SGP Site Staff Share Successes, Challenges in the Name of Science

Published: 13 April 2012

Large-scale observation network in Korea opens door to new collaborations

Daniel Hartsock and Dr. Kyungjeen Park look on as Pat Dowell describes the operation of a disdrometer at the SGP site. A sensor under the instrument's 'hood' measures rain rate and drop size distribution.
Dr. Kyungjeen Park, Korea Meteorological Administration, faces a tremendous responsibility: develop a microscale observing capability to support a major urban atmospheric measurement and modeling project. The project is to take place in the metropolitan area of Seoul City—a megacity of close to 20 million people—over the course of 8 years, with a budget of 100 million U.S. dollars. Data collected by the network are intended to feed into not only near real-time weather forecasting models, but also development algorithms for urban impacts for climate models.

On April 12, Park paid a visit to the ARM Southern Great Plains (SGP) site in Oklahoma to “talk shop” with site staff and learn more about the successes and challenges of ARM’s model for operating a distributed observational network. Specifically, Park wanted to see equipment and instrumentation for measuring the planetary boundary layer. He chose the SGP site for its size and complexity and to learn about ARM procedures for processing, quality assurance, and archiving of microscale data.

As host for the visit, Daniel Hartsock, SGP assistant site scientist, provided Park with background information about the SGP site and an overview of the ARM Facility. They were joined by SGP site operations manager John Schatz for a tour of the SGP Central Facility, where operations personnel Pat Dowell and Craig Webb shared their expertise with numerous ARM instruments.

Another priority of Park’s visit was collaborations between the SGP and KMA instrument technicians. The day’s visit concluded with a conference call to Doug Sisterson, SGP Site Manager, who answered additional questions related to site operations and potential collaborations. Sisterson emphasized the particular importance of having instrument scientists assist with instrument selection and siting, especially for an urban area.

“Our discussion included the siting strategy of instruments and the fusing of individual datastreams to create value-added products that are useful as input to models,” said Sisterson. “Dr. Park was quite astute on this issue.”

Park was impressed with the ARM infrastructure “model” and expressed interest in establishing collaborations with ARM, perhaps as a series of training workshops at the SGP site and in Seoul. These would involve technicians, instrument mentors, and other ARM representatives for data collection and processing, data quality review, and data archiving.

Day 2 – Down and dirty with data

Park spent the next day at the University of Oklahoma, where he first visited the headquarters of the Oklahoma Mesonet. He then met with SGP site scientist Dr. Pete Lamb, followed by discussions with SGP site scientist researcher Dr. Zewdu Segele regarding modeling research that uses SGP data. Park is particularly interested in applying his data assimilation skills to the Seoul data, and Segele recently has been undertaking such research for the SGP site.

Finally, Park met with Justin Monroe at the ARM Data Quality Office to learn about managing large-scale data collections with attention to availability, usability, and accessibility. Attention to these details is a hallmark of the ARM Faciility, as detailed in this report from 2008.

“He is becoming acquainted with the somewhat intimidating issue of the need to treat appropriately the vast scope and amount of data that will be produced by the Seoul network. ARM is a global leader in that regard,” said Lamb.

Throughout Park’s visit, ARM staff provided their guest with a comprehensive and candid view of the SGP site and its daily and long-term operations objectives. Site visits such as this are enthusiastically encouraged from both domestic and international collaborators to learn about the ARM Facility and how it contributes to climate change research at a global scale.