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Observing Weather and Climate from the Ground Up A n at i o n w i d e N e t w o r k o f N e t w o r k s Committee on Developing Mesoscale Meteorological Observational Capabilities to Meet Multiple National Needs Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESSâ 500 Fifth Street, NWâ Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Govern- ing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineer- ing, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropri- ate balance. This study was supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce under contract numbers DG133W06SE5851 and DG133R04CQ0009, the U.S. Environmental Pro- tection Agency under contract number EP06H002306, the Federal Highway Admin- istration under contract number DTFH61-06-P-00121, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contract numbers NNS06AE25G and 9724, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under contract number HSHQDC-06- P-00161. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors or any of their sub agencies. International Standard Book Number-13â 978-0-309-12986-2 International Standard Book Number-10â 0-309-12986-9 Library of Congress Control Number: 2008942839 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); internet, http://www.nap.edu. Cover: Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general wel- fare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Â Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding e Â ngineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineer- ing programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is presi- dent of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Insti- tute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of ÂSciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academyâs purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The C Â ouncil is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPING MESOSCALE METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONAL CAPABILITIES TO MEET MULTIPLE NATIONAL NEEDS RICHARD E. CARBONE (Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado JAMES BLOCK, DTN/Meteorlogix, Minneapolis, Minnesota S. EDWARD BOSELLY, Weather Solutions Group, Olympia, Washington GREGORY R. CARMICHAEL, University of Iowa, Iowa City FREDERICK H. CARR, University of Oklahoma, Norman V. (CHANDRA) CHANDRASEKAR, Colorado State University, Fort Collins EVE GRUNTFEST, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs RAYMOND M. HOFF, University of Maryland, Baltimore County WITOLD F. KRAJEWSKI, University of Iowa, Iowa city MARGARET A. LeMONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado JAMES F.W. PURDOM, Colorado State University, Fort Collins THOMAS W. SCHLATTER, University of Colorado, Boulder EUGENE S. TAKLE, Iowa State University, Ames JAY TITLOW, Weatherflow, Inc., Poquoson, Virginia NRC Staff CURTIS H. MARSHALL, Senior Program Officer ROB GREENWAY, Senior Program Assistant
BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE F. SHERWOOD ROWLAND (Chair), University of California, Irvine ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University of Maryland, College Park RICHARD CARBONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado WALTER F. DABBERDT, Vaisala, Inc., Boulder, Colorado KIRSTIN DOW, University of South Carolina, Columbia GREG S. FORBES, The Weather Channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia ISAAC HELD, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, New Jersey ARTHUR LEE, Chevron Corporation, San Ramon, California RAYMOND T. PIERREHUMBERT, University of Chicago KIMBERLY PRATHER, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California KIRK R. SMITH, University of California, Berkeley JOHN T. SNOW, University of Oklahoma, Norman THOMAS H. VONDER HAAR, Colorado State University/CIRA, Fort Collins XUBIN ZENG, University of Arizona, Tucson Ex Officio Members GERALD A. MEEHL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer IAN KRAUCUNAS, Senior Program Officer CURTIS H. MARSHALL, Senior Program Officer MARTHA MCCONNELL, Associate Program Officer MARLENE KAPLAN, Visiting Scholar LESLIE BRANDT, Fellow RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator KATIE WELLER, Research Associate ROB GREENWAY, Senior Program Assistant SHELLY FREELAND, Program Assistant AMANDA PURCELL, Program Assistant SHUBHA BANSKOTA, Financial Associate vi
Preface It is well known that the provision of weather and climate information is no longer the sole province of government. Weather information and s Â ervices now cut a broad swath through the various public and private s Â ectors and have diverse missions and a multitude of applications. The breadth of this enterprise is increasingly apparent with respect to observations. The advent of inexpensive digital electronics and high bandwidth communications has lowered the barriers to investment in atmospheric observation, especially near the land surface. Literally thou- sands of organizations including small businesses, Fortune 500 corpora- tions, state agencies, local water management and flood districts, urban air quality authorities, agricultural producers and service providers, and recreation providers, have entered the field of mesoscale observation to further particular interests associated with their mission. These observa- tional assets are clearly market driven and span a wide dynamic range of investment. Thousands of hobbyists and weather enthusiasts have made sizeable personal investments in meteorological station observations, sometimes of professional quality, and often of considerable utility. They enthusi- astically seek to share such information through voluntary networks at local, regional, and national scales. This grass roots participation is fur- ther expanded by popular school networks nationwide, numbering in the h Â undreds, and often financed by local television stations. Despite this widespread participation, all is not well with atmospheric and related environmental observations, especially in relation to costly infra- vii
viii PREFACE structure associated with observations above the atmospheric surface layer, and related data integration, assimilation, and access services. The agency sponsors of this study recognize numerous national vulnerabilities, unmet needs related to their missions, and the impetus to join forces in search of efficient, effective, and affordable solutions. In view of these concerns and aspirations, the Committee was charged to develop an overÂarching vision for an integrated, flexible, adaptive, and multi-purpose mesoscale meteoro- logical observation network; and to identify specific steps to help to develop a network that meets multiple national needs in a cost-effective manner (see Appendix D for full Statement of Task). The Committee that produced this study (see Appendix E for committee member biographies) represents a broad cross-section of perspectives on the development and application of mesoscale observations and includes a range of public, academic, and p Â rivate-sector interests. The scientific and technical expertise of the Com- mittee includes operational meteorology and weather forecasting, climate science, air quality observations and modeling, hydrology, agricultural meteorology, coastal meteorology, transportation meteorology, satellite observations, and the human dimensions of the applications of environ- mental observations. Drawing upon this expertise and consistent with its charge, the Committee has produced a report that (1) broadly summarizes existing mesoscale observational assets, (2) evaluates overall adequacy and suitability to serve some major applications, (3) identifies directions for the way forward to achieve improved capabilities in a cost-effective manner, and (4) considers innovative organization and business model options to enable and to sustain the enterprise toward that end. In order to address its charge, the Committee assigned itself three tasks. The first was to explicitly consider the role of a U.S. mesoscale observing network in the broader context of weather, climate, and Earth system observations, including the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS). Global scale observations are often best conducted from space as reported in the National Research Council (NRC) study âEarth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond,â hereinafter referred to as the âDecadal Survey.â The Committee has explicitly factored an assumed role of space-based observations into the surface-based plans presented herein, seeking to minimize redundancy and to maximize both effectiveness and efficiency of the whole observing system. â This study was sponsored by the Departments of Commerce (DOC), Transportation (DOT), Homeland Security (DHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
PREFACE ix Secondly, the challenge at hand is broader than meteorological obser- vations per se. While the preponderance of observations in this study are atmospheric, others are not. These other observations involve properties of the land or water surface, or otherwise non-meteorological variables (e.g., constituents that are toxic or otherwise significant in pollution, climate, and global change applications). It follows that the report, while heav- ily emphasizing mesoscale meteorological requirements, also includes, as appropriate, many ancillary observations that affect or characterize the state of the lower troposphere. Thirdly, while not commonly referred to as âapplications,â the utility of a national mesoscale network to research in the geosciences and biogeo- sciences can be substantial and is therefore considered an important element of the observing system. In many instances, prospective research findings have been and will continue to be pivotal to improvement in services pro- vided by the sponsoring agencies of this study. Furthermore, in the case of the National Science Foundation, we note the National Ecological Observ- ing Network (NEON) as one prominent example among several, where research-motivated observations may immediately contribute to practical applications in the public and private sectors. In the course of executing our charge, the Committee consulted many individuals and organizations spanning the gamut of public and private interests. We have examined the recommendations and findings of recent NRC studies, such as Fair Weather (2003) and Earth Science and Applica- tions from Space (2007) and others. Meetings were held in the District of Columbia, where agency briefings were emphasized; Boulder, Â Colorado, where both research and private sector relationships were explored; N Â orman, Oklahoma, home of the âgold standardâ for statewide mesoscale surface networks; and Irvine, California, where we formulated our recom- mendations. Additional information was obtained from the literature, web- sites linking to databases, and a recent survey of observing systems, which was conducted under the auspices of the National Science Foundation, Atmospheric Sciences Division. The Committee would like to acknowledge the many individuals who briefed it, provided written information in the form of letters or other technical information. They include David Andrus, Rick Anthes, Albert Ashwood, Walter Bach, Randy Baker, Stan Changnon, Ken Crawford, Andy Detwiler, Paul Dirmeyer, Tim Dye, Robert Dumont, Frank Eden, Gary Foley, Mike Getchell, John Grundmann, Jack Hayes, Dave Helms, W. Hernandez, Rick Hooper, John Horel, Ed Johnson, Nick Keener, Scott Loeher, Teresa Lustig, Don Lynch, Greg Mandt, Cliff Mass, John McGinley, Dave McLaughlin, Phil Pasteris, Paul Pisano, Putnam Reiter, Dave Reynolds, Art Schantz, Dave Schimel, Victor Schisler, Ronnie Warren, Mark Weadon, and Y. Zhang. Our sincerest thanks are extended to
PREFACE Study Directors Ian Kraucunas and his capable successor Curtis Marshall, and Senior Program Assistant Rob Greenway for their steadfast support and encouragement. Richard E. Carbone, Chair Committee on Developing Mesoscale Meteorological Observational Capabilities to Meet Multiple National Needs
Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with proce- dures approved by the National Research Councilâs (NRCâs) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Richard Anthes, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Kenneth C. Crawford, University of Oklahoma George L. Frederick, Vaisala, Inc. (Retired) Richard M. Goody, Harvard University (Emeritus) Bruce B. Hicks, MetCorps John D. Horel, University of Utah Irving Leveson, Leveson Consulting Vijay Manghnani, ACE USA Timothy Matuszewski, United Airlines Leon F. Osborne, Jr., University of North Dakota Roger Pielke, Jr., University of Colorado, Boulder Maria A. Pirone, Atmosphere and Environmental Research, Inc. Yvette P. Richardson, Pennsylvania State University xi
xii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the reportâs conclu- sions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. Louis J. Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and John A. Armstrong, IBM Corporation (retired), oversaw the review of this report. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the NRC.
Contents SUMMARY 1 Key Findings, 3 Infrastructure Needs, 4 Geography and Demography, 5 Recommendations: Steps to Ensure Progress, 5 Recommendations: Measurements and Infrastructure, 10 Recommendation: The Human Dimension, 13 The Challenge for the Future, 14 1 INTRODUCTION 15 Study Approach and Report Organization, 15 The Historical Context, 17 Current Policy and Technical Contexts, 21 2 OBSERVATIONS SUPPORTING THE FUNDAMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR MESOSCALE MONITORING AND PREDICTION 23 A Phenomenological Approach to Observational Requirements, 26 Data Assimilation: Synergy between Observations and Prediction Models, 31 Special Requirements for Climate Monitoring, 33 Mesoscale Observations for Research, 34 xiii
xiv CONTENTS 3 NATIONAL NEEDS FOR MESOSCALE OBSERVATIONS IN FIVE ECONOMIC SECTORS 42 Energy Security, 42 Importance to the National Economy, 42 Current Assets and Operational Requirements for Mesoscale Observations, 46 Needs for the Future, 47 Public Health and Safety, 48 Importance to the National Economy, 48 Current Assets and Operational Requirements for Mesoscale Observations, 52 Needs for the Future, 55 Transportation, 63 Importance to the National Economy, 63 Current Assets and Operational Requirements for Mesoscale Observations, 67 Needs for the Future, 71 Water Resources, 75 Importance to the National Economy, 75 Current Assets and Operational Requirements for Mesoscale Observations, 76 Needs for the Future, 78 Food Production, 82 Importance to the National Economy, 82 Current Assets and Operational Requirements for Mesoscale Observations, 83 Needs for the Future, 84 4 OBSERVING SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES: SUCCESSES AND CHALLENGES 87 Surface-Based Observing Systems, 88 Networks for Surface Observations: Land-Based, 88 Coastal Ocean Networks, 93 The Vertical Dimension: Surface-Based In-Situ Technologies, 96 The Vertical Dimension: Surface-Based Remote Sensing Technologies, 97 Surface-Based Transportable and Mobile Observing Systems, 108 Targeted Observations, 110 Surface-Based Network Collaborations, 111 Space-Based Observations, 112 Space-Based Soundings, 115 Observational Challenges, 116 The Surface Challenge, 116
CONTENTS xv The Challenges of Geography and Urbanization, 117 The Planetary Boundary Layer Challenge, 121 Challenges for Space-Based Observations, 124 Global Context and Infrastructure, 126 The GOS Ground-Based Sub-System, 127 The GOS Space-Based Sub-System, 128 5 ARCHITECTURE FOR A NETWORK OF NETWORKS 130 Measurement Networks, 130 Conceptual Architecture of a National Mesoscale Observing System, 132 Integration of Disparate Networks, Standards, and Protocols, 134 The Global Context: Global Earth Observing System of Systems, 136 6 HOW TO GET FROM HERE TO THERE: STEPS TO ENSURE PROGRESS 138 Planning for the Future: Convening the Stakeholders, 138 Improving the Use and Value of Existing Assets: Essential Core Services, 139 The Primacy of Metadata, 140 Standards for Instrument Sites and Exposures, 142 Quality Checking of Observational Data, 142 Rolling Requirements Review, 143 Augmenting Existing Infrastructure, 143 The Role of Observational Testbeds, 143 Diagnostic Studies, 146 Communication, 147 User Interface, 147 Identifying a Centralized Authority, 148 What the Centralized Authority is Not, 148 7 ORGANIZATIONAL ATTRIBUTES AND OPTIONS FOR A FULLY INTEGRATED NoN THAT MEETS MULTIPLE NATIONAL NEEDS 149 Organizational Models of Existing Mesoscale Networks, 150 Organizational Strengths of Todayâs Mesoscale Networks, 150 Key Attributes of an Idealized Network of Networks, 151 Local Issues versus National NoN Opportunities, 152 Incentives for Metadata, 152 Filling Gaps and Avoiding Redundancies, 152 Consistent Data Collection and Archives, 153 Core Versus Context of Partner Organizations, 153 Intellectual Property Rights and Data Ownership, 154
xvi CONTENTS Multiple Funding Sources and Creative Solutions, 154 Proposed Roles of Partners, 154 Organizational Model Options, 158 Desired Characteristics, 159 Categories of Models Considered, 159 Organization Options Dismissed, 161 Options Worthy of Due Consideration, 162 Preferred Options, 165 A Recommended Organizational Model, 167 8 CONCLUDING THOUGHTS 168 Preserving and Enhancing the Diversity of Investment, 168 The Evolving Human Dimension, 169 Highest Priorities Stemming from Common Threads, 170 National Needs, 173 The Vertical Dimension, 173 Metadata and Exposure, 173 Geography and Demography, 174 The Challenge for the Future, 175 REFERENCES 176 APPENDIXES A A Rationale for Choosing the Spatial Density and Temporal Frequency of Observations for Various Atmospheric Phenomena 187 B Tables of Surface-Based Observing Systems 208 C Acronyms and Initialisms 218 D Statement of Task 224 E Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 226