Day eight, a travel day back home. Very thankful to be heading home. It has been a good, long, good trip and very worthwhile. I have a better understanding of Houston meteorology, better understanding of ARM Operations which will help me be a better scientist working with ARM data and many new connections to the area and collaborations.
Of the seven days I was mission scientist we called three “up” days. Two (the first two) were a slam dunk. Yesterday’s was less so with storm firing more to the east and north of the TRACER domain. The data from yesterday will still be interesting in studying a transition to an atmosphere more conducive to storms.
Mike Jensen, the overall PI (lead) for TRACER will now take over as the Mission Scientist while Chris Nowotarski from Texas A&M will take over from Bobby as forecast coordinator. It was really nice today to not be “on”. Not having to plan my day around spinning up and having the call.
Most of all I am thankful to the AMF site staff. David Oaks, the technical lead, Daniel Bahrt, Mark Spychala and Gabi Pessoa. Not only are they key to collecting data that will change our understanding of our planet they do it with style and a passion for the mission that is amazing. It is interesting to think when I attended a break out meeting at an ARM-ASR meeting (I think it was in 2016) when folks were just starting to talk about Houston and then I decided that we (Bobby and I) should start studying Houston storms using data from the local NWS NEXRAD radar it would lead to this.
Also amazing, when Mike led the proposal and we came up with ideas for deploying to Houston that our science thoughts would lead to the uprooting and redeploying of people. Fact is, as much as we try, ARM’s deployments can not be fully automated. In La Porte, where we are deployed to the middle of an airfield, launching sounding balloons takes careful coordination with the airport, authorities and Houston TRACON. And even beyond soundings each technician does daily rounds where they inspect instruments, clean windows and work with visiting scientists like myself.
What now? For one I will be back in August for another tour of duty. Details still to be determined. With the ARM C-Band radar in automated mode our team will have our work cut out for us working out exactly what we got. And that’s where the coming weeks I will be wearing my other hat. Not a Mission Scientist but an ARM Translator. Working with the team to make ARM radar data more useful to our users. Can’t wait to dig into that data and so grateful to the folks on-site who make it possible. I leave Houston thankful.