WASHINGTON (December 12, 2014) – After a decade of field campaigns in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Africa, Howard University scientists and students from the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) are preparing for a new scientific vista. This winter, a six-member team will join the NOAA/NESDIS/STAR and US Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program on a month-long campaign aboard the NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown – the ARM Cloud Aerosol Precipitation Experiment (ACAPEX) as part of the much larger multi-institutional CalWater2 campaign involving aircraft, satellite and coastal-based measurements.
“This opportunity is a new chapter for our science team as it is a different geographical region, a different phenomenon, and a new scientific collaboration”, says Vernon Morris, Ph.D., “I am looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities.”
Chris Fairell, Ph.D., NOAA/ESRL, will serve as the Principal Investigator for the CalWater2/ACAPEX cruise. The NCAS scientific team consists of Morris (HU), along with Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs) Everette Joseph, Ph.D. (SUNY) and Nicholas Nalli, Ph.D. (NOAA/NESDIS), and participants Jonathan Smith, Ph.D. (NRC), Kafayat Olayinka (HU), and Stephen Demetry a recent graduate of Millersville University. AEROSE is the acronym for the Aerosols and Ocean Science Expeditions. The AEROSE campaigns to date are comprised of ten (10) separate trans-Atlantic project legs; these have provided a comprehensive set of in situ measurements to characterize the impacts and microphysical evolution of continental aerosol outflows, including both dust and smoke, across the Atlantic Ocean.
NCAS has sought to address key scientific questions that help the Nation understand how atmospheric particles influence ocean health, climate, and weather in the Western Hemisphere. These experiments also provide vital ground truth observations for the multi-million dollar satellite systems that NASA and NOAA rely on for weather and climate information. The CalWater2/ACAPEX winter campaign is focused on achieving a better understanding of precipitation in the western United States. This is especially important given the recent bout of weather extremes and drought in the western US. Two elements of significant importance in predicting precipitation variability in the western US are atmospheric rivers and aerosols. Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are narrow bands of enhanced moisture associated with extratropical cyclones over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Because of the large lower-tropospheric water vapor content, strong winds, and stability, some ARs can produce heavy precipitation during landfall on the west coast of the US.
The NCAS team will be primarily responsible for launching instruments on balloons, called radiosondes and ozonesondes. These instruments will aid in the understanding of the relationship between the evolution and structure of ARs, lower atmospheric ozone distributions, long-range transport of aerosols in the eastern North Pacific, and their potential interactions with ARs. The NCAS team also plans to execute a small proof-of-concept study to investigate a novel technique for bioaerosol sampling in the remote marine environment. This effort supports ongoing research in aerobiology, and is aimed at extending our understanding of the rich diversity and global distribution of airborne microbes and their chemical environments.
The mission of NCAS is to increase the number of highly qualified, well-trained graduates from underrepresented communities in NOAA-related sciences, with particular emphasis on the atmospheric sciences, for career opportunities with NOAA, NOAA contractors, other Federal agencies, and academia.