Day five of mission scientist duty for TRACER. And a Friday to boot! In addition to my normal duties I have offered to step in an guide a visitor to the site today. Jorge Gonzalez is a professor from City Colleges of New York and NYU at Albany and a member of an advisory committee to the area of DOE that manages ARM, BERAC.
The best day for Prof Gonzalez’s visit was also the day we have major crane operations building the tower and lifting the radome for the CSU C-Band radar. So it was full safety and full safety gear. While the site staff are the experts I could offer a little science talk for the visitor. I love showing folks ARM sites as it always ignites my passion for the facility and the amazing depth of observations we take. No other agency comprehensively measures the atmosphere like ARM. From water coming out of the ground through evaporation, to those tiny particles and the chemicals that make them up to how water and ice clouds are layered in the sky.
And our data is free and open. That’s right, all these people laboring to take measurements and they don’t get to keep it to themselves. Thanks to the taxpayer we give it all away for scientists to do with as they will (we hope and make sure we take the right measurements to improve earth system simulations).
Jorge and postdoc Kalimur enjoyed their visit, albeit it a bit hot under those hard hats and departed to the University of Houston campus to launch their own weather balloons. I relocated to a lunch spot between the site and my hotel to listen in to the forecast call and lead the operations call. There was a little excitement as soundings showed the atmosphere to be moister and a little more unstable than expected.
But not enough for those big clouds that have us so excited to study the impacts of little particles. So we decided to keep those valuable soundings (and more valuable helium) in reserve for a day with more scientifically interesting clouds. Sunday onwards is seeing a dramatic shift in weather patterns. Talk turns now to safety in case we get so much rain next week we get some flash flooding. Fingers crossed for amazing weather for science that is also non-damaging to Houston. Always the creed of the weather geek. Now, it’s friday night. I am missing my family terribly but it is time to unwind a bit. Kemah has a distinctly Louisiana feel (more Cajan, less Cowboy) so relaxing while writing this post with a cocktail or two in a funky place called the Voodoo hut. Here’s to the weekend and some weekend science all!