VORTEX-SE 2017 Field Campaign

May, 2017

ATDD participated in the second VORTEX-SE Field Campaign March – April 2017. Temple Lee, Michael Buban and Ed Dumas had the lead on the Intensive Operating Periods (IOP). During this time ATDD had teams releasing radiosondes, manning a tethered balloon and obtaining vertical profiles using small unmanned aircraft used to measure low level temperature and relative humidity . All of these measurements and measurements from other participating scientists will be used as input into a numerical model to better understand the influence of terrain, land surface, and boundary layer heterogeneity on tornadic storm development.

More information about this year’s field campaign can be found in a couple of articles with links below by Christina Edwards of WHNT19 news in Huntsville, Alabama.

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POSTCARD FROM THE FIELD: Probing the Mysteries of Severe Weather

Probing the Mysteries of Severe Weather
(click on image to view entire postcard)

Field of wind sensors and a weather balloon

Field of wind sensors and a weather balloon at the
Severe Weather Institute Radar and Lighting Lab, U of A Huntsville

Image of SDAA Operating Area

SDAA Operating Area
(click on image to enlarge)


Dr. Howard J. Diamond Joins OAR/ARL/ATDD

May, 2017

Working for NOAA since 1981, Howard has had a variety of programmatic roles with the National Ocean Service, National Weather Service, and the Satellite and Information Service (formerly known as National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service or NESDIS). In 1999, he began serving as the U.S. Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) National Coordinator where he has been a key person in climate bilateral activities on behalf of NOAA with countries such as Australia and New Zealand. In 2008, he assumed the role as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) Program Manager.

In his new role at ATDD (a division of the Air Resources Laboratory (ARL)/Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)), Howard will retain both the GCOS and USCRN portfolios and will also assume the role as Air Resources Laboratory’s Climate Science Program Manager that will include but not be limited to activities such as coordinating NOAA’s GCOS Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN) effort and in engaging in regional climate modeling activities with NOAA’s regional climate service directors. He will perform his duties from the Climate Program Office in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Howard earned his PhD in Geography and Environmental Science in 2014 from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and has conducted and published research with respect to:

  • tropical cyclones
  • Arctic and Antarctic sea ice
  • climate change involving changes in sea surface and sub-surface temperature
  • the El Niño Southern Oscillation
  • the Madden-Julian Oscillation
  • the Southern Annular Mode
  • and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation

He has a passion for climate science and for communicating that with the public and as such, serves as the primary focal point for answering climate science and data related questions received via NOAA’s Climate Portal. We are very pleased to welcome Howard to OAR/ARL/ATDD.

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Image showing differences in El Niño and La Niña

Image showing differences in El Niño and La Niña

To view a short video about these phenomena, see
What are El Niño and La Niña?
on the National Ocean Service page.


UTK-ATDD sign Memorandum of Agreement

February, 2017

On February 15, 2017, ATDD and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to advance collaborative research in atmospheric sciences. The MOA was signed in the ATDD auditorium by Dr. Taylor Eighmy, Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement at UTK, and Dr. Bruce Baker, ATDD Director.

The agreement will facilitate joint efforts between UTK faculty and ATDD scientists to advance understanding of air pollution, atmospheric transport processes, and weather on a regional and national level. Additionally, the MOA will lead to educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at UTK to participate in atmospheric science research investigations alongside NOAA scientists and engineers.

For more information, contact Dr. Bruce Baker.

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Dr. Bruce Baker and Dr. Taylor Eighmy sign UTK-ATDD MOA


ATDD Presents Recent Research at the
97th AMS Annual Meeting

January, 2017

NOTE: all the links in this article go to non-government sites and open in separate pages

Scientists from ATDD had a significant presence at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington, on January 22-26, 2017. Seven scientific presentations were made at the conference by ATDD researchers

Bruce Baker organized and served as Program Chair for the “Special Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation”. In this Symposium several ATDD scientists served as session chairs:

Bruce Baker also Co-chaired a Joint Session between the 18th Conference on Aviation, Range and Aerospace Meteorology and the Special Symposium on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation entitled “Unmanned Aerial Systems: Environmental Monitoring and Impacts on Operations”.

In addition, ATDD had its DJI S-1000 octocopter on display at the NOAA booth in the Exhibit Hall at the AMS 2017 annual meeting. Ed Dumas spent most of the day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and part of Thursday morning answering questions for people at the booth about the S-1000 and how it is used to measure boundary layer profiles of temperature and relative humidity, as well as the surface temperature of the Earth. On Tuesday morning at 11:00 am, Bruce Baker and Ed did a collaborative presentation about the S-1000 and its use in VORTEX-SE 2016 at the NOAA exhibit booth. Bruce introduced the copter and showed a video of Temple Lee’s interview with Mike Bettis of the Weather Channel. Ed then gave his AMS talk and showed data collected from the VORTEX-SE experiment using the S-1000. The talk and the presentations were very well received and represented an outstanding opportunity for ATDD to showcase its work with small UAS systems.

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DJI S-1000 (octocopter) in flight over northern Alabama

DJI S-1000 (octocopter) in flight
over northern Alabama

John Kochendorfer makes presentation

John Kochendorfer presents at 2017 AMS Annual Meeting


LaToya Myles selected to receive
2016 Technology All-Stars Award

October, 2016

Congratulations to Dr. LaToya Myles for being selected to receive the 2016 Technology All-Stars Award at the upcoming Technological Recognition Luncheon during the 21st Women of Color STEM Conference in Detroit, MI on October 14, 2016.

The Women of Color STEM conference has been recognizing the achievement of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers for more than 20 years. The awards have earned widespread praise for offering unique opportunities for women to parlay their career successes into gains for themselves and the STEM community as a whole.

Dr. Myles has worked actively as an advocate for STEM and continuously works to create a pipeline for under-represented students to pursue careers in atmospheric science, environmental research, and other disciplines. She has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students through formal programs sponsored by NOAA, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the American Geophysical Union. As a mentor, she provides students with professional development and research opportunities in addition to their academic training and serves as a stellar example of professional scientific achievement for traditionally under-represented groups. She is also actively involved in K-12 outreach and frequently speaks to students about career exploration in science and technology.

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Photo of ATDD Deputy Director, Dr. LaToya Myles

Dr. LaToya Myles


2016 NOAA Hollings Scholars at ATDD

Summer 2016

ATDD scientists hosted three student interns from the 2016-2017 NOAA Hollings Scholar class during the summer of 2016.  Kathryn Wheeler and Sheridan Green worked with Dr. Rick Saylor doing research with the Atmospheric Chemistry and Canopy Exchange Simulation System (ACCESS) exploring biogenic hydrocarbon chemistry in different forest types and environmental conditions.  Russell Krueger worked with Dr. Tilden Meyers evaluating different soil moisture and temperature probes.  The three students spent a total of nine weeks at ATDD and then presented their research results at the end of the internship at NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, MD.

The NOAA Ernest F. Hollings scholarship program is designed to increase public understanding and support for stewardship of the ocean and atmosphere and improve environmental literacy and recruit and prepare students for public service careers with NOAA and other natural resource and science agencies at the federal, state and local levels of government.  For more information, visit the NOAA Hollings Scholars program page.

Kathryn Wheeler is a senior in Environmental Science at the University of Delaware. Her research at ATDD explored how daytime within canopy biogenic hydrocarbon chemistry can be better represented in large-scale air quality models.

Sheridan Green is a senior in Astrophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  His research involved the comparison of two gas-phase chemical mechanisms using data from an intensive field measurement campaign in Alabama during the summer of 2013.  Both students will present their research results in January 2017 as part of the Student Conference at the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Seattle, WA.

Russell Krueger, a senior at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, characterized and evaluated several new soil moisture and temperature probes. Several probe types were compared in a soil testbed in which gravimetric samples were obtained on a daily basis. Comparisons were made with existing technology and calibrations were performed to evaluate overall biases and uncertainties of the instruments.

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Photo of 2016 Hollings Scholar Kathryn Wheeler

Kathryn Wheeler, University of Delaware.

Photo of 2016 Hollings Scholar Sheridan Green, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Sheridan Green, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Photo of 2016 Hollings Scholar Russell Krueger, Gustavus Adolphus College

Russell Krueger, Gustavus Adolphus College.