NOAA Technology Transfer Award Archive

Glenn Rolph, Ariel Stein, Barbara Stunder, Mark Cohen, and Ronald Draxler

Glenn Rolph, Ariel Stein, Barbara Stunder, Mark Cohen, and Ronald Draxler

Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

Author: Derek Parks/Tuesday, December 12, 2017/Categories: 2017 Awards

The Air Resources Laboratory has developed and improved the HYSPLIT model for more than 30 years to support NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property. HYSPLIT describes what happens to harmful materials after they are emitted to the air. What are concentrations downwind of the release? How much (and where) is material deposited to the ground? Accurate answers to these questions are essential to minimize threats to the public and response personnel after accidental or intentional releases of chemical, biological, or nuclear agents, or ash released by a volcanic eruption.  A number of agencies share this mission (and numerous researchers have related questions), but many do not have the tools to provide a science-based response. They have requested help from NOAA, a leader in the scientific research and development of atmospheric dispersion models. Within NOAA, ARL has the mission to develop these models, particularly for emergency response applications. 

The HYSPLIT team has gone to great lengths to facilitate technology transfer. The model can be easily run on-line (approximately 1 million on-line runs annually) and also installed locally. The user can carry out simulations using a powerful but intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) or via scripts and other command-line operations. Context-sensitive help is readily available in every simulation mode, at every step. Comprehensive, self-paced on-line training is available, and more formal training sessions are regularly provided. A wide variety of meteorological data to drive the model has been prepared and is freely provided. Throughout, the team has remained extraordinarily responsive to questions and suggestions from users. In recent years, a User’s Forum has been created and supported to further facilitate the exchange of questions, answers, and ideas for model improvement.  HYSPLIT is actually an extensive suite of integrated programs that enable the user to seamlessly carry out useful additional analyses, e.g., visualization of model results. In the following, a few of many possible examples of the successful technology transfer of the HYSPLIT model are provided, divided into the support of four components: mission-related, addressing a local problem, scientific research, and derivative applications. 

ARL’s records show that HYSPLIT has been transferred to: 1,573 mission-related entities and state and local governments (U.S. and foreign governments, military, state/local governments, private pilots), 2,087 U.S. and foreign universities, non-profits, and non-profits; and 297 commercial applications.


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