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William R. Cotton - Emeritus

William R. Cotton


Career Overview

Professional research experience includes work as a Graduate Research Assistant working on research in cloud physics, design and operation of a vertical wind tunnel at the State University of New York at Albany from 1964 to 1966. He has also worked as a summer Research Assistant working on preliminary numerical model design at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado during summer months of 1966 and 1968. He worked as a Research Assistant at Pennsylvania State University doing field research in cloud physics (flight observer, experiment design and instrument design), and numerical experiments in cloud physics from 1966-1970. From August 1970 to December 1974 he served as a Meteorologist in the Experimental Meteorology Laboratory, ERL, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Department of Commerce, and has also served as head of the Numerical Simulation Group.

In December 1974, he assumed the position of an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Atmospheric Science. In June 1976, he was promoted to the position of Associate Professor. He was given tenure in July 1980, and promoted to Professor in June, 1981. In 1986 Dr. Cotton received the Engineering Dean's Council award for excellence in atmospheric research. In 1991 Dr. Cotton received the College of Engineering Abell Faculty Research Graduate Program support Award. In 1993 he received the CSU Research Foundation Researcher of the Year Award. He also served on the National Research Council Panel which prepared the report Rethinking the Ozone Program in Urban and Regional Air Pollution. In 1999 Dr. Cotton was the recipient of the Penn State University College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Award. In 2003 Dr. Cotton received the Colorado State University Jack Cermak Distinguished Advisor Award. In 2012 Dr. Cotton was received the Weather Modification Schaefer Award for scientific and technological discoveries that have constituted a major contribution to the advancement of weather modification. Dr. Cotton served as an editor for the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences from 1993-1995, and served as a co-chief editor from 1996-2000. He is currently working on cloud and mesoscale modeling and observation

Dr. Cotton is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University. He has published over 160 papers in peer-reviewed journals, nine chapters in books, authored one book, and co-authored two books. He has supervised 41 Ph D. and 43 M.S. students.

Teaching Interests

Research Interests

Professor Cotton's major research focus is on the investigation of convective storms and mesoscale systems including dynamics, precipitation formation, and predictability. Both observational and numerical modeling approaches are used in investigating these storms. He developed the Regional Atmospheric Modeling Systems (RAMS) in association with Dr. Roger Pielke which is a sophisticated interactive, nested grid model capable of explicitly simulating clouds and storms as well as a variety of mesoscale phenomena. Under his direction, RAMS is also being applied to the large eddy simulation of the cloudy boundary layer, the simulation of cirrus clouds, dynamics and microphysics of convective storms including tornadoes, hailstorms, and derechos, the numerical prediction of agricultural, aviation impact variables and precipitation, to extreme precipitation estimation, indirect effects of aerosols on climate, and urban influences on regional climate.

Research Sponsors

Awards, Honors, and Positions

Last Updated: 20 August 2012. Contact the Webmaster