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Director's Message

  1. Roger Wakimoto, EOL Director  
    EOL Director
    Roger Wakimoto
  2. The Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) has undergone major changes during the past fiscal year. The laboratory reorganized and a new management team is now in place. The new organizational structure has allowed EOL to provide field support services more effectively. In addition, EOL has expanded responsibilities that include, among other things, data stewardship. The new structure also allows the laboratory to efficiently coordinate development efforts which are critical in order to design and build the next generation observational facilities. The G-V aircraft is in the midst of infrastructure upgrades as we endeavor to convert it to a state-of-the-art research platform. In light of these major administrative changes and continued field and data support commitments, it is reassuring that our scientific staff is still able to be highly productive by publishing in the peer-reviewed literature. This report will highlight the numerous ways that EOL is serving the community and contributing to the NCAR strategic plan.
  3. Accomplishments

  4. EOL has made significant progress in all five NCAR strategic goals although our emphasis is primarily targeted to meeting Goal #5 (Enabling Innovative Field Experiments and Measurement Campaigns). The recently completed MIRAGE experiment and support for T-REX, the first official field deployment of the NSF/NCAR G-V (HIAPER), are just two examples of field support this past year. However, the NSF-funded Facility Assessment Study and proposal to build the Virtual Operations Center (VOC) are two important components that are underway. HAIS instrumentation, the HIAPER Cloud Radar (HCR), and the Community Airborne Platform Remote-Sensing Suite (CAPRIS) are examples of New Instrumentation that are planned or proposed. The formation of the Technology Development Facility as part of the EOL reorganization will help facilitate development efforts.

  5.   Holding a sonde
      Public outreach sometimes happens in serendipitous ways. Nick Potts, an EOL Engineering Intern from the University of Florida, stands with John Handley, a train conductor from Hickman, Nebraska. Handley is holding a dropsonde he found hanging from a telephone wire on his way home from work one morning in July. After taking apart the dropsonde, which was dropped from the Driftsonde lauched in Wyoming in preparation for the T-AMMA field campaign, he found the name of an EOL Technician on some of the components. A quick web search and a phone call later, and Nick Potts headed off to Nebraska to meet with Handley and retrieve the sonde. Later, the sonde was found to have critical data which helped EOL engineers make final adjustments for the successful T-AMMA campaign.

    The appointments of Karyn Sawyer (first female to achieve permanent Director status at NCAR), Brigitte Baeuerle (first female Manager in EOL/ATD), and Vivek (first non-white male Manager in EOL/ATD) are examples of how EOL achieved part of Goal #3 (Engaging a Broader and More Diverse Community in the Atmospheric and Geosciences). We have also endeavored to Support and Enhance Formal Science Educations at all Levels by being actively involved with the RICO Graduate Seminar Series (RGSS) while in the field. Indeed, one research flight was designed and executed by participating students. The lab also supported three undergraduate engineering interns as part of a continuing effort to educate the next generation of measurement technologists. We plan to participate in an IGERT (NSF’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program) proposal submitted by the University of Oklahoma focused on modeling and instrumented observations of the environment. We provide Support for our Employees and Provide Multiple Options for Professional Development by protecting our non-labor budgets to the greatest extent possible and have instituted plans for developing and offering Project Management courses for our staff. Finally, we have made numerous nominations to recognize our staff this year (2 AMS Fellows, Special Award, and Meisinger Award) as part of Maintaining an Innovative Workplace and creative Workforce Practices. We are happy to report that our nomination for the HIAPER Project Team for a Special Award was recently approved by the AMS

    Goal #1 has been met by our participation in THORPEX hurricane genesis research (T-AMMA) project Niger, Africa in time for the Atlantic hurricane season (Global and Local Weather Prediction), our TIIMES/EOL efforts in carbon exchange in the forest (Ecosystem-Biogeochemistry-Climate). EOL scientists created a global, 2-hourly water vapor dataset from GPS measurements (Interactions of the Water Cycle with Climate and Weather).

    EOL's participation in this past summer's Refractivity Experiment For H2O Research And Collaborative operational Technology Transfer (REFRACTT) made strides towards helping meteorologist better predict thunderstorms (Building Capacity for Coping with Weather and Climate Hazards within Goal #2). EOL also began collaboration with scientists in India and China to assist both countries in developing airborne platforms for atmospheric research.

    Our biggest accomplishment to achieve Goal #4 was the integration of the Field Operations and Data Management (FODM) group of the UOP Joint Office for Science Support (JOSS) into EOL, which significantly broadens EOL's support infrastructure for field programs.

  6. Plans

  7. All uses of EOL systems receive NSF or NSF-equivalent review through anonymous mail reviews and by NCAR’s Observing Facilities Assessment Panel (OFAP). EOL plans instrument developments and assigns staffing resources to meet these project needs. Research efforts focus primarily on collaborative analyses of data from these projects. As schedules allow and so as not to interfere with NSF-funded projects, EOL systems support research activities funded by agencies other than NSF. These non-NSF activities also require OFAP review and must meet all NSF guidelines for appropriate use of national facilities.

      Researchers aboard NCAR's C-130 Research Aircraft.
      Researchers discuss last-minute instrumentation calibration on NCAR's C-130 aircraft before a research mission from Veracruz, Mexico to study pollution in and around Mexico City during the MIRAGE/MILAGRO field project. Based in Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, the aircraft carried an extensive chemistry package to sample the aerosols and gases that comprise the pollution plume over Mexico City.

    In 2007, EOL will finish a division-wide strategic planning exercise to identify mechanisms for implementation of the highest priority scientific measurement needs in the NSF sponsored community, and to explore opportunities associated with emerging technologies. Two internal committees focusing on science and technology will seek to articulate EOL’s core strengths and areas of expertise that can be brought to bear on problems in the earth observing system sciences. A Facilities Assessment Committee (FAC) comprised of NSF, university researches and NCAR science division representatives will continue to provide input on community needs and to make recommendations for future EOL facility support. The resulting plans will be integrated as an on-going process with the overall NCAR Facilities Strategic Plan.

    There are numerous plans for meeting Goal #5 in FY07/08 with the support of METCRAX, CLIMODE, ISPA, and CHATS (Enabling Innovative Field Experiments and Measurement Campaigns). The new MIST sondes that were deployed in support of Thorpex hurricane genesis research will continue to be refined and made smaller and more cost effective. (New Instrumentation). There will major emphasis on the developments of an airborne oxygen instrument, open path water vapor measurements, and field testing of the radar refractivity technique to remotely sense water vapor. The Adaptive Sensor Array, a wireless mesh communication network, will pass major benchmarks during the next two years (Create a Comprehensive Inventory of Present and Planned Instruments). The VOC will be major focus of EOL if NSF funding is provided (Create a Virtual Operations Center), and CAPRIS will provide an unprecedented combination of observations to advance the understanding of complete water cycle, cloud microphysics and radiation properties, transport of water vapor, aerosol and chemical species by weather systems. The G-V will enter a major upgrade phase in FY07 that will continue into FY09. HAIS instruments will start arriving in FY07 and continue into FY09.

    EOL will continue to place major emphases on diversity (Goal #3) in FY07/08. Any future job search will be required to provide a full report to the EOL Directorate on where advertisements were posted, how the search committee was proactive in increasing applicants of females and from underrepresented groups, statistics on the available pool in the community and justification for the final interview pool (Engaging a Broader and More Diverse Community in the Atmospheric and Geosciences). We will continue our efforts to support SOARS and the EOL Engineering Intern Program (Support and Enhance Formal Science Educations at all Levels).

    EOL will meet Goal #1 by participating in several diverse topics. A second Airborne Carbon in the Mountain Campaign (ACME) will be conducted and three RACCOON (Regional Atmospheric Continuous CO2 Network in the Rocky Mountains) sites will be added during the year (Ecosystem-Biogeochemistry-Climate).

    Data processing, quality control, and archival for field projects will receive even more commitment from the lab as part of our expanding services that will be provided to the community (Goal #4). This also includes efforts to complete development of the Metadata Database and Cyberinfrastructure (EMDAC, formerly known as CODIAC) to access and browse products and data from field projects while integrating with the Community Data Portal (Long-Term Stewardship of Scientific Datasets). A major initiative to replace the SoloII radar data editing and visualization package is planned (Providing a Powerful Suite of Community Analysis and Visualization Tools).

  8. I encourage you to revisit the EOL website throughout the year, as major improvements in web usability will be addressed, making it easier for our atmospheric research community to access critical information about requesting our observing platforms, technical and other information about the platforms themselves, as well as a host of other useful information about our programs, education and outreach events and professional development opportunities.