NOAA’s Global Systems Laboratory Welcomes Dr. DaNa Carlis As New Deputy Director

BOULDER, CO — DaNa L. Carlis, Ph.D., joined GSL as the Deputy Director in September 2020. He comes to GSL from the NOAA Weather Program Office (WPO), where he established the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC) Program. DaNa enjoys working between science, policy, and society to ensure better products and services for the American people. He is also passionate about leadership, diversity, and inclusion, and mentoring the next generation of scientists.

“I couldn’t be more grateful and excited to join GSL because of its focus on applied research and development, advanced technologies, and transitioning and improving research-to-operations with the National Weather Service (NWS). GSL aligns perfectly with my desire to provide better products and services to the American people. I’ve always wanted to do research that impacts people’s lives, and GSL is a premier NOAA research laboratory that provides innovative tools and services that lead to better decisions and ultimately save lives,” said Carlis. “As the GSL’s Deputy Director, I am committed to bringing strong leadership and listening skills along with a creative mind to continue to advance the GSL mission. In addition, I plan to continue to uphold GSL’s scientific prowess, which is displayed in our cutting-edge research portfolio that is widely recognized by the Weather Enterprise.”

DaNa attended Howard University in Washington, DC, and earned his B.S. degree in Chemistry (1999), and an M.S. (2002) and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science (2007) as a graduate student of the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Science and Meteorology (NCAS-M). In 2002, DaNa accepted a fellowship from the NOAA Office of Education Educational Partnership Program (EPP) as a member of the Graduate Sciences Program and completed his M.S thesis research at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) conducting an analysis of SO2 cross-sections for the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) satellite. He completed his Ph.D. dissertation on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, titled “Numerical Simulations of Island-Scale Airflow and the Maui Vortex Under Summer Trade-wind Conditions.” DaNa was the second male to receive a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences since Howard’s inception in 1867.

Dr. DaNa Carlis

DaNa credits NCAS-M and NOAA’s Educational Partnership Program/Minority-Serving Institution EPP/MSI Program for allowing him to pursue what he loves and providing a pathway to federal employment. DaNa has held positions at the NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) as a research meteorologist working on NOAA’s Global Forecast System (GFS) Model (2007-2014), and as a policy advisor to NOAA’s Chief Scientist and NOAA’s Assistant Secretary of Environmental Observations and Prediction (2014-2016). DaNa is a graduate of NOAA’s Leadership Competency Development Program (LCDP) Class IX where he learned a great leadership lesson that’s been his mantra for the last few years and that’s to work in an environment where he’s comfortably uncomfortable.

DaNa is originally from Tulsa, OK. In his spare time, he enjoys cheering for his favorite sports team, the Oklahoma Sooners, mentoring boys from underrepresented communities that come from single-parent households, and traveling the world with his family. In 2016, he wrote a children’s book titled “MIT: Meteorologist in Training” and he’s published peer-reviewed papers. DaNa is married to Dr. Lydia Carlis, and they have a daughter, Dia Dannielle, who is a senior at Georgia State University. — bt

Source and photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Cover photo (above): Dr. DaNa Carlis keynotes BDPA’s 2019 annual Regional Earth Day Tech Summit
with Jr. Devs (coders and developers) and Regional High School Coding Competition (HSCC) finalists

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SpaceX crew docks after historic commercial transportation launch with NASA

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HAWTHORNE, CA — Space Exploration Technologies Corp., trading as SpaceX, is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company founded in 2002 by Elon Musk.  Musk, also the CEO of Tesla, set a goal of reducing space transportation costs enabling the colonization of Mars.

nasa-spacex-crew_2020-demo2Today’s successful docking of SpaceX’s Dragon Endeavour spacecraft with the International Space Station (ISS), crewed by NASA astronauts (L-R) Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, is another major milestone for Demo-2’s historic mission.

The spacecraft launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center Saturday, May 30. The mission is the first time astronauts have launched from American soil since the final Space Shuttle flight in 2011.

Discover more in the June 2020 edition of bdpatodayThe mission is also the first time a private company, rather than a national government, has sent NASA astronauts into orbit. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying crews to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station. Commercial transportation to and from the station will provide expanded utility, additional research time and broader opportunities for discovery on the orbiting laboratory.

The station is a critical testbed for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflight. As commercial companies focus on providing human transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA is freed up to focus on building spacecraft and rockets for deep space missions.

NASA-commcrew

The Commercial Crew Program represents a revolutionary approach to government and commercial collaborations for the advancement of space exploration.

— Sources and photos: NASA and SpaceX

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NOAA predicts near-normal 2019 Atlantic hurricane season

Silver Spring, MD—NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting that a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year. This outlook forecasts a 40% chance of a near-normal season, a 30% chance of an above-normal season and a 30% chance of a below-normal season. The hurricane season officially extends from June 1st to November 30th.

For 2019, NOAA predicts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

A graphic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms.

“With the 2019 hurricane season upon us, NOAA is leveraging cutting-edge tools to help secure Americans against the threat posed by hurricanes and tropical cyclones across both the Atlantic and Pacific,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Throughout hurricane season, dedicated NOAA staff will remain on alert for any danger to American lives and communities.”

This outlook reflects competing climate factors. The ongoing El Nino is expected to persist and suppress the intensity of the hurricane season. Countering El Nino is the expected combination of warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and an enhanced west African monsoon, both of which favor increased hurricane activity.

“New satellite data and other upgrades to products and services from NOAA enable a more Weather-Ready Nation by providing the public and decision makers with the information needed to take action before, during, and after a hurricane,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator.

The 2019 hurricane season marks the first time NOAA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites includes three operational next-generation satellites. Unique and valuable data from these satellites feed the hurricane forecast models used by forecasters to help users make critical decisions days in advance

NOAA’s National Weather Service is making a planned upgrade to its Global Forecast System (GFS) flagship weather model – often called the American model – early in the 2019 hurricane season. This marks the first major upgrade to the dynamical core of the model in almost 40 years and will improve tropical cyclone track and intensity forecasts. “NOAA is driving towards a community-based development program for future weather and climate modeling to deliver the very best forecasts, by leveraging new investments in research and working with the weather enterprise,” added Jacobs.

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and NWS office in San Juan will expand the coastal storm surge watches and warnings in 2019 to include Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, NHC will display excessive rainfall outlooks on its website, providing greater visibility of one of the most dangerous inland threats from hurricanes.

Also, this season, NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft will collect higher-resolution data from upgraded onboard radar systems. These enhanced observations will be transmitted in near-real time to hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center and forecasters at NWS Weather Forecast Offices.

A graphic showing 2019 Atlantic tropical cyclone names selected by the World Meteorological Organization.

In addition to the Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern and central Pacific basins. A 70% chance of an above-normal season is predicted for both the eastern and central Pacific regions. The eastern Pacific outlook calls for a 70% probability of 15 to 22 named storms, of which 8 to 13 are expected to become hurricanes, including 4 to 8 major hurricanes. The central Pacific outlook calls for a 70% probability of 5 to 8 tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes.

NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. Hurricane preparedness is critically important for the 2019 hurricane season, just as it is every year. Visit the National Hurricane Center’s website at hurricanes.gov throughout the season to stay current on any watches and warnings.

“Preparing ahead of a disaster is the responsibility of all levels of government, the private sector, and the public,” said Daniel Kaniewski, Ph.D., FEMA deputy administrator for resilience. “It only takes one event to devastate a community so now is the time to prepare. Do you have cash on hand? Do you have adequate insurance, including flood insurance? Does your family have communication and evacuation plans? Stay tuned to your local news and download the FEMA app to get alerts, and make sure you heed any warnings issued by local officials.”

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the 2019 Atlantic seasonal outlook in August just prior to the historical peak of the season.

Source: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Top photo: bdpatoday

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Coders discuss models and forecasts with NOAA during annual Earth Day Tech Summit

WASHINGTON—BDPA’s annual Earth Day Tech Summit, #CyberEarth19, was presented in Washington, D.C. to Industry, BDPA Members, Student Members, parents, and regional high school coding competition (HSCC) team leaders (cover photo) during Earth Day weekend.

This year’s tech summit special guest was Dr. DaNa L. Carlis from the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Dr. Carlis is a meteorologist and mathematician serving as a Program Manager at NOAA’s Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ). During one of the event’s Industry Day sessions, Dr. Carlis highlighted missions of NOAA’s “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft with footage from recent flights. He also discussed the roles of drones and new Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) systems to support meteorological research, capture weather forecasting data, and how supercomputers are used to advance weather modeling and simulations.

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At OWAQ, Dr. Carlis manages the Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs) and Next Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS) programs. Dr. Carlis enjoys the fact that he’s able to work between science, policy, and society to ensure better products and services to the American people.

BDPA-DC HSCC training during Eargh Day Tech SummitDuring the event’s training sessions, Dr. Carlis met with BDPA Student Members, gamers, and graphic designers from the Host Chapter’s bdpatoday and PTTV multimedia teams. National BDPA’s HSCC was launched in 1986. Local BDPA Chapters conduct training programs designed to share industry trends with parents and expose youth to emerging concepts of computers and technology to provide expertise for software and application development. BDPA Chapters also participate in regional coding and cyber competitions throughout the country to further prepare participating students. BDPA Chapters send one (1) team of 3 to 5 students to annual National BDPA Technology Conferences to compete against teams from other BDPA Chapters for scholarships and internships.

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Event/Photo gallery: https://bdpadc.org
Earth Day summit archives: https://www.pinterest.com/bdpatoday/boards/
-— Source: BDPADC

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Know how to read a map? Industry prepares for April’s GPS Rollover event

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WASHINGTON—The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a global public service provided by the U.S. government. On April 6, 2019, there will be an event affecting the electric transmission and distribution system that has industry concerned about the potential for a major disruption.  During the Week Number rollover of the Global Positioning System (GPS), the week number that uses the 10-bit binary system will reach its limit of 1,024 weeks and will be forced to roll over and be reset to week 0.

US Air Force Space Systems Operations photoU.S. Air Force photo

DHS Memo
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a memorandum about this year’s GPS rollover event.The memorandum, 
U.S. Owners and Operators Using GPS to Obtain Time, is intended to provide an understanding of the possible effects of the April 6, 2019, GPS Week Number Rollover on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) derived from GPS devices. DHS recommends critical infrastructure (CI), other owners, and operators prepare for the rollover.

Owners, operators, and technical teams should:

  • investigate and understand all possible dependencies on GPS for obtaining UTC
  • contact original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and GPS manufacturers of devices currently in inventory (or backorder) used to obtain UTC
  • understand each manufacturers’ preparedness for this rollover
  • for continuity of operations, understand all actions required by CI, other owners, and operators to ensure proper operations through any rollover or possible service disruptions
  • ensure ALL firmware of such devices are patched correctly, tested, and up to date.

Marine Administrative Message
Marine Corps CIO, Brigadier General Lorna Mahlock (center)In January, the United States Marine Corps issued MARADMIN 059/19 advising Marine Corps Global Positioning System (GPS) users about the GPS week number rollover event that may affect GPS receiver operation. The Corps’ MARADMIN directed all Marine Corps GPS users to verify that all of their receivers are running software that will correctly increment the date through the week rollover, contact Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA) if necessary, or directly contact original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) when applicable. MARADMIN 059/19’s release was authorized by Brigadier General Lorna M. Mahlock (above, center), the Marine Corps’ CIO and Director, Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4).

The Power Grid
It may seem odd that the stationary electric grid relies so heavily on GPS, but in fact, GPS supports a wide variety of critical grid functions that allow separate components on the electric system to work in unison.  This is made possible because the GPS signal contains a running timestamp that identifies the current week and current second within that week, which is converted by the signal receiver to the proper date and time which we recognize as day, month, year, and time of day.

For our Coders, Geeks, and Nerds
The initial week 0 started on January 6, 1980, and the first week rollover occurred a few months before “Y2K” on August 21, 1999.  However, a lot has changed on the electric grid since the last rollover such as the addition of Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) requirements of synchronizing sequence of event, fault, and dynamic disturbance recording. Synchrophasors, which use systems of phasor measurement units (PMUs) to measure data and time-synchronize it using GPS satellites, provide system operators with a near real-time snapshot of the grid’s operating status.  These changes to grid technology and functions have brought tremendous new insights to manage and assess the bulk power system, but they also open the door to a concern in the industry that the GPS week rollover could impact an operator’s ability to accurately assess grid reliability conditions in real-time.

Updating GPS firmware and patching GPS software
Similar to the MARADMIN cited above, the good news across industry is many signal receiver manufacturers understand the rollover very well and already have prepared for it.  As a result, most of our equipment should operate without any issues on April 6, 2019.  However, now is the time to make sure that all equipment in the field or vehicles in the fleet have received the proper firmware updates.  Operators also must be taking extra care to address core components where any prolonged GPS outages would significantly have negative impacts on systems.

Original article written by Michael Pesin, DOE’s Office of Electricity
— Sources: DHS.gov, Energy.gov. and GPS.gov
Images: U.S Air Force, Ford, NASA, and US. Marine Corps

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Youth STEM Summit & Regional HSCC

May 4th, 2019 | Bowie State University

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NOAA retires storms named Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate

WASHINGTON — Due to the extensive damage caused in the United States and Caribbean last year, the World Meteorological Organization’s Region IV Hurricane Committee has officially retired these names. Storm names are retired if they were so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive – otherwise names are reused by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center on a six-year cycle.

The committee also selected the replacement names for Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate with Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel respectively that will first appear in the 2023 list of storm names.

Including these four additions, there have been 86 names retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named. The 2005 hurricane season has the most retired names (five) for one season.

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During #CYBEREARTH17, Dr. Dana Carlis (above) of NOAA shared new weather satellite capabilities with BDPA Members and Students during 2017’s Earth Day Tech Summit presentation. Photo © 2017 bdpatoday.
fema-cio-in3
Adrian Gardner (above), Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shares his agency’s mission, disaster recovery/continuity of operations (DR/COOP) initiatives, the role of “low-tech” during emergencies, and Agency success stories with small business executives and BDPA mission partners during last spring’s 2017 CYBEREARTH17 tech summit. Photo © 2017 bdpatoday

Summary of the newly retired storms

Hurricane Harvey became a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale before making landfall along the middle Texas coast on Aug. 25. The storm then stalled, with its center remaining over or near the Texas coast for four days, dropping historic rainfall amounts, of up to five feet, causing catastrophic flooding in parts of southeastern Texas. Harvey is the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history (after inflation), behind only Katrina in 2005. At least 68 people died from the direct effects of the storm in Texas, the largest number in that state since 1919.

GOES-16 captured this geocolor image of Hurricane Harvey making landfall on the Texas coast at approximately 10:00 pm CDT on August 25, 2017. Harvey's maximum sustained winds were near 130 mph, making it a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
GOES-16 captured this geocolor image of Hurricane Harvey making landfall on the Texas coast at approximately 10:00 pm CDT on August 25, 2017. Harvey’s maximum sustained winds were near 130 mph, making it a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. (NOAA)

Hurricane Irma was a long-lived hurricane that reached category 5 intensity on Sept. 5. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands. Irma made landfall as a category 4 hurricane in the Florida Keys on Sept. 10 and struck southwestern Florida as a category 3 the same day. Irma caused 44 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf. In the U.S., seven direct deaths were reported, and an additional 85 indirect deaths occurred, 80 of which were in Florida. Hundreds more were injured preparing for the storm, during it or in its aftermath.

Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Dominica as a category 5 on Sept. 19, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane. It also inflicted serious damage on some of the other islands of the northeastern Caribbean Sea. Maria is the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history, behind Harvey and Katrina. Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, which includes an unknown number of indirect deaths.

Hurricane Nate crossed northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras as a tropical storm, then made landfall on the northern Gulf Coast as a category 1 hurricane. It brought rainfall that caused significant impacts in Central America, where media reports indicate that these caused 44 deaths in the region. An additional fatality in Panama was due to a “shipwreck,” bringing the death toll directly associated with Nate to 45. An additional nine people were missing in the region.

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is a member of the World Meteorological Organization’s Region IV Hurricane Committee, and is responsible for issuing tropical cyclone forecasts and warnings for both the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins.

Source and photos:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency

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NASA readies next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) for NOAA

Significant weather forecasting improvements
with new Technical innovations on board

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—The new generation GOES-R satellites will carry significant improvements and technology innovation on board. GOES-R will be able to deliver a full globe scan in only 5 minutes, compared to the 25 minutes needed for the same task with the current GOES satellites. GOES-R’s lightning mapper instrument is expected to improve warning lead time for severe storms and tornadoes by 50%.

The following new capabilities without a doubt will more accurately predict severe weather in advance and help save more lives.

  • 16-Channel imager
  • Resolution four-times greater than current imagery
  • Automated mapping of solar activity
  • Improved hurricane tracking
  • Real-time mapping of lightning
  • Volcanic cloud and fog detection
NASA-GOES-c5
Above, GOES-R, the first satellite in a series of next-generation NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, arrives at Kennedy Space Center this week aboard a U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy cargo jet. These satellites, once launched, will provide significant enhancements for weather forecasters at the National Weather Service, giving them the ability to observe the Western Hemisphere in near-real time.
—NASA photo
Cover photo:  Harris Corp—new ground segment antenna for GOES


Related video (for parents and students):
Al Roker’s exclusive behind-the-scenes GOES satellite reveal:
http://www.nbcnews.com/widget/video-embed/750319683850

Related archived articles:
See NOAA, NASA, and “Big Data and Predictive Analytics” (B.D.P.A.), on page 21 of your June 2013 edition of bdpatoday
https://bdpatoday.org/13/JUN13-Newsletter_Final.pdf 

See “Safety before the Storm” on page 18 of your June 2011 edition of bdpatoday
https://bdpatoday.org/11/JUN11-Newsletter_Final.pdf 

Discover more at NASA.gov

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