TRACER Talk: Operations, Collaborations Absorb Day Two of Workshop

Published: 18 May 2020

Editor’s note: Michael Jensen, a meteorologist at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in New York, is principal investigator for the upcoming TRacking Aerosol Convection interactions ExpeRiment (TRACER). He sent in this campaign update.

Photo of TRACER principal investigator Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen

The TRACER science and logistics meeting was a virtual workshop, taking place April 20 and 21, 2020. While the first day of the workshop brought the latest updates on campaign planning and emerging partnerships and opportunities, the second day focused more on preparing for campaign operations and building collaborations among TRACER participants.

Morning Session

The morning began with a discussion of plans for weather forecasting activities, including a practice session in June and July 2020; the campaign forecasting plan and logistics; and identifying interagency forecasting needs.

(If you are interested in learning more about TRACER forecasting, sign up for the forecasting interest group at More about the forecasting exercise can be found in this blog.)

This was followed by several presentations of TRACER modeling (and other) science plans.

Philip Stier (University of Oxford) shared activities focused on the assessment of deep convective simulations using satellite and radar observations. Jiwen Fan (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) presented some work investigating the relative role of aerosol and urban land effects on convective simulations in the Houston region. Marcus van Lier-Walqui (Columbia University), Toshi Matsui (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), and Eric Bruning (Texas Tech University) reviewed their plans for the observational and modeling study of convective cell microphysics and lightning during TRACER. Finally, Eric Defer (French National Centre for Scientific Research) offered plans for lightning-based studies during the campaign.

Closing Session

Houston, Texas, skyline
Houston, Texas, will serve as the backdrop for the TRacking Aerosol Convection interactions ExpeRiment (TRACER) from April 2021 to April 2022. Photo is courtesy of Heath Powers, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

John Sullivan from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center led a presentation and discussion on opportunities for air quality studies during the TRACER campaign. The meeting ended with a discussion of various needs and opportunities for TRACER, led by Michael Jensen (BNL).

Some important action items came from the workshop discussions, including the formation of several smaller sub-topical groups. Groups under consideration include Radar Cell Tracking, Radar Scan Strategies, Forecasting Activities, Air Quality Studies, Boundary Layer, and Turbulence.

There was also a desire to formulate a timeline of interagency proposals and their decision dates, along with a campaign timeline including all inter- and intra-agency activities to be shared during the next TRACER telecon, which is scheduled for Thursday, May 28.

Get Involved With TRACER

If you are interested in the TRACER campaign and would like to be added to the TRACER email distribution list to participate in upcoming campaign activities, telecons, and workshops, please send an email to, Subject: TRACER Email, Body: Name, Affiliation.