Up Close and Personal at Cape Cod National Seashore
“It was fun to meet the scientists and a privilege to see the facility up close,” said Maureen Burgess, Truro representative on the Cape Cod National Seashore advisory commission, in a follow-up note to NPS hosts. “I am so glad that the Highlands Center is playing a role in this important climate research. Thanks for including me.”
The ceremony began under the seasonal event tent with brief remarks by several project partners:
- George Price, park superintendent, welcomed all the attendees and acknowledged the partnership developed between ARM and NPS during planning and preparations for the campaign, including extra support for developing curriculum-based learning resources for area schools.
- Dr. Gary Geernaert, division director of DOE’s Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, expressed his thanks to the park service hosts and community for supporting the scientific goals of the project, and the opportunity to join them in celebrating the return of the ARM Mobile Facility to the United States.
- Mike Caldwell, NPS deputy regional director, emphasized the connection between DOE climate research and the challenges faced by NPS in preserving the nation’s natural and cultural heritage, as well as the importance of science communication and education about climate change.
- Dr. Larry Berg, scientist and TCAP principal investigator from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, described the scientific context for TCAP, including why aerosols are important and how they contribute to changes in the energy balance of Earth’s atmosphere.
A Walk in the Park
Following the opening remarks and a few safety tips, the crowd split into two groups for the short walk to the ARM Mobile Facility site nearby. Park service staff Lauren McKean and Erin Der-McLeod each escorted a group, providing an overview of the Highlands Center along the way.Mobile Aerosol Observing System, respectively, installed at the site in June. Capping off the site tour, Geernaert and Caldwell jointly launched a weather balloon to commemorate the event before the entire group walked back to the event tent to mingle over light lunch fare ranging from kabobs to shortbread cookies. This “global tour” of dishes represented the various countries where the AMF has been deployed since 2005: USA, Africa, Germany, China, the Azores, and India.
“The event was a rousing success,” said Wanda Ferrell, program director of the ARM Facility. “It was very gratifying to see the level of interest in this research, and it was a real pleasure to meet our project partners at the Park Service and so many community leaders that took the time to hear about and see our facility in person.”
A Peek at the Planes
During the luncheon, the sound of jet engines overhead drew the crowd out from under the event tent to see the Gulfstream-1 on its return pass over the AMF site. Based out of Rectrix Aviation in Hyannis and coordinated by the ARM Aerial Facility, the Battelle G-1 and a NASA King Air B-200 were in their last week of July research flights for TCAP. Several visitors took advantage of their opportunity “in the field” and drove down to the hangar in Hyannis to see both aircraft.post-flight briefing, giving them a glimpse into the daily workings of an aircraft campaign. In the briefing room, the pilot and science teams reviewed the status of the flights, including instrument performance, data gathered, and model forecasts for the next flight. As he left the hangar to return to Boston, Ed Birce, office manager for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), said his visit to both the mobile and aerial facilities was “a real eye-opener” and he was very glad to have participated.
The opening ceremony and aircraft tour culminated months of project coordination and outreach activities between ARM and NPS project partners beginning in September 2011 with an initial briefing to the Cape Cod Advisory Commission. This was followed in March 2012 by a science seminar at the Highlands Center, an updated briefing with Truro town department managers, and outreach planning with park interpretive staff. The success of the opening ceremony highlights the importance of community outreach that involves both operation and science teams, as well as close coordination with project partners.
More pictures are available in the TCAP collection on Flickr.