UAH – News
Michel Mercier | UAH
A three-faculty plan in the Department of Atmospheric and Earth Sciences to donate atmospheric measurement instruments and equipment at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) to other atmospheric researchers has gone already proven to be exceptionally popular.
The effort is funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $ 1.23 million over five years.
Principal Investigator (PI) Dr Kevin Knupp, professor of atmospheric and earth sciences at UAH, part of the University of Alabama system, joined co-PI Dr Lawrence ( Larry) Carey, professor of atmospheric and earth sciences, and Mr. Ryan Wade, clinical assistant professor of atmospheric and earth sciences, to make the proposal to NSF.
It includes the support staff and also the use of the facilities of the Severe Weather Institute of the UAH – Radar & Lightning Laboratories (SWIRLL).
“It’s taken off,” says Dr Knupp. “Less than a week after the kick-off meeting with the NSF, we had an initial investigation for a project called CREST which is proposed to take place in Arizona to investigate the North American monsoon, changes in the lower atmosphere. , and the initiation and evolution of thunderstorms which frequently reach severe levels with strong winds, heavy rains and lightning.
UAH’s Mobile Atmospheric Profiling Network (MAPNet) facility, housed in UAH’s SWIRLL facility, includes four mobile platforms: Mobile Integrated Profiling System (MIPS), Deployable Atmospheric Profiling System (RaDAPS), Mobile Lidar and Doppler Sounding System (MoDLS) and X-Band Radar (MAX) from Mobile Alabama.
After adopting the name MAPNet as part of the NSF project, the first deployment included the MAX radar and the RaDAPS profiling system during the landing of Hurricane Ida, says Dr Knupp.
“The next major deployment will take place during the PERiLS (propagation, evolution and rotation in linear storms) field campaign, during the period from March to April 2022 and 2023,” he said.
There is also potential for long-term UAH involvement in the deployment of the US Department of Energy’s Mobile Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) facility in west-central or north-west l ‘Alabama, which Dr. Knupp says would benefit about half of the atmosphere and the Earth. Faculty of Sciences.
“I’ve had preliminary conversations with others about potential research projects,” he says. “Business has really taken off. “
NSF UAH funding comes under a new program called Community Instruments and Facilities, designed to facilitate wide use of existing instruments and facilities by the NSF-sponsored atmospheric science community. It also funded nine other universities.
The categories of UAH equipment use are research, with deployments of one to two months; education, with deployments from one to two days to one to two weeks; and outreach, which are activities typically in the Southeast region, including local in the Tennessee Valley, and including SWIRLL tours.
For research and education, scientists can apply to use any or all of the four mobile platforms.
“They submit a proposal to the NSF and contact us for comment,” says Dr Knupp. “If they are funded, we submit a contract proposal to NSF to provide the service. UAH staff can also submit a request.
NSF money provides one to two day project support for pilot studies that may be needed for research proposals and maintains UAH instruments in a state ready for deployment. It will also be used for education and awareness events throughout most of Huntsville’s 150 miles.
“The NSF is strongly encouraging outreach to kindergartens and 12, historically black colleges and universities, and smaller universities and colleges,” Dr Knupp said. “We now have core funding to do it more efficiently. “
The arrangement offers major benefits to UAH and other MAPNet users. The first is that the cost of commissioning instruments is not part of the NSF research proposal, but rather is derived from a separate NSF program.
“This keeps the budget for the NSF research proposal lower and therefore more competitive,” says Dr Knupp. “So we get additional funds – in the range of $ 50,000 to $ 250,000 – for these deployments. “
In addition, research carried out by programs requiring the use of MAPNet facilities will most likely be of scientific interest to UAH.
“This will increase our collaboration with external organizations,” said Dr Knupp.
Another benefit is that MAPNet’s core funding will keep the facility in top-notch condition and allow for incremental improvements, as well as ongoing funding for staff who are not dependent on funding from successive research grants.
“This is a big deal! We can do better science, really cutting edge,” says Dr Knupp. “This expands our collaborations with other groups, which will mean more research funding UAH, more research activities, including with UAH students, and more research papers. “