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March 24, 2020

Jon Martinez receives NCAR postdoctoral fellowship

After defending his Ph.D. in May, Jon Martinez will continue his tropical cyclone research thanks to an Advanced Study Program postdoctoral fellowship from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

“This is a very selective program, and this honor is a testament to all of Jon’s hard work during his Ph.D.,” said Associate Professor Michael Bell, Martinez’s adviser.

Martinez will investigate how tropical cyclone frequency might change in Earth’s warming climate system by analyzing variability in the processes that contribute to tropical cyclone formation. Beginning in mid-August, his research project will be based at the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Laboratory, but he plans to collaborate with scientists from other NCAR labs as well.

“I’m sincerely honored to be selected as an ASP postdoctoral fellow and look forward to collaborating with NCAR scientists in bridging weather extremes and climate change research,” Martinez said.

Martinez hopes his research ultimately will inform risk projections of landfalling tropical cyclones among increasingly vulnerable coastal communities. 

Photo at top: Jon Martinez on Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Mike Casas

March 19, 2020

AGU webinar series features talk by Professor Sue van den Heever on March 24

Professor Sue van den Heever will present a talk March 24 as part of the American Geophysical Union’s webinar series, “From the Past Into the Future.” The live webinars, hosted by AGU’s Atmospheric Sciences section, are held Tuesdays at 10 a.m. through April 21.

The series content stems from the AGU centennial meeting, where invited speakers shared transformative discoveries in atmospheric science, along with grand challenges. Topics included ozone depletion and recovery, weather and climate prediction, detection and attribution of climate change, and extreme events, among others.

You are invited to view those lectures online as the speakers present them a second time. Registration is simple and only requires your name and email address, so AGU can send you connection information. Each webinar features two speakers and lasts approximately one hour.

For more information and to register, please visit the AGU Atmospheric Sciences webinar series page. Recordings of the talks also can be viewed from this page following the webinar.

Read the abstract for van den Heever’s talk, “Past Achievements and Future Challenges in Understanding, Observing and Modeling Cloud Processes,” here.

March 18, 2020

COVID-19 update: Department staff working remotely

The department office is closed and staff will be working from home until further notice. Staff can be reached by email or their office phone numbers.

For building issues, please contact Hannah Gluckstern,, 491-8682.

For student issues, please contact Graduate Adviser Sarah Tisdale (, 491-8360) or Associate Department Head Professor Eric Maloney (, 491-3368).

For human resources questions, please contact Heather Packard,, 491-8356.

For travel and purchasing questions, please contact your travel and purchasing coordinator, Amanda Davey (, 491-8590) or Erin Carleton (, 491-8208).

Research Project Managers will continue to work on proposals (including submissions) while working remotely. Please contact your RPM if you have questions or need assistance.

For website issues or communications needs, please contact Jayme DeLoss,, 491-8904.

Department Head Jeff Collett (, 491-8697) and Operations Manager Darby Nabors (, 491-6960) also are available to answer questions.

March 17, 2020

Andrea Jenney awarded NOAA postdoctoral fellowship

Andrea Jenney has been accepted into a notable federal program founded to train the next generation of climate researchers. After graduating with her Ph.D. this summer, Jenney will move on to the University of California, Irvine, where she will work with Associate Professor Mike Pritchard on a project she proposed for her NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship.

“I’m thrilled to have, for the first time ever, successfully obtained funding to work on a project that I designed myself,” said Jenney, who is co-advised by Professors David Randall and Elizabeth Barnes. “I’m also looking forward to working with awesome new mentors and collaborators and learning new science, tools and skills.”

Jenney and Pritchard will explore the role of small-scale features in the atmospheric temperature profile of convection using high-resolution simulations, in order to improve our understanding of the processes that create clouds and rain in our atmosphere. NOAA recognizes that understanding the connections between weather and climate is key to comprehending the effects of climate change. Jenney’s project will fit their weather results into the broader context of climate, with the ultimate goal of advancing weather and climate simulations.

Over the past 30 years, NOAA’s Climate and Global Change program has supported 230 fellows, who are hosted with mentoring scientists at universities and research institutions across the U.S.

March 12, 2020

William Cotton selected for elite honor by cloud physics organization

Emeritus Professor William Cotton has been chosen for an honor given to only one member of the cloud physics community every four years. He has been elected as an Honorary Member of the International Commission on Clouds and Precipitation, an organization based in the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences.

Every four years, the commission organizes the International Conference on Clouds and Precipitation, a top forum for atmospheric scientists to share their research on clouds and precipitation. Cotton has attended the conference since the early 1970s. This year he will speak at the event to be held in August in Pune, India.

Cotton joined CSU’s atmospheric science faculty in 1974. He has received numerous honors from the college and university over the years, including the Engineering Dean’s Council Award for excellence in atmospheric research, the Abell Faculty Research Graduate Program Support Award, the Research Foundation Researcher of the Year Award, and the Jack Cermak Distinguished Advisor Award. His Ph.D. alma mater, Penn State University, gave him the Charles L. Hosler Alumni Scholar Award, and the Weather Modification Association presented him with the Schaefer Award for scientific and technological discoveries that constituted a major contribution to the advancement of weather modification.

Cotton is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA). He has published more than 190 papers in peer-reviewed journals and authored nine book chapters, one book, and a memoir, and co-authored two additional books. He considers the most significant achievement of his career to be advising students, including 44 Ph.D.s, 44 M.S. students and 12 postdocs.

February 24, 2020

Kevin Barry wins VPR fellowship in 3-minute presentation challenge

Kevin Barry, advised by University Distinguished Professor Sonia Kreidenweis and Senior Research Scientist Paul DeMott, was among 31 CSU graduate students to compete in the Vice President for Research Graduate Fellowship Three Minute Challenge on Feb. 10. The competitors, who were chosen as top communicators in the Graduate Student Showcase in November, had to explain their research clearly and concisely, with the use of only one static PowerPoint slide, in three minutes or less. Barry was selected by the panel of judges to receive a VPR fellowship, along with 15 other presenters.

Barry presented on his research regarding the potential of ice-nucleating particles from wildfires in the western U.S.

“It was challenging but important to condense my whole research (background, methods, results) to under three minutes for a general audience,” Barry said. “It allowed me to focus on the significance and think about my research from a broader prospective.”

The presenters represented seven colleges and 18 disciplines, including animal science, atmospheric science, chemistry, communication studies, food science and human nutrition, physics and microbiology. Fellows are eligible for up to $4,000 in scholarship and travel support, as well as opportunities for professional development through workshops, mentorship, and leadership and engagement opportunities over the 2020-21 academic year.

“I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the diverse set of research in the event, although the timer was nerve-racking!” Barry said.

You can watch Barry’s presentation, “Can Wildfires Influence Ice in Clouds,” here.

February 20, 2020

Jim Hurrell moderates panel in conjunction with NCAR exhibit on climate change

“Real People, Real Climate, Real Changes” – a traveling exhibit launched by the National Center for Atmospheric Research or NCAR – is on display at the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering this spring.

The interactive exhibit will be open to the public in the Scott Bioengineering Building atrium through March 12. The college and NCAR will also host a panel March 3 featuring some of the top climate scientists in the field. Registration is required for the event.

The exhibit builds on NCAR’s popular onsite climate exhibit, which draws more than 100,000 visitors a year to the research center’s Mesa Laboratory in Boulder. “Real People, Real Climate, Real Changes” was developed by NCAR and the UCAR Center for Science Education to help share the science of climate change and how it impacts people’s lives. This exhibition was made possible with funds provided by the National Science Foundation.

Read the full Source article, “Interactive NCAR exhibit on climate change in Scott Bioengineering through March 12.”

Photo at top: Student ambassadors in the Scott Bioengineering Building explore the NCAR climate exhibit in February 2020.

February 19, 2020

NCAR education and outreach specialist to speak at FORTCAST event

Lorena Medina Luna will share her outreach work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and discuss nontraditional Earth science careers at FORTCAST’s What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate talk Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Medina Luna is an education and outreach specialist at NCAR. She organizes the NCAR Explorer Series, which features NCAR scientists in quarterly lectures and highlights field campaigns in short videos. She also has led the scientific communication workshop for the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program.

Prior to her work with NCAR, Medina Luna was a bilingual educator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, leading classes for K-12 school groups in topics ranging from biological to space sciences. Medina Luna received her Ph.D. in geology from the University of Michigan, where she investigated earthquake-generating stresses, following her M.S. in geology from California State University and her B.S. in earth and environmental science from UC Irvine.

Discussion followed by Q-and-A will begin 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, upstairs at Tap & Handle. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

FORTCAST is a local chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Contact with questions.

February 18, 2020

March Teen Science Café features ethnomusicologist John Pippen

Learn about how we bond to music, why it impacts us, and what music does for humans around the world at March’s Teen Science Café. CSU assistant professor of music John Pippen will give an interactive presentation on music and culture March 11 at this free event. Pippen’s research demonstrates how people create music and social connections.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 11
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: CSU assistant professor of music John Pippen

RSVP to the March 11 Teen Science Café here.

March 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. 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 17, 2020

Atmos celebrates new community space with ice cream social

After months of construction, the department officially unveiled its new community space, housed in the former department office, with an open house and ice cream social Feb. 17. Here’s a gallery of photos showing the facade and interior before, during and after construction.

ATS building before construction Construction on the facade following Thanksgiving week snowstorm Interior construction, late November Interior construction, mid-December Interior construction, late January

New facade, late January Finished space, late February Finished space, late February Finished space, late February Department celebrates new community space with ice cream social

February 14, 2020

Chih-Chi Hu awarded Best Student Presentation at AMS conference

Chih-Chi Hu, advised by Professor Peter Jan van Leeuwen, won a Best Student Presentation award at the 24th AMS Conference on Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for the Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface (IOAS-AOLS) in January.

Hu’s presentation, “A Particle Flow Data Assimilation Method for High-Dimensional Systems,” examined how a nonlinear data assimilation method, the mapping particle filter, can improve the forecast in a high-dimensional system with nonlinear observation operators.

“I feel really honored to receive this award,” Hu said. “I am very grateful to Peter Jan for giving me so much support in my research and opportunities to present my work at a conference during my first year.”

February 6, 2020

Jon Martinez receives second-place Schubert Symposium Student Poster Award

Jon Martinez, advised by Associate Professor Michael Bell, won second place for the poster he presented at the Schubert Symposium during the AMS Centennial Meeting in January. The symposium honored Emeritus Professor Wayne Schubert.

“Wayne’s research has inspired many of the ideas that constitute this project,” said Martinez. “I’m grateful to have participated in the Wayne Schubert Symposium, and I’m truly honored to receive the award.”

His poster, “Characterizing the nature and evolution of asymmetric structures in idealized simulations of rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones,” was intended to better understand how tropical cyclones rapidly intensify in order to produce extended, reliable intensity forecasts. Martinez’s research examined whether asymmetric structures contribute to or interfere with tropical cyclone rapid intensification.

Photo at top: Jon Martinez with his award-winning poster at the Schubert Symposium. Photo by Nikki Perrini

February 4, 2020

Three grad students in Barnes’ research group earn AGU, AMS honors

Three graduate students in Associate Professor Elizabeth Barnes’ research group recently were awarded honors from the American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society. Ben Toms won two awards, an Outstanding Oral Presentation Award from the AMS 33rd Conference on Climate Variability and Change, and a second-place Student Oral Presentation Award from the AMS 26th Conference on Probability and Statistics. Both Andrea Jenney, who is co-advised by Professor Dave Randall, and Savini Samarasinghe, an electrical engineering student co-advised by Imme Ebert-Uphoff, received Outstanding Student Presentation Awards from the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting.

“We have a talented team in the Barnes group working on machine learning and climate predictability problems,” Toms said. “It’s exciting that the community also recognizes this through these awards!”

In Toms’ second-place presentation, “Physically interpretable neural networks for the geosciences,” he showed that a few neural network interpretability methods open the door to using neural networks for science. In “Using neural networks to identify forecasts of opportunity for decadal prediction,” he discussed how to identify climate states that lead to increased predictability on decadal timescales using neural networks and neural network interpretability methods.

The circulation of the atmosphere is expected to weaken in a future warmer climate. Despite a predicted increase in precipitation, the average strength of stormy updrafts is anticipated to decrease near the surface. Jenney’s talk, “Scale Dependence of Changes in Large-Scale Vertical Motion and Convective Mass Fluxes in a Future, Warmer Climate,” demonstrated that while circulation weakens, the stormy updrafts actually can strengthen aloft, due to changes in the clouds and vertical motion between the storms.

Samarasinghe’s poster, “Using Causal Discovery Methods to Explore Subseasonal Teleconnections in a Changing Climate,” presented collaborative research with Barnes, Ebert-Uphoff, and Lantao Sun, a research scientist with Professor Jim Hurrell’s group.

“We investigated the tropospheric and stratospheric teleconnections between the MJO and the NAO using causal discovery approaches,” Samarasinghe explained. “We also looked into how these interactions change in future climate projections using the CESM2 model.”

January 29, 2020

Minnie Park and Alex Sokolowsky win top presentation awards at AMS symposium

Minnie Park and Alex Sokolowsky, both advised by Sue van den Heever, earned first and second place, respectively, for their student oral presentations at the 12th Symposium on Aerosol-Cloud-Climate Interactions.

The Committee on Atmospheric Chemistry selected Park’s presentation, “Understanding Aerosol Impacts on Tropical Land-Sea-Breeze Convection Using a Statistical Emulator Approach,” for the top honor.

“I am very thankful for the judges for their time and inputs, and my advisor Sue for her mentorship and support. Most of all, I would like to acknowledge the van den Heever group for their constructive comments and moral support!” Park said.

Sokolowsky’s presentation, “Exploring the Sensitivity of Tropical Oceanic Convective Clouds to Aerosol Characteristics under Differing Thermodynamic Environments,” focused on how cumulus congestus quantities and properties responded to changes to both initial aerosol concentration and initial low-level static stability.

“I am very grateful to Sue and the rest of the van den Heever group for their excellent feedback and support on both the presentation itself and the research that went into it,” Sokolowsky said.

Photo at top: Minnie Park presents her first-place student oral presentation at the 12th Symposium on Aerosol-Cloud-Climate Interactions.

Alex Sokolowsky presents research

Alex Sokolowsky presents his research during the 12th Symposium on Aerosol-Cloud-Climate Interactions.

January 28, 2020

Ben Trabing awarded for poster presented at AMS Annual Meeting

The AMS Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting honored Ph.D. candidate Ben Trabing with an award for the poster he presented at the 100th American Meteorological Society meeting in Boston this month.

Trabing’s poster, “Understanding Rapid Intensity Changes in Official Hurricane Intensity Forecast Error Distributions,” exhibited how well forecasters predict rapid changes in hurricane intensity and how forecasts have improved with time. It also investigated some of the factors that may contribute to large errors in order to better predict intensity changes in the future.

“I am very thankful to have received the award, particularly because this was the 100th AMS meeting and one of the most attended,” said Trabing.

Trabing is advised by Associate Professor Michael Bell.

January 15, 2020

Department one of only 14 accepted into AGU diversity program

The U.S. geosciences workforce does not reflect the diversity of the U.S. population, and the American Geophysical Union’s Bridge program aims to fix that. AGU founded the new program to improve recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduate programs. CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science was one of 14 institutions chosen as a partner in the program’s first round.

“The department applied because it strongly feels that diversity on our campus strengthens our entire scientific community,” said Associate Department Head and Professor Eric Maloney. “We are continually seeking new partnerships to increase diversity within our program.”

Maloney led the department’s application, along with Professors Emily Fischer, Jim Hurrell, Jeff Pierce and Kristen Rasmussen, and Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Melissa Burt. AGU received 52 applications from hopeful Bridge partners, representing 20 percent of the 250 active Earth and space science graduate programs in the United States. Through a rigorous review process, AGU assessed each institution’s ability to support and mentor underrepresented students.

Read full Source article, “CSU Department of Atmospheric Science accepted into AGU diversity program.”

Photo at top: ESMEI’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program is one of the ways in which the department has recruited students from underrepresented groups and mentored budding young scientists. REU interns from 2019 are pictured here. 

January 9, 2020

Wayne Schubert honored with symposium at AMS Centennial Meeting

The American Meteorological Society will again recognize Professor Emeritus Wayne Schubert at its 100th annual meeting by holding a symposium in his honor Jan. 15. AMS named symposia acknowledge the contributions of the most distinguished members of the field.

“The symposium will celebrate and honor Professor Schubert for his distinguished career as a researcher and educator in atmospheric science,” notes the AMS website. “His contributions have been far-reaching and pioneering, yielding profound new insights into tropical cyclones, moist convection, and the dynamics of mesoscale and synoptic-scale phenomena.”

This is Schubert’s fourth AMS honor. He was elected as a fellow in 1997. In 2016, AMS commended him with the Jule G. Charney Medal, one of the organization’s top awards, and in 2017, he was asked to deliver the Bernhard Haurwitz Memorial Lecture, in recognition of his significant contributions to atmospheric science.

Read the full Source article, “Wayne Schubert honored with symposium at AMS Centennial Meeting.”

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