Staff Notes Daily Announcements

The latest Safety Notes Newsletter is now available on the HESS website. In this edition:

  • Safe Travel Tips
  • Sun Safety Tips
  • Wildlife Safety Reminder: Rabies
  • Spot the OSHA Violations - Challenge Winners
  • Upcoming Safety Training
  • Safety Reminders
  • Safety in Action Recognitions

The Safety Notes newsletter is brought to you by the Safety & Security Committee and HESS. It is a quarterly newsletter highlighting seasonal safety information.

Posted by Susannah Martinez at ext. 8583,

Friday, August 17, 2018 to Friday, August 31, 2018

The Sundowner Winds Experiment (SWEX) First Intensive Campaign: understanding downslope windstorms in the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara, CA

Sundowner winds (Sundowners for short) are the northerly gusty winds frequently observed leeward of the Santa Ynez Mountains (SYM) in coastal Santa Barbara (SB), CA. These winds typically peak from early evening through early morning with gale force gusts exhibiting features of downslope windstorms. The SYM rise abruptly from coastal SB separating the Pacific Ocean on its south face from the Santa Ynez Valley on its north face. Sundowners are considered the most relevant fire weather condition in all seasons and represent a major hazard for aviation, particularly small crafts. All major wildfires affecting the region exhibited significant fire spread rates toward the SB wildland-urban interface during Sundowners. The Sundowner Wind Experiment-first intensive campaign (hereafter, SWEX-I) was the first to evaluate vertical profiles of winds, temperature, humidity and other thermodynamic variables from the boundary layer to mid-high troposphere and leeward of the SYM during episodes of Sundowners (wind gusts exceeding 13 m/s or 30 mph). This was accomplished by launching 3-hourly radiosondes during the Sundowner events on April 28-29, 2018. SWEX-I demonstrated that cross-mountain winds in the lee of the SYM exhibit complex spatial and temporal patterns. Profiles of wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity near ground level showed a transition from humid onshore winds from morning-to-mid afternoon hours to very pronounced offshore winds during the evening. These offshore winds accompanied a northerly nocturnal low-level jet leeward of the SYM with variable behavior. The experiment showed evidence of mountain waves and critical layers associated with the intensification of winds. Around sunset (April 28, 20:00 PDT), the jet was characterized by a layer with strong wind speeds (~17m/s) around 273m asl. Winds weakened considerably at 23:00 PDT (peak ~ 9. 5m/s at 186m asl) but enhanced dramatically at 2:00 PDT on April 29 (peak ~14 m/s) at much lower elevations (150asl), when the jet was confined to a much narrower layer compared to observations at 20:00 PDT. These transitions were accompanied by changes in stability profiles and the Richardson number. Additionally, we examined the skill of the Weather and Forecast Model (WRF) (at 1km grid spacing) in forecasting this event, with focus on profiles of winds and stability. These results advanced our understanding of Sundowners and indicated that a comprehensive field campaign is critical to properly characterize the main mechanisms driving these winds and to advance studies on predictability of these events.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018, 3:30 PM Refreshments 3:15 PM NCAR-Foothills Laboratory • 3450 Mitchell Lane • Bldg 2 Small Seminar (Rm1001) Webcast:

Posted by Erin Fundalinski at ext. 8713,

Friday, August 17, 2018 to Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The UCAR Center for Science Education (SciEd) is looking for Super Science Saturday volunteers! Come join this exciting event on November 3rd as we explore this year’s theme, “Extreme Events”!

UCAR/NCAR/UCP staff help to make the event fun, meaningful, and informative by greeting the public, providing general information, engaging the public in simple science education activities, monitoring the Wizard program, and monitoring the cafeteria/outside/classroom. Please consider volunteering for one of the following shifts: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm, 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm, or All Day 9:30am – 4:00pm

Please keep in mind that each position only has so many openings. Putting more than one option for volunteer tasks helps us with assigning tasks to everyone who wants to volunteer.

Click on the link below to sign up to volunteer with us at this amazing event:

After submitting the form, you should receive a confirmation email. If you do not, please contact Shaun Bush at or ext. 2580.

Posted by Shaun Bush at ext. 2580,

Friday, August 17, 2018 to Thursday, August 30, 2018

Satellite Wind Data Assimilation in HRRRAK-like Model

Jiang Zhu University of Alaska

High-Resolution Rapid Refresh for Alaska (HRRR-AK) model is one of the NOAA operational convective scale forecast system. Satellite wind data are not assimilated in the HRRR-AK model. Thanks to its high latitude, Alaska benefits from many polar-orbiter passes each day. Wind data derived from satellite observations have a good potential to improve the HRRR-Alaska short-term forecast. The purpose of the research is to investigate if the assimilation of satellite wind data can improve accuracy of the HRRR-AK model forecast. Experimental environment was setup in AWS cloud system, as well as the local machine in University of Alaska. The experimental model is HRRR-like model. It uses similar configuration, parameters, and initial fields as HRRR-AK model. In the experiment, the model run in three modes. Control run does not assimilate any observation data. Two experiment runs, one assimilates wind data only, and one assimilates wind data plus conventional observation, respectively. For simplicity, GSI 3D-Var analysis is used in the data assimilation experiments. The case study shows that valid VIIRS wind data is coarse in the domain; the impact of data assimilation of VIIRS wind data is very limited. The WRF model configured like HRRR-AK (smaller domain size and grid resolution) was used to do 24-hour forecasts 4 times daily. A month of forecasts are analyzed in terms of RMSEs. The preliminary conclusion shows that the VIIRS wind data does not improve the HRRR-AK-like model short-term forecast due to very coarse data distribution in the model domain. Further study includes evaluation of assimilation of all available satellite-derived wind data into the model.

Thursday, August 23, 2018



Posted by Jessa Johnson at ext. 2751,

Thursday, August 16, 2018 to Thursday, August 23, 2018


TITLE:  Changes in transport and mixing of polar ozone during sudden stratospheric warmings

PRESENTER:  Álvaro de la Cámara, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

ABSTRACT:  Understanding the impact of dynamical processes such as sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs)  on Arctic ozone is key to interpreting the observed interannual variability and better quantify polar ozone evolution. In the first part of this seminar, we will focus on quantifying the changes in the stratospheric circulation and the mixing properties of the flow during SSWs. Using 34 years of reanalysis data (ERA-Interim), and 240 years of output from the Whole Atmospheric Community Climate Model version 4 (WACCM4), we find: i) A weakened residual circulation and intensified isentropic mixing after the onset of SSWs that persist for more than two months in the lower stratosphere; ii) sufficiently deep SSWs (i.e. those followed by Polar-night Jet Oscillation events, or PJO) have a stronger and more persistent response in the meridional circulation and isentropic mixing; and iii) long after the strong wave forcing that drives the SSWs has declined, diffusive fluxes of potential vorticity (PV) remain anomalously high in the lower stratosphere delaying the recovery of the vortex.

In the second part of the seminar, we will explore how these alterations in the circulation affect Arctic ozone. The composite evolution of ozone displays positive mixing ratio anomalies up to 0.5 – 0.6 ppmv above 550 K (∼50 hPa) around the central warming date and negative anomalies below (-0.2 to -0.3 ppmv), consistently in observations, reanalysis and model. We will show the fundamental role of irreversible mixing of ozone in delaying the recovery of climatological values, and contributing to maintain the ozone anomalies in the lower stratosphere over 2 to 3 months after the occurrence of SSWs.

Monday, August 20, 2018, 3:30 p.m Refreshments 3:15 p.m FL-1001, Small Auditorium Live webcast:

Posted by Bonnie Slagel at ext. 8318,

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 to Monday, August 20, 2018

TIAA Individual Counseling Sessions August-September 2018

There are still sessions available for TIAA Counseling Sessions in August and September:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

FL2 -- Room 1002

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

CG1 -- Board Room 3150

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

FL2 -- Room 1002

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

RAF -- Conference Room

SIGN UP TODAY:  Click here or call their Scheduling and Service Group phone reservation center at: 1-800-732-8353.

These sessions are in high demand, so if you have to miss your appointment, be sure to contact TIAA as soon as possible so they can fill your time slot.

Posted by Alyssa Fronk at ext. 8710,

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 to Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Facing a medical challenge can be stressful enough without worrying whether you have the right diagnosis or the most effective treatment—especially when you consider that, according to the Institute of Medicine, it is likely that most of us will experience at least one diagnostic error in our lifetime.

UCAR is pleased to offer you the innovative medical benefit called Best Doctors. Best Doctors is a better kind of second opinion service. It lets you get advice from the world’s leading physicians on everything from minor surgery and maternity challenges to more serious issues like cancer and heart disease. If you’re uncertain about a diagnosis or treatment, a Best Doctors clinician will take another look at your case and provide a confirmation or recommend a change.

What’s more: Best Doctors is 100% confidential and cost-free. It’s included in your benefits package and available at no charge to you and any of your dependents enrolled in the UCAR health plans – both Cigna and Kaiser throughout the United States. You don’t even have to make doctors’ appointments or travel. All of the Best Doctors services are provided over the phone or the Internet.

Please visit the Best Doctors website and the Best Doctors Guide for additional information.

Posted by Laurie Carr at ext. 8702,

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 to Friday, August 31, 2018

RAL Seminar

Catalyzing Decision Services with Probability Forecasts on Demand

John K. Williams The Weather Company, An IBM Business

An “operations to decisions” divide is preventing much of the available societal value of the weather enterprise’s increasingly accurate forecasts from being fully realized. Existing weather decision support services often target high-impact events, government agencies and large businesses with tailored weather information, but there is also significant potential value in improving the ability of society at large to use weather information to make a broad spectrum of day-to-day decisions. Bridging the “O2D” divide requires an accessible framework that includes the requisite weather forecasts, methods for inferring impacts, techniques for determining optimal actions, compelling ways to communicate supporting evidence and effective means to execute decisions. An optimal decision is one that limits the risk of an unacceptable outcome, provides the greatest expected net benefit, is timely, and can be cogently described and explained.

While some domains may have more limited requirements, weather-based decision services generally require (1) forecasts of all possible future weather scenarios and their likelihoods; (2) a way to determine costs and benefits associated with prospective actions under each scenario; (3) predictions of the benefit versus opportunity cost of waiting for a more certain forecast before making a decision; and (4) tools and strategies for communicating and executing decisions.  Towards this end, The Weather Company has launched a new probability forecasting capability called Probability Forecasts on Demand (PFoD). PFoD builds on our 18-year evolution of the DICast-based automated multi-model consensus forecasting technology, which drives a broad array of business and consumer weather products including the Weather Channel website and mobile applications. PFoD provides probability distribution function (PDF) and related descriptions of forecast uncertainty for several weather variables at any global location.  In addition, it provides a user-specified number of calibrated ensemble “prototype” forecasts that provide the multivariate weather trajectories required to evaluate nonlinear weather impacts and spatiotemporal dependencies. The prototypes are calibrated and constructed to be “equally likely,” giving them an advantage over raw NWP ensembles that may exhibit biases, under- or over-dispersion and unequal skill among members. Coupled with machine-learned, heuristic or physically-based impact models, PFoD provides a basis for quantifying risks and estimating expected values for prospective actions or policies. The availability of PFoD via an API offers easy access to the weather information required to develop a broad array of decision services.  This talk will describe and illustrate PFoD’s capabilities, provide sample decision use cases, and highlight some of the many forecasting and decision service design challenges that remain to be addressed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 1:30-2:30 FL2 - 1001

Posted by Jessa Johnson at ext. 2751,

Thursday, August 9, 2018 to Tuesday, August 21, 2018

It is that time of year again! 

The Up the Hill Race is on September 21st this year from 2:00 PM - 6:30 PM at the Mesa Lab Tree Plaza.

Come one - Come all! Your family members are invited to join the race as well.


If you are interested in participating in the bike or foot race, please register here.


If racing isn't your thing, you can still participate by volunteering! Interested volunteers, register here.

If you have questions, please contact Toni Wallace, or Evette Aragon,

Posted by Toni Wallace at ext. 8716,

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 to Friday, September 21, 2018

July 01, 2018 - August 31, 2018

Did you know - What is the art and science connection for two new artists showing in NCAR galleries?

Paintings by Vivienne Douglas - Gallery l

“I do not have a science background, and cannot say there is a specific art and science connection to my work. However, as a painter, some of this can happen incidentally, naturally and almost instinctively. When a painter chooses color, he or she is seeing light. When the painter works on shadows, he or she is seeing reflected light, which can mirror the colors of objects around them. Similarly, a painting of an overcast day will show soft shadows vs the hard light on a bright and sunny day. How colors interact can also fool the eye, so that different colors can create different emotions (warm vs cool can set a tone or mood). Bottom line, however, is that artists and scientists share one trait in common, that of creativity. Neither will look at something without it giving them pause to find a different way."

Artist Statement: Artists are story tellers and Vivienne Douglas paints stories of people, with blanks left open for the viewers to fill in for themselves. She is most drawn to stories of women and their roles in life, whether they come from across the street or halfway around the world. Her stories can come from the day’s headlines with scenes of immigration or refugees, and portray everyday life in a harsh and difficult environment. Other works can depict tender and sweet moments, a woman who escapes the drudgery of laundry by composing a poem or melody in her head, or a mother at day’s end with her child in her arms. She invites you to weave your own feelings into these works, and relate them to your own journey through life. She hopes you will infuse your personal experience into her art, whether it is drawn from a memory, a hope or even regret, from the warmth of love or the bitterness of a lesson learned. This is what her art is about, to make you feel. 

Nature Photography by Kirk Fry

Originally a PhD scientist, I have always been very detail-oriented, and I was initially drawn to the technical aspects of digital photography (understanding optics, depth of focus, origins of color, camera sensor capabilities, etc...). After gaining an understanding and control of the scientific aspects of cameras and lenses, I have more recently been “focusing” on making more artistic images, and I very much enjoy blending the technical and creative elements of my work! As my photography mentor Glenn Randall states: “Master the craft, and the art will follow.”

Artist Statement: Kirk Fry, an award-winning nature photographer, has made a name for himself with his diverse and memorable images, ranging from grand landscapes to the tiniest of snowflakes. With a background as a PhD scientist, he has always had a passion for details. He has taken this passion into the art of photography and has not looked back. With a love for combining creative and technical aspects within nature photography, he strives to capture both common and rarely viewed scenes and subjects, presenting them in a truly indelible fashion. Recent trips to Iceland and Utah have provided ample opportunities for stunning imagery. Closer to home, various gardens and the beautiful hills and fields of Colorado furnish multiple options for close-up photography of flowers, ice and tiny water droplets -- all of which have been showcased in recent exhibits and juried shows. He hopes that the viewers feel the same connection to his work and awe of nature that he does.  

Art Reception: Saturday July 14th from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Mesa Lab cafeteria.

Preview all artists work on the UCAR Community Art Calendar at: 

Posted by Audrey Lewis at ext. 2570,

Friday, June 29, 2018 to Friday, August 31, 2018


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