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March 19, 2019

Teen Science Café takes a look at Earth from space

Learn how scientists monitor Earth’s atmosphere and environment using satellites at April’s Teen Science Café. Matt Rogers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere will talk about the principles of light, how light interacts with the environment, and how that can be used to measure our world from orbit.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 10
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: Matt Rogers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere

RSVP to the April 10 Teen Science Café here.

April 10 Teen Science Café flier

The Front Range Teen Science Café is part of a larger national network of science cafés for teens. ESMEI’S Teen Science Café brings scientists and teens together for a conversation about science in a local coffee shop. A primary goal of the café is for teens to increase their understanding of the nature of science and to develop a realistic perception of scientists and the lives they lead, which they sometimes do not get in school.

February 20, 2019

Next FORTCAST event to discuss Colorado Snow Survey

Brian Domonkos
Brian Domonkos is supervisor of the Colorado Snow Survey, overseeing snow monitoring operations in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and southern Wyoming.

Learn more about our precious Colorado snowpack at FORTCAST’s next What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate talk. The discussion topic will be the Colorado Snow Survey, which provides mountain snowpack data and streamflow forecasts for the western United States. Its applications include water supply management, flood control, climate modeling, recreation and conservation planning.

Karl Wetlaufer and Brian Domonkos from the National Resources Conservation Service Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program will provide an overview of the organization and its services. The NRCS is responsible for all in-situ mountain snowpack and precipitation monitoring across 13 Western states with the automated SNOTEL and manual snow course networks. These data are used for forecasting spring and summer volumetric water supply as well as many other uses ranging from avalanche forecasting to recreational planning.

As Colorado Snow Survey Supervisor, Domonkos oversees snow monitoring operations in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and southern Wyoming. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering and a citation in meteorology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Wetlaufer is a hydrologist and the assistant supervisor for the Colorado Data Collection Office of the USDA-NRCS Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program. Born and raised in southwest Colorado, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees while studying snow science and snow hydrology at Montana State University.

An interactive discussion and questions are encouraged. Discussion will begin 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, upstairs at Tap & Handle. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Contact amsfortcast@gmail.com with questions.

Photo at top: Karl Wetlaufer is a hydrologist and the assistant supervisor for the Colorado Data Collection Office of the USDA-NRCS Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program.

February 18, 2019

Entomologists will talk bugs at March Teen Science Café

What’s it like working in the world of arthropods and Colorado insects? Bring your entomology questions to March’s Teen Science Café. CSU entomology graduate students Erika Peirce and Melissa Schreiner will answer questions about insects, jobs, college, social media, travel, beekeeping, macrophotography and insect collecting.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 13.
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenters: CSU entomology graduate students Erika Peirce and Melissa Schreiner

RSVP to the March 13 Teen Science Café here.

March 13 Teen Science Café flier

The Front Range Teen Science Café is part of a larger national network of science cafés for teens. ESMEI’S Teen Science Café brings scientists and teens together for a conversation about science in a local coffee shop. A primary goal of the café is for teens to increase their understanding of the nature of science and to develop a realistic perception of scientists and the lives they lead, which they sometimes do not get in school.

Photo at top: Entomologists Erika Peirce and Melissa Schreiner

February 14, 2019

Ben Toms earns 2 AMS outstanding presentation awards

Ph.D. student Ben Toms was chosen for two outstanding presentation awards at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting in January in Phoenix. Toms was honored for work completed during his M.S. studies, under the supervision of Professor Sue van den Heever. The Climate Variability and Change Program Committee selected Toms’ presentation, “Quantifying the Dependence of the Global Response to the Madden–Julian Oscillation on the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation,” for an Outstanding Student Presentation Award.

“We had a large number of very good student presentations this year, and we commend you on the work you have done,” committee members Rob Korty and Walt Robinson said in his notification letter.

Toms’ presentation was about quantifying the global “signature” of the Madden-Julian Oscillation within the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.

“I have greatly enjoyed working with my collaborators on this project, (Professors) Libby Barnes, Eric Maloney, and Sue van den Heever,” Toms said. “We used a statistical technique to show that the global teleconnections of the Madden-Julian Oscillation depend on the phase of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, a tropical stratospheric oscillation. This suggests that the state of the tropical stratosphere is important for understanding the connections between the MJO and the extratropics.”

Toms also won an Outstanding Oral Presentation award at the 18th Conference on Artificial and Computational Intelligence and its Applications to the Environmental Sciences for his talk, “Climate Science, Deep Learning, and Pattern Discovery: The Madden−Julian Oscillation as a Test Case.”

For this project Toms worked with Karthik Kashinath and Prabhat of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Da Yang of the University of California, Davis to show that deep learning, a form of machine learning, can learn for itself the variables and spatial patterns important for characterizing multiscale geophysical phenomena such as the MJO. You can read a pre-print of the paper here.

February 1, 2019

Prof. Denning answers questions about weird winter weather phenomena

Editor’s note: Extreme cold weather can produce unusual phenomena, from so-called sea smoke to slushy ocean waves. As atmospheric scientist Scott Denning explains, these striking events are caused mainly by the behavior of water at very cold temperatures.

Why do lake and ocean waters appear to steam during cold snaps?

There are three phases, or states, of water: solid ice, liquid water and gaseous water vapor. Even in extremely cold weather, liquid water can’t be colder than the freezing point – about 32 degrees Fahrenheit – so the surface of the ocean is much warmer than the air above it.

A lot of water evaporates from the warmer ocean into the colder dry air above. As soon as this invisible gas rises even just a little bit above the relatively warm water, it hits air that is much colder and can’t hold much vapor, so the vapor condenses into microscopic droplets of liquid water in the air.

Some people call the wispy clouds caused by condensation just above the winter ocean or lakes “sea smoke.” That’s a better term than steam. Real steam is very hot water vapor – that is, water in its gas phase, which is invisible.

Read the full article, “Steaming lakes and thundersnow: 4 questions answered about weird winter weather,” from The Conversation.

Photo at top: “Sea smoke” on Lake Michigan at 39th Street Harbor in Chicago, Jan. 30, 2019. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

January 30, 2019

Will Lassman and Jakob Lindaas receive Outstanding Student Paper Awards

Two Ph.D. students were chosen for Outstanding Student Paper Awards from the American Meteorological Society’s 21st Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry. Will Lassman, co-advised by Jeff Collett and Jeff Pierce, was rewarded for presenting his paper, “Methods of Estimating Deposition Using Atmospheric Concentration Measurements: Using Synthetic Observations Downwind of a CAFO to Quantify Ammonia Deposition.” Jakob Lindaas, advised by Emily Fischer, won for presenting his paper, “What Controls the Ratio of Primary Reduced and Oxidized Forms of Gas Phase Reactive Nitrogen in Young Wildfire Smoke?”

Lassman presented results from a study investigating novel measurement platforms for estimating ammonia dry deposition downwind of animal feedlots. He collaborated with Professors Jeff Pierce and Jeff Collett, as well as Professor Jay Ham (soil and crop science) and Azer Yalin (mechanical engineering) to demonstrate a method for estimating the fraction of total ammonia that dry deposits near a source by comparing the dilution of ammonia to that of methane, using Large Eddy Simulation to represent a turbulent atmosphere near the earth’s surface. They also demonstrate how to apply this technique by mounting the sensors on a UAV, or drone.

Lindaas presented preliminary results from his first analyses of WE-CAN campaign data. He is focused on understanding how much ammonia is in wildfire smoke, what happens to it, and how it interacts with other chemistry in wildfire smoke.

“Since the data were so recently collected, I tried to focus on what patterns we have already observed and what kinds of questions they lead to, which I’ve already started to explore,” Lindaas said. “It’s fun to try to tell a story, even/especially when you don’t know how it ends.”

Photos at top: Will Lassman (left) and Jakob Lindaas

January 28, 2019

Paleontologist will discuss fossil discovery and how they inform us about the future

Fifty-million-year-old fossils recovered by Paleontology Field School undergraduate students in Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin include the first confirmed primates and oldest-known horses – plus crocodiles and exotic mammals unlike anything alive today. How can we learn from this subtropical past to understand the potential impacts of climate change?

Prof. Kim Nichols from CSU’s Department of Anthropology will discuss primate paleontology and CSU undergraduate fossil research at the next Teen Science Café.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: Kim Nichols from CSU’s Department of Anthropology

RSVP to the Feb. 13 Teen Science Café here.

Feb. 13 Teen Science Café flier

The Front Range Teen Science Café is part of a larger national network of science cafés for teens. ESMEI’S Teen Science Café brings scientists and teens together for a conversation about science in a local coffee shop. A primary goal of the café is for teens to increase their understanding of the nature of science and to develop a realistic perception of scientists and the lives they lead, which they sometimes do not get in school.

Photo at top: Paleontologist Kim Nichols works in the field. Photo by Paul Knowles

January 24, 2019

Kathryn Moore wins Outstanding Student Presentation Award

M.S. student Kathryn Moore, advised by Sonia Kreidenweis and Paul DeMott, was selected for an Outstanding Student Presentation Award at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in December. AGU chooses the top five percent of student participants for this award to recognize quality research and presentation skills in the geophysical sciences.

Moore was chosen for presentation of her poster “Marine Ice Nucleating Particles over the Southern Ocean,” which focused on early results from ice nucleation and aerosol measurements from the Southern Ocean CAPRICORN-2 and SOCRATES campaigns that she participated in January through March 2018.

“Participating in OSPA was fun because it encouraged you to present to and have discussions with scientists outside your field, who often provided very different perspectives on your research,” Moore said.

January 9, 2019

Grad students gain field research experience in Advanced Study Institute program

As a Colorado State University Ph.D. student in atmospheric science, Alexandra Naegele spends most of her days in front of a computer, using models to study clouds, precipitation and atmospheric energy.

For three weeks in November, Naegele left that familiar setting for something wildly different. She was one of 16 graduate students across the U.S. who participated in an intensive, international scientific field campaign in Argentina, observing that region’s famous severe thunderstorms.

Naegele was joined by fellow CSU graduate student Jeremiah Otero Piersante and peers from other institutions in the National Science Foundation-supported International Research Experience for Students Advanced Study Institute: Field Studies of Convection in Argentina. The program was a student-focused, intensive crash course in atmospheric science field work and research held in conjunction with a $30 million, NSF-supported field campaign co-led by CSU faculty.

The overall field campaign, RELAMPAGO, wrapped in December and was the largest land-based atmospheric sciences field study ever conducted outside the United States. RELAMPAGO brought together the expertise of several universities and agencies to discover why thunderstorms in subtropical South America are among the most extreme in the world, regularly producing golf ball or grapefruit-sized hail.

Read the full Source story, “Students learn from the pros during Argentina storm-sampling campaign.”

Photo above: The RELAMPAGO Advanced Study Institute team.

January 8, 2019

AMS 2020 meeting will feature Wayne Schubert Symposium

The American Meteorological Society will again recognize Professor Emeritus Wayne Schubert at its Centennial Meeting in 2020 by holding a symposium in his honor. AMS named symposia acknowledge the contributions of the most distinguished members of the field.

AMS previously commended Schubert with the 2016 Jule G. Charney Medal, one of the organization’s top awards. After 45 years with CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, Schubert has retired from teaching but continues to conduct research.

The AMS Annual Meeting is the world’s largest yearly gathering for the weather, water and climate community. The 2020 AMS Annual Meeting will be its 100th. It is scheduled Jan. 12-16 in Boston.

January 3, 2019

Prof. Maloney leads study on how global warming will affect MJO

Every month or two, a massive pulse of clouds, rainfall and wind moves eastward around the Earth near the equator, providing the tropics their famous thunderstorms.

This band of recurring weather, first described by scientists in 1971, is called the Madden-Julian Oscillation. It has profound effects on weather in distant places, including the United States. Atmospheric scientists have long studied how the Madden-Julian Oscillation modulates extreme weather events across the globe, from hurricanes to floods to droughts.

As human activities cause the Earth’s temperature to increase, reliable, well-studied weather patterns like the Madden-Julian Oscillation will change too, say researchers at Colorado State University.

Eric Maloney, professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science, has led a new study published in Nature Climate Change that attributes future changes in the behavior of the Madden-Julian Oscillation to anthropogenic global warming. Maloney and co-authors used data from six existing climate models to synthesize current views of such changes projected for the years 2080-2100.

Read the full Source article, “Reliable tropical weather pattern to change in a warming climate.”

Graphic at top: Current climate is represented in (a), and a warmer climate in (b). As the climate warms, the mean vertical gradient in water vapor (blue) increases. Tropospheric temperature (orange shading) will also increase more than the lower atmosphere. Credit: Eric Maloney/Colorado State University

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