Forecasting, Monitoring, and Meeting Users’ Needs
Committee on Urban Meteorology:
Scoping the Problem, Defining the Needs
Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate
Division on Earth and Life Studies
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
Support for this study was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contract number NNX08AB07G, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under contract number NA11OAR4600211, and the National Science Foundation under contract number ATM-0809051. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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COMMITTEE ON URBAN METEOROLOGY:
SCOPING THE PROBLEM, DEFINING THE NEEDS
JOHN T. SNOW (Co-Chair), University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
XUBIN ZENG (Co-Chair), University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
PETRA KLEIN, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
STEFANIE EBELT SARNAT, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
J. MARSHALL SHEPHERD, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
ELLIS M. STANLEY, Dewberry, Los Angeles, California
KATIE THOMAS, Associate Program Officer
ELIZABETH FINKELMAN, Senior Program Assistant
BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE
ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR. (Chair), University of Maryland, College Park
GERALD A. MEEHL (Vice Chair), National Center for Atmospheric Research
RICHARD CARBONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research
KIRSTIN DOW, University of South Carolina
GREG S. FORBES, The Weather Channel, Inc.
LISA GODDARD, Columbia University
ISAAC HELD, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
ANTHONY JANETOS, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; University of Maryland
HAROON S. KHESHGI, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company
MICHAEL D. KING, University of Colorado
JOHN E. KUTZBACH, University of Wisconsin-Madison
ARTHUR LEE, Chevron
ROGER B. LUKAS, University of Hawaii
SUMANT NIGAM, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center
RAYMOND T. PIERREHUMBERT, The University of Chicago
KIMBERLY PRATHER, University of California, San Diego
RICH RICHELS, Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.
DAVID A. ROBINSON, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
KIRK R. SMITH, University of California, Berkeley
JOHN T. SNOW, The University of Oklahoma
CLAUDIA TEBALDI, Climate Central
XUBIN ZENG, University of Arizona
CHRIS ELFRING, Director
EDWARD DUNLEA, Senior Program Officer
LAURIE GELLER, Senior Program Officer
MAGGIE WALSER, Program Officer
KATIE THOMAS, Associate Program Officer
DANIEL MUTH, Postdoctoral Fellow
ALEX JAHN, Christine Mirzayan Fellow
RITA GASKINS, Administrative Coordinator
Every two or three years, the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) works with its core agency sponsors to select a topic for a special “summer study.” The purpose of these summer studies is to provide an opportunity for scientists, the private sector, and agencies to explore current issues in an interactive format. Sometimes these studies address practical problems, such as communicating uncertainties in weather forecasts (NRC, 2003a), developing effective response strategies through a better understanding of the impact of simultaneously occurring environmental changes (NRC, 2007a), or identifying pressing high level, weather-focused research challenges and research to operations needs (NRC, 2010a). Other times they address specialized technical issues, such as improving the physical parameterizations in coupled atmosphere-ocean-land models (NRC, 2005). Summer studies are all designed around a small workshop where participants gather to have candid discussions on a topic identified by the Board and its core sponsors as timely, important, and not likely to be requested by any one agency. We use the opportunity to bring communities together for forward-looking conversation.
The 2011 BASC summer study focused on current and emerging forecasting and monitoring technologies for the urban environment, and sought input and feedback from diverse communities of scholars, technology providers, and users of such information. A planning committee, constituted by BASC and the National Research Council (NRC), developed the workshop agenda, selected participants who contributed presentations and took part in plenary and small group discussions, and synthesized the discussions into this report.
The workshop was held July 27-28, 2011 at the J. Erik Jonsson Center of the National Academy of Sciences in Woods Hole, MA. More than 40 experts from academia, federal and local government, national laboratories, private sector, and the stakeholder end user community participated in the two-day
workshop. The format was a mix of keynote presentations, panel discussions, and working groups. Appendix C provides the workshop agenda, participant list, and working group discussion questions. Appendix A contains abstracts from the three keynote speakers. The workshop provided much of the information for this report. To build upon the information-gathering workshop, the committee held one in-person meeting, several teleconferences, and conducted literature reviews to elaborate on the workshop questions. This report is peer reviewed and contains conclusions, but not recommendations, and is primarily addressed to the sponsoring agencies1 and users of urban meteorology information.
The committee extends its thanks to the many individuals whose contributions have made possible this report on the emerging field of urban meteorology. These include the many invited experts listed in Appendix C who took the time to travel to Woods Hole and actively participate during the plenary sessions and working groups at the workshop. The committee particularly thanks the three keynote speakers, Sue Grimmond, Walter Dabberdt, and Brian Stone, for their invited workshop presentations and their extended abstracts in Appendix A. The committee extends its special appreciation to Fred Carr, Jerry Brotzge, and Brenda Philips for providing the material on “The Dallas-Fort Worth Urban Testbed” in Appendix B.
The committee could also not have achieved its objectives without the support of the BASC staff. Our sincere thanks are extended to Ms. Katie Thomas, Associate Program Officer; Ms. Elizabeth Finkelman, Program Assistant; Chris Elfring, BASC Director; and Rita Gaskins, Administrative Coordinator.
Finally, the co-chairs applaud and thank the committee members who volunteered countless hours planning the workshop and subsequently writing this report.
For the committee, this has been a unique journey in learning some of the diverse needs of end users of urban weather information. What we have learned will motivate us to work to further advance the science and technology of this important emerging field.
John Snow, Co-Chair
Xubin Zeng, Co-Chair
Committee on Urban Meteorology:
Scoping the Problem, Defining the Needs
1 This study was organized by the National Research Council with funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Science Foundation.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s 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:
Jeffrey Basara, University of Oklahoma
Michael Batty, University College London
Julie DeMuth, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Teddy Holt, Naval Research Laboratory
Pete Manousos, FirstEnergy Corporation
Thomas Matte, New York City of Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Jamie Voogt, University of Western Ontario
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by George Frederick, Falcon Consultants LLC. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was 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 committee and the institution.