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 and up to $15 million over five years by the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 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 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 Mayaguez.

NCAS expands the Centers research into the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Specifically, NCAS welcomes four (4) 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 September 1, 2011 – February 28, 2012. As NCAS enters its first 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.

Educational Milestones

NCAS educational component centers on Ph.D. production in key disciplines of Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology (HU, SUNYA, JSU, and UIUC), Marine Sciences (UPRM), and Environmental Sciences (JSU and UTEP). NCAS funds are used to support student training at undergraduate and graduate levels in these disciplines and other basic sciences, including chemistry, biology, engineering, and physics. Our efforts have historically produced positive impacts at our MSI partner institutions and we are strengthening efforts to make greater impacts at our majority institutional partners. Some of the educational highlights of this reporting period include:

Achievements by Program Students

  • NCAS Fellow, Angel Esparza, from UTEP received his Ph.D. in December 2011

Strategic Partnerships and Leveraged Funding

NCAS pursues new collaborations,

  • NCAS Investigator, Dr. Qilong Min, presented his research titled: “Using satellite multiple sensor products to monitor vegetation properties: vegetation-atmosphere interaction” at the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) on October 13, 2011. Dr. Min engaged in extensive discussions with NESDIS/STAR and NCEP/EMC scientists about the possibility of the transfer this research into operations.
  • NCAS Investigator, Dr. Qilong Min, visited the NOAA CREST Cooperative Science Center from Sept. 26-27, 2011. During the two-day visit, he met with CREST students and investigators to discuss potential collaborations on instrument development, retrieval algorithms, data analysis, and modeling of cloud-aerosol interactions. Dr. Min also delivered a seminar on “Monitoring vegetation properties through satellite passive microwave re-mote sensing”

NCAS is proud to present this semi-annual performance report as a showcase of our successful model for a research and training cooperative partnership with NOAA.

B. Performance Report

I. Status of Award Tasks

1. Goals and Objectives

NCAS concentrates on two primary activities that support the central philosophy of “producing quality students through quality research”.

The center is dedicated to:

  • Producing a diverse group of highly trained professionals for the NOAA NWS and for the broader atmospheric and environmental sciences workforce, and
  • 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”.

The principal goal over the next five years is to continue NCAS‟ growth into a national resource in atmospheric sciences research and training – competitive with other national facilities and programs.

2.     Update on NOAA Programmatic Special Award Conditions

NCAS is in the process of satisfying all special award conditions of the new award issued during this reporting period.


  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. (in press).
  2. Lu, D., R.S. Reddy, R. Fitzgerald, W.R. Stockwell, Q.L. Williams, and P.B. Tchounwou, 2011: Multiscale comparison of air quality modeling for an ozone occurrence during the 1996 Paso Del Norte Ozone Campaign. WIT Transactions on Biomedicines and Health, 15, 47–58
  3. Henderson, B.H., R.W. Pinder, J. Crooks, R.C. Cohen, P.O. Wennberg, W.T. Hutzell, G. Sarwar, W.S. Goliff, W.R. Stockwell, 2011: A. Fahr, R. Mathur, A.G. Carlton and W.G. Vizuete, Evaluation of simulated photochemical partitioning of oxidized nitrogen in the upper troposphere. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 275-291.
  4. Stockwell, W.R., C.V. Lawson, E. Saunders and W.S. Goliff, 2012: A review of tropospheric atmospheric chemistry and gas-phase chemical mechanisms for air quality modeling. Atmosphere, 3, 1–32.
  5. Cai, C, J.T. Kelly, J.C. Avise, A.P. Kaduwela and W.R. Stockwell, 2011: Photochemical modeling in California with the SAPRC07C and SAPRC99 chemical mechanisms: Model intercomparison and response to emission reductions. J. Air and Waste Management Association, 61, 559 –572.
  6. Lu, D., R. Fitzgerald, W. R. Stockwell, R. S. Reddy, L. White, “Numerical Simulation for a Wind Dust Event in the US/Mexico Border”, accepted in Air Quality, Atmospheres and Health, 2012.
  7. Conceptual Model for the City of El Paso”, Rider 8 Program Extensive Report, reviewed by Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, TCEQ, 2011
  8. Alkhatib, M.Q., S.D. Cabrera, and T.E. Gill, accepted for publication. Automated Detection of Dust Clouds And Sources in NOAA-AVHRR Satellite Imagery. In: Proceedings of the 10th Southwest Symposium on Image Analysis and Interpretation, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), paper #1056.
  9. Lee, J.A., M.C. Baddock, M.J. Mbuh, and T.E. Gill, 2012. Geomorphic and land cover characteristics of aeolian dust sources in west Texas and eastern New Mexico, USA. Aeolian Research 3(4): 459- 466, doi:10.1016/j.aeolia.2011.08.001
  10. Bullard, J.E., S.P. Harrison, M.C. Baddock, N.A. Drake, T.E. Gill, G.H. McTainsh, and Y. Sun, 2011. Preferential dust sources: a geomorphological classification designed for use in global dust-cycle models. Journal of Geophysical Research 116: F04034, doi:10.1029/2011JF002061.
  11. Baddock, M.C., T.E. Gill, J.E. Bullard, M. Dominguez Acosta, N.I. Rivera Rivera,  2011. Geomorphology of the Chihuahuan Desert based on potential dust emissions. Journal of Maps 7: 249- 259.

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

Download Full Report

NCAS Executive Summary & Publications-September 1, 2011 to February 28, 2012