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ATMOS Briefing - November 2020 Issue

For inquiries about the UIUC Atmospheric Sciences briefing, contact Rebekka Delaney. (rebekka2@illinois.edu) 

Notes from the Head

Last week I made the exciting announcement that the “Doppler on Wheels (DOW) mobile radar and instrumentation facility has joined the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.” I’m sure you have many questions about what exactly this means for the department and university. So, I’ve included below my answers to questions recently posed by Kimberly Wilson, a news writer for the College of LAS Office of Communications and Marketing. I hope these are helpful, but I also encourage you to call or email me if you have additional questions about this tremendous addition to ATMS!

  • What equipment is included in the new Doppler on Wheels (DOW) mobile radar and instrumentation facility?

The facility includes: Three  truck-mounted  X-band  radars (called the “Doppler on Wheels”, or DOWs), a truck-mounted C-band radar (called the “C-band on Wheels”, or COW), three vehicles equipped with meteorological sensors for observing meteorological  conditions near the ground,  three weather  balloon launch systems, a mobile coordination center, and miscellaneous other ground-based meteorological sensors.

  • What is the significance of this addition to the department?

It’s transformative! It’s unmatched! At no other university do students and faculty have access to cutting-edge meteorological resources of this scope. Indeed, equipment normally reserved for special, organized field campaigns is now at our ready disposal for instructional use in classes, demonstrations to schools and the community, impromptu deployments to sample a rare weather event, and planned, longer-term deployments to collect data for hypothesis testing. We’re also excited to begin exploring other uses of the facility such as with private industry.

  • How will this facility be utilized? Will it be housed on campus?

Once we identify appropriate garage space (and the COVID-19 restrictions ease), some of the equipment will be housed in Champaign-Urbana. When not in use for field campaigns or for outreach activities, the remainder of the equipment will be based in Boulder, Colorado, where the support and maintenance crew resides.

  • What kind of new research projects will this facility aid?

In the past, the facility has been used for studies of tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe thunderstorms, and this type of research will continue into the future. For example, Adjunct Prof. Karen Kosiba, Prof. Steve Nesbitt and I are PIs of a proposed multi-institutional field campaign that aims to better understand tornado formation within lines of thunderstorms known as quasi-linear convective systems. ATMS faculty are also using facility data for research on snowfall generation in association with the Rocky Mountains as well as the Great Lakes, and future research on the latter topic is planned. Other projects discussed by the ATMS faculty include a deployment of the DOWs to Chicago to study urban effects on precipitation. We look forward to exploring the collaborative use of the facility by other faculty and scientists across campus.

  • How will undergraduate and graduate students benefit from this facility?

We will incorporate the use of the radars and the other instrumentation into our undergraduate and graduate classes, which will allow the students to gain unique, hands-on experience with the equipment. Both within and outside of these classes, we will also be encouraging the students to develop field deployment plans so that they can pursue collaborative research interests. Finally, because the equipment is frequently used in domestic as well as international field campaigns that require student operators and assistance, our students will be presented with new opportunities for field-campaign participation. These are life-changing experiences, resulting in the establishment of peer and professional networks, unique training toward future employment, and exposure to different cultures and people with diverse backgrounds.    

  • How much did the new facility cost? How did the department raise funding for the facility?

The department doesn’t actually own the multi-million dollar facility, but instead has acquired it through a long-term contract. The contract is currently financed through internal departmental funds, but soon will be supported through external research grants through the National Science Foundation, other government agencies, and hopefully private industry usage and sponsorship.

  • How will the facility aid with outreach and inclusion efforts in the department?

The facility has a long history of outreach events ranging from single-day demonstrations at K-12 schools, to multi-week educational deployments at colleges and universities across the country. We are excited to continue these types of events, but additionally are now planning new activities such as locally-based summer academies for underserved undergraduates in the tri-state region, and similar institutes at Tribal Colleges and Universities.

- Department Head Jeff Trapp


Carroll-Smith, D., R. J. Trapp, and J. M. Done, 2020: Exploring inland tropical cyclone rainfall and
tornadoes under future climate conditions through a case study of Hurricane Ivan, J. Appl. Meteor.
Climatol, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-20-0090.1 

Dutta, S., L. Di Girolamo, S. Dey, Y. Zhan, C.M. Moroney, and G. Zhao, 2020: The reduction in near-global cloud cover after correcting for biases caused by finite resolution measurement. Geophys. Res. Lett, 47, e2020GL090313. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090313.

Pal, S., F. Dominguez, M. E. Dillon, J. Alvarez, C. M. Garcia, S. W. Nesbitt, and D. Gochis, 2020: Hydrometeorological Observations and Modeling of an Extreme Rainfall Event using WRF and WRF-Hydro during the RELAMPAGO Field Campaign in Argentina. J. Hydrometeor., https://doi.org/10.1175/JHM-D-20-0133.1.

Zaremba, T. J., R.M. Rauber, G.M. McFarquhar, M. Hayman, J.A. Finlon, and D.M. Stechman, 2020: Phase Characterization of Cold Sector Southern Ocean Cloud Tops: Results from SOCRATES. J. Geophys. Res.: Atmospheres, in press, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JD033673.


Di Girolamo, L., et al., 2020: “Radiation Focus Area Overview”, NASA CAMP2Ex Science Team Meeting, November 4 – 6, Virtual.

Di Girolamo, L., et al., 2020: “CAMP2Ex Campaign Overview and Terra Data Fusion”, MODIS Science Team Meeting, November 16-19, Virtual.

Dominguez, F., 2020: “‘Beating’ of the Amazon: The Diurnal Cycle of Amazonian Hydroclimate”. Department of Earth and Environmental Science. University of Pennsylvania. November 6, 2020.

Dominguez, F., 2020: “‘Beating’ of the Amazon: The Diurnal Cycle of Amazonian Hydroclimate”. George Mason University Climate Dynamics Program Seminar. October 14, 2020.

Fu, D., et al., 2020: “An Examination of Cloud Heterogeneity Effects on Bi-Spectral Retrievals of Droplet Effective Radius of Warm Clouds from Airborne and Spaceborne Platforms during CAMP2Ex and its impact on Aerosol-Cloud Interaction Relationships.” NASA CAMP2Ex Science Team Meeting, November 4 – 6, Virtual.

Hong, Y., et al., 2020: “Cirrus Properties from Surface, Air, and Space during CAMP2Ex”. NASA CAMP2Ex Science Team Meeting, November 4 – 6, Virtual.

Kristovich, D., 2020: "In Situ Observations of Clouds and Snow in Lake-effect Snow Storms", University of Wisconsin - Madison Climate, People and the Environment Program Seminar Series, Madison, WI, 12 October 2020 (presented remotely).

Lasher-Trapp, S., 2020: "Entrainment in a Simulated Supercell Thunderstorm", 73rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, Virtual Conference, Nov 23 2020.

Loveridge, J., et al., 2020: “PYSHDOM: A New Tool for Cloud Retrievals using 3D Radiative Transfer with Applications to CAMP2Ex”. NASA CAMP2Ex Science Team Meeting, November 4 – 6, Virtual.

Mitra, A., et al., 2020: “A Closer Look at the Stereo-Opacity Bias in Cloud Top Heights using CAMP2Ex Data.” NASA CAMP2Ex Science Team Meeting, November 4 – 6, Virtual

Wang, Z., D.E. Miller., R.J. Trapp, and D.S. Harnos, 2020: “Hybrid Prediction of Weekly Tornado Activity out to Week 3: Utilizing Weather Regimes”, Weeks 3-4/S2S Webinar Series by the OAR and NWS.

Wang, Z., G. Zhang, T. Dunkerton, and F. Jin, 2020: “Summertime Stationary Waves Integrate Tropical and Extratropical Impacts on Tropical Cyclone Activity”, the 45th Climate Diagnostics & Prediction Workshop

Wang, Z., J. Ye, T. Jensen, D. Miller, W. Li, 2020: “Process-oriented Model Diagnostics for Extended Range Forecasts: A Preliminary Evaluation of the GEFSv12 Reforecasts”, International Verification Methods Workshop (2020-IVMW).

Wuebbles, D., 2020: “The Earth’s Changing Climate: A View from Central Illinois”, Mahomet Rotary, invited speaker, November 11, 2020.

Wuebbles, D., 2020: “Flying into the Stratosphere: An Update. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)”, Meeting of the Impacts and Science Group (ISG), November 13, 2020.

Awards and Activities

Francina Dominguez co-chaired the GEWEX Hydroclimatology Panel (GHP) Annual Meeting. November 2020.

Francina Dominguez participated in the WCRP Lighthouse Activity 'My Climate Risk' Science Plan Development Team. November 2020.

Nicole Riemer organized Virtual Aerosol Lectures, Fall 2020.

    - Lecture 3 by Vishal Verma, UIUC, Nov 4: "Fundamentals of Aerosol and ROS/ Oxidative Potential measurements”

    - Lecture 4 by Murray Johnston, Univ. of Delaware, Nov 11: "Particle growth and SOA formation”

    - Lecture 5 by Delphine Farmer, Colorado State Univ., Nov 18: "Particle dry deposition: What? Why? Where? How?”

Larry Di Girolamo was on the organizing committee for NASA's CAMP2Ex Science Team Meeting, which took place virtually from November 4 to 6, 2020.

Rose Miller talked about CAMP2Ex research in this NASA outreach video for the CAMP2Ex field campaign: https://youtu.be/PrREKBiCVW8.

Outreach Activities

Don Wuebbles was interviewed and featured in many articles published by Washington Post, New York Times, E&E News, Associated Press, and many others.

Seminar Schedule

12/8 - Matt ParkerNorth Carolina State University

December / January Birthdays


Graduate Students:


Holly Mallinson

Matthew Woods

Michael Rehnberg

Prateek Sharma

Jiacheng Ye


Divyansh Chug

Calvin Elkins

Rose Miller

Tzu-Shun Lin

Lina Rivelli Zea

Jeff Thayer



Ryan Sriver

Don Wuebbles

Contact Us At

PHONE: 217-333-2046


EMAIL: atmos-sci@mx.uillinois.edu 


WEBPAGE: www.atmos.illinois.edu 



Department of Atmospheric Sciences, 3070 Natural History Building, 1301 West Green St. MC-104, Urbana, IL 61801