New science drivers and technological advances call for continued development of our facilities and services. As a nimble and flexible organization, EOL dynamically adjusts and evolves its observing capabilities and services to meet the evolving science needs. This evolution occurs both over short- and longer-term time scales and is informed through the Laboratory’s processes for anticipating new needs and directions. Activities under this Imperative are categorized into the following priority areas: 1) agile development to meet current deployment needs, 2) advancement of priority developments to meet future needs, and 3) life-cycle-management and anticipation of new needs.


Sustain Agile Development to Meet Current Needs 

Three New Radiosonde Systems in ISF

Three new Vaisala MW41 radiosonde ground sounding systems were purchased to replace the current GAUS systems used in the Integrated Sounding System. This was necessary as the

New radiosonde ground system
A new Radiosonde ground system

Vaisala RS-92 radiosonde used in the GAUS system were on the verge of becoming obsolete and is being replaced by the next generation radiosonde RS41.  The new RS41 radiosonde will have improved performance with a faster response temperature sensor and a new humidity sensor along with significant improvement for water vapor measurements, especially in the upper troposphere. Radiosonde flights of the new system began in mid-November from Foothills Lab. To the right is a photo of the ground system.

Vibration Isolation System for HSRL

The HSRL isolation system
The HSRL with the isolation system

DFS staff mounted the High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) into a 20-foot shipping container to facilitate transportation of the system. Over-the-road transport is an environment that may induce damaging vibration and shock loads to the HSRL system. DFS’ mounting strategy uses wire rope isolators to dampen the vibration and reduce the magnitude of any shock forces. The frame support structure components, floor plates, and other associated hardware for this project were machined in DFS. To the left is a graphical depiction of HSRL with the isolation system.


Develop Life-Cycle-Management Plans and Anticipate New Needs 

The NCAR / EOL Community Workshop on Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Atmospheric Research

Between 21 and 24 February 2017, NCAR/EOL hosted a Community Workshop on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Atmospheric Research. Over 100 scientists, program managers, engineers, and students participated in this workshop. About half of all participants came from US universities with programs in UAS-based research or atmospheric research. The other half of participants came from federal agencies (NOAA, NASA, and DOE), international institutions and private companies. The focus of this workshop was to advance the use of UAS on all scales of atmospheric research and to discuss the needs of this rapidly growing research community.

The workshop discussed key areas of UAS based science, platforms, instrumentation and operations. White papers covering these topics as well as the report about a community survey, which EOL conducted in summer of 2016, laid the groundwork for this workshop. Discussions were stimulated through invited talks covering these four topics. Smaller breakout groups provided an environment for stronger involvement of all participants. Reports on the breakout sessions followed by plenary discussions brought the smaller exchanges of ideas together. The workshop closed with a final discussion on all topics, summarizing common themes and highlighting essential needs for this community, which should be addressed to support progress of this emerging technology. Within the coming weeks the workshop will produce a report summarizing key results of the discussions. It will provide essential information about the current state and the needs of this new research area to decision makers and will become a milestone in the development of this technology and its application for atmospheric research.

For more information,  please see the workshop website.

LROSE Workshop

The Principal Investigators of the LIDAR RADAR Open Software Environment (LROSE) project hosted the second of four annual workshops at EOL on 11- 12 April 2017.  The workshop served as a kickoff for LROSE, as a way to present the project plan to the user community, and to garner feedback on the plan.  Roughly 30 to 40 participants from the university community, DOE, NOAA, Environment Canada, CSWR, and others attended the workshop. 

C-RITE Workshop

The Community Workshop on Developing Requirements for In-situ and Remote-Sensing Capabilities in Convective and Turbulent Environments (C-RITE) took place 22 - 24 May 2017. The workshop will be held at the Center Green Campus on 22-24 May 2017.  The focus of the workshop was on in situ and remotely sensed observations that are needed for scientific advancement in understanding and predicting turbulent and convective processes and their impacts across environments.  The specific objectives were to help NSF:

  1. Identify science needs for future observing capabilities that are informed by the need for broader advancement in understanding processes, interactions among processes, and simulations for understanding,
  2. Match science needs with the inventory of existing atmospheric observing facilities currently available for in situ and remote sensing in turbulent and convective environments,
  3. Identify gaps in the current inventory of facilities that are accessible to NSF users, and
  4. Identify observing capabilities that will meet future needs.

There were 145 participants (onsite and remote) who represented 30 universities, agencies, and international entities.  Twenty-two early career and graduate-level individuals from 18 universities and agencies attended the workshop. Based on the preliminary summaries, it is clear that the community is highly appreciative of the role EOL plays in supporting the NSF-funded observational research, through provisions of the LAOF instruments and observing platforms, software tools, and data management and services. Also, that some gaps in the observing needs exist that could be met by emerging technologies. The report from the workshop will be delivered to NSF and broadly disseminated to the community. For more information and to view the report, please see the C-RITE Workshop webpage. 


Advance Priority Developments to Meet Future Needs 


The Airborne Phased Array Radar (APAR) Master Project Management Plan (MP2), a work in progress for over a year, was completed and submitted to NSF in early 2017.  The purpose of the MP2 is to provide very detailed, well-thought-out management plans for the development of the unique, state-of-the-art APAR. The MP2 gives a work breakdown structure of all tasks associated with developing and building the radar. Six major areas of tasks were broken into roughly 200 different tasks that will have to be accomplished to develop, integrate, and test the radar.  Experts were assigned to these tasks, and a schedule of the work has been created.

Following the C-RITE workshop, EOL management and members of the APAR Team conducted a briefing to NSF/AGS on the APAR MP2 effort. Program management from NOAA/OAR, in whose budget APAR has appeared for the last couple of years, was also present at this briefing. The discussion with NSF was focused on next steps to move APAR further along onto the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) path.

Following that briefing, EOL developed a proposal and successfully secured $2.34 Million from NOAA for the next steps in the APAR development effort. Comprised of four critical tasks that will help EOL further reduce risks associated with the development of APAR, this grant and the work on it will extend over the next eighteen months.  The four tasks are an industry Trade Study to address specific technical questions about the APAR design; an end-to-end demonstration of integrated antenna, transceiver, digital receiver, and radar control and processing software; an airframe vibration characterization of the NSF/NCAR C-130; and a model simulation and evaluation of sampling performance of C-band AESA antennas using a prototype APAR Observation Simulator (AOS). 

Patent activity

A patent for the Dual-Polarized Radiating Patch Antenna, invented by Jorge Salazar-Cerrano, was issued on 13 December, 2016.  This is the latest example of innovation in EOL. After all, in how many places throughout the world are engineers and scientists physically building original hardware and software tools that change the way we understand the atmosphere, climate, and observational sciences?  For more information on EOL's culture of innovation and invention, see the complete Patents feature article.

WV DIAL Status Update

The Water Vapor Differential Absorption Lidar (WV DIAL) had a successful 55-day observational period in Portugal for the Perdigão project, where it operated from a newly constructed portable 1m x 2m x 2m environmental enclosure for the first time internationally. The instrument was operational for about 95% of the aforementioned period, which is comparable to its time on FRAPPÉ and PECAN. Following Perdigão, a brand new WV DIAL (the second to ever be created) was deployed to the ARM Climate Research Facility’s Southern Great Plains Megasite in northern Oklahoma during the month of August for the Land-Atmosphere Feedback Experiment (LAFE).  On this project, the WV DIAL will help scientists study feedback processes between the land surface and the atmosphere. The creation of a second instrument is a step in the direction of building a total of five WV DIALs using NSF MRI funding.

PRESTO (Project REqueSTs Online)

EOL has teamed up with the XSEDE Resource Allocation Service (XRAS), located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), to implement a web-based, integrated documentation handling system for requesting Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities. The goal of this effort is to provide improved interfaces for submission, review, and administration of LAOF facility requests and streamline the process that is currently rather time consuming. The PRESTO team met with the UIUC XRAS team for a kick-off meeting on 27 September 2017 to officially start the project.