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Atmospheric Hazards

Atmospheric Hazards

Severe weather and air quality events have major ecological, health, and socioeconomic impacts. Both human-derived and natural emissions affect air quality and climate change, which in turn drive the severity and frequency of future weather events. While greenhouse gases, ozone, and aerosols play an important role in global climate change, the impact of aerosols on climate remains the largest uncertainty in climate forecasts. NOAA CESSRST’s Theme II (Atmospheric Hazards) research tasks use innovative technology and integrative observations to

  • Study atmospheric processes and trace constituents
  • Validate satellite products
  • Improve model predictions

Theme II Research Tasks

Severe Storm Prediction

  • Improve our understanding of atmospheric processes and, in turn, improve prediction of hazardous weather events, using ground-based and satellite observations as well as numerical models.
  • Focuses on phenomena from large scale events such as atmospheric blocking and extratropical cyclones to smaller weather systems, including coastal convection and precipitation
  • Uses data on atmospheric processes to improve numerical models to better forecast weather hazards


Heat Stress and Urban Modeling

  • Develop heat-index nowcast products used for short-term weather forecasts (2-3 hours).
  • The surface air temperature product uses a combination of statistical correlations between network ground observations and NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-East skin temperature product.
  • The surface humidity product adapts early stage products from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to GOES-East.
  • Research under this task will improve weather forecasts on a sub-kilometer scale in urban areas for the health, transportation, energy, and emergency management sectors in New York City, with the goal of transferring these products to other complex cities.


Satellite Validation and Analysis

  • Real time satellite data is used to develop NOAA research products generated directly from NOAA CESSRST satellite receiving stations at City University of New York, Hampton University, and University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez to better represent atmospheric conditions. The products will be available to various research tools and stakeholders.
  • Validation and improvement of atmospheric and trace gas products from the GOES-East, the JPSS (Joint Polar Satellite System, a polar-orbiting system of environmental satellites), and other satellite instruments, to aid in air quality predictions

The CREST Earth System Observing Network (CESON) and Applications

  • Compile planetary boundary layer (PBL) heights, dynamics, and the transport of smoke and dust to the East Coast for weather and air quality model validation to assess their impacts on air pollution and health.
  • Algorithm development based on data collected from NOAA-owned and operated Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) and CESON instruments to determine the height of a cloud ceiling or base as well as the aerosol concentration in the atmosphere.
  • Participation in NOAA and related field campaigns using CESON ground-based in-situ and remote sensing information

Student Training in Atmospheric Hazards

Students will be trained in remote sensing techniques and technologies, instrumentation design and engineering, field measurements and campaigns, statistical data analysis, and inversion algorithms for products development. Training will also include:

  • Downloading and analysis of satellite data
  • Statistical data analysis
  • Geo-spatial and multi-dimensional data analysis
  • Blending data with multiple spatial and temporal resolutions
  • Development of data products including spatial product maps, model urban physical and transport processes
  • Work with and optimization of numerical urbanized weather forecast models

In the summer of 2018, students and their advisors measured the atmospheric pollution of the Chesapeake Bay using vertical profiles of ozone, wind, temperature, and aerosols for the Ozone Water-Land Environmental Study, for which they were given the 2019 NASA Group Achievement award.