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  • Author or Editor: John D. Horel x
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John D. Horel
,
Donna Ziegenfuss
, and
Kevin D. Perry

The Department of Meteorology (now Atmospheric Sciences) at the University of Utah faced reductions in state funding in 2008 that reduced support for nontenured instructors at the same time that the faculty were becoming increasingly successful obtaining federally supported research grants. A faculty retreat and subsequent discussions led to substantive curriculum changes to modernize the curriculum, enhance course offerings for undergraduate and graduate students, and improve the overall efficiency of the academic program. Maintaining discipline standards and existing teaching loads were important constraints on these changes.

Key features of the curriculum revisions for undergraduate majors included eliminating a very rigid course progression; shifting the emphasis from required courses to elective courses; offering many courses only every other year; and relying on half-semester short courses to survey subject areas rather than focusing in depth on fewer ones. The curriculum changes were evaluated through surveys and individual and focus group discussions of students and faculty. While the feedback suggests that the changes overall were beneficial, the transitional period during which the changes were implemented was difficult for faculty and students alike.

Faculty members have opportunities now to adjust courses based on their experiences gained teaching these courses in their new format. The feedback from students and faculty suggests that building improved relationships and interactions among co-enrolled undergraduate and graduate students is the greatest need in order to improve the classroom learning environment.

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John D. Horel
,
Lloyd R. Staley
, and
Timothy W. Barker

An interactive-software package has been developed in the University of Utah's Department of Meteorology to access and display meteorological data received via satellite broadcast. The retrieval of the meteorological data relies upon a test-release version of the Unidata System for Scientific Data Management sponsored by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Output from the National Meteorological Center medium-range forecast and nested-grid models along with surface aviation and upper air raobs are processed and stored for later instructional or research uses.

An overview of the computer hardware and software used in this system is provided. As an example of the capabilities of the software, how output from the medium-range forecast model can be used for real-time monitoring of short-term climate variability and for synoptic instruction on an expanded global scale is demonstrated.

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Neil P. Lareau
,
Erik Crosman
,
C. David Whiteman
,
John D. Horel
,
Sebastian W. Hoch
,
William O. J. Brown
, and
Thomas W. Horst

The Persistent Cold-Air Pool Study (PCAPS) was conducted in Utah's Salt Lake valley from 1 December 2010 to 7 February 2011. The field campaign's primary goal was to improve understanding of the physical processes governing the evolution of multiday cold-air pools (CAPs) that are common in mountain basins during the winter. Meteorological instrumentation deployed throughout the Salt Lake valley provided observations of the processes contributing to the formation, maintenance, and destruction of 10 persistent CAP episodes. The close proximity of PCAPS field sites to residences and the University of Utah campus allowed many undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the study.

Ongoing research, supported by the National Science Foundation, is using the PCAPS dataset to examine CAP evolution. Preliminary analyses reveal that variations in CAP thermodynamic structure are attributable to a multitude of physical processes affecting local static stability: for example, synoptic-scale processes impact changes in temperatures and cloudiness aloft while variations in boundary layer forcing modulate the lower levels of CAPs. During episodes of strong winds, complex interactions between the synoptic and mesoscale f lows, local thermodynamic structure, and terrain lead to both partial and complete removal of CAPs. In addition, the strength and duration of CAP events affect the local concentrations of pollutants such as PM2.5.

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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 five 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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