Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Highlights of CIRES Science at AGU 2019

Every year, more than 200 CIRES scientists and colleagues present important work during the AGU Fall Meeting. This year's highlights follow, organized by day. These highlights do not necessarily reflect the importance of the science; rather, they reflect talks, posters and discussions likely to be of interest to a broad scientific audience. 

Click for daily highlights:

Monday, 9 December

View Agenda


Times and locations as indicated below

The BB-FLUX project: How much fuel goes up in smoke?

CIRES Fellow Rainer Volkamer will discuss the BB-FLUX project—aimed at better understanding U.S. wildfire emissions, a poorly characterized source of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols that can affect air quality and climate. Volkamer
will touch on new approaches that use remote-sensing and in-situ data to inform two questions: how much fuel goes up in smoke? And what are the major uncertainties with predicting these emissions?

Rainer M Volkamer, CIRES and CU Boulder
08:45 - 09:00 • Moscone West - 3006, L3 • A11D-04

Global impacts of biomass burning on ozone in the remote troposphere

CIRES/NOAA researcher Ilann Bourgeois and team used measurements from the NASA Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission to investigate the impact of biomass burning (BB) on global-scale O3 distribution in the remote, pristine atmosphere. The team found that even in the Northern Hemisphere, where the vast majority of anthropogenic O3 precursors’ emissions are concentrated, BB contributes at least as much to O3 enhancements in the remote troposphere as urban pollution does.

Ilann Bourgeois, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
09:00 - 09:15 • Moscone West - 3006, L3 • A11D-06

The rapid expansion of Greenland’s low-permeability ice slabs, their dichotomous relationship with firn aquifers,
and the uncertain hydrologic future of Greenland’s interior ice

CIRES’ Michael MacFerrin will discuss the rapid expansion of Greenland’s “ice slabs,” which are thick, frozen slabs inside Greenland’s ice sheet that formed in recent decades from increasing amounts of meltwater that refreeze in Greenland’s porous snow. These meters-thick layers of solid ice block the ability for snow to absorb any more meltwater, and thus enhance runoff into the ocean—which is raising global sea levels.

Michael MacFerrin, CIRES and CU Boulder
09:30 - 09:45 • Moscone West - 2008, L2 • C11A-07

Press Conference: Explaining extreme events of 2018 from a climate perspective

Panelists: Jeff Rosenfeld (American Meteorological Society) , Stephanie Herring (NOAA), Walt Meier (National Snow and Ice Data Center, CIRES/University of Colorado Boulder), Chris Funk (U.S. Geological Survey and University of California, Santa Barbara)

11:00 • Moscone South, third floor, room 310-312

Can seafloor voltage cables be used to study large scale transport? An investigation in the Pacific Ocean

CIRES’ Neesha Schnepf is exploring the potential of using retired seafloor telecommunication cables in the Pacific Ocean to study large-scale ocean circulation. These cables pick up on marine electromagnetic signals that correlate with oceanic transport, Earth’s main magnetic field, and seawater electrical conductivity—so in theory, they can also be used to monitor ocean currents. Schnepf will discuss the challenges and hopeful potential of using these voltage cables to monitor oceanic transport across wide oceanic areas.

Neesha Schnepf, CIRES and CU Boulder
11:05 - 11:20 • Moscone West - 2000, L2 • OS12A-04

Ozone production in the Soberanes smoke haze: impact on air quality in the San Joaquin Valley during the California Baseline Ozone Transport Study

When the Soberanes Fire in Big Sur, California, burned more than 132,000 acres in 2016, it damaged more than forest, it impacted air quality in the San Joaquin Valley. Using data collected that summer during an intense air quality study of the
region, scientists estimated the fire caused a 20-40 ppbv increase ozone levels in late July, when the air quality in the region was the worst that year (101 ppbv ozone, measured as an 8-hour average).

Andrew Langford, NOAA Boulder with CIRES and other co-authors
11:20 - 11:35 • Moscone West - 3006, L3 • A12D-05


08:00 - 12:20 Moscone South - Poster Hall

The structure and dynamics of the middle corona observed by the GOES Solar Ultraviolet Imager, SH11C-3407

A series of new satellite campaigns using NOAA’s GOES Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) have shed new light on the nature of the sun’s middle corona, a region that’s extremely challenging to observe. CIRES/NOAA scientist Dan Seaton will discuss the team’s observations and how they might help scientists better understand the solar corona and produce more accurate space weather forecasts. He will also discuss upcoming missions to observe this region and the potential for breakthrough science
via coordinated campaigns with the Parker Solar Probe.

Daniel Seaton, CIRES and NOAA NCEI

Attributing marine stratocumulus cloud break-up timing to anthropogenic aerosols, A11L-2777

Marine stratocumulus clouds blanket much of Earth’s oceans, and are often shaped by air pollution from nearby land, which can prevent them from breaking up. CIRES/NOAA researcher Tom Goren and team used high resolution cloud simulations coupled with satellite observations to investigate the response of the marine stratocumulus clouds break-up time to air pollution particles. The team found that the more polluted the clouds, the later the cloud break-up occurs. This delay in cloud break-up time can significantly impact the planet’s energy budgets by increasing the coverage of cloudy skies.

Tom Goren, CIRES and NOAA Boulder

POPSnet – A spatially dense aerosol instrument network, A11S-2816

Fine particles in the atmosphere can degrade air quality and human health, and they can also affect climate, by absorbing or reflecting incoming radiation. Our scientific understanding of these particles’ impact is limited by sparse measurements of particle number and size. So NOAA and the Department of Energy have collaborated to set up a new suite of “POPs” instruments at DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement sites. The Portable Optical Particle Spectrometer network is running in seven sites so far, providing unprecedented data.

Elizabeth Asher, CIRES and NOAA Boulder


Emissions, transport, and chemistry of smoke from western U.S. wildfires

Air quality forecasts using regional chemical models provide key information for affected communities and smoke management efforts, yet many models fail to accurately predict ozone and particulate matter levels during fire events. Dr. Megan Bela and her team used aircraft, ground-based, and satellite observations to improve model ability to forecast air quality impacts from fires.

Megan Bela, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
16:30 - 16:45 • Moscone West - 3006, L3 • A14D-03

Comparison of measured and modeled ozone distributions over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from the ATom mission

The NASA Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) Mission has provided a large data set of atmospheric measurements over oceans around the globe. CIRES’ Eric Hintsa will discuss his team’s work to harness ATom measurements and models that predict
large-scale features in ozone. He will present data from all ATom deployments and explore the chemical relationships in models and aircraft data for ozone and related species such as NOx (NO + NO2) and CO.

Eric Hintsa, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
17:45 - 18:00 • Moscone West - 3008, L3 • A14B-08


13:40- 18:00 Moscone- South Poster Hall

Smokin’ chemistry under moonlight: Determining air quality and climate impacts from wildfire smoke requires an investigation of how smoke changes chemically, in the dark

Last year 8.8 million acres burned in the United States—and smoke from this biomass burning contains a complex mix of molecules and aerosols. CIRES’ Zachary Decker, who worked with others on the NASA/NOAA FIREX-AQ campaign, will discuss the team’s efforts to identify which compounds play important roles in the evolution of dark smoke chemistry, as well as understand the air quality/climate impacts of nighttime smoke plumes. 

Zachary Decker, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
16:00 - 18:00 • Moscone South - eLightning Theater II • U14C-12

HAPS (high altitude pseudo satellite) UAS for atmospheric research – demonstration and outlook, A13T-2987

High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) are an up-and-coming variety of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capable of staying aloft at high altitude for days, weeks, or even months at a time. NOAA’s Ru-Shan Gao will present the NOAA UAS Program Office’s upcoming two-year pilot project to harness this technology for atmospheric research—including scientific mission concepts that are uniquely suitable for the HAPS platform.

Ru-Shan Gao, NOAA Boulder with CIRES co-authors

Democratizing access to Earth data science skills using blended online and in-person approaches and open education, ED13D-0905

The wealth of freely available Earth data has led to an exploding demand for a data-capable workforce. CIRES’ Leah Wasser highlights the Earth Lab’s Earth Analytics program (CU Boulder)—an innovative model for teaching earth data science skills
to all students; undergraduate, graduate, professional, and self-paced learners. With cloud-based tools, open resources and easy remote access, we now serve more than 50,000 global monthly users, helping them develop the cutting edge data skills needed for careers in earth data science.

Leah Wasser, Earth Lab, CIRES and CU Boulder

Socio-environmental extremes: Rethinking extraordinary events as outcomes of interacting biophysical and social systems, NH13B-0819

Extreme weather events like floods and hurricanes are becoming increasingly frequent. These events are not isolated: they interact with each other, along with social/ecological vulnerability, to amplify impacts. CIRES fellow and CU Earth Lab director Jennifer Balch will discuss a future research agenda to identify where, when, and why communities may have high exposure and vulnerability to socio-environmental extremes—informing future mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Jennifer Balch, CIRES and CU Boulder

Tuesday, 10 December

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Press Workshop: A year on the ice: MOSAiC at three months

A German icebreaker has been frozen in Arctic sea ice near the North Pole for weeks now, after departing Norway in September. Hear some of the science, stories, and challenges from participants in one of the most ambitious research missions in the central Arctic.

Panelists: Stefanie Arndt, (Alfred Wegener Institut) Sally McFarlane (U.S. Department of Energy, Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility) Markus Rex (Alfred Wegener Institut) Matthew Shupe (CIRES/University of Colorado/NOAA) Melinda Webster (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

8:00 - 9:00 • Moscone South, third floor, room 310-312

A machine learning approach to forecasting solar radiation storms at Earth (Invited)

Solar radiation storms from the Sun can have impacts at Earth and the near space environment, damaging satellite electronics and posing a hazard for astronauts, for example. Physics-based models aren’t yet able to produce accurate and robust
real-time forecasts of these “proton events,” but an alternative machine-learning approach is showing promise. CIRES’ Hazel Bain discusses how she and her colleagues “trained” algorithms on a historical dataset of solar events to improve the model currently used by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center and better forecast these events. NASA also uses these models to improve solar radiation storm forecasting for the 2024 Artemis mission to the moon and future missions to Mars.

Hazel Bain, CIRES and NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center 08:30 - 08:45 • Moscone West - 2012, L2 • NG21A-03

Press Conference: 2019 NOAA Arctic Report Card

Panelists: Retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet (Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere) Matthew Druckenmiller (National Snow and Ice Data Center, CIRES and CU Boulder)
Donald Perovich (Dartmouth College)
Mellisa Johnson (Executive Director, Bering Sea Elders group)

11:00-12:00 • Moscone South, third floor, room 310-312

Very high resolution topography of coastal megacities for testing inundation scenarios

Coastal megacities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea level—yet the extent of future flooding at megacities remains hard to estimate, often because inundation studies are limited by lack of detailed topography information. CIRES fellow Mike Willis presents his team’s efforts to combine high-resolution topography from satellite imagery with sea-level models to examine the possible extent of coastal flooding in several of the world’s largest cities in the coming decades.

Michael Willis, CIRES and CU Boulder 11:20 - 11:35 • Moscone West - 2002, L2 • OS22A-05


08:00 - 12:20
Moscone South - Poster Hall

Visual communication in science: new ideas, best practices, great tools, awesome examples (eLightning session)

This eLightning session, led by CIRES’ Rick Saltus, will explore a broad set of tools, techniques, and technologies for infusing science data visualization into the scientific process itself, as well as communication about science results. Learn about emerging technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality, what makes graphics easy to understand and compelling, and how to incorporate visual communication into your own work.

Rick Saltus, CIRES and NOAA NCEI
08:00 - 10:00 • Moscone South - eLightning Theater III • IN21B

A21O-2776, Using artificial neural networks for generating probabilistic subseasonal precipitation forecasts over California

Ensemble weather predictions from global forecast systems require statistical post-processing to remove errors and produce reliable forecasts. CIRES’ Michael Scheuerer will present an improved post-processing approach for precipitation forecasts built around an artificial neural network (ANN). Based on past forecasts and observations, ANNs “learn” how to adjust future forecasts in order to make them more accurate. The team demonstrated their ANN’s success by producing reliable and skillful precipitation accumulation forecasts over California.

Michael Scheuerer, CIRES and NOAA Boulder

GC21I-1369 Fossil fuel combustion is driving indoor CO2 toward levels harmful to human cognition

Human activities are elevating atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to levels unprecedented in human history. Most CO2 impacts are mediated by climate warming—but recent indoor air quality and neuroscience studies reveal indoor CO2 levels may significantly impair our cognitive function. CIRES fellow Kristopher Karnauskas presents his team’s efforts to estimate the impact of continued fossil fuel emissions on human cognition. They conclude that indoor CO2 levels may reach levels harmful to cognition by the end of this century, and suggest the best way to mitigate is to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

Kristopher Karnauskas, CIRES and CU Boulder

Contributions to High Asia runoff from glacier ice and seasonal snow (CHARIS), C21E-1388

Estimating future availability and vulnerability of water resources across High Asia requires a better understanding of today’s hydrology. Richard Armstrong presents on efforts to dissect the relative contributions of seasonal snow melt, glacier ice melt, and monsoon rain to river flow in the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Indus, Amu Darya and Syr Darya basins. The research was done in collaboration with partners at 11 institutions in 8 countries, and included 10 training workshops for those partners, to develop skills in digital elevation modeling, satellite data applications, and much more.

Richard Armstrong, National Snow and Ice Data Center, CIRES and CU Boulder

IN21C-0870 Low-latency modeling of near-Earth-space magnetic fields for resource exploration

Disturbances in Earth’s magnetic field can be harmful to energy companies and other industries that rely on precision directional drilling, so CIRES’ Manoj Nair and NOAA colleagues have been working on models that might help in real-time. The team developed a machine-learning model based on solar wind data measured by NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, and the model continues to improve directional drilling companies’ ability to navigate the underground.

Manoj Nair, CIRES and NOAA Boulder


The John F. Nye Lecture and Honored Member Presentations

The John F. Nye Lecture honors the work of cryospheric science pioneer, John F. Nye. The Nye Lecturer is selected based on highlighting and recognizing an outstanding cryospheric scientist and her/his recent accomplishments as well as the individual’s ability to present exciting science to the non-cryosphere community of AGU scientists. NSIDC’s Lora Koenig is primary covener.

Lora Koenig, National Snow and Ice Data Center
13:40 - 15:40 • Moscone West - 2022-2024, L2 • C23A

Methane emissions from landfills in the Southeastern U.S. and a comparison with inventories

Landfills are a large source of the greenhouse gas methane, and Environmental Protection Agency estimates landfills accounted for one sixth of U.S. anthropogenic methane emissions in 2017. To independently assess that estimate, CIRES’ Jeff Peischl and colleagues tested a new way to quantify landfill methane emissions in the southeastern United States, using airborne methane data. Peischl will present preliminary results.

Jeff Peischl, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
15:25 - 15:40 • Moscone West - 3001, L3 • B23D-08

Observing the Antarctic atmosphere with small unmanned aircraft: From the Ross Sea to the dry valleys

CIRES Fellow John Cassano’s research group has been using the Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer (SUMO) unpiloted aircraft in atmospheric research since 2012, studying the boundary layer in Antarctica, in particular. The team has been able to infer boundary layer structure, large-scale thermodynamic processes and more. His talk will summarize some of the team’s lessons learned and challenges, and will discuss UAS observations planned for the MOSAiC (Multi-disciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Change) mission next year.

John Cassano, CIRES and CU Boulder
16:00 - 16:15 • Moscone West - 3018 • L3 A24L-01

MOSAiC – A year in the ice. Engaging the public through captivating science

The international Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) embarked in September on a year-long expedition to the central Arctic to study the atmosphere, sea-ice, ocean, and ecosystem. Anne Gold discusses strategies used to engage teachers, students and the general public in the scientific mission, from multimedia and web content to a planetarium show and 3-D VR experiences. She frames the presentation with results from an educator needs assessment (n=508) and initial engagement data.

Anne Gold, CIRES and CU Boulder
17:29 - 17:43 • Moscone South - 215, L2 • ED24A-07


A23L-2968 Brown carbon aerosol absorption in western wildfires

Wildfires are a major source of light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosol, black or brown carbon, that can increase the greenhouse effect and contribute to climate warming. CIRES/NOAA researcher Rebecca Washenfelder and colleagues sampled wildfires in the Western United States during August 2019 on the NOAA Twin Otter aircraft as part of the FIREX-AQ field campaign, measuring brown carbon absorption. Washenfelder will present the team’s efforts to examine the evolution and lifetime of brown carbon absorption as a function of wildfire plume age.

Rebecca Washenfelder, NOAA Boulder, with CIRES and other coauthors

Wednesday, 11 December

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Times and locations as indicated below

Communication of what, for whom? or what was that, again? (Invited)

Drawing from national and international early warning systems, disaster risk reduction, and climate communication research and practice, NOAA’s Roger Pulwarty describes what it takes to achieve effective partnerships between scientists and decision makers, including recommendations for designing an effective knowledge base to support communication and for overcoming barriers.

Roger Pulwarty and Robin Webb, NOAA Boulder (highlight from a partner) 08:00 - 08:15 • Moscone West - 2010, L2 • PA31A-01

Robust winter warming over the Northern Hemisphere continents under stratospheric sulfate geoengineering

If people injected tiny particles into the stratosphere to try to slow or reverse global warming, Northern Europe and the North Atlantic Ocean might warm significantly in winter, according to a new set of simulations. CIRES/NOAA’s Anatara Banerjee presents results from an assessment of the Geoengineering Large Ensemble simulations of the 21st Century, compares those results to observations following volcanic eruptions, and evaluates factors at play, in particular, the strength of the northern polar vortex.

Anatara Banerjee, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
08:24 - 08:36 • Moscone West - 2003, L2 • GC31B-03

Ionizing radiation services for aviation at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center recently began issuing space weather advisories to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for impacts to communication and navigation systems used by commercial airlines and for radiation levels at the altitude of commercial aircraft. This real-time space weather forecasting provides critical information to pilots and airline control towers, to ensure safety and accurate navigation and communication. CIRES’ Hazel Bain, who works at NOAA SWPC, will discuss the radiation advisory requirements from ICAO and the model that supports these advisories.

Hazel Bain, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
09:30 - 09:45 • Moscone South - 203-204, L2 • SA31B-07


A31W-2722, Observations of new particle formation in the remote atmosphere from NASA’s atmospheric tomography mission (Invited)

CIRES/NOAA researcher Christina Williamson presents findings recently published in Nature from NASA’s Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom) mission. Williamson and her colleagues found that when clouds loft tropical air masses high in the atmosphere, that air can carry up gases that form into tiny particles, starting a process that may end up brightening low-level clouds and altering Earth’s radiative balance.

Christina Williamson, NOAA/CIRES

ED31C-0988 Assess and do something: Strategies to improve workplace culture at a research institute

In this presentation about workplace culture in a large research institute, the CIRES Diversity and Inclusion Director discusses results from a recent survey and how CIRES is responding. She discusses the importance of using data-driven strategies to respond to workplace culture needs.

Susan Sullivan, CIRES and CU Boulder

GC31D-1218 Which El Niño flavors are more important for U.S. West Coast marine warming?

ENSO events—El Niño and La Niña—drive sea surface temperatures (SST) variations along the U.S. West Coast, with huge implications for marine productivity. And these events impact coastal water temperatures differently each time. CIRES/NOAA’s Antonietta Capotondi identifies tropical Pacific “sensitivity patterns” that may be used to better understand and predict coastal warming patterns and marine productivity.

Antonietta Capotondi, CIRES and NOAA /ESRL


Times and locations as indicated below

Studying planetary hazes using tools developed for smog chemistry (Invited)

CIRES Fellow Margaret Tolbert adapted in situ and remote sensing tools often used to study Earth’s atmospheric smog, to use in studying similarly structured organic hazes found around other planetary bodies like Saturn’s moon, Titan. Tolbert’s team simulates planetary haze in the lab, and she will share recent findings from experiments in reducing conditions, with and without trace gases, and more.

Margaret Tolbert, CIRES and CU Boulder
13:55 - 14:10 • Moscone South - 205-206, L2 • P33A-02


NOAA’s cooperative global air sampling network: Constraining LLGHG budgets for more than 50 years

NOAA’s Ed Dlugokencky traces the history and scientific impact of NOAA’s Cooperative Global Air Sampling Network, which began with two sites in 1968 and now has about 60. The network measurements, which initially tracked only CO2, have evolved to include six core gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, CO, and H2) plus additional tracers through a partnership with the University of Colorado Boulder. The high-quality and low-cost observations from NOAA’s network have been—and will continue to be— fundamental to understanding the main drivers and impacts of climate change.

Edward Dlugokencky, NOAA Boulder, with CIRES partners 14:25 - 14:40 • Moscone West - 3008, L3 • A33D-04

The land-atmosphere response in the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) weather forecast model during the 2017 solar eclipse (Invited)

The August 2017 total solar eclipse gave researchers a unique opportunity to evaluate how numerical weather prediction models simulate the response of the land-atmosphere system to changes in radiation at the surface. NOAA’s David Turner presents his team’s work with the a couple versions of the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model, run by the National Weather Service. The newest version of the HRRR, which includes improved physics packages, effectively reproduced the
“rapid sunset/sunrise” event.

David Turner, NOAA Boulder, with CIRES co-authors 14:40 - 14:55 • Moscone West - 3010, L3 • A33B-05

Mapping firn aquifers on Antarctic ice shelves from space using L-band satellite microwave radiometry

CIRES’ Julie Miller and her colleagues are using NASAs Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite observations to study firn aquifers on ice shelves in Antarctica. The team developed an algorithm and generated the first-satellite-derived firn aquifer maps, which provide a clearer picture of Antarctic hydrology. The team validated these maps during a December 2018 field expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula - confirming for the first time a perennial firn aquifer at a depth of 15 meters on the Wilkins Ice Shelf. Perennial firn aquifers may induce ice-shelf instability in some peripheral areas of Antarctica.

Julie Miller, CIRES and CU Boulder
15:10 - 15:25 • Moscone West - 2008, L2 • C33A-07

Could America’s wettest winter of 2018-19 have been anticipated?

The winter of 2018-19 was the wettest on record in the United States, setting the stage for record spring flooding and massive economic losses. NOAA’s Andrew Hoell and his team used atmospheric model simulations to search for possible predictors of the extreme winter. Neither sea surface temperatures nor anthropogenic warming elevated the risk of such extreme precipitation, the team found. Only one-month precipitation forecasts, initialized with conditions earlier in the month, indicated an increase in likelihood of such a wet winter.

Andrew Hoell*, NOAA Boulder, with a CIRES co-author
16:00 - 16:15 • Moscone West - 3000, L3 • A34E-01
*Hoell is also an editor on the BAMS Explaining Extreme Events of 2018 from a Climate Perspective (EEE) report, featured in a Monday AGU press conference..

CrowdMag for mapping the urban magnetic environment

CIRES’ Rick Saltus explores the use of NOAA’s CrowdMag app for mapping the magnetic field in complex urban
environments. The app has the potential to help us map indoor and outdoor environments, with the ultimate goal of improving magnetic navigation for pedestrians and motorists alike. In one experiment, the team used crowd-sourced magnetic data to accurately locate basement classrooms that underlie a field on the University of Colorado campus. They also present other examples from CIRES research and summer internship projects. The ultimate goal of this program is to use crowd-sourced cell phone magnetic data to map magnetic features for use in navigation.

Richard Saltus, CIRES and CU Boulder 16:15 - 16:30 • Moscone West - 2012, L2 • NS34A-02

Toward greater resilient water infrastructure to future hydrometeorological and climate extremes: Lessons from Oroville Dam and Hurricane Harvey

In 2017, two record-setting meteorological events caused enormous damage: Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, Texas, creating a monumental water management challenge, and in California, a series of atmospheric rivers dumped large amounts of rain on areas also dealing with aging infrastructure—e.g., the failing Oroville Dam. NOAA’s Robert Cifelli argue that by redefining “extreme events” to include not just meteorology but human elements, we could improve communities’ resilience to ongoing environmental changes. The team calls for better dialogue between the research and engineering communities to better understand and mitigate risk to people and infrastructure.

Robert Cifelli, NOAA Boulder (highlight from a partner) 16:35 - 16:40 • Moscone West - 2010, L2 • PA34A-07

Estimating emissions of Amazonian biomass burning using in situ and satellite measurements of atmospheric carbon monoxide

Fire is a significant way carbon leaves the Amazon Basin, so any attempt to understand the region’s carbon balance requires understanding fire. Often,, fire emissions are categorized from the bottom up using satellite detection of fire hot spots or burned area. NOAA scientist John Miller presents data from a complementary “top-down”approach that relies on an assessment of atmospheric carbon monoxide emitted from fires, measured three ways: in situ data from NOAA’s Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, and satellite CO data from MetOpA and Terra.

John Miller, NOAA Boulder, and CIRES colleagues
17:45 - 18:00 • Moscone West - 3005, L3 • B34A-08

13:40 - 18:00 Moscone South- Poster Hall

A33T-2900 Atmospheric measurements of CFC-11 through most of 2019: Are global CFC-11 emissions back on the decline?

When an increase in global CFC-11 emissions was detected as an attribution by Eastern Asia , China devised a plan to address the issue by strengthening their enforcement of initial mitigation efforts. NOAA’s Steve Montzka et al. updated atmospheric measurements from 12 globally distributed sites to understand how the CFC-11 concentration decline has changed since China’s new policies. The team’s results provide an initial assessment of early mitigation efforts by China and other countries, and will show if CFC-11 atmospheric concentration has gone down.

Stephen Montzka, NOAA Boulder, with CIRES and other co-authors

Thursday, 12 December

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Times and locations as indicated below

Evaluating a fuel-based bottom-up inventory of oil and natural gas emissions with OMI and TROPOMI satellite retrievals

Over the past two decades, U.S. oil and natural gas extraction has grown, and along with it, emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone precursors like methane (CH4), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). CIRES/NOAA researcher Brian McDonald and his colleagues used satellite data and aircraft sampling methods to more accurately estimate NOx and other air pollutants from oil and gas activities.

Brian McDonald, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
09:00 - 09:15 • Moscone West - 3010, L3 • A41D-05


08:00 - 12:20
Moscone South- Poster Hall

C41D-1492 Geologic Signatures of Catastrophic Glacier Detachments

Catastrophic glacier detachments can threaten mountain communities and infrastructure – and increasing meltwater production appears to be making them more frequent. For example, Flat Creek Glacier in Alaska’s Saint Elias Mountains lost half of its total area in two large detachments in 2013 and 2015, scattering debris up to 30 m thick and leaving a scar on the landscape. CIRES’ Mylene Jacquemart and her team are trying to “fingerprint” the deposits left by such events, so that to determine whether they have happened before or are indeed a new, emerging hazard.

Mylene Jacquemart, CIRES and University of Colorado Boulder


Times and locations as indicated below

Accelerated melting of Greenland from atmospheric rivers and hurricane remnants

In August 2011, a warm and wet atmospheric river (AR) system resulted in extensive surface melt and runoff along the western Greenland ice sheet. CIRES Fellow William Neff dug back through data from 2000-2012 and identified 69 strong AR events along Greenland’s West Coast. He found that hurricane remnants can follow the same path in some of these events, carrying enough additional heat and moisture to Greenland that they can accelerate ice mass loss there.

William Neff, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
15:25 - 15:40 • Moscone West - 3002, L3 • A43B-08

The next 100 years of Cryosphere I

Modern cryospheric science - including that on climate, ocean, snow, ice, and permafrost systems - owes much to the hard work and inspiration of researchers and explorers over the past century. NSIDC’s Jeff Deems leads this discussion on cryospheric research legacy and how it prepares us to address the scientific controversies of the next century.

Jeff Deems, Lora Koenig, Andy Barrett, CIRES, NSIDC 16:00 - 18:00 • Moscone South - 201-202, L2 • C44A

Anomalously high water vapor in the Northern Hemisphere middle stratosphere during early 2019

Changes in the amounts of water vapor in Earth’s upper atmosphere can strongly impact climate. CIRES’ Dale Hurst and colleagues investigated anomalously high levels of water vapor in the Northern Hemisphere middle stratosphere during 2019, as observed by balloon-borne and satellite-based instruments. They found the wet anomalies were partially due to the phase of the quasi-biennial oscillation, possibly linked to a major warming event in the Arctic stratosphere in January 2019, and similar to those observed in 2013 after a major warming event. Major warming events in the Arctic have become frequent in the 21st century, and may be increasing water vapor abundance in the Northern Hemisphere middle stratosphere.

Dale Hurst, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
16:00 - 16:15 • Moscone West - 3009, L3 • A44F-01

Voices from the front lines of a changing Bering Sea (Town Hall)

NSIDC’s Matt Druckenmiller and colleagues, including Elders from the Bering Sea region, discuss the rapid environmental changes occurring in the Bering Sea. Sea ice cover in the winters of 2018 and 2019 were the lowest recorded since satellite monitoring began in 1979. Both years were marked by stormy conditions and unrelenting southerly winds that kept the ice from advancing. During winter 2019 in particular, the region experienced at least a dozen distinct storms and weather fronts that brought unprecedented shoreline flooding to coastal communities. These changes are having profound impacts on the people and wildlife around the Bering Sea. This session will bring some of these first-hand observations from Indigenous peoples that live in communities around the Bering Sea.

Lauren Divine (Aleut Community of St. Paul Island)
Julie Raymond-Yakoubian (Kawerak, Inc)
Raychelle Daniel (Pew Charitable Trusts)
Matthew Druckenmiller, National Snow and Ice Data Center, CIRES/CU Boulder
18:15 - 19:15 • Moscone West - 2004, L2 • TH45K


Friday, 13 December

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Times and locations as indicated below

High-resolution (3km) forecasting of smoke and visibility for the U.S. by ingesting the VIIRS and MODIS FRP data into HRRR-Smoke during August 2018

NOAA’s HRRR-Smoke model can be used to analyze the transport of smoke over complex terrain and to understand specific episodes of high smoke concentrations, such as in Spokane, Washington, during 19-20 August 2018. In a forecast model sensitivity experiment, CIRES/NOAA’s Ravan Ahmadov and team find that including smoke feedback in weather modeling can significantly improve forecasts of visibility and even air temperature during smoke pollution episodes.

Ravan Ahmadov, CIRES and NOAA Boulder
09:20 - 09:30 • Moscone West - 3000, L3 • A51F-08

The human imprint on modern forest fire (invited)

Three key ingredients spark wildfire: hot and dry conditions, fuel to burn, and an ignition source. CIRES fellow Jennifer Balch will present discuss how people are changing all three across the world’s forests—from temperate regions to the tropics. For example: California’s forests experienced an eight-fold increase in wildfires since the 1970s, linked to drier conditions. And people’s role in igniting U.S. wildfires varies by region: 34 percent of Sierra wildfires between 1992 and 2012 were started by people; but fully 96 percent were, in northern U.S. forests.

Jennifer Balch, CIRES and CU Boulder
10:50 - 11:05 • Moscone West - 3001, L3 • B52C-03


08:00 - 12:20 Moscone South

A51U-2671 The success and struggles of using deep learning to detect extratropical and tropical cyclone regions of interest (ROI) in seconds from satellite data

Deep learning is a valuable tool for quick analysis of satellite images, including identifying cyclone regions. CIRES/NOAA’s Christina Kuler highlights how computers taught themselves to identify regions of interest quickly, however, interesting questions remain about how to validate success in situations where it is difficult to define areas of interest, themselves.

Christina Kumler, CIRES and NOAA Boulder

High time variability of emissions observed at a natural gas storage site

This study represents the first time that ongoing, continuous observations have been made of a critical sector of the natural gas supply chain. CIRES’ Caroline Alden found that methane emissions, which warm the climate, change from day to day, month to month, and season to season, suggesting that “snapshots” in time may not accurately capture the true nature of emissions through time. These results help illuminate the importance of continuous monitoring of emissions from the natural gas supply chain.

Caroline Alden, CIRES and CU Boulder

IN51E-0686 Using CrowdMag to catalog magnetic anomalies from urban infrastructure and geological features

NOAA’s CrowdMag app uses people’s mobile phones to map magnetic anomalies. CIRES’ Prudence Crawmer and team collected CrowdMag data over urban infrastructure features, such as iron pipes and bridges, and created a simple source model to identify the depths and strengths of each anomaly source. Ultimately this approach can help improve the accuracy of magnetic navigation systems including the use of some distinctive anomalies as “mile markers” for use in navigation.

Prudence Crawmer, CIRES

IN51G-0709 Uncertain seas: Probabilistic modeling of future coastal flood zones

As global sea-level rises, coastal communities are becoming more vulnerable to storm surge inundation. CIRES/NOAA’s Chris Amante describes one way communities can deal with the uncertainties in elevation models and future sea-level projections. He analyzed future flood risk in the Tottenville neighborhood of New York City, indicating a range of possible future flood zone extents. He also created an interactive web map to visualize the data and inform management policies aimed at reducing the vulnerability of communities to coastal inundation.

Christopher Amante, CIRES


Times and locations as indicated below

Session: Remote sensing of the cryosphere: Freshwater and sea ice I

NSIDC’s Walt Meier and colleagues discuss why remote sensing is a fundamental tool for the study of the geophysical properties of sea ice and freshwater ice. They will share recent progress made in the development and application of spaceborne, airborne, and ground-based remote sensing techniques to study sea ice and freshwater ice.

Walt Meier, CIRES and CU Boulder
 16:00 - 18:00 • Moscone West - 2006, L2 • C54B

Exploring local environmental change through film making: The Lentes in Cambio Climatico program

The Lentes En Cambio Climático (Lens on Climate Change) filmmaking program engages students to investigate local climate impacts through film. CIRES’ Erin Leckey and her team found the film program is also an effective way of communicating climate science topics and their importance to students’ families and other community members.

Erin Leckey, CIRES
17:15 - 17:30 • Moscone South - 216, L2 • ED54A-06


Connecting scientists and stakeholders around land ice loss and sea level rise: Lessons from a multi-year effort

In this session, NSIDC’s Twila Moon discusses land ice loss - the main contributor to sea level rise - and how to bring the latest science to stakeholders. Because changes in land ice and associated sea level are critical for decision-making at the local to state to national level, improving connections between scientists studying ice loss and sea level rise and the stakeholders tasked with planning for sea level rise is vital to ensure that clear and timely information is shared. Over the past ~5 years, the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Land Ice Action Team (LIAT) has endeavored to create and strengthen scientist-stakeholder connections around land ice loss and sea level rise with the hope of bringing science to action on this issue.

Twila Moon, CIRES, NSIDC, CU Boulder
16:00 - 18:00 • Moscone South - eLightning Theater II • PA54C-17

CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and CU Boulder.

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