Overview

The Atmospheric Technologies Group (ATG) at SRNL puts Science to WorkTM through a comprehensive program of applied atmospheric research, technology development, and operational support for the U.S. Department of Energy ‘s Savannah River Site and other Federal agencies involved in national and energy security. Our general focus encompasses emergency response, international nuclear nonproliferation, climate change, and renewable energy.

Specific areas of current interest are:

  • Technologies leading to improved prediction and assessment of the transport of air and water-borne contaminants through novel applications of model ensembles and robust methods for synthesizing predictive models and field measurements
  • Regional to local assessments of long-term climate change to predict potential vulnerabilities to future industrial activity or identify/predict weather phenomena that trigger adverse ecosystem response
  • Techniques to bridge gaps between model predictions and meteorological observations leading to improved predictions of the contribution of renewable energy generation to the electrical grid.
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Unique Assets

As part of our ongoing support of nuclear-related activities at the Savannah River Site, ATG conducts a comprehensive meteorological monitoring program that includes a local network of 12 meteorological towers with extensive databases. Two of these towers are located in industrial corridors of Augusta/Richmond Co., GA as part of mutual aid agreements with local county emergency management agencies. These data are linked to a suite of environmental transport models for predicting the potential hazards of routine or unplanned contaminant releases to workers or the public.

Additional assets managed by ATG include a tall tower facility near the Savannah River Site equipped for meteorological and trace gas measurements at multiple levels up to 329 meters, the 30-m ‘Aiken Site’ Ameriflux tower equipped for measurements of carbon and water vapor flux within a forested canopy, and a vertically pointing lidar (ceilometer) for detecting clouds and aerosols in the atmospheric boundary layer. Instrumentation that can be deployed for intensive short term data collection includes SODAR, tethered and free release sondes, a portable in-situ meteorological station, and a variety of specialized radiometers. The result is a unique and extensive observational resource to support research requiring thorough characterization of the atmospheric boundary layer over a large forested landscape.

ATG also maintains a fully operational weather forecast center equipped with a feed of national and international meteorological data through NOAAPort and related web-based feeds. These data enable ATG to develop weather forecasts for Site operations, wildfire suppression activities, and a variety of SRNL field activities world-wide. Our unique integration of research, technology development, and ‘hands-on’ operational experience enables ATG to truly ‘put science to workTM’ at SRNL

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Areas of Expertise

  • Mesoscale meteorological modeling, hydrological modeling, contaminant transport and fate modeling and assessment on regional to local scales
  • Meteorological instrumentation, real-time data collection systems, and data base management
  • Design and execution of data collection and analysis objectives for field experiments involving tracer releases
  • Emergency response hazard consequence modeling and assessments
  • Weather forecasting, climate characterizations, severe weather phenomena risk assessments
  • Regulatory air quality modeling and assessments.
  • Climate predictions and long-term vulnerability assessments.
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