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The groups currently involved in research at the Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation are summarized below.
Surface Flux Measurements
Sensible and latent heat fluxes play important roles in the surface-atmosphere exchanges in the boundary layer. While sensible heat is the energy released to heat up the lower atmosphere, latent heat ensures the vertical transport of moisture. There are several approaches to estimate sensible and latent heat fluxes (e.g., Bowen Ratio Energy Balance, flux-gradient, etc.), but one of the widely used is the eddy-covariance technique. At the Howard University Beltsville site, a 31-m flux tower is equipped with an eddy-covariance system deployed at 28 m to estimate turbulent fluxes. Due to the highly heterogeneous nature of site, the following questions will be addressed:
- What are the environmental controls on turbulent fluxes over the site?
- Are the expansion of urbanization and landuse modification impacting local weather and climate?
- Can current mesoscale models adequately simulate small-scale processes associated with the surface heterogeneity?
Radiation measurements provide accurate long-term surface irradiance measurements at 1-minute resolution over a heterogeneous landscape to provide satellite validation, and the understanding of cloud effect. The facility also incorporates the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Programs, Quality Control and Shortwave Flux Analysis algorithms developed by Dr. Charles N. Long for detecting, and fitting clear-sky shortwave functions.
The Baltimore/Washington corridor is a major population center on the East Coast that is consistently in violation of air quality standards for excessive ground-level ozone. In the summer of 2004, Beltsville, Maryland was selected as a new site within this corridor to participate in the INTEX Ozonesonde Network Study (IONS), a consortium of sounding sites measuring continental ozone transport in North America. As part of the study, students from Howard University and the University of Maryland, College Park were trained to prepare,launch, and interpret data from ozonesonde balloons. Howard University Beltsville Research Site serves as a pilot site for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) initiative to improve local and national air quality forecasts and develop better control strategies for high ozone events in the Baltimore/Washington region.
Howard University Beltsville rainfall project is the bases for the study of rainfall pattern to be conduct in senegal by a group of researcher from NASA, Howard University, University of North Dakota,and Senegal. This research study is to help proofthat TRMM satellite PR was equally good as surface measuerment for rainfall determination. As a result of this, four rain-gauges have been step up at Howard University Site, beltsville, to collect rainfall data from four different setup of rain-gauges.
A Raman lidar system that is designed to make both daytime and nighttime measurements of atmospheric water vapor and aerosols; the lidar uses narrow bandpass filters to measure:
- the Rayleigh/Mie and pure rotational Raman signals at 354.7±0.13 nm,
- the Raman scattered photons from nitrogen molecules at 386.7±0.13 nm, and
- the Raman scattered photons from water vapor molecules at 407.5±0.13 nm
The primary purpose of the lidar is to characterize temporal and vertical distributions of water vapor and dynamics processes in the boundary layer for evaluation of mesoscale models. The Lidar is also used to measure cirrus cloud optical depths. Collaboration consists of researchers from the Department of Physics and the Program in Atmospheric Sciences at Howard University, the Laboratory for Atmospheres at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and The NOAA-Center for Atmospheres at Howard.
HURL is designed to make both daytime and nighttime measurements of atmospheric water vapor, aerosols and cirrus cloud optical depths in order to to characterize temporal and vertical distributions of water vapor and dynamics processes in the boundary layer for evaluation of mesoscale models.