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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.