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The Economic Case for Wind and Solar Energy in Africa

To meet skyrocketing demand for electricity, African countries may have to triple their energy output by 2030. While hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that wind and solar can be economically and environmentally competitive options and can contribute significantly to the rising demand.

Chemists ID Catalytic 'Key' for Converting CO2 to Methanol

Results from experiments and computational modeling studies that definitively identify the "active site" of a catalyst commonly used for making methanol from CO2 will guide the design of improved catalysts for transforming this pollutant to useful chemicals.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy Achieves Unprecedented Resolution Using New Computational Methods

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)--which enables the visualization of viruses, proteins, and other biological structures at the molecular level--is a critical tool used to advance biochemical knowledge. Now Berkeley Lab researchers have extended cryo-EM's impact further by developing a new computational algorithm instrumental in constructing a 3-D atomic-scale model of bacteriophage P22 for the first time.

New Study Maps Space Dust in 3-D

A new Berkeley Lab-led study provides detailed 3-D views of space dust in the Milky Way, which could help us understand the properties of this dust and how it affects views of distant objects.

Single-Angle Ptychography Allows 3D Imaging of Stressed Materials

Scientists have used a new X-ray diffraction technique called Bragg single-angle ptychography to get a clear picture of how planes of atoms shift and squeeze under stress.

New Feedback System Could Allow Greater Control Over Fusion Plasma

A physicist has created a new system that will let scientists control the energy and rotation of plasma in real time in a doughnut-shaped machine known as a tokamak.

Towards Super-Efficient, Ultra-Thin Silicon Solar Cells

Researchers from Ames Laboratory used supercomputers at NERSC to evaluate a novel approach for creating more energy-efficient ultra-thin crystalline silicon solar cells by optimizing nanophotonic light trapping.

Study IDs Link Between Sugar Signaling and Regulation of Oil Production in Plants

UPTON, NY--Even plants have to live on an energy budget. While they're known for converting solar energy into chemical energy in the form of sugars, plants have sophisticated biochemical mechanisms for regulating how they spend that energy. Making oils costs a lot. By exploring the details of this delicate energy balance, a group of scientists from the U.

High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.


Jefferson Lab Accomplishes Critical Milestones Toward Completion of 12 GeV Upgrade

The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has achieved two major commissioning milestones and is now entering the final stretch of work to conclude its first major upgrade. Recently, the CEBAF accelerator delivered electron beams into two of its experimental halls, Halls B and C, at energies not possible before the upgrade for commissioning of the experimental equipment currently in each hall. Data were recorded in each hall, which were then confirmed to be of sufficient quality to allow for particle identification, a primary indicator of good detector operation.

Valerie Taylor Named Argonne National Laboratory's Mathematics and Computer Science Division Director

Computer scientist Valerie Taylor has been appointed as the next director of the Mathematics and Computer Science division at Argonne, effective July 3, 2017.

Three SLAC Employees Awarded Lab's Highest Honor

At a March 7 ceremony, three employees of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were awarded the lab's highest honor ­- the SLAC Director's Award.

Dan Sinars Represents Sandia in First Energy Leadership Class

Dan Sinars, a senior manager in Sandia National Laboratories' pulsed power center, which built and operates the Z facility, is the sole representative from a nuclear weapons lab in a new Department of Energy leadership program that recently visited Sandia.

ORNL, HTS International Corporation to Collaborate on Manufacturing Research

HTS International Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed an agreement to explore potential collaborations in advanced manufacturing research.

Jefferson Lab Director Honored with Energy Secretary Award

Hugh Montgomery, director of the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), was awarded The Secretary's Distinguished Service Award by the Secretary of Energy earlier this year.

New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive

Geothermal energy, a clean, renewable source of energy produced by the heat of the earth, provides about 6 percent of California's total power. That number could be much higher if associated costs were lower. Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two California Energy Commission-funded projects aimed at making geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate.

Southern Research Project Advances Novel CO2 Utilization Strategy

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy has awarded Southern Research nearly $800,000 for a project that targets a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method of producing some of the most important chemicals used in manufacturing.

Harker School Wins 2017 SLAC Regional Science Bowl Competition

After losing its first match of the day to the defending champions, The Harker School's team won 10 consecutive rounds to claim victory in the annual SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Francis Alexander Named Deputy Director of Brookhaven Lab's Computational Science Initiative

Alexander brings extensive management and leadership experience in computational science research to the position.


High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.

Modeling the "Flicker" of Gluons in Subatomic Smashups

A new model identifies a high degree of fluctuations in the glue-like particles that bind quarks within protons as essential to explaining proton structure.

Rare Nickel Atom Has "Doubly Magic" Structure

Supercomputing calculations confirm that rare nickel-78 has unusual structure, offering insights into supernovas.

Microbial Activity in the Subsurface Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Natural carbon dioxide production from deep subsurface soils contributes significantly to emissions, even in a semiarid floodplain.

Stretching a Metal Into an Insulator

Straining a thin film controllably allows tuning of the materials' magnetic, electronic, and catalytic properties, essential for new energy and electronic devices.

How Moisture Affects the Way Soil Microbes Breathe

Study models soil-pore features that hold or release carbon dioxide.

ARM Data Is for the Birds

Scientists use LIDAR and radar data to study bird migration patterns, thanks to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility.

The Future of Coastal Flooding

Better storm surge prediction capabilities could help reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes.

Estimating Global Energy Use for Water-Related Processes

Scientists find that water-related energy consumption is increasing across the globe, with pronounced differences across regions and sectors.


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Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

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Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

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Friday January 27, 2017, 04:00 PM

Haslam Visits ORNL to Highlight State's Role in Discovering Tennessine

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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

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More Than 12,000 Explore Jefferson Lab During April 30 Open House

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NMSU Undergrad Tackles 3D Particle Scattering Animations After Receiving JSA Research Assistantship

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Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

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Capturing Clouds for LASSO Leads to New Radar Techniques

Article ID: 666396

Released: 2016-12-13 10:05:29

Source Newsroom: Department of Energy, Office of Science

  • Credit: ARM

    Scanning radars, like these, are an important component of the ARM Facility.

  • Credit: ARM

    Measurements and models work together at the Southern Great Plains atmospheric observatory through the LASSO project.

The ARM Climate Research Facility has some of the best instruments in the world for measuring atmospheric properties, but achieving the highest-quality results requires knowing the optimal way to use them. In a recent paper, a research team used ARM data to optimize radar measurements and accompanying models. The work was heavily inspired by ARM’s Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) ARM Symbiotic Simulation and Observation (LASSO) project, and included modelers and observationalists working together to the benefit of both.

Published in Geophysical Research Letters, “Estimation of cloud fraction profile in shallow convection using a scanning cloud radar” details some of the problems inherent in measuring shallow convective clouds with radars and proposes a methodology to address the issues. The paper uses data from the Southern Great Plains atmospheric observatory and is also the first publication to use data from LASSO, which released a set of initial results in July.

Bouncing Radar Waves on Water Droplets

Being able to accurately estimate and represent shallow convection is important, as it plays a key role between the boundary layer and free atmosphere, and also affects incoming shortwave radiation. Most meteorological models don’t “zoom in” enough to catch all the detail, but pairing LES with accompanying measurements—like LASSO—can provide the necessary information.

Getting those measurements can be difficult, though. “In a sense, LASSO wants information about the clouds that is not derived by single point (profiling) measurements, but rather derived from a large volume of data,” co-author Pavlos Kollias, Stony Brook University and leader of the ARM radar science group, said. “This suggests the use of scanning sensors like radars and lidars and led to our recent paper.”

Using scanning radars doesn’t come without its own challenges. The ability of the radar to detect clouds weakens with range causing the radar to underestimate the cloud cover farther away from its position.

“The radar sends out radio waves, and those have to bounce off of water particles in the air to generate a return,” co-author and LASSO principal investigator Bill Gustafson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, explained. “For these small clouds, sometimes there just isn’t enough moisture to get an accurate measurement.”

The paper outlines the problem of weakening radar signal and then proposes an optimal method for scanning to compensate for it. “It’s really making the most of these instruments and accounting for clouds that they can barely see,” Gustafson said.

The technique is a general one, so while it was evaluated at SGP, it could benefit scanning radars anywhere.

Models Improving Measurements, Measurements Improving Models

“I think this is the first of many studies that will challenge the representativeness of profiling observations for studying broken cumulus clouds. ARM already had the foresight to develop a megasite at the SGP to address these cloud sampling issues,” Kollias said, but he didn’t want to lose sight of the big picture.

“In a broader sense, the LASSO project literally acts as a lasso (restrainer). The LASSO project provided a detailed list of measurements required to accomplish the modeling objectives, which subsequently brought discipline to the ARM observationalists and forced us to think in a creative way how to best address and satisfy the modeling needs in terms of measurements.”

LASSO provides the data needed to compare models to measurements, making it easier to work between the two areas. “It’s helpful for radar scientists to be able to just ask for a simulation over a certain time period,” Gustafson said, and similarly modelers can access quality measurements.

“This is the first time that a large observational program, like ARM, supports its own large, systematic modeling activity,” Kollias added. “This automatically generates a closed loop between modeling, theory and observations, accelerating the dialogue between modeling needs and observational capabilities and limitations.”

Even though LASSO’s first release was only a few months ago, work is already being done that shows its value. This first paper will be one of many research projects to come out of and benefit from ARM’s innovative pairing of modeling and measurements.

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The ARM Climate Research Facility is a national scientific user facility funded through the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. The ARM Facility is operated by nine Department of Energy national laboratories, including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which manages ARM's radar facilities.