2022 ARM/ASR Joint User Facility and PI Meeting – Day One

Impromptu poster session with Monica.

Well, kind of day half! Woke bright (dark) and early at 4am for the 7am flight from O’Hare to the nation’s capital. After a smooth travel day I arrived at the very familiar Rockville Hilton with a small posse of Argonne Scientists.

The isolation (albeit easing) through the pandemic changes one’s brain chemistry. I have not been in a place where so many people know me and I know so many people in a very long time. Furthermore there are people here I have developed professional relationships with via zoom during the pandemic and now I meet them here in glorious, high def, lag free, three dimensions!

Team Argonne-ARM selfie!

One such person is Dr Monica Ihli from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Monica was plugged into the ARM Facility after the start of the pandemic and she has been working closely with Max Grover (an RSE in my group) on data proximate compute as part of our funded work in workforce development. She is working with Max to build Jupyterlab based cyberinfrastructure right up against the many petabytes of ARM data. We even had an impromptu poster session! That kind of interaction does not happen over zoom.

Latest results from the TRACER Aerosol team.

This first, half day, of the meeting had two sessions that necessitated an early morning flight. A session on the TRACER field campaign that just finished. And, in a new innovation a session on emerging technologies. The TRACER session provided an awesome overarching view of the 1 and a half year deployment to Houston. Numerous partners, already 38TB of data in the archive and, at this meeting, 32 posters being presented mere days after the conclusion of the deployment! Some notables for me was the different temporal and spatial scales of the aerosol (those tiny particles that have big impacts) measurements and early efforts to classify and tag storms impacting the region.

Finishing the day with hot pot with friends.

The new and emerging technology was fascinating. So many technologies that, if realized, would be amazing. One technology I have my eyes on is the Snow Pixel by Particle Flux Analytics. It is like a digital camera for measuring snowflakes by sensing when a flake falls on them. And that was one of many, I have a page of notes to follow up on, especially for our plans for the CROCUS measurement deployment.

A great first day, finished up with some hot pot with fiends.. I am slowly regrowing that Science-Social nexus in my brain again that has gone un-fed for a long time.

CROCUS Academic Partners and Chicago Field Campaigns

The Community Research on Climate and Urban Science (CROCUS) project has twelve (!) academic partners: Chicago State University, City Colleges of Chicago, North Carolina A&T State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of Notre Dame, University of Texas – Austin, University of Wisconsin – Madison and Washington University in St. Louis.

These partners play a wide range of roles from education and outreach to modeling and, what I will discuss here, bringing state of the art atmospheric observatories to Chicago. I will go into more depth on the CROCUS Measurement Strategy (CMS) later (yes I am kind of doing this backwards). There are two key components: the Chicago Micronet and the CROCUS Comprehensive Field Campaign Strategy (CFCS).

The C-Band On Wheels (COW) radar is part of the UIUC FARM. And it is coming to Chicago!!! Courtesy Stephen Nesbitt.

All partners will play a role in the CFCS. As said in the previous post, CROCUS is inclusive and open. But three partners play an outsized role. Over the course of the five years of the project the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Washington University in St. Louis will be deploying unique atmospheric observational tools in and around Chicago.

Washington University in St. Louis will be deploying state of the art instruments that can detect and analyze the chemistry of tiny particles called aerosols. They will be able to see how these aerosols grow and interact with the urban environment.

The University of Wisconsin – Madison will be brining a systems taylor made to measure how the city interacts with the larger atmosphere. The University of Wisconsin–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC) has some of the best instruments available for measuring how temperature, moisture and winds change with height. This gives our modeling teams what we call “The column”. That is the layer cake of air above the city. This will help us understand how the regional climate influences Chicago and how Chicago influences the climate.

The SPARC trailer. This facility will tell us what is happening in the skies above Chicago. Courtesy Tim Wagner

Finally, The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is bringing the Flexible Array of Radars and Mesonets (FARM). This includes the world famous Doppler On Wheels radars which CROCUS will use to get a neighbourhood scale picture of storms that lead to the worst flooding. The current radar networks around Chicago do not adequately capture the spatial resolution of rainfall important to urban flooding the FARM will allow us to zoom in like a microscope to the street level.

All three facilities will address science as identified by our community partners, Blacks in Green, The Puerto Rican Agenda, The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Greater Chatham Initiative. And they will provide unprecedented opportunities for students. Stay tuned! We are a big tent and this is just the start. We also plan to submit a proposal for the ARM Mobile Facility as another building block to create the largest study of the urban environment, ever.

Community Research on Climate and Urban Science

The day has finally come! As is usual with projects funded by the government we find out many weeks ahead we have been funded and are under embargo as the details are sorted out. Let me start by saying to my fellow scientists who were not awarded: I feel your pain. It is unpleasant, to say the least, to work so hard on a vision and be told you can not carry it out (yet).

Charlie Catlett showing a Sage node to Dr Berhe, Director of the Office of Science with Paul Kearns, Director of Argonne National Laboratory.

Community Research on Climate and Urban Science or CROCUS is an Argonne led response to a call for proposals by DoE’s Office of Science. In a nutshell; through modeling and measurements, we will shine a light on climate relevant atmospheric science at the street level IN CHICAGO!

I will be leading the Measurement Strategy Team. We will be doing two very exciting things: Building a network of AI enabled sensors across Chicagoland. This is the Chicago Micronet. And we will be running a series (three) of field campaigns aimed at understanding the urban science behind the three climate elements that impact the people of Chicago: Heat, Water and Air Quality.

Bad air is a result of industry transport and energy, water moves and often where we tell it to through urban hydrological systems and heat KILLS. Heat kills more than tornadoes and is the nation’s most deadly weather phenomena.

Waggle: The cyberinfrastructure that will enable CROCUS!

For the field campaigns (and I almost giggle with excitement) we have partnered with the University of Washington at St Louis, a leader in understanding the science of aerosols (tiny particles, one millionth of a meter across). The University of Wisconsin–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center and their Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC). And The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Flexible Array of Radars and Mesonets (FARM) which includes the famous Doppler on Wheels (DOW)!

This will culminate in the largest, most inclusive, most open, and, most comprehensive study of an urban environment ever on the planet!

Stay tuned for more news including how we will work with partners like Blacks In Green. To our friend in the community who did not fare as well: I feel for you. But, I am personally dedicated to make CROCUS open and welcoming. Come to Chicago, collaborate with us and we will have so much fun equipping the communities in Chicago with the knowledge they need to fight and prepare for climate change.

Engaging With Blacks In Green (BIG)

“There is a deep connective tissue between Argonne and communities in Chicago. This is not shake and bake” – Naomi Davis (paraphrased)

Blacks In Green in Woodlawn, Chicago.

I am writing this post from the Blacks In Green (BIG) green living room garden. I was asked to come here this week to help translate climate science for a coalition of groups fighting for climate energy justice. What is climate energy justice? To reduce our CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions requires change. As does building resiliency against the worst impacts of climate change. Change, at times, means picking winners and losers so when the United States Government, corporations and communities encourage a transition to a clean energy future it must be a just transition.

Readers of this blog will know I avoid politics. In fact I can not be involved in the crafting of policy or political advocacy in my official role due to the Hatch Act. There IS however the Justice40 initiative which directs agencies to ensure 40% of of benefits from clean energy transitions goes to underserved communities.

Shalanda Baker, Director, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, DOE.

Now, back to my role here. It is threefold: To give a presentation, in the clearest most understandable terms, of the science behind climate change (modeled in the style of Katharine Hayhoe), to make myself available to this community as a resource and, finally, to respectfully and quietly listen and learn the challenges of communities in Chicago when it comes to weather and climate. This is all part of a long term strategy: Argonne in Chicago.

The stunning garden at Blacks In Green’s The Green Living Room.

Furthermore our proposal to the Office Of Science’s Urban Integrated Field Laboratory call has BIG as well as other communities in Chicago as research partners. We have recognized you do not study communities. Communities do not want to be studied! Rather you work with communities as a trusted partner to empower them with the tools then need to understand the earth air and water where they live, how it will be impacted by a changing climate and equip them with the information they need to drive change and achieve a just energy transition.