5.7 100 Years of Progress in Applied Meteorology

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 12:00 PM
104A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Sue Ellen Haupt, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and R. M. Rauber, B. Carmichael, J. C. Knievel, J. Cogan, S. Hanna, M. Askelson, J. M. Shepherd, M. Alfonso Fragomeni, N. Debbage, B. Johnson, B. Kosovic, S. McIntosh, F. Chen, K. Miller, M. Williams, and S. Drobot

The field of atmospheric science has been enhanced by its long-standing collaboration with entities with specific needs. Basic research feeds applications; but the applications themselves demand additional research balanced on the cutting edge of the application and the science on which it is based. This paper describes how applications have worked to advance the science at the same time that the science has served the needs of society as documented in a series of three AMS Monograph chapters. Some of the basic applications that have been some of the longest standing include weather modification, aviation weather, and applications for security. Each of these applications has resulted in enhanced understanding of the physics and dynamics of the atmosphere, new and improved observing equipment, better models, and a push for greater computing power. These examples of successful and critical applications in meteorology and how, in some cases, they have the ability to change the course of world events, are quite profound.

Another set of applications includes those that enable the population to interact with the environment in more sustainable ways. The first topic treated is urbanization and the types of stresses exerted by population growth and its attendant growth in urban landscapes - buildings and pavement – and how they modify airflow and create a local climate. We describe environmental impacts of these changes and implications for the future. The growing population uses increasing amounts of energy. Traditional sources of energy have taxed the environment but the increase in renewable energy has used the atmosphere and hydrosphere as its fuel. Utilizing these variable renewable resources requires meteorological information to operate electric systems efficiently and economically while providing reliable power and minimizing environmental impacts. The growing human population also pollutes the environment. Thus, understanding and modeling the transport and dispersion of atmospheric contaminants is an important step toward regulating the pollution and mitigating impacts. Next, this talk will describe how weather information can help make surface transportation more safe and efficient. This portion concludes by discussing ways that meteorology and climate information can help improve the output of the agriculture and food security sector. It also discusses how agriculture alters climate and its long-term implications. It finally pulls together several of the applications discussed by treating the food-energy-water nexus. We explain how these applications naturally require transdisciplinary collaboration to address these challenges caused by the expanding population.

The remaining topics of this chapter are those that are advancing quite rapidly with more opportunities for observation and needs for prediction. The study of space weather is advancing our understanding of how the barrage of particles from other planetary bodies in the solar system impact Earth’s atmosphere. Our ability to predict wildland fires by coupling atmospheric and fire behavior models is beginning to impact firefighter decision support systems. Finally, we examine how artificial intelligence is changing the way we predict, emulate, and optimize our meteorological variables and its potential to amplify our capabilities. Many of these advances are directly due to the rapid increase in observational data and computer power.

The applications reviewed in this series of monograph chapters is not comprehensive, but will whet the reader’s appetite for learning more about how meteorology can make a concrete impact on the world’s population by enhancing their access to resources, preserving the environment, and feeding back into a better understanding how the pieces of the environmental system interact.

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