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November 11, 2021

Tristan L’Ecuyer named 2021 Outstanding Alum

University of Wisconsin professor and director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies Tristan L’Ecuyer was selected as the 2021 recipient of the department’s Outstanding Alum Award. He will receive the award and present a seminar on his work Dec. 9 at ATS.

L’Ecuyer earned his Ph.D. from the department in 2001, under the supervision of Graeme Stephens, who is now a professor emeritus. His dissertation was “Uncertainties in Space-Based Estimates of Clouds and Precipitation: Implications for Deriving Global Diabatic Heating.”

Following his Ph.D., L’Ecuyer spent a decade at CSU as a postdoc and research scientist, working extensively on the CloudSat mission. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin.

Since 2018, L’Ecuyer has served as director of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS). In 2020, he led the successful re-competition of CIMSS, ensuring the continuation of this crucial partnership with NOAA in satellite meteorology.

L’Ecuyer’s research lies at the intersection of satellite remote sensing and climate science. He has published more than 150 papers, and his work is widely cited.

L’Ecuyer runs an active research program, including current leadership of the NASA Earth Venture-Instrument PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far Infrared Experiment).

He has graduated nine Ph.D. students in his first decade at Wisconsin and continues to advise a large research group. In 2020, he was honored with the American Geophysical Union Ascent Award.

Note from Tristan:

I want to express my genuine appreciation to everyone in the Department of Atmospheric Science for recognizing me with the Outstanding Alum Award. It is an honor to be counted among the long list of very accomplished scientists that graduated from our department. I am and always will be proud to be a CSU Ram!

I owe my interest in atmospheric science and my enthusiasm for pushing the envelope of what global observations can tell us about our environment to my time at CSU and my adviser Graeme Stephens. Coming from a theoretical physics background, ATS gave me my first true taste of the atmospheric and climate science fields.

I still remember discussing elements of Earth’s energy budget in my first meeting with Graeme. Little did I know I’d still be trying to refine estimates of those quantities more than two decades later! From being able to independently explore ideas to opportunities to interact with leaders in the field, my experience at CSU has been fundamental to shaping my career.

I am also indebted to the many great students and long list of collaborators I’ve been fortunate to work with since leaving the Foothills Campus. I’m especially grateful for my students. This award is really recognition of their hard work, and they, in turn, benefit from ATS as I pass on the lessons I learned during my time at CSU.

It is especially rewarding to now be able to highly recommend the ATS graduate program to our best undergraduate students here at Wisconsin. I hope I’ve prepared them for graduate school as well as CSU prepared me for my career!

Tristan L’Ecuyer