4.2 100 Years of Progress in Atmospheric Observing Systems

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 8:45 AM
104A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Jeffrey L. Stith, NCAR, Broomfield, CO; and D. Baumgardner, J. Haggerty, R. M. Hardesty, W. C. Lee, D. Lenschow, P. Pilewskie, M. Steiner, and H. Vömel

Evidence for the importance and growth in atmospheric observing systems is evident throughout this AMS monograph. Overviews of some major observing systems and how they relate to fundamental atmospheric research and societal needs are provided in this chapter. An objective is to provide references to other sources of more detailed information on these systems. A guide to locations where information is available in other chapters of the monograph is also provided. Examples are drawn from observing systems for the boundary layer, the upper air, clouds and precipitation, trace gases, and solar and terrestrial radiation. The history of specialized observing systems such as radar, lidar and research aircraft are discussed. Weather satellites, the national radar network, observations of CO2 at Mauna Loa, and numerical weather prediction arrived around the midpoint of the last 100 years and have profoundly impacted the development of modern meteorology and atmospheric science, paving the way for new fields such as Earth System Science. As a result, many of today’s observing systems are designed around the needs of numerical models, demands for higher resolution and for global coverage. Societal needs, such as for detecting low-level winds shear hazards to aviation, have also played an important role in the development of specialized observing systems. As a result of the growth in the numbers and capabilities of atmospheric observing systems, there is a corresponding need for improving data access and for integrating data from the many systems.
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