Environment

Commerce Building Now Part of NOAA, NIST Weather and Greenhouse Gas Tracking Network

The Doppler lidar will provide a highly localized ability to track the dispersion of pollutants or hazardous substances in the urban landscape.

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NOAA and NIST have installed a Doppler lidar instrument to an existing weather station on top of the Department of Commerce’s Herbert Clark Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. to measure wind flow and turbulence in the lowest part of the atmosphere for a research project studying greenhouse gas emissions in the Capitol area.

Lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses the light from a pulsed laser reflected off distant objects to make measurements of the atmosphere, similar to how radar uses radio waves to gather information on thunderstorms. Scanning Doppler lidars can make high-resolution measurements of horizontal winds, and resolve turbulent processes in the atmosphere to generate data required by sophisticated atmospheric transport models.

“This collaboration between NOAA and NIST will increase our understanding of urban wind, weather, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution, which will help us improve weather and climate models, and support our national security,” said Craig McLean, assistant administrator for NOAA Research.

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