Great Lakes Region

Over the past several decades, ozone levels measured in several coastal communities around Lake Michigan have persistently violated the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.  Researchers from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium and the Universities of Wisconsin and Iowa conducted a joint aircraft, ship-based and ground-based campaign to better understand how ozone forms, and to explore the role of the Lake Breeze/Land Breeze interface.  Lake Breezes develop when the land becomes warmer than the water; these breezes blow during the day from across the surface of a large lake to the shore.  Conversely, Land Breezes blow at night from the land back out over the water.  The goal of this ozone research is to significantly expand observations of ozone and its precursors over western Lake Michigan and the adjoining portions of southeastern Wisconsin and far northeastern Illinois.

An illustration depicting the planes, ships and ground-based observations taking place as part of the Lake Michigan Ozone Study.

The National Weather Service and partners conduct an air, ship and ground-based campaign to expand observations of ozone and its precursors over western Lake Michigan. Image credit: NWS Weather Forecasting Office, Milwaukee.

The campaign, called the 2017 Lake Michigan Ozone Study (LMOS), was conducted earlier this summer from mid-May through mid-June.  To assist with flight planning, the Wisconsin DNR requested twice daily briefings from the staff of WFO Milwaukee/Sullivan. These daily briefings were email-based, and consisted of forecasts of cloud cover percentage, cloud type, wind speed and direction, PoP (probability of precipitation), and other parameters that affected flight planning.

In addition, a webpage was created that displayed looping hourly forecast images of many of these same parameters created from the NWS official grid database.

Over 40 research flights were conducted during the experiment, with multiple research flights occurring during two significant ozone events. Dr. Brad Pierce, Research Meteorologist at NOAA and lead scientist for the experiment, stated that “a number of researchers involved in the campaign commented on the quality of the forecasting…particularly the local expertise provided by the National Weather Service Weather Forecasting Office in Milwaukee-Sullivan.”

The LMOS also collected measurements of cloud and aerosol products to support validation of the Advanced Baseline Imager on the satellite GOES-16. These measurements are currently being compared to other satellite outputs, and final results are forthcoming.

To learn more, contact Rich Pollman at the National Weather Service:  Richard.Pollman@noaa.gov.

 

 

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