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Colloquium | Physics Division

Open Radar Science: Using Community Code to Link Science Questions to Data

PHY Colloquium

Abstract: Earth’s atmosphere can be described as a fluid surrounding a rotating sphere that is differentially heated more at the equator than at the poles. One complication to this simple system are the heterogenous components in this fluid: particulate matter, cloud and rain drops, and ice crystals. Understanding spatial distributions and properties of clouds and rain systems is vital to improving earth system simulations (across scales).

Radars are a key tool used by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Data Informatics and Geophysical Retrievals group at Argonne has a long history of working with radars from ARM and other agencies to extract geophysical insight. As the group developed ideas, they were packaged into the Python-ARM Radar Toolkit, Py-ART. Owing in part to good software engineering practices, Py-ART, partly funded by ARM and available on GitHub, has surpassed 60,000 downloads and is used in academia, private industry, defense, and internationally.

This presentation will introduce ARM, give a background on dual polarimetric radar remote sensing, discuss several science applications, and then wax lyrical on the role of community software in accelerating knowledge transfer in science.

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