Welcome to the Field Research Division of NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory


To advance NOAA's mission by improving our understanding of atmospheric transport, dispersion and air-surface exchange processes.


The Air Resources Laboratory - Field Research Division (FRD) is a staff of talented meteorologists, engineers, and technicians.



FRD is located in Idaho Falls which is in the Upper Snake River Plain of Southeastern Idaho. We also travel the world in support of our work.


FRDís science helps its customers better understand the atmospheric boundary layer, including the dispersion of chemical, biological, and nuclear agents in order to determine appropriate emergency actions or policy responses. FRDís science helps air quality managers become better informed about how and where air pollution is moving and what populations may be affected. Using this science-based information, air quality controls and regulations can be improved. ET Probes are helping improve forecasts of hurricane movement and intensity to increase the safety of residents living in hurricane-prone areas. At the local level, FRDís science specifically helps ensure the safety of INL personnel and neighboring residents.

Our team helps the Department of Homeland Security understand atmospheric dispersion of chemical, biological, and nuclear agents. We've participated in operation Pentagon Shield, and other major tracer studies in cities such as Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, and Midtown Manhattan. These studies will help emergency personnel respond correctly in the the event of terrorist attack. A later tracer study involved helping the Environmental Proctection Agency quantify the effects of roadside barriers on downwind dispersion of atmospheric pollutants emitted by roadway sources. Our most recent tracer study, Project Sagebrush, is a comprehensive multi-year investigation into the fundamentals of plume dispersion with current tracer technology.

The Extreme turbulence (ET) probe has been deployed in several hurricanes. It is the first instrument to collect turbulent kinetic energy (tke) inside a hurricane. Two ET probes were deployed in North Carolina and Florida to test their capability to function over extended periods of time in a marine environment.

The Smart Balloon was launched during ICARTT to understand air pollution patterns from the New England area across the Atlantic Ocean. The Smart Balloon was again launched during the Rainex project to study inflow patterns into a hurricane. A less-expensive version of the smart balloon was developed called the cheaper clipper and was recently flown during a test project in South Carolina. The object of the Cheaper Clipper is to collect continuous data in the eye of a tropical cyclone.

Modified: January 18, 2011
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