Carmichael, Krajewski Named To National Research Council Panel

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

University of Iowa College of Engineering professors Gregory Carmichael (photo, far left) and Witek Krajewski (photo, left) were recently appointed to the National Research Council's (NRC) Committee on Developing Mesoscale Meteorological Observational Capabilities to Meet Multiple National Needs.

The panel, composed of 14 researchers representing the UI, University of Colorado, University of Oklahoma and other institutions, will address several current issues including steps needed to transform and modernize current, mesoscale meteorological observing capabilities.

NRC panel and committee members contribute to the national research effort by selecting research directions, setting priorities and advising policy makers. Members are selected on the basis of contributions made to their scientific field as shown by research, publications in scientific journals, and other scientific activities, achievements and honors.

Carmichael, associate dean for graduate programs and research in the College of Engineering, Karl Kammermeyer Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and co-director of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER), says that the NRC issues involve ensuring that we have the observational infrastructure in place to provide meteorological and related services of highest quality.

"Our ability to predict severe storms, roadway weather conditions, air quality, forest fire plume paths, and airport operations, all rely on our ability to observe and predict weather events," he says. "Our task is to identify what observational infrastructure is needed to best meet the needs of these various end-users."

Krajewski (pronounced "cray-EFF-ski"), Rose & Joseph Summers Chair in Water Resources Engineering, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and faculty research engineer at IIHR--Hydroscience & Engineering, says the focus of the panel is especially compatible with his research interests.

In 2006, Krajewski and his UI colleagues, in collaboration with Iowa State University researchers, received a five-year, $1.3 million NASA grant to evaluate remote sensing techniques for estimating soil moisture and having the potential to help scientists better predict global water and energy cycles. He and his UI colleagues are internationally known for microwave, visible light and infrared remote sensing techniques. The researchers also operate Doppler radar, microwave radiometer, and lidar (laser radar) instruments that remotely observe key components of the water cycle: precipitation, soil moisture and evapotranspiration.

In 2005, Krajewski received a three-year, $413,000 NSF grant to test a general theory on how flooding depends on spatial patterns of rainfall, topography, and vegetation in the Whitewater Basin of Kansas. The research is aimed at improving the prediction of floods for basins that lack observational infrastructure.

Carmichael serves as a UI administration representative to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), a nonprofit consortium of over 100 universities. In October 2005, he was part of the U.S. delegation attending an environmental conference, "Strategic Approaches to Regional Air Quality Management," in Beijing. Carmichael is a veteran Asia pollution researcher, having designed a three-dimensional atmospheric chemistry model currently used to track man-made chemicals released into the atmosphere.

In 2004, Carmichael received $770,000 in NASA and NOAA grants for air pollution studies in addition to a 2002 five-year, $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to use information technology to develop pollution "weather forecasts." He and his UI College of Engineering colleagues were honored with the NASA Group Achievement Award for their contribution to one of the most comprehensive environmental studies of its kind -- the 2004 Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment -- North America (INTEX-NA).

The National Research Council is part of the National Academies, which also comprise the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. The private, nonprofit institutions provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The NRC was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the academy's purposes of further knowledge and advising the federal government.