Discipline: Ecology, Environmental & Earth Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Research
- Jackson State University
Co-Author(s): Anthony Thornton and Michael Smith, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS; Benjamin Ruddell, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ; Jeffrey Wood, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; Alex Tardy, National Weather Service, San Diego, CA
A wide variety of data have been collected using the “JSU Mobile Meteorology Unit”. This compact set of equipment includes capabilities for vehicular transects, pedestrian measurements, and radiosonde measurements. Phenomena targeted have included: atmospheric response to the total solar eclipse; North American monsoon system; midlatitude fronts; drylines; marine layer incursions; and microclimatic characterization of archaeological sites and sinkholes. The vehicular platform measures temperature and humidity, both within a U-tube and a Gill shield, as well as solar radiation, pressure, and GPS position. The pedestrian system uses an aspirated shield, pyranometer, barometer, infrared temperature sensor, and GPS. Data are analyzed as time series, spatial series, and geographic map views. Calculated quantities include potential temperature, dewpoint, mixing ratio, and heat index. The Windsond radiosonde system enables vertical sampling of temperature, humidity, wind, and pressure up to about 6 km MSL. Soundings have been done for the 2017 eclipse and at varying positions relative to fronts and drylines. The vehicular system has been operated in more than 20 states, temperatures ranging from -12 to 43 C, and elevations from -70 to 3040 m. A rich dataset has been gained to examine spatial variability scales and response characteristics of the instrumentation. In particular, there is interest in comparison of shields in rain, non-precipitation, fog, and snow cases. Findings so far have included: Outside of heavy rainfall, the Gill shield is more responsive to temperature fluctuations than the U-tube, but humidity response is similar. Mesoscale anomalies have been documented related to monsoon thunderstorms. Embedded marine air layers associated with diurnal and synoptic factors along the California coast. Microscale humidity anomalies linked to surface features such as sinkhole escarpments in Missouri. Feasibility of non-disruptive climatic sampling of the microscale environment of prehistoric cliff dwellings has been demonstrated. Heat index variations across incised valleys and major reservoirs have of 10-20 degrees are common on scales smaller than typical observation spacing. Well-defined three-dimensional dryline structure has been documented in the southern Trans-Pecos region of Texas, far south of previously published reports. Boundary layer responses to a total solar eclipse documented by multiple radiosonde ascents across the umbra.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This study was supported by National Science Foundation EAGER Award #1644888
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,