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Renato Molina, David Letson, Brian McNoldy, Pallab Mozumder, and Matthew Varkony

Abstract

Hurricanes are the costliest type of natural disaster in the United States. Every year, these natural phenomena destroy billions of dollars in physical capital, displace thousands, and greatly disrupt local economies. While this damage will never be eliminated, the number of fatalities and the cost of preparing and evacuating can be reduced through improved forecasts. This paper seeks to establish the public’s willingness to pay for further improvement of hurricane forecasts by integrating atmospheric modeling and a double-bounded dichotomous choice method in a large-scale contingent valuation experiment. Using an interactive survey, we focus on areas affected by hurricanes in 2018 to elicit residents’ willingness to pay for improvements along storm track, wind speed, and precipitation forecasts. Our results indicate improvements in wind speed forecast are valued the most, followed by storm track and precipitation, and that maintaining the current annual rate of error reduction for another decade is worth between $90.25 and $121.86 per person in vulnerable areas. Our study focuses on areas recently hit by hurricanes in the United States, but the implications of our results can be extended to areas vulnerable to tropical cyclones globally. In a world where the intensity of hurricanes is expected to increase and research funds are limited, these results can inform relevant agencies regarding the effectiveness of different private and public adaptive actions, as well as the value of publicly funded hurricane research programs.

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Mark Weber, Kurt Hondl, Nusrat Yussouf, Youngsun Jung, Derek Stratman, Bryan Putnam, Xuguang Wang, Terry Schuur, Charles Kuster, Yixin Wen, Juanzhen Sun, Jeff Keeler, Zhuming Ying, John Cho, James Kurdzo, Sebastian Torres, Chris Curtis, David Schvartzman, Jami Boettcher, Feng Nai, Henry Thomas, Dusan Zrnić, Igor Ivić, Djordje Mirković, Caleb Fulton, Jorge Salazar, Guifu Zhang, Robert Palmer, Mark Yeary, Kevin Cooley, Michael Istok, and Mark Vincent

Abstract

This article summarizes research and risk reduction that will inform acquisition decisions regarding NOAA’s future national operational weather radar network. A key alternative being evaluated is polarimetric phased-array radar (PAR). Research indicates PAR can plausibly achieve fast, adaptive volumetric scanning, with associated benefits for severe-weather warning performance. We assess these benefits using storm observations and analyses, observing system simulation experiments, and real radar-data assimilation studies. Changes in the number and/or locations of radars in the future network could improve coverage at low altitude. Analysis of benefits that might be so realized indicates the possibility for additional improvement in severe-weather and flash-flood warning performance, with associated reduction in casualties. Simulations are used to evaluate techniques for rapid volumetric scanning and assess data quality characteristics of PAR. Finally, we describe progress in developing methods to compensate for polarimetric variable estimate biases introduced by electronic beam-steering. A research-to-operations (R2O) strategy for the PAR alternative for the WSR-88D replacement network is presented.

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Francelino Márcio Rocha, Schaefer Carlos, Maria de Los Milagros Skansi, Steve Colwell, David H. Bromwich, Phil Jones, John C. King, Matthew Lazzara, James Renwick, Susan Solomon, Manola Brunet, and Randall S. Cerveny

Abstract

Two reports of Antarctic Region potential new record high temperature observations (18.3°C, 6 February 2020 at Esperanza station and 20.8°C, 9 February 2020 at a Brazilian automated permafrost monitoring station on Seymour Island) were evaluated by a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) panel of atmospheric scientists. The latter figure was reported as 20.75°C in the media. The panel considered the synoptic situation and instrumental setups. It determined that a large high-pressure system over the area created föhn conditions and resulted in local warming for both situations. Examination of the data and metadata of the Esperanza station observation revealed no major concerns. However, analysis of data and metadata of the Seymour Island permafrost monitoring station indicated that an improvised radiation shield led to a demonstrable thermal bias error for the temperature sensor. Consequently, the WMO has accepted the 18.3° C value for 12 noon (LST) 6 February 2020 [1500 UTC 6 February 2020] at the Argentine Esperanza station as the new “Antarctic Region [continental, including mainland and surrounding islands] highest temperature recorded observation” but rejected the 20.8° C observation at the Brazilian automated Seymour Island permafrost monitoring station as biased. The committee strongly emphasizes the permafrost monitoring station was not badly designed for its purpose, but the project investigators were forced to improvise a non-optimal radiation shield after losing the original covering. Secondly, with regard to media dissemination of this type of information, the committee urges increased caution in early announcements as many media outlets often tend to sensationalize and mischaracterize potential records.

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Kristin M. Calhoun, Kodi L. Berry, Darrel M. Kingfield, Tiffany Meyer, Makenzie J. Krocak, Travis M. Smith, Greg Stumpf, and Alan Gerard

Abstract

NOAA’s Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) is a physical space and research framework to foster collaboration and evaluate emerging tools, technology, and products for NWS operations. The HWT’s Experimental Warning Program (EWP) focuses on research, technology, and communication that may improve severe and hazardous weather warnings and societal response. The EWP was established with three fundamental hypotheses: 1) collaboration with operational meteorologists increases the speed of the transition process and rate of adoption of beneficial applications and technology, 2) the transition of knowledge between research and operations benefits both the research and operational communities, and 3) including end-users in experiments generates outcomes that are more reliable and useful for society. The EWP is designed to mimic the operations of any NWS Forecast Office, providing the opportunity for experiments to leverage live and archived severe weather activity anywhere in the United States. During the first decade of activity in the EWP, 15 experiments covered topics including: new radar and satellite applications, storm-scale numerical models and data assimilation, total lightning use in severe weather forecasting, and multiple social science and end-user topics. The experiments range from exploratory and conceptual research to more controlled experimental design to establish statistical patterns and causal relationships. The EWP brought more than 400 NWS forecasters, 60 emergency managers, and 30 broadcast meteorologists to the HWT to participate in live demonstrations, archive events, and data-denial experiments influencing today’s operational warning environment and shaping the future of warning research, technology, and communication for years to come.

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D. A. Knopf, K. R. Barry, T. A. Brubaker, L. G. Jahl, K. A., L. Jankowski, J. Li, Y. Lu, L. W. Monroe, K. A. Moore, F. A. Rivera-Adorno, K. A. Sauceda, Y. Shi, J. M. Tomlin, H. S. K. Vepuri, P. Wang, N. N. Lata, E. J. T. Levin, J. M. Creamean, T. C. J. Hill, S. China, P. A. Alpert, R. C. Moffet, N. Hiranuma, R. C. Sullivan, A. M. Fridlind, M. West, N. Riemer, A. Laskin, P. J. DeMott, and X. Liu

Abstract

Prediction of ice formation in clouds presents one of the grand challenges in the atmospheric sciences. Immersion freezing initiated by ice-nucleating particles (INPs) is the dominant pathway of primary ice crystal formation in mixed-phase clouds, where supercooled water droplets and ice crystals coexist, with important implications for the hydrological cycle and climate. However, derivation of INP number concentrations from an ambient aerosol population in cloud-resolving and climate models remains highly uncertain. We conducted an aerosol-ice formation closure pilot study using a field-observational approach to evaluate the predictive capability of immersion freezing INPs. The closure study relies on co-located measurements of the ambient size-resolved and single-particle composition and INP number concentrations. The acquired particle data serve as input in several immersion freezing parameterizations, that are employed in cloud-resolving and climate models, for prediction of INP number concentrations. We discuss in detail one closure case study in which a front passed through the measurement site, resulting in a change of ambient particle and INP populations. We achieved closure in some circumstances within uncertainties, but we emphasize the need for freezing parameterization of potentially missing INP types and evaluation of the choice of parameterization to be employed. Overall, this closure pilot study aims to assess the level of parameter details and measurement strategies needed to achieve aerosol-ice formation closure. The closure approach is designed to accurately guide immersion freezing schemes in models, and ultimately identify the leading causes for climate model bias in INP predictions.

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A. Gannet Hallar, Steven S. Brown, Erik Crosman, Kelley C. Barsanti, Christopher D. Cappa, Ian Faloona, Jerome Fast, Heather A. Holmes, John Horel, John Lin, Ann Middlebrook, Logan Mitchell, Jennifer Murphy, Caroline C. Womack, Viney Aneja, Munkhbayar Baasandorj, Roya Bahreini, Robert Banta, Casey Bray, Alan Brewer, Dana Caulton, Joost de Gouw, Stephan F.J. De Wekker, Delphine K. Farmer, Cassandra J. Gaston, Sebastian Hoch, Francesca Hopkins, Nakul N. Karle, James T. Kelly, Kerry Kelly, Neil Lareau, Keding Lu, Roy L. Mauldin III, Derek V. Mallia, Randal Martin, Daniel L. Mendoza, Holly J. Oldroyd, Yelena Pichugina, Kerri A. Pratt, Pablo E. Saide, Philip J. Silva, William Simpson, Britton B. Stephens, Jochen Stutz, and Amy Sullivan

Abstract

Wintertime episodes of high aerosol concentrations occur frequently in urban and agricultural basins and valleys worldwide. These episodes often arise following development of persistent cold-air pools (PCAPs) that limit mixing and modify chemistry. While field campaigns targeting either basin meteorology or wintertime pollution chemistry have been conducted, coupling between interconnected chemical and meteorological processes remains an insufficiently studied research area. Gaps in understanding the coupled chemical-meteorological interactions that drive high pollution events make identification of the most effective air-basin specific emission control strategies challenging. To address this, a September 2019 workshop occurred with the goal of planning a future research campaign to investigate air quality in Western U.S. basins. Approximately 120 people participated, representing 50 institutions and 5 countries. Workshop participants outlined the rationale and design for a comprehensive wintertime study that would couple atmospheric chemistry and boundary-layer and complex-terrain meteorology within western U.S. basins. Participants concluded the study should focus on two regions with contrasting aerosol chemistry: three populated valleys within Utah (Salt Lake, Utah, and Cache Valleys) and the San Joaquin Valley in California. This paper describes the scientific rationale for a campaign that will acquire chemical and meteorological datasets using airborne platforms with extensive range, coupled to surface-based measurements focusing on sampling within the near-surface boundary layer, and transport and mixing processes within this layer, with high vertical resolution at a number of representative sites. No prior wintertime basin-focused campaign has provided the breadth of observations necessary to characterize the meteorological-chemical linkages outlined here, nor to validate complex processes within coupled atmosphere-chemistry models.

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Charles O. Stanier, R. Bradley Pierce, Maryam Abdi-Oskouei, Zachariah E. Adelman, Jay Al-Saadi, Hariprasad D. Alwe, Timothy H. Bertram, Gregory R. Carmichael, Megan B. Christiansen, Patricia A. Cleary, Alan C. Czarnetzki, Angela F. Dickens, Marta A. Fuoco, Dagen D. Hughes, Joseph P. Hupy, Scott J. Janz, Laura M. Judd, Donna Kenski, Matthew G. Kowalewski, Russell W. Long, Dylan B. Millet, Gordon Novak, Behrooz Roozitalab, Stephanie L. Shaw, Elizabeth A. Stone, James Szykman, Lukas Valin, Michael Vermeuel, Timothy J. Wagner, Andrew R. Whitehill, and David J. Williams

Abstract

The Lake Michigan Ozone Study 2017 (LMOS 2017) was a collaborative multi-agency field study targeting ozone chemistry, meteorology, and air quality observations in the southern Lake Michigan area. The primary objective of LMOS 2017 was to provide measurements to improve air quality modeling of the complex meteorological and chemical environment in the region. LMOS 2017 science questions included spatiotemporal assessment of nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO + NO2) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emission sources and their influence on ozone episodes, the role of lake breezes, contribution of new remote sensing tools such as GeoTASO, Pandora, and TEMPO to air quality management, and evaluation of photochemical grid models. The observing strategy included GeoTASO on board the NASA UC-12 capturing NO2 and formaldehyde columns, an in situ profiling aircraft, two ground-based coastal enhanced monitoring locations, continuous NO2 columns from coastal Pandora instruments, and an instrumented research vessel. Local photochemical ozone production was observed on 2 June, 9–12 June, and 14–16 June, providing insights on the processes relevant to state and federal air quality management. The LMOS 2017 aircraft mapped significant spatial and temporal variation of NO2 emissions as well as polluted layers with rapid ozone formation occurring in a shallow layer near the Lake Michigan surface. Meteorological characteristics of the lake breeze were observed in detail and measurements of ozone, NOx, nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, VOC, oxygenated VOC (OVOC), and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) composition were conducted. This article summarizes the study design, directs readers to the campaign data repository, and presents a summary of findings.

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George C. Craig, Andreas H. Fink, Corinna Hoose, Tijana Janjić, Peter Knippertz, Audine Laurian, Sebastian Lerch, Bernhard Mayer, Annette Miltenberger, Robert Redl, Michael Riemer, Kirsten I. Tempest, and Volkmar Wirth

Abstract

Prediction of weather is a main goal of atmospheric science. Its importance to society is growing continuously due to factors such as vulnerability to natural disasters, the move to renewable energy sources, and the risks of climate change. But prediction is also a major scientific challenge due to the inherently limited predictability of a chaotic atmosphere, and has led to a revolution in forecasting methods as we have moved to probabilistic prediction. These changes provide the motivation for Waves to Weather (W2W), a major national research program in Germany with three main university partners in Munich, Mainz, and Karlsruhe. We are currently in the second 4-year phase of our planned duration of 12 years and employ 36 doctoral and post-doctoral scientists. In the context of this large program, we address what we have identified to be the most important and challenging scientific questions in predictability of weather, namely upscale error growth, errors associated with cloud processes, and probabilistic prediction of high impact weather. This paper presents some key results of the first phase of W2W and discusses how they have influenced our understanding of predictability. The key role of interdisciplinary research linking atmospheric scientists with experts in visualization, statistics, numerical analysis, and inverse methods will be highlighted. To ensure a lasting impact on research in our field in Germany and internationally, we have instituted innovative programs for training and support of early career scientists, and to support education, equal opportunities, and outreach, which are also described here.

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Thomas A. Green Jr., Daniel Leins, Gary M. Lackmann, James Morrow, and Jonathan Blaes

Abstract

Nearly 100 North Carolina State University students have participated in a unique, highly structured internship course conducted by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Raleigh, NC. Here, we explore the impact that this course has had on their professional development and career trajectories. The course has now been running for 17 years, and this paper provides an update on how the course has changed over time, including an evolution of the interview process to participate in the course, the number of students enrolled each semester has systematically been lowered to allow for more individual attention, and additional experiences outside of the WFO have been added. There are benefits for the students, with about half of the students now employed by the NWS, and nearly universal praise for how the course impacted their career progression. The university benefits from the course because the course serves as a compelling selling point for the MEAS department when recruiting students and the department also ensures that the curriculum is adequately preparing potential students for the job market. Finally, the NWS gains by creating a pool of potential employees that will require less spin-up time if hired, and graduates of the NCSU program have gone on to be involved with similar student volunteer programs at their respective offices once hired.

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Emily V. Fischer, Brittany Bloodhart, Kristen Rasmussen, Ilana B. Pollack, Meredith G. Hastings, Erika Marin-Spiotta, Ankur R. Desai, Joshua P. Schwarz, Stephen Nesbitt, and Deanna Hence

Abstract

Sexual harassment in field settings brings unique challenges for prevention and response, as field research occurs outside “typical” workplaces, often in remote locations that create additional safety concerns and new team dynamics. We report on a project that has 1) trained field project participants to recognize, report, and confront sexual harassment, and 2) investigated the perceptions, attitudes, and experiences of field researchers regarding sexual harassment. Pre-campaign surveys from four major, multi-institutional, domestic and international field projects indicate that the majority of sexual harassment reported prior to the field campaigns was hostile work environment harassment, and women were more likely to be the recipients, on average reporting 2-3 incidents each. The majority of those disclosing harassment indicated that they coped with past experiences by avoiding their harasser or downplaying incidents. Of the incidences reported (47) in post-campaign surveys of the four field teams, all fell under the category of hostile work environment and included incidents of verbal, visual, and physical harassment. Women’s harassment experiences were perpetrated by men 100% of the time, and the majority of the perpetrators were in more senior positions than the victims. Men’s harassment experiences were perpetrated by a mix of women and men, and the majority came from those at the same position of seniority. Post-project surveys indicate that the training programs (taking place before the field projects) helped participants come away with more positive than negative emotions and perceptions of the training, the leadership, and their overall experiences on the field campaign.

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