Funded IRP Projects, 2012

Cropland, soil moisture, and recent heat waves

Investigators: Thomas N. Chase (CIRES/CU Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering), Emily C. Gill (CIRES/CU Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering), Emily P. Wilson (CU Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Klaus Wolter (CIRES/NOAA), and Roger J. Pielke, Sr. (CIRES/CU Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences)

This project seeks to test the hypothesis that the increasing amounts of land surface used for agriculture and changes in soil moisture may explain, to some degree, the increase in both the number and extreme temperatures of recently observed heat waves.

Validating and enhancing airborne lidar snow- depth mapping with ground-based lidar

Investigator: Jeffrey S. Deems (CIRES)

This project will combine ground-based and airborne lidar mapping in a novel approach to validate and increase the accuracy of snow-depth mapping in mountainous terrain, with benefits for water supply inventory and forecasting in the western U.S.

MiniCam 600680-nm sensor for the PolarCube Satellite

Investigators: David Gallaher (CIRES), Ted Scambos (CIRES), Walt Meier (CIRES), and Brian Sanders (Colorado Space Grant Consortium, COSGC)

The National Snow and Ice Data Center, the Center for Environmental Technology, and COSGC are designing a satellite known as PolarCube. PolarCube is a triple-unit CubeSat passive microwave satellite that is currently being miniaturized for an orbital opportunity in 2013 or 2014. The proposed MiniCam is a small, space-qualified 600–680-nanometer digital imager to complement the satellite.

Developing an ensemble prediction system for operational space weather forecasting

Investigators: Curt A. de Koning (CU/CIRES/Space Weather Prediction Center, SWPC), George Millward (CU/CIRES/SWPC), and Dusan Odstrcil (George Mason University)

On Oct. 1, 2011, Enlil became the first operational numerical space weather prediction model to be used by the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Space Weather Prediction Center. The model is intended to provide one- to four-day advance warning of geomagnetic storms caused by quasirecurrent solar wind structures and Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs). At present, space weather forecasting uses a deterministic approach to numerical space weather prediction (NSWP)—a single forecast of CME arrival time at Earth obtained from a single set of observations of the solar corona. We plan to develop a pilot ensemble prediction system and demonstrate its potential to make improved forecasts of CME arrival time at Earth.

Testing a silver bullet: Evaluation of mechanisms that link COS and 18O in CO2 to gross ecosystem uptake of CO2

Investigators: David Noone (CIRES), Max Berkelhammer (CIRES), John Miller (Earth System Research Laboratory, ESRL, Global Monitoring Division, GMD), Colm Sweeny (ESRL GMD), and Dan Yakir (CIRES)

Current model estimates for terrestrial ecosystem photosynthetic uptake (GPP) vary widely at local, regional, and global scales. Atmospheric measurements of carbonyl sulfide (COS) and the oxygen isotopic ratio in carbon dioxide (CO2) give us the chance to independently constrain GPP.

Chemopreventive aerosols to reduce dysplasia

Investigators: Robert E. Sievers (CIRES), Stephen P. Cape (CIRES), and Sai Tummala (National Jewish Health)

Lung cancer caused by black carbon combustion sources and smoking is one of the leading health-care issues in the world. We intend to study in test rodents whether our inhalable chemotherapeutic/preventive myo-inositol powder aerosols can solve an important unmet medical need, the reduction or elimination of precancerous lung lesions known as dysplasia.

Nighttime aerosol optical depth measurements in the Arctic: Development of a lunar photometer for use in Barrow, Alaska

Investigators: R.S. Stone (CIRES/ESRL), T. A. Berkoff (University of Maryland), E. G. Dutton (ESRL), T. C. Stone (U.S. Geological Survey), J. Wendell (ESRL), and D. Longenecker (CIRES/ESRL)

The lunar photometry project is intended to further develop and deploy a lunar tracking spectral radiometer at the NOAA Barrow Observatory for the purpose of determining aerosol optical depth at the times of day and year when the traditional methods utilizing the sun to this purpose are not possible. Considering the current substantial interest in aerosol pollution and related climate forcing in the Arctic, the project is especially relevant in the Arctic regions where much of the year's aerosol optical depth data is lost.

Emissions of hydrogen sulfide and other air toxics associated with natural gas production using hydraulic fracturing

Investigators: Carsten Warneke (CIRES) and Martin Graus (CIRES)

Natural gas production can potentially emit air toxics by three processes: (1) H2S contained in the natural gas, (2) vapors from hydraulic fracturing fluids, and (3) the natural gas itself that contains many hydrocarbons including aromatic compounds. In this project, we will study the potential of measuring these compounds by proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) in the Denver-Julesburg and Uintah basins.

A new approach to NOx: Applications to diesel engines, biofuels, and oil and gas emissions

Investigators: Eric J. Williams (ESRL/CIRES), William P. Dubé (ESRL /CIRES), Peter M. Edwards (ESRL/CIRES), and Steven S. Brown (ESRL)

Strategies to control emissions of oxides of nitrogen from diesel engines can significantly increase the amount of emitted nitrogen dioxide (NO2) relative to nitric oxide (NO), which is tantamount to direct emission of ozone, a primary component of smog. The goal of this IRP is to develop an instrument that is capable of directly measuring NO2 in the presence of the very large levels of NO emitted from combustion sources such as diesel engines. The instrument will be used to evaluate emissions of NO2 and NO from a variety of vehicles to assess the magnitude of this potential air-quality issue.