COAA Distinguished Scholar Symposium 2013

May 2013

The COAA Distinguished Scholar Symposium 2013 was held on May 4 2013 at the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), University of Maryland. Dr. Fuzhong Weng, Prof. Ming Cai, and Prof. Xin-Zhong Liang gave three keynote talks on leading scientific research and application in the fields of Satellite Meteorology, Climate, and Earth System. About 50 people attended the symposium.

Dr. Fuzhong Weng, the acting chief of Satellite Meteorology and Climatology Division of NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, gave a talk entitled “Uses of Suomi NPP Data for Improving Hurricane/Typhoon Forecasts”. He told the story of how Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite was named after Prof. Verner E. Suomi and presented the latest progress on its research. Both the Advanced Technology of Microwave Sounder (ATMS) and the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) on board SNPP satellite are well calibrated and will be ready for user applications. Using Hurricane Sandy and Isaac as examples, Dr. Weng demonstrated that direct assimilation of satellite sounding radiance to Hurricane WRF (HWRF) improves hurricane intensity and track forecasting skills. The critical role of the newly available data from the instruments shows that SNPP could be very promising for the hurricane forecasting community since there has been very little improvement in the hurricane intensity forecast in the past two decades.

Different from the first one, the second talk given by Prof. Ming Cai of Florida State University takes a more theoretic perspective. It targets to understand the radiation and dynamic balances and feedbacks of the Earth under the circumstance of doubled atmospheric carbon dioxides concentration. The title of the talk is “ Factors Contributing to Polar Surface Warming Amplification ”. In this study, Prof. Cai and his co-author developed a new climate feedback analysis method and examined the partitioned contributions from both radiative and non-radiative feedback processes. Using some humorous layman analogy and sophisticated scientific methodologies, it is very interesting that Prof. Cai showed how the behavior of the Earth’s complicated climate system could be explained through a simple 4-box model and linearized radiative transfer equations.

Prof. Xin-Zhong Liang of University of Maryland presented the research carried out by his group in the past decade. His talk is entitled “ Regional Climate-Weather Research and Forecasting (CWRF) Model Development and Application ”. His group is determined to solve the puzzle of regional climate, weather, hydrology, ecosystem dynamics, air quality and water quality in an integrated modeling system with an extended capability of characterizing a large variation in physical processes. Prof. Liang ’s work could be applied to answer a farmer’s concern --- “ How much fertilizer the corn field would need under a certain day’s weather condition 20 years later?” --- part of which was a compelling question asked by agriculture community in Illinois when he first started the group’s research scope more than a decade ago. Now, their model system has demonstrated great capability and excellent performance in predicting weather and climate variations as well as assessing environmental consequences at regional-local scales over U.S. and China.

During the symposium, attendees from nearby universities, research institutions, companies and federal agencies have shown great interest and enthusiasm through many questions and discussions. Dr. Weng, Prof. Cai, and Prof. Liang received “COAA Distinguished Scholar” plaques as recognition to their individual scientific achievements. This symposium has successfully facilitated professional interaction among established and young scientists in the COAA community.

Pictures taken at the event can be found here.