Vernon R. Morris, Principal Investigator & Director

A. Executive Summary

Howard University’s NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) has been awarded $2.625M for year one in 2011 and up to $15 million over the next five years by the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Educational Partnership Program (EPP) to conduct research and educational efforts in weather, climate, air quality, and environmental literacy. NCAS, a consortium of six educational institutions led by Howard University, has been supported by the core funding from the Department of Commerce since 2001. The partner schools are Jackson State University, the University of Maryland College Park, the University of Texas El Paso, State University of New York Albany and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

NCAS expands the Centers research into the Social & Behavioral and Economics Sciences. Joining in this new area of research are four new faculty members from Howard University with extensive social science research expertise that will enable the Center to extend its research to include the societal dimension of environmental change, its measurement and its prediction. NCAS welcomes: Dr. Carolyn Stroman (Associate Professor of Communication and Culture), Dr. Tia Tyree (Assistant Professor of Journalism), Dr. Cynthia Winston (Associate Professor of Psychology) and Dr. Terri Adam-Fuller (Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology).

The following semi-annual report details the activities conducted during March 1, 2012 – August 31, 2012 As NCAS enters its second year of its third five-year cycle, we are pleased to report achievements in both education and research. The Center maintains robust collaborations and educational partnerships with the NOAA National Weather Service (National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), Office of Operational Service (OOS), and various Weather Forecast Office (WFOs)), OAR (Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) scientists), and National Environmental Satellite, Data & Information Service (NESDIS) (research and joint publications). Several of the highlights from this reporting period are listed below.

NCAS performance is primarily evaluated on the basis of the following measures:

  1. Number of students from underrepresented communities who are trained and graduate in NOAA mission sciences annually [33, 3 graduated]
  2. Number of students who are trained and graduate in NOAA‐mission sciences annually; [41 trained, 3 graduated]
  3. Number of students completing experiential opportunities at NOAA facilities; [9]
  4. Number of EPP funded students who are hired by NOAA, NOAA contractors and other environmental, natural resource, and science agencies at the Federal, State, local and tribal levels, in academia and the private sector; [2]
  5. Number of collaborative research projects undertaken between NOAA and MSI partners in support of NOAA operations; [23]
  6. Number of students and faculty who participate in and complete postdoctoral level research programs in support of the NOAA mission; [7]
  7. Number of peer reviewed papers published in NOAA‐mission sciences by scientists (faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students) sponsored by NOAA EPP; [9]
  8. Funds leveraged with NOAA EPP funds (including student support); and,
  9. Number of outreach participants engaged in NOAA mission relevant learning opportunities. [5000]

The performance in each category for this reporting period is listed above in the emboldened brackets. NCAS continues to be a leader on the national stage in the production and training of African Americans and Hispanics in the atmospheric sciences at all levels of education. NCAS is developing a model for public school interaction through the Adopt-a-school program and has established a national model for

summer camp exposure and training in atmospheric sciences through the CAREERS middle school and high school camps. The undergraduate programs supported at JSU (Meteorology), the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (Atmospheric Sciences), and UTEP (Atmospheric Physics) lead the nation in the number of African American and Hispanic students exposed to NOAA mission relevant learning within academic degree programs. The HUPAS graduate program at HU is the national leader at the PhD level.

During this reporting period, NCAS conducted a comprehensive suite of training and outreach events. NCAS sponsoring 5 summer camps, 4 Science Fests, participated in 4 science fairs, hosted 6 tours to NOAA facilities, conducted 9 interactions with public schools, conducted 2 training seminars, and presented 1 seminar at a NOAA facility. These events reached over 5000 students across thirteen states, the District of Columbia, and two US territories (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands). Co-sponsored events (the CAREERS affiliate camps in New York, North Carolina, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Houston, Texas) reached an additional 70 students in an additional four states.

Highlights and Major Accomplishments

Educational Milestones

Three NCAS supported students completed their degrees during this period, while another three students were recruited to the HUPAS programs to begin their graduate education in NOAA mission relevant disciplines. The graduates are listed below.

NCAS Doctoral Recipient:
  • Dr. Rufus White (Advisor: Dr. Vernon R. Morris). HU NCAS student Rufus White successfully defended his doctoral dissertation titled: A Statistical and Theoretical Investigation of the Chemistry of the Formation of Atmospheric Particles in Beltsville, Maryland via Observations of Physical Properties on October 27, 2011. Dr. White was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemistry in May 2012. NOAA employee, Ariel Stein served on the dissertation committee. Dr. White started June 18, 2012 as a Physical Scientist with the Department of Defense.
NCAS Master Recipients
  • Mariana Guereque (Advisor: Drs. Rosa Fitzgerald and Thomas Gill).  UTEP NCAS student Mariana Guereque successfully defended her master thesis titled: Aerosol Particle Size Distributions Observed during AEROSE V Campaign on May 4, 2012. Ms. Guereque was awarded the

Master of Science in Geological Sciences in May of 2012.

NCAS Bachelor Recipient:
  • Keyaara Robinson (Advisor: Dr. Vernon R. Morris). HU NCAS student Keyaara Robinson an active member of Dr. Morris research group received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in May of 2012. Keyaara performed her undergraduate research on the flux of particulate matter at street level inside the Washington, DC urban canopy.
Success Stories:
  • The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez student Ana Patricia Torres participated in a nine-week summer internship at NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. This year she was awarded a NOAA EPP Undergraduate Scholarship. This award is in recognition of her accomplishments as an undergraduate student in areas pertinent to NOAA’s mission. Ms. Torres participated in the Puerto Rico Weather Camp in 2009 and is currently pursuing a bachelor degree in Theoretical Physics at UPRM. She is also completing the course work for the certification in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology at UPRM. Ana is an active member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) student Chapter and received a NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences Travel Award to participate in the AMS 2012 annual meeting in New Orleans
  • Angel Esparza, who graduated on December 2011 under the supervision of Dr. Fitzgerald, was hired to head a division at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX.

NCAS hosted 23 students and faculty to attend the 2011 EPP Forum and returned with three first place and two second place awards in the PhD oral presentation and poster presentations.


  1. Liang, X.-Z., M. Xu, X. Yuan, T. Ling, H.I. Choi, F. Zhang, L. Chen, S. Liu, S. Su, F. Qiao, Y. He, J.X.L. Wang, K.E. Kunkel, W. Gao, E. Joseph, V. Morris, T.-W. Yu, J. Dudhia, and J. Michalakes, 2012: Regional Climate-Weather Research and Forecasting Model (CWRF). Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00180.1.
  2.  Maddy, E.S., S. G. DeSouza-Machado, N. R. Nalli, C. D. Barnet, L. L Strow, W. W.Wolf, H. Xie, A. Gambacorta, T. S. King, E. Joseph, V. Morris, S. E. Hannon, and P. Schou, 2012: On the Effect of Dust Aerosols on AIRS and IASI 1 Operational Level 2 Products, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L10809, doi:10.1029/2012GL052070
  3. Polanco, J., R. M. Fitzgerald, and A.A. Maradudin, 2012: Propagation of S-Polarized Surface Polaritons Circumferentially Around a Locally Cylindrical Surface, Physics Letters A, Volume 376, Issue 18, 2 April 2012, Pages 1573-1575, ISSN 0375-9601, 10.1016/j.physleta.2012.02.061.
  4. Collins, T.W., S. E. Grineski, P. Ford, R. Aldouri, M.L R. Aguilar, G. Vela´zquez-Angulo, R. Fitzgerald, and D. Lu, 2012: Mapping vulnerability to climate change-related hazards: children at risk in a US–Mexico border metropolis, Popul. and Environ., DOI 10.1007/s11111-012-0170- 8.
  5. Lu, D., R. Fitzgerald, W. R. Stockwell, R.S. Reddy, and L. White, 2012: Numerical Simulation for a Wind Dust Even in the US/Mexico Border, Air Qual. Atmos. and Health, DOI 10.1007/s11869-012-0174-7, 2012.
  6. Alkhatib, M.Q., D. C. Sergio, and T. E. Gill, 2012: Automated Detection of Dust Clouds And Sources in NOAA-AVHRR Satellite Imagery. Proceedings of the 10th Southwest Symposium on Image Analysis and Interpretation, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), April 2012, Santa Fe, NM, pp. 97- 100, doi:10.1109/SSIAI.2012.6202462
  7. Ginoux, P., J.M. Prospero, T.E. Gill, N. C. Hsu and M. Zhao, 2012: Global scale attribution of anthropogenic and natural dust sources and their emission rates based on MODIS Deep Blue aerosol products, Rev. Geophys 50:RG3005, 36 pp., doi:10.1029/2012RG000388
  8. Thorne, P.W., H. Vömel, G. Bodecker, F. Immler, M. Sommer, 2012: GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN): Steps Towards Assuring Future Climate Records. Proceedings of the 9th International Temperature Symposium, American Institute of Physics: Temperature: Its Measurement and Control in Science and Industry, Volume 8, Los Angeles, CA on March 19 – 23, 2012.
  9. Kim, Y-J., Kim, B-G., Miller, M., Min, Q., and Song, C-K, 2012: Enhanced Aerosol-Cloud Relationships in More Stable and Adiabatic Clouds , Asia-Pacific J. Atmos. Sci., 48(3), 283- 293, 2012, DOI:10.1007/s13143-012-0028-0.
  10. Morris, V., T.-W. Yu, H. M. Mogil, 2012: A Growing Network of Weather Camps with a CAREER Focus, Eos, Vol. 93, No. 15, 10 April 2012.
  11. Morris, V., E. Joseph, S. Smith, and T-W. Yu, 2012; The Howard University Program in Atmospheric Sciences (HUPAS): A Program Exemplifying Diversity and Opportunity, Journal of Geoscience Education 60, 45-53, 2012.

*NCAS Faculty members are underlined and NCAS fellows are bold.*

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NCAS Semi Annual Report March 1, 2012 – August 31, 2012