBL height.  As a reference site HUBC is one of the few sites in the country where all of these observations are collocated in addition to other reference measurements on a routine basis. Thus robust statistical studies can be conducted to evaluate the consistency of these data with the goal of developing improved quality control algorithms to improve the quality of the data that are applied in the analysis and that are used to evaluate the operational outputs.  NCAS plans to pursue this.

1.3.2  Eddy covariance measurements of air sea interaction

An eddy covariance tower is maintained by JSU at the Ross Barnett Reservoir (hereafter the Reservoir), in Mississippi. The Reservoir (32o26’N, 90o02’W) consists of approximately 33,000 acres of fresh water with its depth of about 4-8 m and with twenty miles from the JSU main campus Turbulence and flux observations are made at the site with specific emphasis on characterizing air sea interaction.

1.3.3  Coastal Marine Observations

A suite of meteorological, radiation, and aerosol observations are routinely collected at the Isla Magueyes Field Station at UPRM. A Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) buoy was implemented in the Parguera Bay for coral bleach monitoring and observations in 2005. The CREWS buoy is part of a NOAA initiative to monitor coral reef health. Each buoy is instrumented with a full suite of meteorological air-based sensors and oceanographic instruments. Students are routinely offered the opportunity for short (hours) to modest (few days) at-sea training experiences aboard institutional vessels or other oceanographic facilities.

1.3.4  NCAS Mineral Dust Observations and Characterization Sites

A field site for aerosol and surface radiation measurements is currently being established at the UTEP in collaboration with NOAA/NWS and NOAA/ESRL. The UTEP site is focused on observations of Particulate Matter (PM), particularly mineral dust, as their amounts in this region are often exceeding the EPA national air pollution standards. The AEROSE program is also focused on mineral dust characterization, but in the interest of conserving space the reader is referred to section 1.2.2 Activity 1 where AEROSE is described in detail.

1.4    Social, Behavioral, and Economic (SBE) Sciences Component

Activity 1. Natural Disaster Risk Communication Basic Social and Behavioral Research

The NCAS SBE faculty: Stroman and Tyree (Communications) and Sociology (Adams) will conduct a study on risk communication surrounding hurricane and other natural disaster preparedness, watches and warnings.  Specifically, the risk communication study will do the following research tasks (1) examine risk perceptions and motivations that impact individual and group responses to weather and emergency warnings issued by NOAA; (2) identify optimal modes of communication (including mass communication, mobile, digital and interpersonal) to reach people; and (3) examine how diversity dimensions or demographics (race, age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic, educational level) influence the receptivity of communication regarding weather and other related messages.  Previous research has shown that when a disaster occurs, racial and ethnic minority communities are more vulnerable.  Researchers have identified a myriad of factors to explain this phenomenon, including lower perceived risk from disasters, distrust of warning messengers, lack of preparation and protective action, and reliance on informal sources of information (Elder et al., 2007; Spence, Lachlan, & Green, 2007, Cross, 1990).  The proposed research seeks to systematically examine these factors among a sample representing culturally diverse racial and ethnic minority communities.  It is anticipated that the ultimate outcome of this work may be the development of an improved model for communicating emergency warnings and information to these communities.

A mix-method approach (surveys and interviews) will be employed to identify key concepts associated with response behavior including (1) Threat perceptions, (2) Perceptions of weather warnings, (3)

Prior experience with weather warnings and disasters, and (4) Motivation, that is how to motivate people to change behavior, increase awareness and create a positive attitude toward preventative behaviors.

Participants will be drawn from community organizations in areas most likely to be effected by weather-related disasters. Co-cultural groups will also be studied in order to ensure that emergency warning messages are culturally relevant.  The Protective Action Decision Model (Lindell & Perry, 2004) will be used to investigate socio-cultural variables related to how African Americans respond to disaster and to determine why they respond or fail to respond to emergency warning messages. Other theories such as Situational Theory of Publics, Two-step flow of Information, and Mileti’s (1999) Seven Steps to Decision Making have been used to help understand publics and their behaviors regarding risks.

A questionnaire containing measures of involvement in family and community networks, channels of information, warning content, fatalism, and protective action will be administered. Multivariate analysis will be used to determine the best predictors of the decision to respond to emergency warning messages.  The qualitative portion of the study will gather more in-depth understanding of what influences people to act.  NCAS will provide graduate assistant support for this research.

Activity 2.  Public Communication and Outreach

The HU School of Communications will provide outreach and information services to the public for selected NCAS research findings and activities.  NCAS SBE faculty (Stroman) will involve the CapComm Lab, a student-run advertising and public relations agency at Howard University, and graduate students to develop a comprehensive outreach plan to disseminate and market the research findings and activities of NCAS. This public outreach campaign will use multiple methods and media to expand the public’s knowledge about the work of NCAS and NOAA.  These methods and media may include creating video, print and audio news releases, writing public service announcements and other standard communications tactics, pitching news stories, and developing online content including web sites, blogs, Flickr photostreams, Twitter tweets and Facebook postings.

NCAS faculty with expertise in Communications and Culture will assist with the NCAS workforce development program by producing video, interactive/digital and collateral materials to encourage youth to embark on careers related to environmental science. A faculty team with digital, print, and broadcast experience will lead a team of graduate and undergraduate students to assist with this aspect of the grant. Materials will be developed; message tested with the youth target audience to ensure the messages and channels are clear, persuasive and receptive; distributed; and evaluated for effectiveness.  Developed materials will be distributed in two ways. First, curriculum packets will be sent to the schools for teachers to implement. Second, direct to consumer informational materials will be distributed through Facebook, an interactive website, YouTube and other mass media.

Activity 3.  Expanding NCAS Capacity for Conducting Informal Science Education Research on Societal Concerns and Environmental Literacy

NCAS has made significant contributions in developing a formal education model to expand interest and participation in geosciences of individuals, especially from underrepresented groups including Hispanics, African-Americans, and women.  Over the past nine years, NCAS has made an important contribution to demonstrating how to attract, retain, and train the next generation of well-educated individuals with the expertise and training necessary to maintain and extend operations in weather related disciplines (Morris, 2007, Joseph 2008).  Building on the success of this model, NCAS will expand its focus in the area of informal education research related to health, energy and water demands, ocean productivity (corals), and environmental literacy especially as affected by climate variability, weather extremes, and air quality.

To this end, The Education Lead, will join our NCAS faculty team to investigate the following research questions: (1) Within the fields of education, environmental science, social science, and related fields what is the existing knowledge base about the environmental literacy of Americans generally and African Americans and Hispanics specifically?; (2) What are the existing products and services offered by NOAA to inform the general public about health, energy and water demands, ocean productivity (corals), and environmental literacy especially as affected by climate variability, weather extremes, and air quality?; (3) What is the most appropriate research design to investigate the environmental knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and identities related to these NOAA products and services of a selected subsample of the general public, with a special focus on African Americans and Hispanics?  There will be several systematic research approaches and methods that will be used to answer these questions that are commonly employed in informal science education and psychological research.

To investigate the first question about the existing knowledge base, an extensive review of the research literature related to the topic will be developed with the aim of producing an annotated bibliography and synthesis manuscript for publication.  This synthesis manuscript will address the following key questions which will guide our efforts to develop a well-designed informal education model related to our current NCAS goals for expansion toward an informal program of environmental education research: (1) What are the types of research questions, methodologies, and analyses that have been employed?; (2)  What theoretical perspectives and frameworks have guided these studies and reports and to what extent do they integrate interdisciplinary perspectives from the fields of psychology, education, and environmental science and other related disciplines?; (3) What are the findings from studies that have been conducted and to what extent are these findings based on studies that include individuals from groups who are projected to become the majority of American citizens (e.g. African Americans and Hispanics)?

To address the second question regarding existing products, services, and platforms used by NOAA to disseminate information to the public, a content analysis of the NOAA and NCAS websites and other formats used for information dissemination will be performed.  Content analysis is an analytic technique that is typically used in education and social science qualitative research to analyze the patterns within text data.  For example, within the field of education content analysis is frequently used to analyze documents relevant to the curriculum, an educational department, or educational program (see Freeman & Winston, 2010).  Critical questions that will be pursued are as follows: (1) What is the nature of the products and services?; (2)  What types of information is shared?; (3)  What seems to be the intended message?; (4)  To what extent are the culturally and developmental appropriate and differentiated?; (5)  Is such differentiation necessary?; (6)  What is the type and structure of the information?; (7) What is the most appropriate research design to investigate the environmental knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and identities related to these products and services of a subsample of the general public, with a special focus on African Americans and Hispanics?

The information gathered and analyzed in achieving the first two goals will be used develop the most appropriate research design to investigate the environmental knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and identities related to these products and services of a subsample of the general public, with a special focus on African Americans and Hispanics.  Given the complexity of the topic, which includes individual, institutional, and cultural dynamics, survey, focus group, and interview methodologies will be included in the research design.  Depending on the research questions generated based on the outcomes of the literature review and analysis, it may be determined that a subsample will be selected from this sample who will be surveyed for more in depth focus group participation where they could engage in a guided group discussion of their shared cultural values, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs as related to what and how information is disseminated to them about health, energy and water demands, ocean productivity (corals), and environmental literacy especially as affected by climate variability, weather extremes, and air quality.

In addition, selected professionals from NOAA who work to translate the science for the general public, as well as those who actually decide which platforms to be used may also participate in depth interviews to gain insight on how they make decisions about this translation, as well as to gain insight into their cultural knowledge about groups for whom this type of information is most critically needed.

D.  Performance Metrics with Milestones and Timeline

Performance metrics with milestones and timeline for each of the research activities discussed in weather analyses and prediction, air quality analyses and forecasting and social behavioral and economic sciences are provided respectively in Appendices II-B, II-C, II-D, and II-E.

E.  Key Success Criteria

NCAS views the key success criteria parallel performance metrics and milestones and timeline.

F.  Appendices

Appendix I – Points of contact

  1. Dr. Vernon Morris – Center Director
  2. Dr. Everette Joseph – Deputy Director
  3. The Distinguished Scientist Ms. Kimberly Smith – Program Manager
  4. Education Lead
  5. Research-Science Leads – Dr. Everette Joseph (Weather and Climate Analyses and Prediction), Dr. William Stockwell (Air Quality Analyses and Forecasting), and Dr. Tirre Adams-Fuller (Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences)

Appendix II- A. Performance Metrics, Milestones, and Deliverables for Education and Outreach

Tables 1 and 2 below provide recruitment (R) and graduation (G) targets for the Masters (M) and Doctoral (D) levels across all institutions for NCAS annually.  The numbers here are drawn from the student support numbers in the proposed budget and assume six (6) years for completion of a Doctoral degree and three (3) years for completion of a Masters degree.  Some of the students to be recruited will not be first-year graduate students.  In those instances, the projected completion times may be shorter than those listed above.

Table 1

Institution

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Total

Degree Level

M

D

M

D

M

D

M

D

M

D

M

D

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

R

G

HU

2

0

8

0

0

1

1

3

1

0

3

1

0

1

1

1

0

1

2

2

3

3

15

7

JSU

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

1

0

0

UPRM

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

3

3

UTEP

2

0

3

0

1

1

0

0

1

2

0

1

1

1

0

0

1

1

0

2

6

5

3

3

UMD

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

1

SUNYA

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

2

2

TOTAL

4

0

17

0

1

2

1

3

3

2

3

2

1

2

1

1

1

3

2

10

10

9

24

16

The shaded portion of the table represents recruitment and degree production in disciplines other than atmospheric sciences but with a concentration in atmospheric sciences.  JSU has a MS program in Environmental Sciences, UPRM has a doctoral program in Marine Sciences.  UTEP has doctoral programs in Computational Sciences and Environmental Sciences and Engineering.  The CSC will support one doctoral student in each of these doctoral programs.   In addition, the CSC will support Master students — one student in Geology and four in Physics.

The results above indicate recruitment targets of 3 MS students and 18 doctoral students in atmospheric sciences and graduate 3 MS and 10 PhDs in this field.  (HU, UMD, SUNYA), and it also indicates that recruitment targets of 7 MS students and 6 doctoral students (in related fields with concentration in atmospheric sciences and graduate 6 MS and 6 PhDs in these fields. (JSU, UTEP, UPRM).

Table 2
Focus Program Institution

Five-Year Targets

Undergraduate 3+2 Undergraduate Scholarship HU Five (5) students to graduate over the lifetime of the award
Atmospheric Sciences Program UPRM We will support ten (10) undergraduate students over the lifetime of this award at various levels of funding including but not limited to internships, conference travel, and tuition.
Physics UTEP Two (2) students to graduate over the lifetime of the award
Meteorology JSU Nine (9) students to graduate over the lifetime of the award
NCAS Undergraduate Research NCAS will support 10 students per year center-wide in the summer programs in addition to the students supported above.
Technical Workshops Assuming that 1 AMS workshop is conducted, 2 NCAS technical workshops are conducted, and 1 additional opportunity to partner with one existing workshop is identified; the target is ten (10) students per workshop or a total of forty (40) students trained in NCAS technical workshops over the five years.
Conference Travel NCAS will aim to bring twenty (20) students to each Biennial NCAS-wide 2.5-day Conference and twelve (12) students to each science team meeting (annually)
Graduate Focus NCAS will graduate a total of 25 graduate students Center-wide over the course of the grant.
NCAS Graduate Student Support NCAS will support approximately 34 graduate students Center-wide over the course of the project
Informal and Community Outreach
Conference Mentorship NCAS will support the participation of NCAS faculty and students at annual AMS, AGU, SACNAS, HACU and NCBPS conferences One hundred (100) students will be encouraged to apply to AMS Policy, NOAA Education, and other fellowships annually
Colour of Weather Networking Mixers AMS National Meeting Event will be held at the AMS and AGU meetings based on leveraged funding Fifty (50) students will be apprised of NOAA and NCAS opportunities at he CoWx-sponsored events annually.
K-12 Outreach
High School Camps Weather camp will be held each summer for high school students in the following locations: Washington, DC metropolitan; Jackson, MS; Mayaguez, PR; and El Paso, TX Approximately (48) high school students will participate in the weather camp each year.
Adopt A School Program Each NCAS partner will select a K-12 school in the respective locations.  HU will partner with the middle school for math and science HU (MS)2 on campus and a DC Public SchoolNCAS faculty and students will interact in such a way to foster NOAA STEM awareness. Assuming that fifty (50) students per school will be impacted, NCAS sets a target of three hundred (300) students in this effort over the five year period.
Facility tours Design campus and facility tours to be more accessible to general publicTours to institutional facilities NCAS will host one hundred (100) students per year at facility tours across the partnership
Science Fests Public outreach to schools and communities through demonstrations focused on weather, climate, air quality NCAS will present the demonstrations to one hundred (100) students per year

APPENDIX II-B   Measurable Objectives, Expected Outcomes, and Milestones of the NCAS Research Activities

Section 1.1  – Weather and Climate Analyses and Prediction

1.1.1 Surface-Atmospheric Interaction and PBL Process
Activity 1. Turbulence Structures and Fluxes over Inhomogeneous Surfaces
  • Specific measures of objectives – To quantify turbulence structures under the influence of sub-mesocale eddies and characterize the deviations of turbulence structures over different surfaces, and investigate how sub-mesocale eddies interact with the ASL turbulence and their contributions to flux exchange of momentum, heat, and water vapor.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to contribute to the development of an improved PBL parameterizations scheme for NWS /NCEP forecast models. We will clarify the mechanisms that generate sub-mesoscale eddies over inhomogeneous terrain and the resulting variations from classical similarity theory. We will present results from this research in scientific meetings, and document the research results for publication in refereed journals.
  • Milestones for this research activity – We will continue analysis of flux-related data within the vicinity of Ross Barnett Reservoir throughout the 5 year period. Supplemental data from the surrounding environment will be incorporated from Intensive Observing Periods (yearly). The multi-platform data (Coordinated Mesoscale Measurements in Mississippi—CM3) will be utilized for observational analyses and for numerical model investigations (using Large Eddy Simulation and single column models).
Activity  3.  Understanding Roles of Aerosols and Clouds in Land-Atmosphere Exchange
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – to investigate the effects of aerosols and clouds on CO2 uptake and water use efficiency; to understand regional climatology of clouds and aerosols; and to establish the relationship between microphysics of aerosols and clouds.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to document the impacts of aerosols and clouds on CO2 uptake and evapotranspiration; and we expect to present the results in scientific meetings.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will analyze flux measurements for various sky conditions; In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), we will investigate the relation between turbulent fluxes of sensible, latent heat, and momentum, on boundary layer heights and cloud formation.
1.1.2 Convection,  Microphysics, and Cloud-aerosols Radiative Effects
Activity 1. Investigate Direct Effect of Aerosols in New NCEP GFS-GOCART Model
  • Specific measures of objective for this research- To evaluate atmospheric convection with this new treatment, verify simulated aerosol fields with NCAS data and impact of indirect effect
  • Expected outcomes for research- to quantification of the accuracy of atmospheric convection, quantify and assess the impact of aerosol direct effect in the BCRP GFS-GOCART model
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will use aerosol data collected at HUBC, and AEROSE experiments for case study evaluation of the system; In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), we will assist NCEP in understanding these potential improvements in the NEMS-GFSGOCART system by conducting detailed data analysis of the model results.
Activity 2. Process Studies of Aerosol-Cloud Indirect Effect
  • Specific measures of objectives for this research – To understand processes of aerosol-cloud interaction, and results of this investigation will enable NCAS to assist NOAA in enhancing its ability in predicting the impact of aerosols on climate
  • Expected outcomes for research: to quantify the impacts of different partitions of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice nuclei (IN) of mineral dust on the development of tropical cloud systems, particularly deep convection storm systems.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will implement spectral bin model into CRM; In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), This research is to analyze and understand how homogeneous and heterogeneous ice nucleation and droplet freezing processes influence the ice clouds through CRM simulations with coupled observations.
1.1.3  Model Development for Climate
Activity 1.  Improving the Physics Representation and Prediction at Regional Scales
  • Specific measures of objective for this research- To understand major climate processes and thereby developing improved numerical representations for surface-atmosphere interaction, cloud-aerosol-radiation interaction, precipitation and hydrology, planetary boundary layer, land surface and upper ocean processes, with a focus on optimized physics ensemble prediction at finer resolutions (1-10 km).
  • Expected outcomes for research – To contribute to the development of improved physics parameterization schemes and optimized physics ensemble prediction techniques for NWS/NCEP weather and climate forecast models. We will present results from this research in scientific meetings, and document the research results for publications in referred journals, and collaborate with NCEP scientists for their implementation into operational models if so chosen.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (0-2 years), we will improve process understanding and numerical representation and demonstrate the resulting skill enhancement for CWRF to downscale regional climate from NCEP CFS operational predictions. In the long-term (3-5 years), we will develop the optimized physics ensemble prediction technique using CWRF, specifically targeted for applications in NCEP GFS and CFS systems and possible transfer to NOAA operations; we will also use CWRF as the platform to provide educational training in model development and application for NCAS-wide students.
1.1.4 Enabling Greater Decision Support Applications of Satellite Data and Improved Radiative Transfer Treatment in NOAA’s Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM)
Activity 1. Forward modeling and Closure Studies to Improve CRTM
  • Specific measures of objective for this research- To develop a fast and accurate radiative transfer model for application in the CRTM.
  • Expected outcomes for research- We expect to develop a unified polarized microwave radiative transfer (MWRT) model, and to expect to contribute to NOAA operational models in the shortening the computational costs of CRTM..
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will develop the model; In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), we will test and integrate into CRTM.
Activity 2. Remote Sensing of Vegetation States
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To explore applicability of microwave-based vegetation index in monitoring vegetation states and crop yields, and to develop a high temporal and spatial satellite vegetation health index.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to establish a high temporal and spatial regional (and global) vegetation index dataset for NOAA mission for both weather and climate services and NCEP forecasting models applications.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will improve our retrieval algorithm and generate a regional dataset; In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), we will collocate our microwave vegetation index with VIS-NIR vegetation indexes to develop a high temporal and spatial global vegetation index

APPENDIX II-C    Measurable Objectives, Expected Outcomes, and Milestones of the NCAS Research Activities

Section 1.2  Air Quality Analyses and Forecasting

1.2.1  Formation and Fate of Air Pollutants for Air Quality Forecasting
Activity 1. Understanding of Ozone and Aerosol Formation
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To quantify the performance of numerical modules for modeling ozone and aerosols.  In particular, the air quality mechanism parameterizations and photolysis rate constant codes developed for NOAA /OAR and NOAA NWS/NCEP under our Activity 2, are a focus of our performance evaluations.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect quantitative and qualitative scores for the performance of our air quality mechanism parameterizations and photolysis rate constant codes.  We will us the research results under Activity 2 to evaluate and guide improvements to air quality model mechanisms. We expect better air quality forecasting through improved photolysis rate constraints as calculated from the radiative transfer models.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years) we will evaluate the current version of the Regional Atmospheric Chemical Mechanism using simulations of field data from Beltsville and other sources, and we will complete improved calculations of actinic flux and photolysis rate constraints. In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years) a more advanced chemical mechanism for air quality will be evaluated using the data produced under this activity.  The evaluation will be used to further improve the mechanism (with enhanced aerosol chemistry) and the results will be presented at scientific meetings, published and delivered to our NWS /NCEP and NOAA /OAR collaborators. We will develop improved radiative transfer models that have the potential to transfer to NOAA /ARL for research, and to NOAA /NCEP for operational applications.
 Activity 2.  Evaluation and Development of Atmospheric Chemistry Mechanisms
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To better quantify the formation rates of ozone, particulate matter and climate relevant aerosols.  These parameterizations that we develop are known as atmospheric chemical mechanisms.  Improvements in supporting numerical codes, such as those that calculate the photolysis rate constants for air pollutants, are a second objective of this research.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to develop of an improved version of the Regional Atmospheric Chemical Mechanism that can be used in the NWS /NCEP and NOAA /OAR air quality forecast models.  We will present results from this research in scientific meetings, document the research results for publications in referred journals and deliver improved air quality chemical mechanisms to our NOAA collaborators.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years) we will evaluate the current version of the Regional Atmospheric Chemical Mechanism using simulations of field data from Beltsville and other sources,; In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years) new reactions will be added to the mechanism that characterize the formation of particulate maters and climate relevant aerosols.  The improved chemical mechanism will be delivered to NWS /NCEP and NOAA /OAR collaborators for potential use within operational models and / or a standard of comparison for computationally faster chemical mechanisms.
 Activity 3.  Atmospheric Chemistry Sensitivity and Process Analysis
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – The objective is to quantify the effect of specific processes parameterizations on calculated ozone and aerosol formation.  The atmospheric chemistry mechanisms and photolysis parameterizations are the major focus of this activity.
  • Expected outcomes for research – Knowledge of those atmospheric factors that most significantly affect air quality forecasts.  The results will serve as a guide to NOAA collaborators for the development of improved data assimilation schemes for air quality forecasting.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), during the next few years simulations will be performed with the current version of the Regional Atmospheric Chemistry mechanism and the simulations will be made with discreet variations made to the input variables; In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), the decoupled direct method and limited Monte Carlo methods will be applied to this research activity.
 Activity 4.  Air Pollution Effects on Visibility
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – The objective is to study the effects of aerosol size, chemical composition and aerosol concentration on the forecast and impairment of visibility.  A second objective is to collect measurements at El Paso-Juarez and Lajas, Puerto Rico to support this activity.
  • Expected outcomes for research – The development of observational, visibility products, based on measurements of extinction coefficients, size, chemical composition and aerosol concentrations for El Paso-Juarez and Lajas, Puerto Rico that may be developed into operational schemes for the entire United States.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), measurements will be made of particle size and concentration and visibility will be made; In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), numerical codes will be applied to the data to determine extinction coefficients for irregularly shaped aerosol particles (characterized by an index of refraction) and single scattering albedo.
1.2.2 Mineral Dust Observations and Characterization
Activity 1.  AEROSE Data Analyses
  • The 2004-2010 AEROSE campaigns have led to the acquisition of an unprecedented data set of in situ mineral dust and atmospheric thermodynamic observations over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  The specific objectives for this project are to conduct focused data analysis on i) aerosol microphysics, ii) atmospheric chemistry (to include geo-spatially referenced data management, visualization and predictive modeling), and iii) atmospheric thermodynamics (including comparison to remote sensing data).  The environmental analysis support team will i) conduct biological, chemical, and physical analysis studies of aerosol samples obtained in the field and conduct ii) laboratory process studies that complement NCAS observations and modeling.
  • Expected outcomes of this research — publicly available database of AEROSE data on NOMADS, at least one paper to be published in a refereed journal annually, two (2) PhD theses (by the end of the five year cycle), two (2) national conference presentations annually.
  • Milestones of this research activity are: completion of the microphysics data compilation 2004-2012, completion of the single particle analysis of the 2004-2010 AEROSE samples, compilation of the chemistry, execution of at least two more AEROSE cruises, and graduation of students involved on the project.
Activity 2.  Chemical Characterization of Crustal Aerosols
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To optically and chemically characterize crustal aerosols reaching Puerto Rico from diverse sources; to develop a visibility product for CariCOOS based on field (AERONET and MFRSR) aerosol measurements and satellite remote sensing; to establish quantitative relationships between the concentration of iron in filtered samples (as determined by the ICP-MS) and the spectral response using visible reflectance spectroscopy; and to quantify the chemical characteristics of dust aerosols and the soils that emit them in the Chihuahuan Desert.  To refine development of a land cover classification scheme to improve forecasting of dust aerosol emission and transport.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to contribute to the development of a horizontal visibility product as well as non-destructive analysis of iron using spectroscopic techniques.  We expect to be able to improve numerical model parameterizations of land cover in desert areas for prediction of dust emission and transport.  We expect to be able to determine specific chemical source markers of aerosols emitted from different land cover types impacting El Paso and other sites in the Desert Southwest. We will present results from this research in scientific meetings such as those of the AGU and Geological Society of America, and document the research results for publications in referred journals such as Journal of Geophysical Research, Earth Science Reviews, and/or Atmospheric Environment.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will complete field data processing of Saharan dust samples for chemical and spectroscopic characterization, and a visibility product for CariCOOS. In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), we will contribute to the development of spectroscopic analysis of iron content as well as hyperspectral estimates of iron content in Saharan dust from Space (e.g. by using HICO data).   For the Chihuahuan Desert project, in the short term (i.e., 0-3 years), specific elemental, mineralogical, and/or isotopic markers will be identified for dust sources in the arid Southwest: and a geomorphology-based land cover scheme will be published for dust emission.  In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), this land cover scheme will be utilized in a numerical model predicting dust emission.
 Activity 3.  Optical Characterization of Dust
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To improve models for retrieving aerosol size distribution, single scattering albedo, and Angstrom exponent in conjunction with the MFRSR data, and validate the model results using local site observational data from El Paso –Juaez, Texas and Mayaguez at Puerto Rico.
  • Expected outcomes for research- We expect to complete the characterization of aerosol in-situ optical columnar dust retrievals in the atmosphere. We will present results from this research in scientific meetings, and document the research results for publications in referred journals
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will complete the development of the improved models for retrieval aerosol size distributions. In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), we will complete the evaluation of these models at the two distinct geographical locations.
1.2.3 Satellite Algorithm Developments for Aerosols
Activity 1.   Algorithm Development for Improved Satellite retrieval
  • Specific measures of objective for this research- Retrieval of surface PM2.5 using satellite AOT data. Development of improved algorithms for retrieval of air quality products.
  • Expected outcome – Upon using satellite data, the retrieval of surface PM2.5 and other air quality products in places where there is sparse air quality monitoring data.  The satellite data could also be used for data assimilation purposes into air quality models.
  • Milestones – In the short term, implementing an empirical model, surface PM2.5 retrieval using satellite data will be achieved, and in the long term improved algorithms for retrieval of other air quality products will be sought.
Activity 2. Development of Saharan Dust Index and New Satellite Products
  • Specific measures of objective for this research- To quantify the effects of dust aerosols on incident levels of solar UV and PAR radiation reaching Puerto Rico; to analyze CREWS radiation data to generate a Saharan Dust Index as a NOAA/CREWS operational product, and to establish the relationship using field radiation measurements, a similar approach will be tested using satellite-based data (e.g. OMI).
  • Expected outcome – We expect to contribute to the development of Saharan Dust Index as a NOAA/CREWS operational product. We will present results from this research in scientific meetings, and document the research results for publications in referred journals
  • Milestones – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will complete field data processing of UV-PAR, ICON-CREWS, AERADNET and AERONET data and develop a Saharan Dust Index using field data. In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), we will contribute to the development of a Saharan Dust Index as an operational product using satellite data such as OMI.
1.2.4 Estimating Societal, Economic and Health Impacts of Air Quality and Air Quality Forecasting
Activity 1. Economic Value of Air Quality Forecast Information
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To quantify the performance of air quality forecasting modeling by NOAA/NWS/NCEP by determining the forecasts’ false alarm rate and the probability of detection of days with high ozone (code orange or code red days) from Beltsville measurements and other available data.  Costs associated with code orange and code red days will be estimated for the Washington D.C. region.  Costs associated with air quality damage will be assessed for this region.
  • Expected outcomes for research – A cost-benefit of air quality forecasting associated with NOAA’s air quality forecasting program will be developed from the assessment of the economic costs and benefits along with the false alarm rate and the probability of detection statistics.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years) an assessment will be made of NOAA/NWS/NCEP ozone forecasts to determine the model performance statistics.  Economic analysis will begin; in the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years) assessment of the model performance statistics will continue and these will be used with the economic analysis to produce the cost-benefit analysis.  The results will be presented at scientific meetings, published and delivered to our NWS /NCEP and NOAA /OAR collaborators.
Activity 2. Development of Modeling Tools for the Direct Assessment of Toxic Air Pollutant Effects
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To develop better parameterizations of the fundamental mechanisms of mercury toxicity so that its effects on the nervous system can be more fully assessed.
  • Expected outcomes for research – Improved parameterizations of mercury toxicity and better quantification of its health effects.  This will be an asset to NOAA/ARL studies of atmospheric mercury.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years) Arrays of simulated neurons and methods to incorporate potential damage mechanisms in the simulated neurons will be developed.; In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years) simulation experiments will be conducted to determine the response of neuron arrays to increasing levels of mercury toxicity and the response will be compared to the known effects of mercury poisoning.  The results will be presented at scientific meetings, published and delivered to collaborators at NOAA/ARL.
Activity 3.  Exploring Airborne Biodiversity
  • Specific objectives for this project are  i) To develop a baseline of the microbial inhabitants in the atmosphere, and to correlate specific pathogens to aerosol loading using 2 locations in Washington, DC metropolitan region (we will investigate expanding to Puerto Rico, AEROSE cruises, and El Paso).  This will be accomplished through the establishment of collection sites at the different locations, collection of air filter samples, culturing and sequencing of 16S rDNA sequences from these filters.  ii) To screen any potential pathogenic species for characteristics associated with pathogenicity.  This will be accomplished through an initial 16S rDNA screening of all 8,000 isolates, as well as screening for substrate utilization patterns and possible pathogenicity factors.  iii) A detailed and systematic characterization of meteorological and aerosol conditions associated with various infectious diseases and acute respiratory agents;
  • Expected outcomes of this research one (1) thesis, two (2) papers, three (3) national conference presentations, and a public database for microbial diversity of airborne aerosols.
  • Milestones of this research activity are implementation of the sampling sites, acquisition of the samples, DNA extraction and preliminary screening and identification, selected biochemical characterization microbes, graduation of students.

APPENDIX II-D    Measurable Objectives, Expected Outcomes, and Milestones of the NCAS Research Activities

Section 1.3 – Observational Program in Support of NCAS research and Training

1.3.1  Emerging NWS Operational Observing Technology Testbed at HUBC
Activity 1.  All-weather Ground-Based LIDAR for NWS
  •  Specific measures of objective for this research – To compare the newly designed system and performances with the more powerful Howard University Raman LIDAR.
  • Expected outcomes for research – This is a collaboration project with NWS Sterling office.  We expect the performance evaluation results of the new system in different weather conditions to be of great use for NWS operations.  We expect to document the evaluation results, and present them in scientific meetings.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years) the comparison between the new system in all weather conditions will be conducted; In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years) We expect the results of evaluation to be presented at scientific meetings, and published and delivered to collaborators at NOAA/NWS.
Activity 2.  Extending Decision Support Based Application of NWS Ceilometer Network
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To accelerate collaborations between NCAS and NCEP and NWS on testing a limited area of network of ceilometers for PBL studies.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to document the feasibility of the ceilometer as a network for NWS operations, and we expect to demonstrate the concept of using a limited area of available ceilometers for NWS operations for PBL studies over the Mid-Eastern United States.  We expect to document the evaluation results, and present them in scientific meetings.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years) the demonstration and test of feasibility will be conducted; In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years) We expect the results of evaluation to be presented at scientific meetings, and published and delivered to collaborators at NOAA/NWS.
Activity 3.  Global Climate Observation System (GCOS) Upper Air Network (GUAN)
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To accelerate collaborations between NCAS and NCEP and NWS on testing a limited area of network of ceilometers for PBL studies.
  • Expected outcomes for research – Research outcome from the collected data will take years climate trends) but immediate impacts are collaboration with NSDIS/STAR office to initiate collaborative work in addressing and quantifying water vapor and temperature variability within the NWS/Sterling-and-Beltsville stations
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we intend to start archiving upper air data following the GRUAN data protocol to NCDC and GRUAN lead center in Lindenberg, Germany. In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years), GRUAN is a data collection network. We intend to abide by the established protocol of 1-sonde per week, quality controlled and following all protocols. We will seek leadership position within the GRUAN –WMO community.
Activity 4.  Microwave Radiometer Profiling and Nowcasting
  • Specific measures of objectives for this research –
  • Expected outcomes for research – This is a close collaborative project between NCAS and  NESDIS/STAR scientists on the Microburst Wind- speed Potential Index (MWPI) quantification using Microwave Radiometer (MWR) data and other ancillary data.  We expect a graduate student will be trained to work on the analysis of the Beltsville-based MWR data and compare it to MWPI. We expect results of this investigation to be presented in scientific meetings, and published in journals. Research outcome from the collected data will take years climate trends) but immediate impacts are collaboration with NSDIS/STAR office to initiate collaborative work in addressing and quantifying water vapor and temperature variability within the NWS/Sterling-and-Beltsville stations
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we intend to investigate the utility of the MWPI data; In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years),. Results of a comparison of the MWR-based data and MWPI will be completed and any expected improvement will be communicated to NESDIS/STAR.
Activity 5. Washington D. C. Lightning Mapping Array Demonstration Project
  • Specific measures of objectives for this research – This is a collaborative project between NCAS scientists and students and meteorologists at NWS / Weather Forecast Office at Sterling, Virginia to demonstrate that lightning Mapper data at HUBC and on Howard University campus can be useful products for NWS operations for Washington D. C. Metropolitan area.
  • Expected outcomes for research -The derived products from an array of ground based lightning mapping data will be used to assess operational experience with these products which are intended to inform decision making in how to best utilize similar data available from the GOES Lighting Mapper in NWS operations. We will expect document and present the assessment results in scientific meetings.
  • Milestones of this research activity – The NWS forecasters at Sterling office in Virgina are using the products.  In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we expect to complete the assessment of the utility of the derived products.  In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years), we will document the assessment results.
Activity 6.   Demonstration of Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA) of PBL Information
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To conduct statistical studies to evaluate the consistency of observations (e.g, PBL heights derived from aircraft data (ACARS), GPS (COSMIC) and radar wind profiles) that are used by NOAA to improve the RTMA PBL.
  • Expected outcomes for research – To provide reference quality observations and quality control algorithms that enables to improving of RTMA PBL heights being developed by NOAA as a decision support system to aid homeland security decision makers
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years) conduct analysis of ACARS, COSMIC and radar wind profiles with spatially distributed PBL heights; In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years) develop improved quality control algorithms to improve the quality of the observed data that are applied in the analysis and that are used by NOAA to evaluate the operational outputs.  The results will be presented at scientific meetings, published and delivered to collaborators at NOAA/NCEP.
1.3.2 Eddy covariance measurements of air sea interaction
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To compile a long-term multi-sensor data source for boundary layer and flux parameters in the vicinity of Ross Barnett Reservoir and other sites of interest.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to produce climatological and multi-case datasets of parameters relevant to understanding of turbulent fluxes in a heterogeneous environment. We will present results from this research in scientific meetings, and document the research results for publication in refereed journals.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will develop partnerships and capabilities to augment eddy covariance flux measurements with surface mesonet, radar, and other relevant data platforms. In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), the continuing CM3 (Coordinated Mesoscale Measurements in Mississippi) data collection will be quality controlled for more widespread NOAA and research community use.
1.3.3 Coastal Marine Observations (Just description and no research activities)
1.3.4 NCAS Mineral Dust Observations and Characterization Sites (Just description and no research activities)

APPENDIX II-D    Measurable Objectives, Expected Outcomes, and Milestones of the NCAS Research

Activities  for Section 1.4  – Social, Behavior, and Economic (SBE) Sciences Component

Activity 1. Natural Disaster Rick Communication Basic Social and Behavioral Research
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – Based on the findings of this exploratory research, a larger survey research study will be conducted.  The ultimate goal of the research is to increase our understanding of how best to impact African Americans’ responses to emergency warning messages.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to produce key criteria associated with response behavior including descriptive statistics that will reveal which sources (e.g., family and friends or emergency management personnel) and channels (e.g. television news) are identified most frequently and therefore most likely to impact the evacuation decision. The most salient aspects of the risk message, including protective action recommendations and severity of the event, will also be identified by descriptive statistics. We will present results from this research in scientific meetings, and document the research results for publication in refereed journals.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), various statistical tests will be run to test the Protective Action Decision Model, which is a combination of variables that help explain the decision to evacuate (or to not evacuate) in times of danger.  The Protective Action Decision Model predicts that three components of warnings affect people’s disaster response:  source, channel, and message contents.   In the longer term (i.e.,3-5 year), statistical correlations will be run to examine the relationships between (1) source, (2) channel, and (3) message content and the evacuation decision/.,
Activity 2.  Public Communication and Outreach
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – To provide outreach and information services to the public for selected NCAS research findings and activities.
  • Expected outcomes for research – We expect to produce a comprehensive outreach plan to disseminate and market the NCAS research findings and activities. This public outreach campaign will use multiple methods and media that include creating video, print and audio news releases, writing public services announcements and other standard communication tactics, pitching news stories, and developing online content including websites, blogs, Flicker photo- streams, Twitter tweets and Facebook postings.
  • Milestones of this research activity – In the short term (i.e., 0-2 years), we will develop communication materials and distributed them, and tested them for effectiveness.  Developed materials will be distributed in two ways.  First, curriculum packets will be sent to the schools for teachers to implement.  Second, direct to consumer information materials will be distributed through Facebook, an interactive website, YouTube, and other mass media.  In the longer term (i.e., 3-5 years), we will document the results and publish them in scientific journals.
Activity 3.  Expanding NCAS Capacity for Conducting Informal Science Education Research on Societal Concerns and Environmental Literacy
  • Specific measures of objective for this research – its focus on environmental science is connected to an informal science education media project called Planet Harmony (www.myplanetharmony.com) that is funded by the National Science Foundation and for which Dr. Winston serves as the Co-Principal Investigator.   Planet Harmony is a community and major source of news and information about environmental change.  It is also designed to increase the environmental literacy and engagement of African Americans ages 18-30.
  • Expected outcomes for research – Although the research questions posed and their most appropriate design for answering the question, do not center on quantification of the results, the answers to the question can provide rich, descriptive information.  This information can inform the systematic development of programs and practices in environmental science education that are grounded in the existing knowledge base, as well as the ideas and engagement of key stakeholders in environmental science.        We expect to document the evaluation results, and present them in scientific meetings.
  • Milestones of this research activity –There are two research questions that will be answered in the proposed research.  The first research question will be answered using a standard social science literature review method.  As such, the findings that result from this literature review will be primarily descriptive, with percentages and frequency of certain patterns of findings in the literature being summarized.  Beyond these quantitative summary statistics, rich information will be provided about the patterns.  The second research question will be answered through the use of a qualitative research design that includes content analysis.  Qualitative research results in rich descriptions of the content and patterns of findings.  These findings will be generated through well established qualitative analytic methods in education and social science.

Appendix III – Master Schedule (including milestones) for Education and Outreach, and Research –Science, and Postdoctoral Program

Deliverables, Milestones, timelines, performance metrics for education and outreach, and research sciences are     provided in Appendices II above.

Appendix IV:  Acronyms, Glossary of Terms, and Abbreviations

  1. ACARS – Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting system
  2. AERADNET – Aerosols and Radiation Observing NETwork
  3. AEROSE – Aerosols and Oceanographic Science Expedition
  4. AGI – American Geological Institute
  5. AGU – American Geophysical Union
  6. AIRS – Atmospheric Infrared Sounder
  7. AMMA – African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis
  8. AMS – American Meteorological Society
  9. AOD – Aerosol Optical Depth
  10. AOML – Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
  11. AOT – Aerosol Optical Thickness
  12. APS – Aerosol Particle Size
  13. ARL – Air Resources Laboratory
  14. ARM – Atmospheric Radiation Measurement
  15. ASLO – American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  16. ASOS – Automated Surface Observing System
  17. AVID – Advancement Via Individual
  18. AWOS – Automated Weather Observing System
  19. BACA – Bates Area Community Association
  20. BAMP – Howard University Beltsville Atmospheric Measurement Program
  21. CCN – Cloud Condensation Nuclei
  22. CMAQ – Community Multi – Scale Air Quality model
  23. CPC – Climate Prediction Center
  24. CREWS – Coral Reef Early Warning System
  25. CRTM – Community Radiative Transfer Model
  26. CSC – Cooperative Science Center
  27. CWRF – Climate WRF
  28. DDR – Direct of Diffuse Irradiance Ration
  29. DCRM – Detailed Cloud Resolving Model
  30. DOE – Department of Energy
  31. ECSU – Elizabeth City State University
  32. EDVI – Emissivity Difference Vegetation Index
  33. EMC – Environmental Modeling Group
  34. EPA – Environmental Protection Agency
  35. EPP – Educational Partnership Program (NOAA)
  36. EPPMSI – Educational Partnership Program (NOAA) with Minority Serving Institutions
  37. ESE – Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  38. ESRL – Earth System Research Laboratory
  39. FDTD – Finite Difference Domain
  40. FMF – Fraction Fine Mode
  41. GCOS – Global Climate Observing System
  42. GFDL – Geographical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
  43. GIS – Geographic Information Systems
  44. GOCART – Georgia Tech/Goddard Global Ozone Chemistry Aerosol
  45. Radiation Transport Model
  46. GOES – Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites
  47. GRUAN – GCOS Reference Upper – Air Network
  48. GSASS
  49. HBCU – Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  50. HYSPLIT – Hybrid Single – Particle Lagrangian Integrated
  51. ICP – Ms – Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
  52. IOPs – Intensive Observational
  53. JCSDA – Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation
  54. JSU – Jackson State University
  55. KIPP – Knowledge is Power Program
  56. MFRSR – Multi – Filter Rotating Shdowband Radiometer
  57. MLSE – Microwave Land Surface
  58. MODTRAN – Moderate Resolution Atmospheric Transmission
  59. MOVES – Motor Vehicle Emission Stimulator
  60. MSI – Minority Serving Institution
  61. MWRT – Microwave Ration Transfer
  62. NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  63. NCCPS – National Conference for Black Physic Studen
  64. NCAS – NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences
  65. NCDC – National Climate Data Center
  66. NCEP – National Center for Environmental Prediction
  67. NEI – National Emission Inventory
  68. NESDIS – National Environmental Satellite, Data & Information Service
  69. NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  70. NoN – Nationwide Network of Networks
  71. NSTA – National Science Teachers Association
  72. NWS – National Weather Service
  73. NSBE – National Society of Black Engineers
  74. NWP – Numerical Weather Prediction
  75. OAR – Office of Atmospheric Research
  76. OOS – Office of Operational Service
  77. OPE – Optimized Physics Ensemble
  78. PAR – Photosynthetically Active Radiation
  79. PBL – Planetary Boundary Layer
  80. PNE – PIRATA Northeast Extension
  81. RACM2 – Regional Atmospheric Chemistry Mechanism, Version 2
  82. RTMA – Real – Time Mesoscale Analysis
  83. RUC – Rapid Update Cycle
  84. SAL – Saharan Aerosol Layer
  85. SDA – Spectra – de Convolution Algorithm
  86. SDI – Sahara Dust Index
  87. SGP – Southern Great Plains
  88. SMOKE – Sparse Matrix Operator Kernel Emissions Model
  89. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  90. SUNYA – State University of New York at Albany
  91. SSA – Single Scattering Albedo
  92. TCEQ – Texas Commissions For Environmental Quality
  93. TOA – Top of the Atmosphere
  94. TRMM – Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission
  95. TUV – Troposheric Ultraviolet and Visible Model
  96. UCAR – University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
  97. UIUC – University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign
  98. UMCP – University of Maryland College Park
  99. UPRM – University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  100. URMS – Underrepresented Minorities
  101. US – United States
  102. UTEP – University of Texas at El Paso
  103. UV – Ultraviolet
  104. VIS – NIR – Vegetative indexes to develop a high temporal and spatial global
  105. Index
  106. VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds
  107. VSOS – Vector Successive Order of Scattering
  108. WFO – Weather Forecast Office