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ATDD Hosts Summer Intern Students

July, 2018

ATDD is hosting four students this summer who are involved in a wide variety of research investigations.

Rick Saylor is mentoring two student interns: Emily Ireland, a senior in Meteorology at Northern Colorado University, and Zach Moon, a PhD graduate student in Meteorology and Atmospheric Science at Penn State University.

Emily is performing an exploratory analysis of aerosol composition data over the United States to look for evidence that wildfires are contributing to increased deposition of phosphorus to sensitive ecosystems. Zach is working with Dr. Saylor’s canopy chemistry column model to improve the simulation of solar radiative fluxes through vegetation canopies.

John Kochendorfer and Michael Buban are mentoring Alexanderia Lacy, a PhD student in mathematics at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Alex is developing code to facilitate the comparison of CRN precipitation measurements to gridded precipitation measurements. Alex is using these data to evaluate the effects of altitude, temperature, and wind speed on biases and errors in the gridded precipitation measurements.

LaToya Myles and Nebila Lichiheb are mentoring Chase Hahn, a sophomore Microbiology major at Middle Tennessee State University. Chase is engaged in an atmospheric chemistry field study of carbon and nitrogen cycling in coastal ecosystems. He is involved in laboratory processing of samples and in drafting a research summary describing the analytical methods being used in the study.

Alexanderia Lacy, a PhD student in mathematics at the University of Tennessee Knoxville

Alexanderia Lacy
University of Tennessee Knoxville

Chase Hahn, a sophomore Microbiology major at Middle Tennessee State University

Chase Hahn
Middle Tennessee State University

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Photo Emily Ireland, a senior in Meteorology at Northern Colorado University

Emily Ireland
Northern Colorado University

Zach Moon, a PhD graduate student in Meteorology and Atmospheric Science at Penn State University

Zach Moon
Penn State University


Dr. Tilden Meyers Presents Seminar
Highlighting 20+ Years of Data and Modeling Results

April, 2018

Dr. Tilden Meyers, Acting Chief Scientist for Climate Programs at ARL’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, presented a seminar on 18 April titled, “Using a calibrated land-surface model for gap-filling energy, carbon, and water fluxes.” The seminar, open to colleagues across all four divisions of ARL, served as a culmination of multiple factors as Meyers moves toward publication of his findings.

The session began with the observation that long-term monitoring of energy, carbon, and water fluxes always requires a gap-filling strategy when examining seasonal and annual water and carbon fluxes. In most cases, data gaps are either prorated for a given time period or relationships between variables are formed to provide estimates of the missing variables and are site specific. Dr. Meyers discussed how site specific information can be used in a two-source (soil and canopy) land surface model to provide estimates of not only energy and carbon fluxes, but also of soil temperatures and moisture, leaf area index, and turbulence scaling parameters. He went on to explain that the two-source model also provides an opportunity evaluate the contributions of water and carbon fluxes from the soil and canopy over the growing season, and he provided details on how site specific information was used in modeling.

Dr. Meyers has spent the last 33 years of his career at ATDD. His primary focus is land-atmosphere interactions, which includes delving into both atmospheric science and micrometeorology. Over the last 20+ years, Dr. Meyers has continually performed highly-technical activities, amassing a large collection of data and observations. He was excited to explain how he’s compiled a novel way to fill in data utilizing a model that’s been calibrated against his observations, especially since it’s taken the last few years to assemble the model’s components.

As a dedicated scientist, Meyers was eager to share the “nuts and bolts” of his efforts – what went in, what he learned, and results that he obtained; especially the part where the model matched his measurements. Sharing his work, he believes, may help others in the modeling community. He’s happy to share the various sub-models that were used and is hoping to get constructive feedback from colleagues on these findings. When asked to summarize his findings, Dr. Meyers noted, “Observations of land-atmosphere exchanges of water, heat, and carbon dioxide were used to derive land surface model (LSM) parameterizations. The derived relationships, coupled with the LSM, were able to provide estimates of heat, water and carbon fluxes that could be used to fill data gaps since continuous data records are necessary for providing seasonal and annual summations of both carbon and water budgets.”

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Flux Tower in soybean field in Bondville, Illinois

Flux Tower in soybean field in
Bondville, Illinois (circa 2009)

Flux Tower in soybean field in Bondville, Illinois

Flux Tower in soybean field in
Bondville, Illinois (present)

Bondville soybean crop nearing full leaf out 

Bondville soybean crop nearing full leaf out 


Field Study Performed on eMote Sensors

April, 2018

On April 5, 2018, Temple Lee, Ed Dumas, and Michael Buban conducted a field study to evaluate the performance of four eMote sensors from ManoNano Technologies. The tests were conducted at the House Mountain Radio Control field located approximately 20 km northeast of Knoxville, Tennessee.

When large numbers of eMotes are released from a fixed-wing aircraft, small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS), or balloon, they can be used to follow the airflow and can ultimately provide important information about the three-dimensional temperature, moisture, and wind fields by transmitting these data to a ground-based receiver.

The test consisted of releasing the eMotes from ATDD’s DJI S-1000 sUAS at heights ranging from 50 – 150 m above ground level. The data from the eMotes was compared with temperature and humidity measurements obtained from the iMet-XQ sensors installed on-board the sUAS. Another set of measurements were obtained from a tethered balloon that lofted one Graw T/RH sensor and three iMet-XQ2 sensors to altitudes of 150, 100, 75, and 50 m, respectively.

These tests revealed that the eMotes have a warm and dry bias, and also indicated problems with their on-board GPS. These results will help motivate improvements in the sensor’s design and data acquisition systems.

emote test equipment

Equipment used during the test.
Tethered balloon is aloft to the left of this image.

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Photo of balloons and drone

Balloons and drone aloft
(click on image to enlarge)

Ed Dumas with DJI S-1000 sUAS

Ed Dumas with DJI S-1000 sUAS


Monique Baskin visits ATDD

March, 2018

On March 1, 2018, ATDD hosted a climate briefing for Monique Baskin, Climate Portfolio Policy Advisor in OAR’s Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation.

The goal of the briefing was to highlight ATDD’s climate research and development activities for the last five years.

ATDD Director Dr. Bruce Baker provided an overview of the climate research and engineering efforts. Mark Hall, Senior Engineer for US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) provided an overview of the history of USCRN and of the site installations and maintenance program.

Other presentations:

  • Dr. Tilden Meyers on past and present collaborations between ATDD and other OAR labs with future directions for research and development;
  • Dr. John Kochendorfer, Precipitation Testbed studies and results;
  • Dr. Tim Wilson, USCRN Soil Moisture Testbed;
  • and Dr. Praveena Krishnan, Intercomparison of Land Surface Temperatures.

Ms. Baskin also toured ATDD’s Surface Energy Budget Network (SEBN) site at Chestnut Ridge (pictured on the right), the USCRN site at ATDD, and, USCRN engineering research and development, and maintenance facilities.

Photos from facility tour.

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Ms. Baskin visits ATDD SEBN site

Ms. Baskins is briefed on the
Surface Energy Budget Network site


ATDD extends welcome to Dr. Kelsey Ellis, UTK Visiting Scientist

February, 2018

Dr. Ellis will spend a few months working at ATDD while on sabbatical from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), where she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and has research interests in natural hazards (i.e., tropical cyclone climatology, tornadoes climatology, risk and vulnerability analyses, historical reconstructions, and spatial climatologies) and human-environment interactions (i.e., microclimates, land use-atmosphere interaction, climate-suicide relationships, and urban microenvironments).

While at ATDD, she will work with Drs. Bruce Baker, Temple Lee, Michael Buban, and others on research and analyses of datasets obtained during the recent Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment in the Southeast U.S. (VORTEX-SE) campaign. They will explore new ways to use these datasets and will also explore joint funding opportunities. In addition, Kelsey will work with the group on analyses of datasets obtained during the Land-Atmosphere Feedback Experiment (LAFE), focusing on analyses of remotely-sensed land surface data from aircraft operated during the experiment. These, as well as work on other research topics, will strengthen collaborations between UTK and ATDD.

For more information on Dr. Ellis, please visit her UTK web page.

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Dr. Kelsey Ellis is greeted by Dr. LaToya Myles

Dr. Kelsey Ellis is greeted by Dr. LaToya Myles


ESRL and ARL scientists meet in Boulder, Colorado

January, 2018

Scientists from Headquarters Air Resources Laboratory (ARL) and the Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD – a division of ARL) met with Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) scientists in Boulder, Colorado, January 17-18, 2018 for a collaborative strategy session. There were three primary goals for this meeting:

  • to exchange information on current air chemistry research at each of the labs;
  • to discuss short-term and long-term plans to utilize air chemistry research to support NOAA core missions and educate NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) management about the importance of air chemistry research to NOAA’s missions;
  • and to explore potential opportunities for collaboration (i.e. joint projects, proposals, interactions with OAR programs).

Following the presentation of lab overviews to the entire group, participants divided into three subgroups to participate in concurrent sessions related to their respective areas of specialty:

  • air chemistry,
  • dispersion,
  • and Climate Reference Network/boundary layer processes.

Each of the three topic areas had its own full agenda, complete with a lengthy slate of five-minute “lightning talks” on projects, personal interests, and suggested collaborations, followed by more in-depth, focused discussions. The entire group then reconvened Thursday afternoon to hear a summary of each working group’s interactions and to discuss strategies and next steps.

Discussions are continuing about the potential collaborative topics identified in the meeting.

For more information on ESRL research please visit their website.

The ARL website can be accessed here.

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ESRL, ARL and ATDD group picture

group photo in Boulder, Colorado
(click on image to enlarge)

Air Pollution over a city

Air pollution within the boundary layer over a city


NOAA Center for Atmospheric Science personnel
meet with ATDD scientists

October, 2017

On Thursday, 5 October, scientists at ATDD hosted a visit by a group of personnel representing NOAA Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). The meeting was held to explore potential collaborative research between NCAS members and ATDD. Attending from NCAS were Dr. Vernon Morris, Director and Principal Investigator and Ricardo Sakai, Research Associate from Howard University, and Dr. Jose Fuentes from Penn State University. Kafayat Olayinka, a graduate student from Howard University, and Zachary Moon, a graduate student from Penn State, were also in attendance. Presentations were made by staff from both NCAS and ATDD to provide background on current research activities and personnel involved. Part of the visit included a short field trip to Knox County Radio Control field to demonstrate the DJI 1000, one of the drones in ATDD’s UAS fleet. Potential collaborative research projects were discussed with follow-up discussions planned in the near future.

Group photo of NCAS and ATDD personnel

NCAS and ATDD personnel

Back row: Dr. LaToya Myles, Zachary Moon, Dr. Rick Saylor, Dr. Bruce Baker, Dr. Temple Lee, Dr. Michael Buban, Dr. Nebila Lichiheb, Edward Dumas, Dr. Praveena Krishnan, Kafayat Olayinka

Front row: Dr. Ricardo Sakai, Dr. Tilden Meyers, Dr. Jose Fuentes, Dr. Vernon Morris

For more information about the NCAS program, visit their website.

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ATDD UAS in-flight

ATDD UAS In-flight

Ed Dumas and Dr. Jose Fuentes with Octocopter

Ed Dumas, ATDD UAS Pilot, shows Dr. Jose Fuentes a new location for the iMet-XQ temperature, relative humidity, and pressure sensor on the DJI S-1000 small UAS


ATDD-UTK identify opportunities for new partnerships

September, 2017

On September 12, 2017, ATDD and the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) held a science workshop at the Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus and Research Park. The goal of the workshop was to foster collaborations that advance research, technology, and education in weather, climate and air chemistry. Dr. Bruce Baker (ATDD Director), Dr. Stacey Patterson (UTK Interim Vice President of Research, Outreach, and Engagement) and Dr. Robert Nobles (UTK Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement) hosted the workshop. University researchers and ATDD scientists delivered research presentations and engaged in round-table discussions to identify opportunities for new partnerships. This workshop is a first step under the recent Memorandum of Agreement between ATDD and UTK.

Attendees to ATDD-UTK meeting

Attendees to ATDD-UTK meeting

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Bruce Baker, Stacey Patterson, Robert Nobles

From left to right:
Dr. Bruce Baker, Dr. Stacey Patterson,
Dr. Robert Nobles


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.