Ron Baskett, Mike Bradley and Jim Ellis of the Lab's National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center and Granada High School teacher Susan Johnston will offer an introduction to the forces that cause and affect the wind in the atmosphere.

The presentation will familiarize the attendees with the science behind why wind blows and how this knowledge is used at the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) at LLNL to predict wind patterns and the paths of hazardous material released into the atmosphere. NARAC is always ready to warn people and to assess health consequences of hazardous releases.

Today you will learn

  • Forces that cause and affect wind
  • Computer tools used to predict wind patterns
  • Computer tools used to predict where material released in the atmosphere would go
  • Examples from actual hazardous material releases
  • Future advances in this science in NARAC
  • The NARAC team with diverse education, training, and skills


Speaker Bios


Dr. James Ellis

Jim's interest in meteorology began in his childhood years when the family would head for the basement with candles in hand as severe thunderstorms threatened his hometown in Indiana. During his middle school years, a tornado passed very close to the family automobile he was traveling in. He remembers hail, a roaring sound, and complete darkness during the middle of the day as the tornado passed. Jim placed his interest in meteorology aside during high school and went on to get his B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering. Only later was his interest in meteorology rekindled when he was given the opportunity to choose and obtain meteorology training in the U.S. Air Force. After his military tour of duty, Jim returned to school to receive his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University. For the last 12 years, Jim has been with the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Currently he is Director of NARAC.



Ron Baskett

Ron got excited about meteorology when he built a weather station as a middle school science fair project. He continued his study and love of the outdoors at the University of California at Davis earning a masters degree in atmospheric science. Taking measurements on the ground, with weather balloons, and from an aircraft, he studied how winds can sometimes blow air pollution from California cities into beautiful Yosemite Valley. Throughout much of his professional career, Ron focused on using measurements and computer models to solve problems caused by man-made atmospheric releases. For the first decade of his career, Ron worked as an environmental consultant to determine the air quality impacts of proposed new industrial facilities in the western US. Since 1983, Ron has worked at the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. When a major hazardous atmospheric releases occurs anywhere the US or in the world, NARAC's operations team uses a sophisticated computer modeling system to rapidly determine how the release will effect people. Emergency responders use this information to protect lives and health. Ron helped build NARAC's emergency response system as well as improve its accuracy. Over the years, he has assisted in responses to many accidents. Currently he leads the operations team.



Dr.Mike Bradley

Mike is a senior atmospheric scientist for the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC). He has a B.S. in Physics from Purdue University, an M.S. in Meteorology from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Illinois. Mike became a meteorologist while in the Air Force, from which he retired with honors as a Lieutenant Colonel. His Air Force assignments included weather forecasting for combat flight operations, commanding the weather support for the Army Reserve and Army National Guard forces in the western third of the U.S., and serving as the Staff Weather Officer for several Army Generals.

Mike's primary scientific interest is the computer simulation of regional and cloud-scale atmospheric processes. In addition to his responsibilities with NARAC, Mike is also the Lawrence Livermore leader for an exciting cooperative effort with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop a state-of-the-science wildfire behavior prediction capability. This new capability will use supercomputers to enable firefighters to do their jobs more safely and effectively. Mike's hobbies include hiking, reading German literature, playing the French horn, talking with friends around the world on amateur radio, and travel.



Susan Johnston

Susan Johnston teaches Physics at Granada High School in Livermore, California. Susan has been teaching Physics for 12 years and has served as a science mentor teacher for three years for the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District. She is currently a director of the Zone 7 Flood Control and Water Conservation District and is the science teacher representative or the Tri-Valley Science and Engineering Fair Science Review Committee.

Mrs. Johnston holds a B.S. in Physics from the University of California, Davis. Her teaching philosophy promotes an active learning approach toward learning science. Her classroom is a hands-on environment that promotes academic rigor along with enjoyment of the subject matter.

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