The Blue Marble

NEWS Implementation Plan

January 18, 2007
* It is recognized that this document will be modified to reflect the new NASA organizational structure.
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NEWS Implementation Plan Executive Summary (January 2007)

Download the IP Executive Summary

NEWS Integration Working Groups

For more information contact:
Debbie Belvedere at  or
Paul Houser at or
Robert Schiffer at

Potential Connections for NEWS Integration. 


The principal goal of the working groups is to propose and implement the development of papers that integrate various NEWS research within the working group topic. This structure allows for consistency with existing NEWS activities, (aka the NEWS Implementation Plan, the NEWS integration questions, etc.), and at the same time welcomes new PIs and build links to broader community efforts.

To these ends, we have morphed the NEWS questions into the four co-chair-led NEWS working groups that build off all the projects and the previous NEWS question-based groups.


Evaporation & Latent Heating WG

Current WG activities will emphasize understanding and characterizing the available E, P, and LH datasets. The goal is to choose an analysis that can be performed solely or mainly with NEWS data sets and also with MERRA results, working together with the modeling community to not only learn something about the science, but also something about the data and the models in a way that may be useful for future model development. Several possible scientific issues that could be explored include looking at weather extremes and how surface evap/LH/moisture convergence/divergence play a role in the evolution of such events. However, the main area of interest of the WG stresses evaluation of the latent heating transport from over a selected region within the NEWS time period of 1998 - 2007 to determine:

  • mean seasonal flux;
  • interannual variaility;
  • the statistical distribution of events. (This would lead to an analysis of extremes or other other aspects of the distribution and how this relates to surface variability and atmospheric transport variability. An analysis of the extremes can then also be tied to specific weather events, such as atmospheric rivers or cyclonic events);
  • an analysis of trends in the transport over the time period.


    Climate Shift WG

    The objective of the WG will be to better understand changes in the global water cycle related to the “climate shift” which happened in approximately 1998. During the last 25- 30 years of satellite and re-analysis information global surface warming and increases in ocean water vapor are evident, primarily in the pre-1998 period, with a leveling off of these increases in the post-1998 period. This “climate shift” is similar to an earlier inter-decadal change event in the late 1970s and has been linked to changes in ocean-atmosphere interactions linked to Pacific Decadal Variability (PDV), although other processes (AMO, aerosols, etc.) could also be involved. The WG will explore this subject to better document and understand the “shift” and also understand the strengths and weaknesses of the global data sets and re-analyses to build a group consensus as to “what happened” and which data sets/re-analyses can be used with what level of confidence. This activity will also point to possible actions to improve the data sets and re-analyses for more confident research in the future. Sample questions to be addressed by the WG include:

  • Is the shift real?
  • How consistent are the data sets and reanalyses in documenting the shift in various aspects and parameters of the large-scale water and energy cycles?
  • Is there a consistency among the evidence? What data sets seem to be outliers and can we identify a physical basis for their “problem(s)” that could suggest directions for their improvement?
  • To what extent is the cause of the change Pacific Decadal Variability [PDV] or AMO related?


    Extremes WG

    Summary Poster (2013)

    The Extremes WG group will focus on identifying the onset and demise mechanism of severe droughts in the United States. The 2012 drought may not have been predictable based on current schemes employed for such purposes, but it may have been anticipatable due to knowledge of key precursors such as favorable SST patterns, reduced regional soil moisture and winter snow packs. Thus, this working group will examine the extent to which the onset and demise of the 2011-2012 drought could be anticipated and to put recent severe droughts in perspective.

    This theme was determined because (1) extreme events are mostly local and require a regional focus for the analysis; (2) the members of this group have ongoing research focusing on the U.S. water cycle; and (3) attribution of extreme events in the U.S. is under active debate and deserves further research.


    Clouds & Radiation WG

    The NEWS Cloud and Radiation Working Group is aimed at improving the global closure of the water and energy budgets by first focusing on understanding the variability of clouds and radiation within specific regimes. The current emphasis is on subsidence regimes, where climate models have considerable difficulty representing the tight coupling between surface fluxes, precipitation, boundary layer clouds, and radiative fluxes. The group is undertaking synergistic investigations using A-Train era measurements to explore water and energy budget terms with the goal of better understanding the physical processes linking precipitation, cloud properties, and their radiative impacts, as well as the effects of environmental variability at diurnal, interseasonal, and interannual scales. Initial emphasis will be on the Pacific off South America. The WG will attempt to close energy budget in this area over the July 2006 to June 2010 period. Detailed science issus to be addressed include:

  • Diurnal cycle of clouds impact on precipitation
  • Precip diurnal cycle
  • Latent heating diurnal cycle
  • Diurnal cycle of cloud fraction/cloud thinning
  • Impact on albedo
  • Impact on surface downwelling shortwave
  • Variability with large-scale tropospheric state LTS, EIS
  • 2010/2011 El-Nino-to-La-Ninja transition
  • Energy balance model/moist physics

    Working Group Terms of Reference:

    Coordinate & integrate NEWS PI science investigations
    Promote/Lead integrated scientific journal publications
    Liaison with relevant flight missions and R&A programs
    Annual assessment of progress in meeting NEWS science requirements
    Contribute to periodic Implementation Plan updates
    Prepare annual progress summaries
    Conduct regularly scheduled telecons
    Assist in planning and organization of annual Science Team meetings & sessions at national meetings (e.g. AMS, AGU)
    Chairs to be appointed by NASA (3-year terms)



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