Director's Message

Photo of Vanda Grubišić

It is my pleasure to present to you the Earth Observing Laboratory annual report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. It has been another successful year for EOL that is reflected in the high quality of service the Laboratory has provided to the atmospheric observational science community.  In addition, EOL scientific and engineering staff, postdocs, students and visitors have contributed to advancing the observational-data-based physical discovery and developments of a next generation of observational systems and data services to be placed in service of the observational science community in the years to come.

In the past year, EOL supported a number of field campaigns and investigator teams by providing our end-to-end service that extends from the field program planning and guidance through the operation of facilities and instruments in the field to data services in the course of a field campaign and afterwards.  In FY 2016, EOL deployed instrumentation to two NSF-approved field campaigns, one of which fell into the small/simple category (VERTEX), and one that was considered a complex/large project (ORCAS). EOL also supported one cost recovery project for NASA (OLYMPEX), two cost recovery projects for NOAA (SHOUT and MITTS), and two NSF-approved instrumentation tests on the NSF/NCAR aircraft (ARISTO 2016, SOCRATES Test).  These campaigns ranged from a few days to several months long, and put to use a variety of the NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities LAOF that EOL manages to support critical scientific work.   EOL’s work on these campaigns entailed direct support of more than 25 principal investigators from 40 institutions. Students ­– undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral – were directly involved in these field campaigns as well.   With the ORCAS campaign, this year again EOL was in the co-leadership of the science team that is focused on biogeochemical cycles over the Southern Ocean and on challenging predictions of the Earth System global model with observations collected during the campaign. 

The end-to-end service that EOL provides to our scientific community includes not only the deployment of instrumentation to the field but also data processing, quality control, and archival and stewardship of field project data. In FY 2016, EOL has continued with efforts to assign Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to our archived datasets and to date we have issued over 1,300 DOIs. This year we have also undertaken efforts to collect metrics on publications that have resulted from field campaigns supported by the LAOF. Through our efforts we have identified more than 1,200 publications resulting from the field campaigns in the 10-year time period (2005-2015). The observational science is highly collaborative as reflected in nearly eight authors per publication on average. It is also highly cited with 23 citations per publication, nearly a factor of two higher than the average number of citations per publication for atmospheric sciences according to Thomson Reuters.

In conjunction with support of field campaigns, we have continued to provide help to the investigators to implement targeted and tailored outreach activities via education and public engagement. In FY 2016, EOL supported three educational deployments - UIDOW 3 (University of Illinois), MEDOW (Millersville University), and WWCC (Western Wyoming Community College).  We also engaged the public and media during the ORCAS field campaign and have been developing educational modules for the Synergistic Environments in Graduate and Undergraduate Education (SEGUE) project to be used to help students understand the complexities and nuances of instrumentation and measurements, a field in which EOL staff holds considerable expertise.

Finally, I would like to highlight some of highly innovative instrumentation developments in EOL. Our highest new instrumentation development priority continues to be the Airborne Phased Array Radar (APAR), a unique C-band airborne phased array radar with dual-Doppler and dual-polarimetric capabilities designed for a large fuselage aircraft such as the NSF/NCAR C-130. In FY 2016 we have continued our work on the APAR Master Project Management Plan (MP2). In addition to APAR, teams of EOL scientists and engineers have continued to advance our ongoing developments, including the HIAPER Cloud Radar (HCR), the Water Vapor Differential Absorption Lidar (WV DIAL), Laser Air Motion System (LAMS) and the Advanced Vertical Profiling System (AVAPS®), which is now trademark EOL technology.  

As in the past years, this annual report is organized around the Imperatives and Frontiers of the EOL Strategic Plan. I invite you to enter the following pages and read more about the Laboratory’s remarkable activities and accomplishments in FY 2016.