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April 17, 2018

Russ Schumacher to give final ‘What’s Brewing’ talk this semester

Associate Professor Russ Schumacher will talk about “attempts to bridge the weather-climate interface in research and career path” in this semester’s final installment of FORTCAST’s What’s Brewing in Weather and Climate series. Schumacher also serves as Colorado State Climatologist and director of the Colorado Climate Center.

Discussion will begin 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, upstairs at Tap & Handle. Please RSVP here. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Contact with any questions.

April 13, 2018

ATS researchers fly and sail to stormiest place on Earth to study cloud processes

By ship and by plane, CSU Department of Atmospheric Science researchers recently ventured to the stormiest place on Earth, the Southern Ocean, to collect cloud, aerosol and precipitation data for a project known as SOCRATES. Knowledge gained during the Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study is expected to enhance weather and climate modeling and forecasting capabilities across the globe.

Graduate student Kathryn Moore, stationed aboard the research vessel (R/V) Investigator, collected data and samples to document primary ice nucleation and its influence on cloud phase. Primary ice nucleation is the formation of the first ice crystals in a cloud, which usually occurs on atmospheric aerosol particles known as ice nucleating particles, and cloud phase is the state of the cloud, liquid or ice.

“The SOCRATES project was designed to comprehensively sample and observe the interactions of aerosols with supercooled and mixed-phase clouds, to gain a better understanding of the aerosol-cloud interactions in this region, and to provide new datasets and parameterizations with which to test and improve weather and climate models,” Moore explained.

The research vessel embarked from Hobart, Tasmania on Jan. 11 and returned Feb. 22. Moore said the trip was remarkably smooth considering the region.

“There were about four to six days where waves were breaking over the bridge, six decks up, and it was too rough to get to the lab where the instruments were located. Other days varied from relatively flat, when we were close to the ice edge by Antarctica, up to six-meter swells. The Investigator has anti-roll tanks, which help reduce side-to-side motion, and I don’t suffer much from seasickness, which helps a lot when there are storms and high winds.”

Ezra Levin and Kathryn Moore aboard the R/V Investigator

Ezra Levin and Kathryn Moore test equipment aboard the R/V Investigator before it set sail Jan. 11, 2018. Photo by Paul DeMott.

Hands-on data collection was necessary to advance our understanding of cloud formation over the Southern Ocean because our current assessment is based almost entirely on satellite observations. This gap in knowledge leads to inaccurate climate models.

“The Southern Ocean is one of the most remote regions on Earth, far from anthropogenic and terrestrial aerosol sources, and so it is an ideal place to study natural aerosols and their interactions with clouds and radiation. Current weather and climate models struggle to represent this region,” Moore said.

CSU’s team of scientists had instruments aboard both the R/V Investigator, an Australian Marine National Facility research vessel, and HIAPER, or the High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research. HIAPER is a highly modified Gulfstream V jet that is owned by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. The project is a collaboration among U.S. universities and Australian scientists, with the U.S. portion funded by the NSF and supported by NCAR.

“It was truly a multinational campaign,” said senior research scientist Paul DeMott, who led the group from CSU. “Our CSU team role in general was to collect data to address an overarching hypothesis that cloud phase and lifetimes behind polar fronts in the Southern Ocean are controlled by ice nucleating particle populations unique to this region (partly due to ocean organic and biological particle emissions), with the consequence that this helps to explain errors in global climate model predictions of solar radiation reaching the ocean surface.”

Ice nucleating particles (INPs) are particles suspended in the atmosphere, which provide the foundation for the most common method of ice formation in the atmosphere. Though the INPs are very rare, they have strong control over the phase, liquid or ice, of a cloud. Once a cloud has glaciated, or turned from predominantly liquid to ice, its reflective properties and radiative effect change significantly, and it can begin to precipitate as snow or ice, rather than just rain.

DeMott shared flight scientist duties with recent CSU graduate Christina McCluskey, now an NCAR Advanced Study Program postdoctoral fellow. DeMott and McCluskey utilized two methods for assessing INP concentrations and a bioaerosol detector while flying over the Southern Ocean, just as Moore was collecting similar samples using the same methods at sea level, along with water samples.

“As expected, the concentrations of INPs over the Southern Ocean were some of the lowest on Earth, both in the marine boundary layer at the surface and higher up in the troposphere,” Moore said.

Still, the extraordinarily low numbers of INPs in the air were somewhat surprising to DeMott, as were some other discoveries.

“Clouds were also more multilayered than we anticipated, and this has implications for radiative transfer and satellite detection,” DeMott said.

Some flights had to be postponed or canceled due to unusual winds over Hobart, but DeMott said most flights were not especially turbulent.

“I only felt queasy once in the entire campaign. We primarily had to be mindful of two things – icing of the aircraft wings and instrument pods, and ingestion of too much sea salt into the engines.”

There were times the HIAPER had to climb above clouds or descend to dissipate accumulating ice. The flight crew also limited time spent at the lowest level over the ocean in high winds to avoid salt accumulation. At least once during the study, NCAR had the engines power-washed to remove salt buildup.

HIAPER wing with data-collection instruments

Cloud probes collect data on the wing of the HIAPER. Photo by Paul DeMott.

“I felt we were always safe, just a long way from home or a runway if anything had happened!” DeMott said.

Though their two months of scientific journeys by sky and by sea have come to an end, much of the work has just begun.

“Our job now is to process physical samples, analyze our own data and to integrate that with in situ data on cloud dynamics and microphysics, and remote sensing data on the same from the ships and aircraft toward answering key project science questions. It will be a massive collaborative effort,” DeMott said.

Research scientist Tom Hill and postdoctoral fellow Ezra Levin supported preparations and installations for the project, and Hill will play a major role in analyzing the collected aerosol samples.

“Some of our goals, once all the data and samples are analyzed, are to identify what the major sources of INPs in the Southern Ocean region are, characterize the biological species present through DNA analyses, and to develop a parameterization that describes INP emissions and atmospheric number concentrations that can be used in weather and climate models to improve predictions in this region,” Moore said.

Given the broad scope of the expedition and the vast amount of analysis yet to perform, discoveries and definitive conclusions are still on the horizon. However, according to DeMott, the SOCRATES project already has been a success.

“My takeaway was that we met the objective to perform the most comprehensive characterization of Southern Ocean clouds and aerosols yet undertaken, that our data sets are rich, and that we will be able to answer our major hypotheses.”

Photo at top: Australian Marine National Facility (MNF) research vessel, R/V Investigator. Photo by Kendall Sherrin (CSIRO, AU).

April 12, 2018

Jeff Pierce awarded prestigious Monfort Professorship

Associate Professor Jeff Pierce was named one of CSU’s newest Monfort Professors at the Celebrate CSU Awards Ceremony yesterday. The Monfort Professorship is CSU’s premier award recognizing research accomplishments and potential of mid-career faculty. The program is sponsored by the Monfort Family Foundation to help CSU recruit and retain talented faculty members.

Two CSU faculty members are selected as Monfort Professors each year. They retain this designation for two years and receive $75,000 per year to further their teaching and research. Pierce plans to use his Monfort award to investigate the effectiveness of pollution emission control strategies in China, a collaborative effort with Ellison Carter, assistant professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Pierce is the fourth Department of Atmospheric Science faculty member to be named a Monfort Professor since the program began in 2002. Past recipients were Scott Denning, Dave Thompson and Sue van den Heever.

Read more about Pierce and this recognition.

Jeff Pierce, his wife and members of the Department of Atmospheric Science

Jeff Pierce, center, is joined by his wife, Ellen Brennan-Pierce (at his right), and members of the Department of Atmospheric Science following the ceremony where he received the Monfort award April 11, 2018.

April 11, 2018

Alex DesRosiers selected to receive AMS fellowship

Alex DesRosiers, who will join Associate Professor Michael Bell’s group as an M.S. student in the fall, has been chosen to receive an American Meteorological Society Graduate Fellowship.

“I am thrilled for the privilege to be an AMS fellow,” DesRosiers said, after receiving notification from AMS President Roger Wakimoto. “Coming from a non-meteorology background with a desire to join that field, the AMS conference always provided an excellent spring board for me to network in the field I desired to join while learning about the many exciting projects going on this year.”

DesRosiers is currently an environmental engineering student at the University of Florida.

“The fellowship will help to fund my objective of studying the intensification process of tropical cyclones during my graduate studies in Dr. Michael Bell’s research group. I also look forward to growing professionally through the opportunities and events open to fellowship recipients at the AMS Annual Meeting,” he said.

April 9, 2018

Thomas Vonder Haar co-authors book on founder of satellite meteorology

University Distinguished Professor Emeritus Thomas Vonder Haar has co-authored a book about Verner Suomi, the founder of satellite meteorology. Vonder Haar and six other authors drew on personal letters and oral histories of the Finnish-American educator, inventor and scientist to piece together Verner Suomi: The Life and Work of the Founder of Satellite Meteorology.

The book’s abstract explains how Suomi forever changed the field of meteorology:

“In the early days of space science, Suomi brought his pragmatic engineering skills to bear on finding ways to use our new access to space to put observational instruments into orbit. In 1959, his work resulted in the launching of Explorer VII, a satellite that measured Earth’s radiation budget, a major step in our ability to understand and forecast weather. Today, NOAA’s GOES system continues his legacy by providing a continuous stream of environmental data from space.”

“It was a pleasure to work with lead author and historian John Lewis and other colleagues on the new book,” Vonder Haar said. “[Suomi] was my Ph.D. advisor at the University of Wisconsin, and I worked closely with him on several research projects for 15 years beginning in 1963. Professor Suomi was a natural engineer and inventor with a deep understanding of global and local atmospheric systems.”

You can read more about the book or purchase it at the AMS Bookstore.

April 6, 2018

Kathryn Moore and Katelyn O’Dell receive National Science Foundation fellowships

Graduate students Kathryn Moore and Katelyn O’Dell have been selected to receive 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) fellowships. Both Moore, advised by Paul DeMott and Sonia Kreidenweis, and O’Dell, advised by Jeff Pierce and Emily Fischer, were chosen for the field of Atmospheric Chemistry. Their selection was based on their “demonstrated potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.” The GRFP provides financial support for a maximum of three years.

“I’m very excited and honored to have been selected as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow,” Moore said. “Receiving this fellowship gives me the flexibility to conduct research that I am excited about and invested in. One aspect I am particularly excited about is the opportunity to access other NSF funds that are only available to NSF graduate research fellows. These include the GROW program, which provides funding for international research collaborations, and GRIP, which allows fellows to pursue internships at federal agencies.”

O’Dell will use the financial support to study wildfires and their impacts on air quality.

“I’m very honored to have been selected as an NSF Fellow this year and am excited to work on new and exciting research questions that I’m very passionate about,” she said.

April 5, 2018

SOURCE: CSU team predicts slightly above-average 2018 Atlantic hurricane season

Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting a slightly above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2018, citing the relatively low likelihood of a significant El Niño as a primary factor.

Read the SOURCE article, “Slightly above-average 2018 Atlantic hurricane season predicted by CSU team.”

See Michael Bell’s 9News interview.

April 4, 2018

PROGRESS update ‘Welcoming Women into the Geosciences’ published on Eos

Women are underrepresented in the geosciences, in part because of systemic attitudes and behaviors. Why do we need to close this gap? Diverse teams produce better ideas—they set the bar for scholarly excellence. So what are the best ways to welcome the next generation of women into geoscience careers?

The Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) set out to find and test some answers to this question.

Read the article, “Welcoming Women into the Geosciences.”

Photo: Early-career scientists and their mentors share a lighthearted moment while learning firsthand about snow crystal formation and snowpack metamorphism at a snow science event in Laramie, Wyo. The event, organized by the University of Wyoming’s Multicultural Association of Student Scientists, included participants from PROGRESS, a program that supports undergraduate women as they begin careers in the geosciences. Credit: Ilana Pollack

April 3, 2018

CSU alum will examine perceptions and responses for evolving weather risks

CSU alumna Julie Demuth, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, will discuss perceptions and responses for evolving weather risks through interviews and Twitter data at the next installment of FORTCAST’s What’s Brewing in Weather and Climate series. Demuth has an M.S. in Atmospheric Science and a Ph.D. in Public Communication and Technology, both from CSU.

Discussion will begin 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, upstairs at Tap & Handle. Please RSVP here. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Contact with any questions.

April 2, 2018

Graeme Stephens awarded Mason Gold Medal from Royal Meteorological Society

University Distinguished Professor Emeritus Graeme Stephens has been selected to receive the 2017 Mason Gold Medal from the Royal Meteorological Society. The medal will be presented May 16 at the society’s annual meeting in London.

The Royal Meteorological Society is the UK’s professional and academic society for weather and climate. Sir John Mason, a passionate scientist himself, funded the Mason Gold Medal to be awarded biennially to a Fellow of the Society “for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the fundamental processes that determine the variability and predictability of weather and climate.” The medal ranks alongside the Symons Gold Medal as the premier award of the society and is bestowed in alternate years to the Symons medal.

“It’s a great honor and recognition of much of my research at CSU!” Stephens said in response.

March 30, 2018

Next Teen Science Café: Lasers and their many uses

What exactly do lasers do? Lots of things – from trapping atoms to keeping time in atomic clocks. They’re used in cooling, fusion and technological applications, including self-driving cars, GPS and wind farm design. Zak Burkley from CSU’s Department of Physics will talk about the many uses of lasers at the next Teen Science Café on April 11.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 11
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: Zak Burkley from CSU’s Department of Physics

RSVP to the April 11 Teen Science Café here.

April 11 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, Everyday Joe’s Coffee House. 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.

March 27, 2018

Phil Klotzbach reviews 2017 hurricane season in Mission: Water cover story

Dr. Phil Klotzbach is a research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. He leads the development of hurricane forecasts issued during peak months of the year. In an Interview with Mission: Water, Klotzbach reviews the science behind 2017’s devastating hurricane season.

Read the article, “Eye of the Storm.”

March 19, 2018

Christine Chiu profiled as ARM User Executive Committee member on DOE website

Associate Professor Christine Chiu is featured in a User Executive Committee member profile on the U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility website. Read the article, “UEC profile: Christine Chiu’s path to better cloud observations.”

March 16, 2018

Eos features study led by Jack Kodros on health impacts of burning solid fuels

This week’s edition of AGU publication Eos featured a study led by Ph.D. candidate Jack Kodros on the health impacts of burning solid fuels. Associate Professor Jeff Pierce as well as several other researchers from CSU’s Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering contributed to the study.

In the absence of reliable access to electricity and clean cooking technology, nearly 40 percent of the world’s population burns solid fuels for cooking and home heating. Smoke particles produced by these fires are harmful to human health. While previous studies have estimated mortality from either household or ambient air pollution separately, Kodros’ study quantifies the combined effects of both. It targets gaps in knowledge that, once overcome, could lead to more accurate mortality estimates.

“The main goal of this study was to highlight specific data sources that contribute the most uncertainty to estimates of premature mortality. These data sources include statistics on how people die in different countries, the relationships between death and air pollution, and air pollution concentrations. We provide an estimate of which of these data sources should be the focus of future research in order to most improve our understanding of the global health impact of exposure to particulate matter,” Kodros explained.

Ultimately, it is important to communicate accurate estimates of premature mortality due to air pollution to policy makers, Kodros said.

Read the Eos article, “Solid-Fuel Use Puts Human Health at Risk.”

Read the study, “Quantifying the Contribution to Uncertainty in Mortality Attributed to Household, Ambient, and Joint Exposure to PM2.5 From Residential Solid Fuel Use.”

Photo at top: Creative Commons image

March 14, 2018

Elizabeth Barnes receives National Science Foundation CAREER award

Assistant Professor Elizabeth (Libby) Barnes has been selected for a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the NSF’s most prestigious grants in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.

“I’m incredibly excited,” Barnes said in response to the announcement. “The CAREER offers five years of funding to explore both passions of mine: science and education.”

Integrating education and research is central to the program’s goal. With CAREER, the NSF boosts promising and talented junior faculty toward lifelong leadership and scientific advances in their fields. The awards are granted annually, and the selection process is one of the most competitive within the NSF.

Barnes will use her grant to study causal connections between the Arctic and mid-latitudes.

“I’m particularly excited because I am being funded to work on applying exciting statistical techniques to address questions of causality in climate science – that is – ‘who caused who?’ Or, which came first, the chicken or the egg? I’m specifically going to be studying the links between the tropics-midlatitudes-Arctic and how they communicate with each other and who communicates first.”

Barnes’ project also will create an online database for scientists to utilize and expand.

“I get to bring my love for data science/analysis to the broader community by designing and implementing an online resource for atmospheric sciences that explains and shows examples of mathematical and statistical tools for analyzing data. My hope is that by the end of this award it will function something like Wikipedia, so scientists across the globe can add to it and use it as a resource.”

The Department of Atmospheric Science is well-represented among recipients of this distinction. Other recent CAREER award recipients from the department include Associate Professor Russ Schumacher, Associate Professor Michael Bell and former Associate Professor Thomas Birner.

Read more about Elizabeth Barnes and her research.

March 7, 2018

Next Teen Science Café: The Teal Housewives of Colorado

How do ducks fly all the way to Colorado from South America and still find time to sit on eggs for a month? Why would they even bother coming up to the mountains when they could stay in the balmy tropics? Casey Setash from CSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology will answer these questions and more at the next Teen Science Café on March 21. She will discuss the cinnamon teal and the ways it makes the most of its time in Colorado.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 21
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: Casey Setash from CSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

RSVP to the March 21 Teen Science Café here.

March 21 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, Everyday Joe’s Coffee House. 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.

March 5, 2018

Zitely Tzompa selected as inaugural Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellow

Ph.D. candidate Zitely Tzompa has been chosen to be among the first Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellows. The fellowship, recently created by State Representatives Chris Hansen and Bob Rankin, is an eight-week summer internship for STEM majors, where they will conduct policy research and learn more about STEM policies through seminars and industry site visits.

Public policy makers consult and collaborate with STEM experts for knowledge and advice in navigating the complex challenges of energy, water, public health and transportation. Fellows will observe this interaction and present their own capstone public policy projects, after undergoing a policy “boot camp” that will teach them about the policy-making process and the skills they’ll need to be a part of it.

Tzompa looks forward to gaining firsthand experience of how scientists can contribute to policy making.

“The best part of the fellowship is that I will have the opportunity to design, write and present my own policy proposal to legislators, industry figures and university representatives.”

Fellowship participants were sought from Colorado State University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Denver, Metropolitan State and the Colorado School of Mines. Each school was allowed to place three fellows, and the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering was assigned one of the spots. Two applications were selected at the college level and submitted to Hansen and Rankin. Tzompa and another Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering applicant then interviewed with the representatives at the Colorado State Capitol Building, and Hansen and Rankin made the final selection.

“The competition was fierce, but we were very impressed by what you could bring to the program,” read Tzompa’s notification from a member of Hansen’s staff.

The program, which runs May 21 through July 13, will be based mainly at the capitol building and will include field trips, seminars, workshops and social events. Fellows will receive a stipend.

Tzompa eagerly anticipates the impact the fellowship will enable her to make.

“This is an exciting time to be a scientist, and I look forward to contributing to both the scientific understanding and the environmental policy related to air quality.”

February 21, 2018

SOURCE: Distant tropical storms have ripple effects on weather close to home

The famously intense tropical rainstorms along the Earth’s equator occur thousands of miles from the United States. But atmospheric scientists know that, like ripples in a pond, tropical weather creates powerful waves in the atmosphere that travel all the way to North America and have major impacts on weather in the U.S.

These far-flung, interconnected weather processes are crucial to making better, longer-term weather predictions than are currently possible. Colorado State University atmospheric scientists, led by professors Libby Barnes and Eric Maloney, are hard at work to address these longer-term forecasting challenges.

In a new paper in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, the CSU researchers describe a breakthrough in making accurate predictions of weather weeks ahead. They’ve created an empirical model fed by careful analysis of 37 years of historical weather data. Their model centers on the relationship between two well-known global weather patterns: the Madden-Julian Oscillation and the quasi-biennial oscillation.

According to the study, led by former graduate researcher Bryan Mundhenk, the model, using both these phenomena, allows skillful prediction of the behavior of major rain storms, called atmospheric rivers, three and up to five weeks in advance.

Read the full SOURCE article, “Distant tropical storms have ripple effects on weather close to home.”

Read more about this research on the NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research website.

Image at top: Atmospheric river off California, February 2014. Credit: Still from an animation by NOAA

February 20, 2018

Kristen Rasmussen chosen for AMS Early Career Leadership Academy

Assistant Professor Kristen Rasmussen has been selected as one of 35 finalists to participate in the first class of the American Meteorological Society’s Early Career Leadership Academy (ECLA). The academy is intended for high-level performers and is structured around opportunities to improve professional skills, discover leadership potential, and build a strong cohort community of early career professionals in weather, water and climate (WWC) science enterprise.

“I am thrilled to be selected as one of 35 participants in the 2018 AMS Early Career Leadership Academy to enhance my development and leadership skills as an early career scientist and professor, and to help build a growing network of early career leaders,” Rasmussen said in response to her acceptance in the academy.

According to the ECLA Web page, the academy will bring together a select group of early career individuals, in particular, women and underrepresented minorities, for an immersion experience in leadership, such as creative problem-solving; conflict resolution; building trust and enhancing communication skills. ECLA is a professional development experience built around emerging trends in weather, water and climate science enterprise that will shape the future of professions. Topics that will be covered include workplace issues, technology, crisis management, building trust, business acumen for geoscientists, job market volatility and key societal trends.

Rasmussen looks forward to the skills and network she’ll gain from the academy.

“I hope to improve my professional skills, discover my leadership potential, and help build a strong community of early career professionals.”

February 19, 2018

Kai-Chih Tseng interview: Global rainfall pattern could extend predictions by 3 weeks

Earth’s atmosphere is chaotic, making it difficult for forecasters to predict weather more than 10-13 days in advance. However, research has increasingly shown that large-scale patterns of variability and relationships between states of the atmosphere in two faraway locations, called “teleconnections,” can help extend prediction skill beyond this limit.

“Few researchers have applied this mechanism to weather prediction,” said Kai-Chih Tseng, atmospheric science graduate student at Colorado State University (CSU). “Especially from two weeks to three months, which has been known as a ‘prediction desert’ in the past.”

A new study led by Tseng says that teleconnections with certain phases of a recurring tropical rainfall pattern could extend predictions up to 20-25 days in advance. The study is co-authored by Assistant Professor Libby Barnes and Professor Eric Maloney, both in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science.

The authors’ findings provide guidance on which tropical conditions might lead to improved forecasts beyond our current capability – and more time to prepare for extreme events.

Read the full NOAA Climate Program Office article.

Graphic at top: Upper Atmosphere Graphic of Madden-Julian Oscillation The surface and upper-atmosphere structure of the MJO when the enhanced convective phase (thunderstorm cloud) is over the Indian Ocean and the suppressed convective phase is over the west-central Pacific Ocean. Source:

February 18, 2018

Prof. Emeritus Richard Johnson named AAAS Fellow

Professor emeritus of atmospheric science Richard H. Johnson has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He and another CSU faculty member, animal scientist Temple Grandin, were among the 396 honorees Feb. 17 during the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. They were presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin. The new AAAS Fellows were recognized for their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

Johnson was honored by the Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Science for his “creative design, execution and analysis of field experiments that have given insight into the interaction of convective clouds with large-scale atmospheric circulation.”

Johnson joined the CSU faculty in 1980. His research has been in atmospheric convection and mesoscale dynamic processes in the tropics and mid-latitudes, and the interaction of convection with the planetary boundary layer. Severe convective storms, the tropical Madden-Julian Oscillation, and clouds in the tropics and their central role in global atmospheric circulation have been among his areas of study. A specific focus of study has been on the Asian monsoon, which affects over half the world’s population.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The mission of the non-profit AAAS is to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and public engagement.

Photo: Richard Johnson shakes hands with AAAS President Susan Hockfield at the AAAS Fellows Forum Feb. 17.

February 16, 2018

Cogent Geoscience: An interview with Emily Fischer

“Teams, not individuals, drive science forward.” – Prof. Emily Fischer

Fischer was among the women interviewed by Cogent Geoscience in honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Feb. 11. Read the full interview here.

February 2, 2018

Peter Marinescu, Minnie Park receive AMS presentation awards

Peter Marinescu, advised by Sue van den Heever and Sonia Kreidenweis, and Minnie Park, advised by Sue van den Heever, were selected as winners of the Aerosol-Cloud-Climate Symposium student presentation competition at the 2018 AMS Annual Meeting in Austin. Peter was chosen for his presentation, “Comparing the Aerosol Impacts on Deep Convective Updraft Characteristics in Two Cloud-Resolving Models,” and Minnie was honored for her presentation, “Dependence of Aerosol Transport on Meteorological and Surface Properties within Tropical Sea Breeze Convection.”

January 19, 2018

Learn about wildlife in our neighborhoods at the next Teen Science Café

How do cameras and collars help us track urban wildlife? Christopher Schell from CSU’s Department of Biology will discuss coyotes and other species, how they are studied, and how they adapt to anthropogenic landscapes at the next Teen Science Café on Feb. 14.

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, Everyday Joe’s Coffee House. 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.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: Christopher Schell from CSU’s Department of Biology

RSVP to the Feb. 14 Teen Science Café here.

Feb. 14 Teen Science Café flier

January 18, 2018

SOURCE: Prof. A.R. Ravishankara receives U.N. Scientific Leadership award

This past autumn A.R. Ravishankara, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, received an international Scientific Leadership award from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the agency that coordinates the U.N.’s environmental activities.

The award recognized Ravishankara’s lifelong work studying and finding solutions to climate change and ozone layer depletion. The honor was presented at a ceremony in Montreal on the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty that phased out ozone-harming chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs.

Read the full SOURCE article, “Professor A.R. Ravishankara receives U.N. Scientific Leadership award”

January 17, 2018

Stacey Hitchcock awarded 3rd place for poster at AMS meeting

Stacey Hitchcock, advised by Russ Schumacher, was awarded third place for her poster “Impacts of Low-Level Stability on MCS Propagation” at the 2018 AMS Annual Meeting in Austin. Hitchcock presented her poster at the PECAN Symposium.

Hitchcock’s letter from the symposium co-conveners, informing her of the honor, stated:

“The judges and other attendees were all impressed with the depth and quality of your research and presentation. Great job! We look forward to seeing more results from your work as you continue your PECAN research.”

Photo at top: Stacey Hitchcock speaks at the 2018 AMS Annual Meeting.

January 12, 2018

Sue van den Heever, Melissa Burt receive awards at AMS Annual Meeting

Prof. Sue van den Heever and Melissa Burt received American Meteorological Society awards at the organization’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas, January 8-12. Van den Heever was honored as the 2018 recipient of the Edward N. Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award, and Melissa Burt was given the Commission on Professional Affairs Award for Early Career Achievement.

One person is chosen annually for the highly competitive Edward N. Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award. A nomination letter and three supporting letters were required for consideration, with at least one of the supporting letters from a former student. As stated on the AMS web page listing the 2018 award winners, van den Heever was honored “for enduring passion for teaching and mentoring, for engaging students both inside and outside the classroom, and for unrelenting dedication to training future scientists.”

Burt is a research scientist with Prof. David Randall and the Education and Diversity Manager for the Department of Atmospheric Science and the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. She coordinates ESMEI’s (Earth System Modeling and Education Institute) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and the Front Range Teen Science Café programs. She earned her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2016.

According to the selection panel, Burt’s “work across a variety of AMS boards and committees, as a manager for education and diversity at CMMAP, and administration of an REU program, are just small parts of her already-large-and-growing involvement in our field. She has accomplished all of these things even while completing her doctorate at a top university, which clearly demonstrates, as one of the supporting letters said, ‘Dr. Burt really integrates all the aspects of excellence’ — research, mentoring, education, and service.”

Read more about van den Heever’s award.

Read more about Burt’s award.

Photo at top: Prof. Sue van den Heever, center, is pictured with some of her students.

Melissa Burt receives AMS award

Melissa Burt receives the AMS Early Career Achievement Award from Chris Schultz, chair of the AMS Board of Early Career Professionals.

Sue van den Heever with her award

Sue van den Heever with her award.

Sue van den Heever with CSU contingent at AMS Annual Meeting

Sue van den Heever stands with the CSU contingent present for her award ceremony at the AMS Annual Meeting.

Sue van den Heever gives acceptance speech

Sue van den Heever speaks after accepting the Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award at the 2018 AMS Annual Meeting.

January 8, 2018

Retired colonel will discuss weather and the Air Force at FORTCAST talk

Lt. Colonel Bill Darling will discuss U.S. Air Force Combat Weather at the first FORTCAST What’s Brewing in Weather and Climate talk of 2018. Darling will talk about the history and structure of USAF Combat Weather, the role of Special Operations Weather Technicians (SOWTs), and some of the missions with which he has been involved.

Darling retired from the Air Force in 2010 after 31 years of service, most recently as commander of the 208th Combat Weather Team. During his military career, Darling deployed as the combatant commander to contingency operations in 22 countries, supporting Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Joint Guardian, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Southern Watch, the Global War on Terrorism, Joint Task Force Katrina, Crisis Action Team and Operation Cope Thunder.

Discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, upstairs at Tap & Handle. Please RSVP here. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Contact with any questions.

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