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Education

ULM Gets Nearly $275K For Mobile Weather Lab

ULM_radar.jpeg
Todd Murphy
/
ULM

The University of Louisiana Monroe received a $275,000 federal grant to buy new weather satellite equipment.

The National Science Foundation awarded the Major Research Instrumentation award to ULM so that the university can by a compact, portable Doppler Wind Lidar system. This equipment uses lasers to study atmospheric characteristics such as wind, turbulence and aerosols. It will allow ULM to better research storms and air quality to improve public safety and human health.

The National Science Foundation awarded the Major Research Instrumentation award to ULM so that the university can by a compact, portable Doppler Wind Lidar system. This equipment uses lasers to study atmospheric characteristics such as wind, turbulence and aerosols. It will allow ULM to better research storms and air quality to improve public safety and human health.

ULM President Nick J. Bruno said the new instruments will further the university’s study of dangerous weather.
 
“We are very happy for the successful National Science Foundation grant of nearly $275,000. As the only university in Louisiana with an atmospheric science program, the grant will allow our faculty and students to continue research efforts into danger weather, which could lead to answers in making our citizens safer,” Bruno said. “I want to thank Congressman Abraham for his support of this grant.”
 
ULM investigators on the grant include principal investigator Dr. Todd Murphy, Dr. Kenneth Leppert, Dr. Joydeep Bhattacharjee, and Dr. Michael Chenoweth.

“We are essentially building out a mobile atmospheric profiling laboratory. The NSF grant will allow us to take our instrumentation to where the active weather is actually happening, instead of just remaining static and hoping the weather moves over you,” Murphy said. “There are only a handful of such mobile profiling labs across the United States, however, there is a great need in our field to build more of these labs to support new and improved knowledge of atmospheric processes.”

With the new grant, the ULM research team will acquire a Halo Photonics Stream Line XR, which is a pulsed Doppler Wind Lidar with an eye-safe laser, high pulse rate, low use energy, and coherent heterodyne detection, according to the grant abstract provided by the NSF. The research team will use the Lidar along with existing instruments such as a microwave radiometer, rawinsonde system, and surface instrumentation so that it can be used both in mobile field study settings or at a fixed location on campus.

The research team will study convective initiation and onset of severe weather, lake and sea breeze circulations and coastal processes, precipitation and cloud physics, and aerosol science and air pollution. the university get an operational license for its Doppler weather radar.