Newsletter for March and April 2010


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Newsletter for March and April 2010

  1. 1. International A Publication by the International Data Rescue Data Rescue Organization News Bi-Monthly Newsletter March/April 2010 / TAKE AN ACTION JOIN US
  2. 2. Table of Contents Interview with Jeff Masters 3 Volunteer Spotlight 5 Theories of Our Changing Climate 7 Conferences and Events 9 2010 AMS Forum 11 20th Century Reanalysis Project 13 Strip Chart Recorders 14 The Weather Research & Forecasting Model 15 AMS Conference Summary 16 Historic Climate Data Helps Wildfire Managers 17 The Effects of the Oceans Warming 18 Getting to the Source of Greenhouse Gases 19 IEDRO News 22 Contributing Staff Managing Editors Writing Staff Pennell Paugh Andrea Kobeszko Andrea Kobeszko Pennell Paugh Gina Connolly IEDRO Managing Officers Gavin Roy Janet Sansone, Chair, Board of Directors Carmen Lee Dr. Richard Crouthamel (D.Sc.), Executive Kevin Tsai Director Woo Yun Larry Nicodemus, Manager, Technology Teddy Allen Pennell Paugh, Manager, Public Relations Virginie Noel Susan Callis, Manager, Operations Anita Dotson Interpreters Graphic Designers Andrea Fudge Pennell Paugh Carolina Meza Tejaswini Lakkundi Jeff Brodinski Judy Harter Dario DiFranco Miriam Munoz Scientific Reviewers Monica Vilpors Antonia Rosati Shane Abeare James Avery Virginie Noel Kristin Nicole Tejaswini Lakkundi Teddy Allen HTML Email Design and Mailing Joan Kauth Mar/Apr 2010 2
  3. 3. With Jeff Masters By Andrea Kobeszko Director of Meteorology and Co-founder/Manager of The Weather Underground, found at: Jeff Master has taught weather forecasting to undergraduates in New York, joined the Hurricane Hunters as a flight meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aircraft Operations Center, and was awarded the 2006 Merit Award as the Alumnus of the year from the University of Michigan’s Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Department. He currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife and daughter. Q: Tell us about the Weather Underground website, what led you to co-found it in 1995, and how it evolved into the nation's first online weather service. A: In 1991, while working under the direction of my Ph.D. advisor Perry Samson at the University of Michigan, I wrote a menu-based telnet interface as a class project that displayed real-time weather information around the world. By 1992, the two servers my system used were rattling off their desks as "um-weather" became the most popular service on the Internet. In 1993, Perry and I recruited Jeff Ferguson and Alan Steremberg to help build a system to bring Internet weather into K-12 classrooms. Chris Schwerzler joined Alan in his work on the Mac gopher client, "Blue Skies," which won numerous awards for its interactive imagery and text information. In the interest of expanding "Blue Skies" to other platforms, Dave Brooks, author of the Windows "WS Gopher" client, developed "Blue Skies for Windows" in 1994. The growing Internet weather program was given the name Weather Underground, a reference to the 1960's radical group that also originated at the University of Michigan, which had taken its name from the lyrics to Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues, "You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows." In late spring of 1995, the World Wide Web went commercial, and we were encouraged by both the National Science Foundation and the University of Michigan to make our educational project self-sustaining. The Weather Underground, Inc. was born. We began developing custom weather sites for TV stations and Internet portals, and began paying ourselves from our revenues a year after incorporating. Q: You previously participated in field programs studying acid rain in Northeast U.S. and air pollution in Detroit. Did your findings influence your decision to found Weather Underground? A: No, founding the company was not something I was pushing for; I wanted to stay a research scientist and just do Internet weather as a hobby. My business partners were the ones who pushed formation of the company. (Cont'd. on p. 4) 3 Mar/Apr 2010
  4. 4. Q: You co-wrote much of the software for Weather beautiful or relevant weather Underground, which incorporates and formats raw phenomena, and we now have a National Weather Service data used on the website. database of over 1 million user- The company's technology has been called state-of- uploaded "wunderphotos." There the-art. Do you feel largely responsible for Weather are also several hundred user Underground's innovative program? blogs, over 1,000 webcams showing the weather, and about A: No, I give credit to Alan Steremberg and Chris 10,000 personal weather stations Schwerzler, our University of Michigan-trained that send us data. I write a daily computer science graduates, for our innovative weather/climate change blog that software. They are both incredible programmers. is probably the most widely-read They wrote the zip code search and "weather sticker" weather blog on the Internet. software that were huge innovations which our major competitors then copied. Q: Care to weigh in on the Q: Thousands of international users contribute local controversial climate change or observations from personal weather stations to global warming theories? Weather Underground. How did you amass such a A: I support the conclusions of the following? U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel A: Our "weather stickers" helped do that. By giving on Climate Change (IPCC). away a free little widget anyone can put on a However, I believe they did not webpage that gives the current time and temperature, go far enough in emphasizing the but takes users to our website when clicked on, we dangers of sea level rise, which quickly built up a large audience. We're now the 65th could be far greater than they largest site on the Internet in terms of U.S. audience, acknowledged in their 2007 according to, with 15 million unique report. users per month and 10 million page views per day. With a large audience like that, we naturally attract Q: Have you heard of IEDRO and many personal weather station owners that want to what we do? What do you think contribute their data. of our mission? A: Yes, you have a great mission, Q: Weather Underground delivers custom-designed and I've been a donor for a weather page solutions to business and media clients, number of years. yet you continue to serve free online weather information to millions of web users. Why continue Q: Why do you feel rescuing and this free service? digitizing old weather records are A: Weather data is important enough to society that it important? should be free. Plus, we attract more people that way, A: It's very important to and end up making about as much money as if we understand what the climate of the made it a paid service. past has been to understand what portion of today's weather is Q: Would you give our readers an overview of the natural variability, and what website's features? portion may be due to climate A: What is unique about is our change. With this knowledge, we community of users. The users of the site are active can better prepare for the climate participants in making the site better. For example, of the future. users upload over 600 digital photos per day of Mar/Apr 2010 4
  5. 5. By Pennell Paugh Q: You joined IEDRO awareness of life in other countries. last summer. How did you hear about our My interests are travelling, computing, genealogy, reading and photography. I am organization? working in the English Language Unit in the Faculty of Science, Kuwait University, and teach English and low-level computing to the students there. A: I heard about IEDRO through a friend A: When I first started teaching, I lived in Iran and then moved to Qatar. I have who met Dr. been in Kuwait for nearly 15 years and it feels like a second home. People say that Crouthamel and the idea once you have lived in a Gulf country, you have sand in your shoes and that even of IEDRO caught my if you leave, you will always want to come back. This is definitely true for me. imagination. I thought The Kuwaitis are warm and hospitable, and there is such a mix of other that perhaps I could nationalities here that it has its own small United Nations. I love the desert, volunteer in one of the camels, palm trees and the colors of the Arabian Gulf. There is always something countries that IEDRO interesting to see here. works in. I have long Q: Are you finding your students in Kuwait to be environmentally concerned and summer holidays and aware? would like to do something useful in A: The Kuwaitis are very environmentally concerned, especially the younger ones. them. Nearly every day I find out about new organizations that have been set up to protect coral, dolphins, turtles, domestic animals and the environment. Young and Q: Tell us a little about not so young people go out to clean up reefs, pick up litter off the beaches, and yourself, your help endangered or injured animals. profession and your interests. Q: Since you joined us, you have been a constant source of ideas and networking opportunities. You seem to be passionate about the environment and education. A: I am a Scot and was Tell us a little about your goals and ambitions in this area. born near Loch Ness in Scotland. I started A: I am a member of a group called “Webheads;” a group of teachers from around teaching English as a the world. The organization provides a constant source of new ideas about Foreign Language in the programs and international projects. Every day, someone somewhere comes up 70s and have lived and with new ideas for the rest of the group to explore. Since I am connected to all of worked all over the them, it makes the world feel much smaller. If one person asks for help or world as a teacher, information, the others chip in with ideas. including Japan, I have travelled a lot and know that we are all interconnected. The concerns of Malaysia, Iran, and the someone in Mali, for example, are similar to those in Kuwait, e.g. having Gulf countries. As part somewhere to live, having enough money to live on and being able to look after of my first degree, I his or her family. Climate change affects us all. I find it very strange that the studied languages, outside temperature at home in Scotland can change by about 5 degrees in a few geography and geology hours, and that Kuwait has terrible dust storms that it didn’t have a few years ago. and emigrated to (Cont'd on p. 6) English-speaking parts of the world, so I have had a very early 5 Mar/Apr 2010
  6. 6. (Cont'd from p. 5) We must educate the young so that they learn to look after our fragile planet. My students travel a lot too, are computer savvy, and some of them are concerned enough to do something to help other people, animals and the environment. Sometimes they just need to be pointed in the right direction to encourage them to make a difference. Q: Is there a way that IEDRO could connect with your environmentally passionate students? A: The people who are volunteers with IEDRO are obviously concerned about the environment too. I’d be happy to ask my students to help with IEDRO’s work. Q: You are planning to showcase IEDRO at a Carnival in May. Tell us about the Carnival and how you came to be involved. A: We are holding an English Carnival on the May 3, 2010 for our students in the Faculty of Science in Kuwait University. The students will have various activities and IEDRO to Appear at English competitions, including the best PowerPoint presentation, the best short story and the Carnival, Kuwait best acrostic poem about the environment. Last year we had about 40 booths with guests University from various organizations in Kuwait, including the Red Crescent (the Arab equivalent of the Red Cross), Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyaah, an organization that showcases Arabic IEDRO is pleased art and philosophy, organizations teaching English, and ones that sent the students to announce our abroad to study. Our guest speaker was a Kuwaiti who had climbed Mount Everest and participation at a some of the highest peaks in the world. This year we have invited two Kuwaitis, one carnival event, recently completed a trip around the world on a motorbike and a volunteer who is going along with to kayak around Iceland to draw the world’s attention to environmental issues. approximately 30 other We are trying to make the students aware of voluntary opportunities with charity organizations, organizations or ones that are interested in the environment, as well as educating them Monday, May 3, about art and the museums in Kuwait. 2010. The English Carnival will be English Day has been held for about 3 years in a row, with activities for the students. organized by the Last year we enlarged the Carnival by inviting local organizations. It was a lot of fun. I English Language got involved because I am working in the English Language Unit. Unit, Faculty of Science at Kuwait Q: Do you have any personal plans you’d like to share? University. Dot A: My biggest plan is to visit as many countries as possible. So far I have reached about McKenzie will be 100. representing IEDRO. Thank you, Also, I hope that I can continue to be useful to IEDRO and would like to visit the Dot. IEDRO office or one of your data rescue sites. The people I have met here have a lot of connections and contacts around the world. I will continue to help you connect with others who might be able to help you with whatever you need. Thanks for talking with us. IEDRO is grateful for all you’ve done for our organization. We hope you will continue with us far into the future. -------- Mar/Apr 2010 6
  7. 7. By Gina Connelly responsible for keeping Europe and the northeastern coast of North America relatively warm. The Gulf Stream is part of a larger system of ocean currents known as The Great Conveyor Belt. The Conveyor Belt brings warm surface waters from the South Atlantic into the northern Atlantic. Here, the warm water evaporates and cools leaving behind cold, salty water. The cold dense water sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor and flows south around Africa and into the Indian Ocean. The outflow of cold water causes the Atlantic sea level to be lower than that Amid talk of global warming and of the Indian Ocean and Pacific, greenhouse gases, the Northern causing warm surface water from the Hemisphere has been experiencing Pacific to flow back into the southern record cold temperatures on a Atlantic and up towards Greenland By: Gina widespread scale. The sudden again. change in temperature has led If enough cold, fresh water from scientists to question how we could melting glaciers and polar ice caps is be experiencing abrupt cooling in introduced into the Conveyor Belt, it the middle of a warm period. One of will disrupt and potentially shutdown the contributors may very well be this naturally-occurring system. Once global warming itself. While we are the Gulf Stream no longer brings warm familiar with the highly publicized water into the northern Atlantic, it will effects of global warming, such as take less than three years for any increased sea levels and intensified residual heat in the ocean to dissipate. storm systems, it is less known that global warming could eventually Ice cores analyzed from Greenland lead to a phase of severe cold in the have confirmed that weather variations Northern Hemisphere. between ice-age-like weather and warmer weather occurred over a Record cold temperatures could be nominal 2-3 year period. The sudden the result of the melting polar ice shift between climates correlates to the caps and glaciers, which have been amount of time the effects would be accelerated by global warming. The felt from a Great Conveyor Belt introduction of large amounts of shutdown. Summer would disappear cold, fresh water into the northern completely for Europe and Atlantic Ocean could shutdown the northeastern North Gulf Stream, which is partly (Cont‘d on p. 8) 7 Mar/Apr 2010
  8. 8. Theories of Our Changing Climate (Cont’d from p 7) Volunteers Sought America. If summer ceases in the north, the Another contributor to cooling of for New CCIC rainy season along the equator could fail as well. the Northern Hemisphere is the Committee Drought and famine would then grip the tropics. phenomenon of global dimming, a The American In all, nearly 2 billion people would be affected reduction in solar energy reaching Meteorological Society and face death or relocation. the Earth’s surface. This Commission on the Some scientists argue that a transition to colder phenomena is the result of particle Weather and Climate pollution in the atmosphere that temperatures may be the result of natural cycles Enterprise (CWCE) and blocks sunlight and changes the its Board on Enterprise in sea surface temperatures, rather than man- made influences. The cycles, known as multi- composition of the clouds. In a Communication (BEC) clean environment, water vapor are seeking volunteers decadal oscillations (MDOs), affect air adheres to naturally occurring to serve on a new temperatures and rainfall. Atlantic and Pacific airborne particles, such as pollen committee currently MDOs move together and have the ability to being established: the switch the world’s climate between warming and and sea salt. The droplets of water Committee on Climate cooling periods in 20-30 year cycles. form clouds that eventually fall to Change-Improving the ground as rain. Polluted air, on Communication Professor Mojib Latif of the United Nation’s the other hand, contains more (CCIC). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change particulate matter, including ash and The CCIC com- believes that as much as 50% of the warming we soot, which offer ten times more mittee’s mission will be saw from 1989 to 2000 was due to MDOs. The binding sites for water vapor. The to foster greater cycles have now reversed, causing a cooling clouds that form from this mix are understanding among mode where we are likely to experience cooler capable of holding more water and members of the summers and colder winters. This period of reflecting more sunlight back into weather, water, and cooling is expected to last at least 20 years, in space. This in turn cools the oceans climate community on anthropogenic global which time Latif says the glaciers will stop and affects global rainfall. warming. The CCIC retreating. Global dimming was first committee will provide Professor Anastasios Tsonis of the University of recognized by a team of researchers forums, which will Wisconsin Atmospheric Sciences Group who were helping to develop a include face-to-face believes that all the major changes in world national irrigation system in Israel meetings, for open and respectful discussion of temperatures during the 20th and 21st centuries during the 1960s. The project these diverging views. can be attributed to natural oscillations. Melting involved studying the amount of If you would like to glaciers characterized the warm mode of the solar energy over the country. volunteer to serve on 1920s while the cold mode era between 1940 When the study was reevaluated 20 the CCIC Committee, and 1970 saw cooling temperatures despite a years later, it was found that solar please respond-all to steady increase in CO2 levels as industrialization energy over Israel had decreased by this e-mail message grew. Tsonis also points out that 56% of the 22%. While the statistic seemed with a brief statement United States was covered in snow at the start of drastic in an era of global warming, describing your 2010, an occurrence that hasn’t happened since other independent studies conducted interest in and the last cold period. While Professors Latif and worldwide confirmed the trend. thoughts about the mission of this Tsonis do not deny climate change is influenced Between the years of 1950-1990, committee. by human activity, Latif estimates that as much solar energy had decreased by 9% as 50% of the warming experienced in the later in Antarctica, 10% in the USA, part of the 20th century can be attributed to 16% in the British Isles, and 30% in MDOs; not CO2 levels. Russia. (Cont‘d on p. 12) Mar/Apr 2010 8
  9. 9. Conferences and Events 4/12/10 to 4/14/10 BIOMET 7 Conference Location: Freiburg, Germany congresses-conferences-training/biomet-7- conference 4/13/10 to 4/15/10 Principles and Development of Bio-Inspired Materials Location: Vienna, Austria 4/26/10 to 4/29/10 Effects on Fish and Fisheries: Forecasting Impacts, Assessing Ecosystem Responses, and Evaluating Management Strategies Location: Sendai, Japan ia/2010/cc_effects_fish/default.aspx 4/27/10 The Undulating Earth: Insights into Orographic Atmospheric Interactions Location: University of Leeds, Leeds 9 Mar/Apr 2010
  10. 10. Conferences and Events 4/28/10 to 4/29/10 2010 CIWEM's Annual Conference, Water & Environment Location: Olympia Conference Centre, London 5/2/10 to 5/7/10 European Geosciences Union (EGU), General Assembly 2010 Location: Vienna, Austria 5/10/10 to 5/19/10 Assessing Crop Production, Nutrient Management, Climatic Risk & Environmental Sustainability with Simulation Models Location: University of Georgia Campus in Griffin, Georgia congresses-conferences-training/assessing-crop- production-nutrient-management-climatic-risk-and- environmental-sustainability-with-simulation- models 5/25/10 to 5/29/10 Fourth International Scientific Conference BALWOIS 2010: Water Observation & Information System for Decision Support Location: Republic of Macedonia Mar/Apr 2010 10
  11. 11. 2010 American Meteorological Society Public/Private Partnership Forum Request for Information April 6 & 7 at the University of California— Release Washington Center, Washington DC The Department of Energy (DOE) and AMS the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have jointly released a Request for Information (RFI) to gather The American Meteorological Society (AMS), its Commission on the information from Weather and Climate Enterprise, and its Board on Enterprise Economic the renewable Development are working with AMS members to advance the ability of the energy industry Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise to meet our nation's, and the world's and America's Weather Enterprise demand for products and services relating to weather, climate, and other about interest in closely allied fields such as oceanography and hydrology. participating in a demonstration to The agenda is packed with must-see speakers and panelists. Congressional improve short-term staff will provide an outlook on the Federal Budget and pending legislation. wind energy They will discuss issues associated with programs and initiatives that may forecasting. The provide opportunities for attendees. A distinguished panel will provide RFI can be found at perspectives from representatives of federal agencies. Panel members will FedConnect at the following location: look ahead and provide updates on current weather, water, and climate programs and provide insights on new science initiatives and directions. https://www.fedcon The luncheon speaker, Rear Admiral David Titley, is an Oceanographer and ct/PublicPages/Publ Navigator of the United States Navy. icSearch/Public_Op portunities.aspx Sessions will focus on topics including opportunities and challenges for Questions renewable energy, public and private sector aspects of climate services, and regarding the implementation of recommendations regarding a Nationwide Network of content of this RFI Networks. must be submitted through the The AMS Corporate Forum is an open meeting and all interested people are FedConnect portal. welcome to register. Please note that seating is strictly limited and Submission registration is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Register at: instructions are included within the text of the RFI. 11 Mar/Apr 2010
  12. 12. (Cont’d from p. 6) Dr. David Travis from A four-year study conducted in the Maldives the University of also suggests that atmospheric pollution is Wisconsin studied the responsible for global dimming. The North impact of global Maldives are exposed to air coming from the dimming on the United industrialized cities of India, while the South States. In the three days Maldives receive clean air from Antarctica. following the New York When the atmospheres of the two regions were attack on 9/11 all air compared, it was found that a 3 kilometer thick traffic over the United States had ceased, layer of particle pollution blanketed the northern Maldives, causing a 10% reduction in References: thereby eliminating the sunlight from reaching the ocean’s surface. Calvin, William H. (1998, January). vapor trails or contrails The Great Climate Flip-Flop. The As air pollution from coal burning, automobile Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved from from aircraft. Travis took exhaust and factory output continues to rise, so advantage of a unique will the effects of global dimming. Winters 8jan/climate.htm opportunity and studied will become longer and harsher. However, the effect the absence of “Global Dimming.” Horizon. BBC. visible pollution cannot be reduced without 5 December 2006. Retrieved from contrails had on addressing greenhouse gases as well. As http://www.informationclearinghou temperature ranges observed in Dr. Travis’ study, the removal of across the United States. visible pollution alone will lead to a dramatic As a form of air Hartmann, Thom (2004, January temperature increase. While modern advances 30). “How Global Warming May pollution, vapor trails in technology, such as catalytic converters, Cause the Next Ice Age.” from aircraft contribute power station scrubbers, and low-sulfur fuels CommonDreams.Org. Retrieved to blocking solar energy are a good start to confronting the problem, we from from reaching the must simultaneously tackle the root of both planet’s surface. Dr. visible pollution and CO2 emission— the ws04/0130-11.htm Travis found that the burning of fossil fuel. Rose, David (2010, January 10). temperature range The Mini Ice Age Starts Here. Mail Whether recent cold temperatures have been increased by 1° C in Online. Retrieved January from influenced by human activity or natural global three aircraft-free days— cycles, a shift in the weather patterns is evident the largest temperature ech/article-1242011/DAVID- and the consequences could be dramatic. Our swing experienced in ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts- preconceived notion of the term “climate here.html over 30 years. If the change” has broadened to now include drastic removal of a single cooling. pollution source had ocean/images/conveyor.jpg such a drastic impact in The collection and digitization of historic such a short time, the weather data (data rescue) on a global scale elimination of other would greatly help scientists to resolve the pollution sources could controversy between climate change scenarios. be catastrophic. The It also would help to piece together a more Earth would get complete climate prognosis. Scientific leaders considerably warmer if could then suggest to the world community the effects of greenhouse what remedies, if any, are available and to gases were not masked prepare for the future through more accurate by global dimming. long-range forecasts. Mar/Apr 2010 12
  13. 13. Long-Term Meteorological Estimates by the 20th Century Reanalysis Project By: Teddy Allen Prior to airplanes and weather balloons, meteorologists were restricted to “classic” methods of measuring surface observations: temperature, atmospheric pressure, as well as wind speed and direction. Scientists hope to amass weather data back to 1871 (called a super-record). If successful, the super-record will provide insight into possible long-term climate trends. 20th Century Reanalysis Project is headed by Gil Campo from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (which is a joint project of NOAA and the University of Colorado). The Project hopes to assimilate available historic meteorological observations with modern era observations to predict historic events. This poses a daunting challenge, but if successful, the Project should yield invaluable benefits. Using only surface air-pressure data, Project scientists are attempting to predict weather balloon recordings on specific days in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. With the help of modern super-computers, the project’s scientists are analyzing daily atmospheric highs and lows from a unique weather-reporting station in six-hour intervals. The computer reduces the variances between actual daily weather observations and weather readings indicated by surface pressure. It then compares the data and calculates new values. Earlier versions of the Project have performed analyses that showed an astonishing +0.97 correlation between the predictions and that of the actual weather readings. Scientists hope to improve this correlation by broadening the database to 150 years of weather observations and surface pressure values. The Project will enable scientists to test models used to predict accelerated global warming in the coming decades. The researchers also hope to learn: The cause of important 20th-century climate events How today’s climate events compare to past events The role of human industry in recent weather events How the 1930’s drought compares with droughts in later years. 139 Mar/Apr 2010
  14. 14. Strip Chart Recorders Announcements Strip chart recording is a very powerful tool for visualizing changes in a given variable over a continuous time period, such as fluctuations in temperature. They have been in use since the late 19th century, when William Henry Bristol first obtained a patent for the Publications “pressure indicator and recorder” in 1888. Today, strip chart recorders are still widely UCAR Magazine has used by many companies for a variety of reasons, including monitoring the temperatures published an article in refrigerators, storage rooms, goods-in-transit, biological materials, manufacturing plants on IEDRO entitled, and, of course, for monitoring the weather. “Save the Data.” Click the link to read Strip chart recorders offer data that digital readouts don't − instant access to trends. People the article: can immediately see how quickly the data is changing. They can see if it is slowly climbing or rapidly coming to a plateau. This is a major reason strip chart recorders, real http://www2.ucar.e and virtual, are used in real-time data for space launch and submarine operation du/magazine/in-the- applications. air/save-data. Although many models of strip chart recorders are available commercially, they all In April, Toni function similarly—a long strip of paper is ejected from an opening on the recorder; data Rosati’s article entitled, “Public received from the recorder is relayed to multiple “pens” that draw out the data recordings Perceptions of continuously on the paper strip—quite similar to how a polygraph machine or Tsunamis and seismograph works. Tsunami Warning In addition to their simplicity and low cost, for certain applications strip chart recorders Signs in Los offer advantages over the more modern electronic data loggers. They provide an Angeles,” is immediate permanent record of the recorded data that can be easily read and analyzed. scheduled to debut Real-time analysis of strip chart recorder data allows for the monitoring of critical in The Front Page, processes that may require immediate action. For example, by observing spikes in the Blog of the output, one can see a particular disturbance caused a drastic change in temperature at a American certain point in time; therefore action must be taken because lives and property may be at Meteorological Society found at: stake. http://blog.ametsoc. Long-Term Meteorological Estimates by org/. the 20th Century Reanalysis Project (Cont’d from p. 9 ) Plans A surface input reanalysis for climate applications will begin in 2011. The Project will use 10 times the computer power to double the resolution. One goal is to quadruple the resolution which will require thousands of additional processors. Thousands of processors must be used. To test the higher-resolution project, the researchers will analyze the destructive 1938 Great Long Island Hurricane. The analysis project is projected to begin in 2012. References Mar/Apr 2010 14
  15. 15. The Weather Research & Forecasting Model By Virginie Noel The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model is a next-generation, mesoscale, numerical weather prediction system designed to serve both operational forecasting and atmospheric research needs. The WRF system is in the public domain and is freely available for community use. It is designed to be a flexible, state-of-the-art atmospheric simulation system that is portable and efficient on available parallel computing platforms. WRF is suitable for a broad spectrum of applications across scales ranging from meters to thousands of kilometers. The effort to develop WRF has been a collaborative partnership among: The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction and the Forecast Systems Laboratory, The Air Force Weather Agency, The Naval Research Laboratory, The University of Oklahoma, and The Federal Aviation Administration. WRF allows researchers to conduct simulations using either real data or idealized configurations. The program has a rapidly growing community of users and workshops and tutorials are held each year at NCAR. To learn more about the WRF effort click on the following link: 15 Mar/Apr 2010
  16. 16. By: Gavin Roy January 17, 2010 marked the start of the approaching the stand with 90th Annual Meeting of the American questions, or even loudly Meteorological Society (AMS) in Atlanta, voicing their opinion from Georgia. The meeting featured fourteen their seats. These dissenters conferences, ten symposia, and numerous included those in forums and meetings occurring agreement with the notion simultaneously over a five-day period in of an anthropogenic (or the Georgia World Congress Center. human-caused) increase in Session topics included Air Pollution, global temperature as well Aerospace Meteorology, Environmental as those in sharp Satellite Observing Systems, disagreement. Many in Meteorological Impacts on the New attendance offered views Energy Economy and Space Weather. that fell somewhere in between. In an age where IEDRO’s Executive Director, Rick climate change remains a Crouthamel, attended the meeting with hot topic, the interaction at Dr. Ed Root and Larry Nicodemus. Larry the AMS meeting should gave a presentation on the current not have been surprising, progress of IEDRO’s strip chart rescue yet the often combative and digitalization process in numerous conversation was quite an countries. This presentation seemed well- eye-opener. received by the audience, who requested additional information on IEDRO. Larry’s The climate presentations, presentation will be available on the AMS and their aftermath, served website in a few weeks. as a reminder to IEDRO members of the importance The 22nd Conference on Climate of our ongoing historic data Variability and Change gained the best rescue projects. Until we attendance by meteorologists and the can build an accurate press. Nearly every presentation packed climatological picture of the conference rooms: every seat taken, our past, we still won’t be people squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder able to truly understand the against the side walls. A few unfortunate regional and global latecomers peered in from outside the terrestrial mechanisms that entrance doors. This conference also affect Earth's climate now seemed the most controversial, with and in the future. several presentations ending with skeptics Mar/Apr 2010 16
  17. 17. Historic Climate Data Helps Wildfire Managers By: Carmen Lee Larkin, et. al., “Utilizing Climate Information for Smoke Dispersion Planning.” AMS Meeting of the Interior West Fire Council, Vol. 19, 2005. Summary To control and reduce wildfire damage, fire managers are sometimes required to carry out planned burns. Although necessary, the smoke produced by these fires creates air pollution. To better control harmful smoke dispersion, an “Air Quality Impacts Planning Tool” (AQUIPT) has been developed, using historical climate information to determine likely smoke impacts. Details AQUIPT applies historical climate information to determine likely smoke www. impacts resulting from planned fires. AQUIPT allows users to submit burn locations from any U.S. region. The tool provides statistical summaries of past smoke travel patterns from such controlled fires, divided by month or season. AQUIPT relies on the BlueSky smoke modeling framework, which combines emissions, fuel loading models and the CALPUFF dispersion model (an advanced, integrated puff modeling system for the simulation of atmospheric pollution) with nearly 30 years of weather data across the U.S. By running the same burn daily throughout a 30-year period, statistical impact maps are generated that include average and max concentrations and percent-time impacted. The AQUIPT tool provides a climatology of dispersion and supports studies of inter-annual variability in dispersion patterns. By using BACKPUFF, a reverse-time version of CALPUFF, the climatologically likely source areas of impacts to various sensitive receptors can be determined. By studying these dispersion patterns, researchers can better understand and reduce the impact of controlled burns in specific environmental regions. 17 Mar/Apr 2010
  18. 18. By Kevin Tsai Decades of increasing ocean marine food web, a decrease in temperatures, which reached new its population could cause record highs in June 2009, is likely to quakes in marine food chains drive changes to marine life that will be worldwide, causing depleted hard to ignore. fish stocks in some regions. [2] Phytoplankton, microscopic plants that As the oceans continue to live on the surface of oceans and other warm, people who live in bodies of water, make up the foundation coastal nations, if they have not of the marine chain web and process already, are certain to see over 100 million tons of carbon dioxide changes in the marine life a day. When ocean currents mix which is relied on for food and nutrient-rich cold water from below export. While it is impossible with warmer water on the surface, to know exactly how climate phytoplankton flourishes. change might affect biological Unfortunately, rising surface water life, a more global collection of temperatures reduce the amount of weather data would help us to mixing that occurs in tropical and sub- better understand changes in tropical oceans, decreasing climate, and may help us better phytoplankton production in affected predict and prepare for the waters by 30% or more. [1] future. Learn more about IEDRO’s data rescue efforts at An experiment conducted by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Citations Hill suggests that ocean warming could have severe consequences for all kinds [1] of marine life. By exposing miniaturized ocean ecosystems to warm nce/2006/dec/07/frontpagenew temperatures, researchers find that s.conservationandendangeredsp warmer temperatures initially increase ecies phytoplankton growth, bacteria and zooplankton; however microscopic animals that eat phytoplankton spend [2] more time feeding, thereby significantly http://www.scientificamerican. reducing phytoplankton. Since com/article.cfm?id=how-will- phytoplankton is the foundation of the warmer-oceans-affect-sea-life Mar/Apr 2010 18
  19. 19. By: Andrea Kobeszko, Woo Yun & Anita and other bodies of water, water vapor Dotson also has increased due to human influence. As levels of other greenhouse Crucial to life and commonly gases rise, such as CO2 and methane, the misunderstood, “Greenhouse gases” are earth warms, causing further evaporation, often regarded as a nasty byproduct of the thus generating large quantities of this industrial revolution. In truth, greenhouse gas. gases can and do occur naturally. They behave much like a blanket over the Earth, Made-Made Sources: Other prevalent absorbing the infrared radiation emitted greenhouse gases that lack natural from its surface and keeping us warm. sources include perfluorocarbons (PFCs), Without greenhouse gases, the earth would sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and be 33°C cooler and far less hospitable. chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These gases Since the onset of the industrial revolution didn’t exist in 1750, however, 533 parts in 1750, this effect has skyrocketed. per trillion (ppt) of chlorofluorocarbons Primarily, human activity has caused high currently reside in the atmosphere. When concentrations of certain gas emissions to CFC compounds break up in the upper enter our atmosphere, ultimately giving atmosphere, they cause significant ozone birth to the “enhanced greenhouse effect.” depletion. Now largely phased out, it will take many decades for existing CFCs to Methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor, completely break down. are examples of greenhouse gases occurring via natural processes. Carbon Dioxide: Perhaps the most infamous, and one of the most significant Methane: Bacteria which feeds on of the greenhouse gases, is carbon organic material, produces methane. dioxide (CO2). Animals exhale it. The Artificial sources also generate this gas, ocean-atmospheric exchange releases such as landfills, increased irrigation and CO2 from the ocean surface. natural gas pipelines, and in much greater Anthropogenic sources of CO2, mostly quantities. In 1750, the amount of methane from burning fossil fuels such as coal and recorded in the atmosphere was 700 parts petroleum, have generated a whopping per billion (ppb). By 1998, that amount 280 ppm increase from 1750 to present. had risen to 1745 ppb. A large number of scientists believe this Nitrous Oxide: Also known as “laughing CO2 increase, responsible for trapping gas,” nitrous oxide remains the top ozone heat from the sun in our atmosphere, has depleting gas. Natural sources come from played a significant role in the alleged soil, however, human use of nitrogen- global warming phenomena. based fertilizers, coupled with emissions from nylon production and the burning of Plants use carbon dioxide during fossil fuels over the past 150 years, have photosynthesis. A major way to reduce caused a 15% increase, from 270 ppb to this gas would be to increase plant life; approximately 315 ppb. however we are depleting our tropical forests at an unprecedented rate. Water Vapor: Produced by a natural process of evaporation from oceans, lakes (Cont on p 20) 19 Mar/Apr 2010
  20. 20. Getting to the Source of Greenhouse Gases (Cont from p 19) Ways to Stomp on Our Carbon Footprint In recent years, experts have coined the term, “carbon footprint,” the measure of the amount of carbon dioxide released, to loosely describe how individuals create direct and indirect carbon emissions. Almost everything we do affects this footprint: turning on a coffee maker, driving a car, buying food or riding on a passenger jet. Fortunately, individuals can reduce their share of this greenhouse gas emission by taking simple steps at home, such as: reusing canvas shopping bags using recycled products whenever possible taking shorter showers carpooling buying local products walking or riding a bicycle for short trips around town. (Cont on p. 21) Mar/Apr 2010 20
  21. 21. Getting to the Source of Greenhouse Gases (Cont. from p. 20) Energy efficiency goes hand-in-hand with Sources: carbon footprint reduction. Web sites like offer carbon te/gases.html calculators that provide dozens of http://environment.nationalgeogra suggestions for cutting emissions around your home. Turning a thermostat down two warming/gw-causes.html degrees in winter and up two degrees in “Chlorofluorocarbons,” summer, for example, can save Encyclopedia of the Atmospheric approximately 2,000 pounds of carbon Environment, 2000, dioxide and $98 a year. lobal_Warming/Older/CFCs.html Click these links to discover additional ways (accessed February 2010) to reduce your carbon footprint: Wikipedia contributors, "Greenhouse gas," Wikipedia, s/story?id=2049304&page=1 The Free Encyclopedia, hp?title=Greenhouse_gas&oldid= to-tech/how-to-reduce-technology-carbon- 341618837 (accessed footprint.htm February2010). “Nitrous Oxide Now Top Ozone- tips-to-reduce-your-homes-carbon-footprint/ Depleting Emission,” Science Daily, 28 August 2009, channels/carbonmarketnews/inferknow- (accessed February 2010) develops-technology-to-reduce-carbon- “Natural Sources and Sinks of footprint-of-computers-383.htm Carbon Dioxide”, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency html website, November 30, 2009, Long before the birth of mankind, e/emissions/co2_natural.html greenhouse gases have kept the Earth warm. (accessed February 2010). There is little dispute, however, that human activity has greatly increased concentrations of these gasses in our atmosphere. Scientists continue to study greenhouse emissions in an attempt to fully understand their effects. By making simple lifestyle changes, each of us can reduce our share of carbon emissions, and collectively, take a huge step toward making a smaller footprint. 21 Mar/Apr 2010
  22. 22. By Richard Crouthamel Paraguay Inventory Update IEDRO recently received a complete inventory of historic weather observations from 31 observation sites in Paraguay dating back as far as 1954. This inventory represents tens of thousands of observations. Rick Crouthamel, Executive Director, Larry Nicodemus, Manager of Technology, and Susan Callis, Manager of Operations, will be developing a project plan for Paraguay. Our first IEDRO Team visit is planned for April. Dominican Republic Equipment Request Dominican Republic’s national meteorologic service sent IEDRO an equipment request. This equipment will enable them to restart their data rescue and digitization (DR&D) project; an effort that started in 2003. IEDRO will send a team to the Dominican Republic to assess their needs, replace equipment as needed, and train new employees. Senegal to Restart Their Data Rescue Project IEDRO received a query from Senegal via our Malawi volunteer, Martin Munkhondya, to restart their DR&D efforts. The project stalled six months ago when Senegal sent IEDRO over 20,000 images that were out of focus and unusable. If funds permit, Martin Munkhondya will return to Senegal to retrain staff and restart the rescue project. New Zambia Observations IEDRO received a sample of monthly weather observations from Zambia, along with an Excel spreadsheet of their recorded images. Larry Nicodemus suggested spreadsheet revisions. Overall, we are pleased to see Zambia’s renewed enthusiasm for its DR&D efforts. Mar/Apr 2010 22
  23. 23. International Data Rescue News Facebook Environmental-Data-Rescue-Organiza-tion-/147922398987?ref=ts Blog Twitter Linkedin International Environmental Data Rescue Organization 901 Main Street, Deale, MD 20751 Phone: 410-867-1124 Fax: 410-867-9259 Email: