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Atmospheric Measurement Technology

Please Note that a Letter of Intent is due Tuesday, September 08, 2015 5:00pm ET Program Area OverviewOffice of Biological and Environmental Research  The Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program supports fundamental, peer_reviewed research on complex systems in climate change, subsurface biogeochemistry, genomics, systems biology, radiation biology, radiochemistry, and instrumentation. BER funds research at public and private research institutions and at DOE laboratories. BER also supports leading edge National Scientific User Facilities including the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory (EMSL), the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility and instrumentation for structural biology research at the DOE Synchrotron Light and Neutron sources.  BER has interests in the following areas:  1)    Biological Systems Science integrates discovery_ and hypothesis_driven science with technology development on plant and microbial systems relevant to DOE bioenergy mission needs. Systems biology is the multidisciplinary study of complex interactions specifying the function of entire biological systems?from single cells to multicellular organisms?rather than the study of individual components. The Biological Systems Science subprogram focuses on utilizing systems biology approaches to define the functional principles that drive living systems, from microbes and microbial communities to plants and other whole organisms. Key questions that drive this research include: What information is encoded in the genome sequence? How is information exchanged between different sub_cellular constituents? What molecular interactions regulate the response of living systems and how can those interactions be understood dynamically and predictively? The approaches employed include genome sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, structural biology, high resolution imaging and characterization, and integration of information into predictive computational models of biological systems that can be tested and validated.   The subprogram supports operation of a scientific user facility, the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), and access to structural biology facilities at the DOE Synchrotron Light and Neutron Sources. Support is also provided for research at the interface of the biological and physical sciences and in radiochemistry and instrumentation to develop new methods for real_time, high_resolution imaging of dynamic biological processes.   2)    The Climate and Environmental Sciences subprogram focuses on a predictive, systems_level understanding of the fundamental science associated with climate change and DOE?s environmental challenges?both key to supporting the DOE mission. The subprogram supports an integrated portfolio of research from molecular level to field_scale studies with emphasis on multidisciplinary experimentation and use of advanced computer models. The science and research capabilities enable DOE leadership in climate_relevant atmospheric_process research and modeling, including clouds, aerosols, and the terrestrial carbon cycle; large_scale climate change modeling; integrated analysis of climate change impacts; and advancing fundamental understanding of coupled physical, chemical, and biological processes controlling contaminant mobility in the environment.  The subprogram supports three primary research activities and two national scientific user facilities.  Atmospheric System Research seeks to resolve the two major areas of uncertainty in climate change model projections: the role of clouds and the effects of aerosols on the atmospheric radiation balance.  Environmental System Science supports research that provides scientific understanding of the effects of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems, the role of terrestrial ecosystems in global carbon cycling, and the role of subsurface biogeochemistry in controlling the fate and transport of energy_relevant elements.  Climate and Earth System Modeling focuses on development, evaluation, and use of large scale climate change models to determine the impacts of climate change and mitigation options.   Two scientific user facilities the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) provide the broad scientific community with technical capabilities, scientific expertise, and unique information to facilitate science in areas integral to the BER mission and of importance to DOE.   For additional information regarding the Office of Biological and Environmental Research priorities, click here. TOPIC 17: Atmospheric Measurement Technology   Maximum Phase I Award Amount:  $225,000 Maximum Phase II Award Amount:  $1,500,000 Accepting SBIR Phase I Applications:  YES Accepting SBIR Fast_Track Applications:  NO Accepting STTR Phase I Applications:  YES Accepting STTR Fast_Track Applications:  NO  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), where it was reinforced that clouds and aerosols dominate uncertainties in climate feedbacks associated with future climate projections (Reference 1).   The mission of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility is to provide the climate research community with strategically located in situ and remote sensing observations to improve the understanding and representation, in climate and earth system models, of clouds and aerosols as well as their interactions and coupling with the Earth?s surface.  The Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program brings together ARM expertise in continuous remote sensing measurements of cloud properties and aerosol influences on radiation with the expertise of in situ characterization of aerosol properties, evolution, and cloud interactions.  The goal of ASR, in partnership with the ARM Facility, is to quantify the interactions among aerosols, clouds, precipitation, radiation, dynamics, and thermodynamics to improve fundamental process_level understanding, with the ultimate goal to reduce the uncertainty in global and regional climate simulations and projections (Reference 2). Measurements of aerosol and cloud particles under a range of atmospheric conditions are required to fully understand aerosol and cloud lifecycles, their interactions, and their impact on the radiation budget. Innovative measurement technologies are needed to provide this data, which is necessary both for process understanding and for evaluation of numerical models that are used to assess the climate change impacts to global and regional systems.   Small aerial platforms, including unmanned aerial systems (UAS), tethered balloons, and kites, provide an innovative approach for making atmospheric measurements in conditions that are logistically difficult for ground_based measurements, that are too dangerous or cost_prohibitive for manned aircraft, or under operating conditions (e.g., slow airspeeds or low altitudes) that are more difficult for large or manned platforms.  While small aerial platforms are gaining increased use in the scientific, civil, and defense arenas, there is still a lack of sophisticated observing capabilities for important aerosol, cloud, and associated meteorological state variables that have been miniaturized for deployment on such platforms.    Grant applications are sought for technology innovation in aerosol and cloud measurements to capitalize on the increasing utility of UAS platforms for scientific missions. Grant applications submitted to this topic must propose Phase I bench tests of critical technologies. (?Critical technologies? refers to components, materials, equipment, or processes that overcome significant limitations to current capabilities.) In addition, grant applications should (1) describe the purpose and benefits of any proposed teaming arrangements with government laboratories or universities, and (2) support claims of commercial potential for proposed technologies (e.g., endorsements from relevant industrial sectors, market analysis, or identification of potential spin_offs). Grant applications proposing only computer modeling without physical testing will be considered non_responsive.    Grant applications are sought in the following subtopics:   a. Aerosol and Cloud_Related Measurements from Small Aerial Platforms Instrument packages developed to measure aerosol and cloud properties have been successfully deployed from research aircraft in a wide range of atmospheric conditions.  However, traditional instrument packages typically are too large and heavy and/or require too much power to be used on small aerial platforms, such as UAS, tethered balloons, or kites.   A need exists for instrument packages capable of installation on a small aerial platform with capabilities to measure properties of aerosols, cloud droplets, and/or glaciated hydrometeors. Grant applications are sought to develop lightweight and low power (suitable for sampling from UAS, tethersonde, or kite platforms) instruments for (1) cloud droplet/drizzle measurements (10?1000 _m size range), (2) accurate measurements of liquid water content and/or ice water content ? techniques that distinguish phase of condensed water are high added value, (3) accurate measurements of water vapor concentration and local thermodynamic state that enable accurate calculation of relative humidity and/or supersaturation, (4) acquisition of high_resolution cloud particle images capable of distinguishing size and habit of ice particles as well as droplets in mixed_phase clouds, (5) a fast spectrometer for measurement of cloud condensation nuclei number concentrations over supersaturation ranges of the order 0.02% ? 1%, (6) a spectrometer/counter for ice nuclei (IN) number concentrations over effective local temperatures down to _38 ?C, and (7) a nephelometer to measure aerosol scattering (nominal wavelength 550 nm with a sensitivity of at least 1 M m_1; additional wavelengths may be proposed).  Instruments must be capable of operating on light_weight airborne platforms such as UAS?s with little or no temperature or pressure controls.  We are particularly interested in instruments that weigh less than 6 kg and require less than 150 W of power. Questions ? Contact: Rickey Petty, rick.petty@science.doe.gov (platform_related) or Ashley Williamson, ashley.williamson@science.doe.gov (sensor related)    b. Other In addition to the specific subtopic listed above, the Department invites grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of the topic description above.  Questions ? Contact: Ashley Williamson, ashley.williamson@science.doe.gov

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