EOL Seminar: A 35-Year Journey Supporting Geosciences Research Field Projects: Perceptions, Lessons Learned and the Remarkable Future

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 15:30 to 16:30
Contact Name: 
Dr. Holger Vömel
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone: 

Jim Moore

NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) has been providing support to science teams conducting field projects involving NSF-sponsored state-of-the-art measurement facilities including aircraft, ground-based facilities, profiling systems and other specialized instrumentation worldwide.  In addition, EOL has assisted with project planning and operations coordination in the field deployment activities as well as designing and implementing comprehensive data management strategies to preserve the data legacy of these projects.

A personal journey of thirty-five years supporting research field projects at NCAR form the basis of a remarkable history that will be highlighted. The inventory of more than 70 supported projects consists of national and international campaigns in diverse disciplines including Arctic biology, ice physics, mesoscale meteorology, tropical cyclone dynamics, air chemistry and boundary layer flux processes.  A varied collection of airborne and ground-based observing facilities was utilized during the data collection phases.  Orchestrating the conduct of projects involved everything from assisting the science teams with the project management and logistics to international agreements; developing and implementing the operations and data management plans; settling participant disagreements; coordinating flight operations; preparing weather forecasts; and planning and participating in pre- as well as post-field season planning, data and analysis meetings.

The experience of working with a remarkable diversity of scientists and science plans, field deployment challenges and global locations has given the author a unique perspective on the planning and conduct of field projects.  There have been some quirky aspects of the field project history and people, lessons learned from 3 decades of support and some changes about how we support deployment that are worthy of comment.  Incidents can range from being pursued by the weather you are planning to chase, to the potential of being prey for the local predators or even having an overthrow of government while deployed in a foreign land.  The theory of what we plan for and the reality of what can actually happen will be described with a few examples.  Some experienced based perspective on what the future might hold for the support of field-based observational science will be offered.