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July 10, 2017

Sue van den Heever appointed Associate Department Head

Prof. Sue van den Heever has been appointed ATS Associate Department Head. This is a new position for the department and represents a combination and upgrade of responsibilities previously handled in part by the Graduate Student Counselor and the Curriculum Committee Chair.

Department Head Jeff Collett announced the appointment in an email to the department, stating, “Please join me in congratulating Sue and thanking her for her service in this important new role. I look forward to working with her and know you will find her an outstanding resource for all things student-related!”

Jeff also thanked Russ Schumacher and Thomas Birner for their service as Graduate Student Counselor and Curriculum Committee Chair, respectively, for the past few years.

Sue’s appointment will begin in August.

July 7, 2017

Yixing Shao awarded Air and Waste Management Association scholarship

Yixing Shao, advised by Jeff Collett, has been awarded the Rocky Mountain States Section of Air and Waste Management Association graduate scholarship. The scholarship provides recognition and a financial award for graduate students to encourage careers related to air pollution control and/or waste management.

“The scholarship means a lot to me,” Yixing said in response to the announcement. “It encourages me to pursue air quality-related studies, especially my current research on measurements of reactive nitrogen species and nitrogen deposition in national parks.”

Along with the scholarship, the RMSS-A&WMA offered to cover the cost of one year of Yixing’s student membership to the international A&WMA organization. Membership includes a subscription to the monthly A&WMA periodical and a job/resume posting website.

June 28, 2017

Russ Schumacher and Greg Herman demonstrate new forecasting product

During June and July 2017, the NOAA Weather Prediction Center and Hydrometeorology Testbed are hosting FFaIR: the Flash Flood and Intense Rainfall experiment. This program brings together researchers, forecasters, numerical weather model developers, and others to evaluate new tools for improved prediction of heavy rainfall and flash flooding. One of the products being demonstrated and evaluated this year was developed by CSU atmospheric science graduate student Greg Herman, who is advised by Professor Russ Schumacher.

The product uses machine learning algorithms to process historical observations of heavy precipitation, along with output of weather-prediction models and information about the past performance of those models, to generate probabilities of an extreme rain event occurring in regions all across the U.S. These probabilistic forecasts are being formally evaluated by the FFaIR participants, with the goal of eventually becoming a product used in forecast operations at the WPC.

This project is supported by the NOAA Joint Technology Transfer Initiative.

Link to experimental extreme precipitation forecasts

Photo: FFaIR experiment participants evaluate the experimental CSU heavy precipitation forecast product during the daily forecast activities.

June 20, 2017

ATS hosts North Carolina A&T State University undergrads

Five undergraduate students from North Carolina A&T State University visited the department June 4-10, as part of the department’s NSF-GEOPATHS program and a collaboration with Prof. Solomon Bililign from the North Carolina school. Prof. Scott Denning and Melissa Burt are the CSU co-PIs for the NSF-GEOPATHS program. The goals of their visit were to:

  1. Actively engage with CSU faculty and students who work in complementary research areas
  2. Expose NCA&T students to the larger atmospheric science community
  3. Prepare NCA&T students for an REU experience outside of their home institution
  4. Inform NCA&T students about graduate school opportunities at Colorado State University

A fully immersive experience in the atmospheric sciences was planned for the students, including tours of the department, opportunities to present and learn about ATS research, professional development workshops, and three field trips to research facilities (e.g., the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Pawnee Grasslands Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research site, and the NADP field site in Rocky Mountain National Park). The NCA&T students also interacted with our REU Site In Climate Science interns, including visiting the National Center for Atmospheric Research together.

Photo at top: From left to right, Ari Brown, Jennifer Plakyda, Bianca Rhym, Marquin Spann and Julian Gordon at the NADP field site near Rocky Mountain National Park. 

At 12,005 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park, from left to right, back row: Marquin Spann, Torrie Moss, Bianca Rhym and Ari Brown; front row: Prof. Scott Denning, Jennifer Plakyda, Education & Diversity Manager Melissa Burt and Julian Gordon.

REU Site in Climate Science interns and NCA&T students visit NCAR’s Research Aviation Facility.

REU Site in Climate Science interns and NCA&T students visit NCAR Mesa Lab.

Katie Benedict discusses some of the measurements taken at the NADP field site.

June 16, 2017

Ryan Riesenberg awarded Liniger Honor, Service, and Commitment Scholarship

Ryan Riesenberg, advised by Kristen Rasmussen, has been awarded the Liniger Honor, Service, and Commitment Scholarship. This scholarship is for a CSU student and veteran who has participated in combat operations and received a campaign medal for military service. There are also academic requirements. The scholarship was founded by David and Gail Liniger, who are the founders and owners of RE/MAX.

Ryan earned an Iraq Campaign Medal when he was deployed to Iraq with an Army Aviation Regiment. During his time in service, he also collected an Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, AF Outstanding Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, AF Overseas Ribbon, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon, AF Longevity Service, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Pistol), and AF Training Ribbon.

Ryan thanked the Linigers for the scholarship and said, “It is an amazing privilege to receive this scholarship, and it is nothing shy of a miracle that people are willing to support veterans in this manner to allow veterans to continue their education after serving their country. It allows for their military experience, training and lessons learned to reach back into academia in order to enhance our country and keep America great.”

June 13, 2017

Learn about mountain forecasting at What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate

Joel Gratz will cover “Mountain Forecasting: Facts, Tips & Tricks” at FORTCAST’s fifth installment of What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate. Joel is the founder and CEO of OpenSnow and OpenSummit. Learn about the challenges of mountain forecasting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, upstairs at Tap and Handle.

Please RSVP here. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

June 9, 2017

SOURCE: FORTCAST to host inaugural Colorado Weatherfest June 24

Fort Collins Atmospheric Scientists (FORTCAST) will host the inaugural Colorado Weatherfest 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 24. All events will take place at the CSU Department of Atmospheric Science, 3915 W. Laporte Avenue, on the CSU Foothills Campus.

Featuring a weather balloon launch and drone demonstration, the event – open to all ages – serves to introduce weather and climate principles through hands-on activities. Dozens of scientists from across Colorado will participate, including representatives from:

  • Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science
  • Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere
  • Little Shop of Physics
  • Denver-Boulder National Weather Service
  • Colorado Climate Center
  • WeatherNation
  • Ball Aerospace
  • Center for Severe Weather Research
  • Earth System Modeling and Education Institute
  • University of Colorado, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

For any questions, contact Dakota Smith at

Read the SOURCE article

Photo: A weather balloon launch will be among the activities at the inaugural FORTCAST Weatherfest, June 24.

June 8, 2017

Jakob Lindaas and Zitely Tzompa attend AMS Policy Colloquium in D.C.

Jakob Lindaas and Zitely Tzompa, both advised by Emily Fischer, attended the AMS Policy Colloquium in Washington, D.C. this week. They were awarded full financial support from NSF to attend the colloquium, based on a national competition.

June 7, 2017

SOURCE: Libby Barnes looks for extreme weather in the middle distance

There are those scientists who predict weather patterns one to seven days out, and there are those who model long-term probabilities in weather and climate for seasons or decades to come.

Libby Barnes, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, works at the challenging boundary between these short- and long-term forecasts. Her aim is to understand extreme weather two weeks to two months in the advance – in the field, what’s called sub-seasonal timescales.

A story on, a publication of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), details Barnes’ research goals: ensuring better predictions of the behavior of “atmospheric rivers.” Not actual rivers, these are tropical moisture patterns that typically flow from the tropics to mid-latitudes; they resemble rivers from a satellite view.

Atmospheric rivers provide the West Coast with up to half its annual precipitation, but can also cause damaging floods – and their behavior is hard to predict beyond seven- to 10-day time scales. Barnes and her team at CSU are studying atmospheric river behavior in part by examining the Madden-Julian Oscillation pattern in the tropics.

Barnes’ work – including her leadership of a task force working to predict sub-seasonal extreme weather – has been recognized many times over. Recently, she was a featured speaker at NOAA Science Days, an event that connects the entire NOAA community with NOAA-supported research. Barnes also participated in a public media event hosted by NOAA and the American Geophysical Union.

Read the SOURCE article

Read about Libby on

Photo: Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science Libby Barnes at her desk. On the left monitor: water vapor image of an “atmospheric river” in the Pacific Ocean; on the right, a diagram of atmospheric circulation in the tropics. 

May 24, 2017

REU interns get firsthand atmospheric research experience

The Earth System Modeling and Education Institute (ESMEI), the institutional legacy of CMMAP, welcomed its summer interns this week. ESMEI offers paid summer undergraduate research internships in the Department of Atmospheric Science, where interns join world-class atmospheric scientists investigating the science of clouds, climate and climate change, weather, and modeling.

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program also gives interns the opportunity to attend scientific seminars, visit national scientific laboratories, and participate in a variety of professional development training. The program spans 10 weeks from late May through July. This year summer interns from CIRA joined the group.

Front row, left to right: Samantha Zito (Stony Brook University), Alison Banks (Salisbury University), Sarah Zelasky (UNC Chapel Hill), Leah Johnson (Earlham College), Jessica Solomon (Humboldt State University), and Caitlyn Garko (Colorado State University). Back row, left to right: Gabriel Rodriguez (Colorado College), Daniel Rodriguez (University of Colorado Boulder), Alexander DesRosiers (University of Florida), Eric Molten (Colorado State University), Isaac Fagerstrom (Hamline University), and Joseph Moody (University of Northern Colorado).

May 18, 2017

Deadline extended for Distinguished Alum Award Nominations

Dear Faculty, Alums, and Friends of the Department:

We are pleased to invite nominations for the 2017 Colorado State University Atmospheric Science Distinguished Alum Award. This Award was created to honor former students whose accomplishments in their careers and service to the profession, the public and/or industry have brought recognition to that individual, to the department, and to Colorado State University. Award recipients will be honored in a special ceremony in ATS, to be held in late summer/early fall.

We invite nominations of outstanding alums at mid-career stage or beyond. We especially encourage nominations that reflect the diversity of our alumni population. The Department plans to confer up to two awards each year, typically at the mid-career and senior levels.

The nomination deadline is Saturday, July 15, 2017. Nominations will be reviewed by the Department Awards Committee. To nominate an individual, please complete the online nomination form available at and attach a current vitae or resume. Letters of support are not requested and will not be considered in the review process. If you wish to renew a past nomination, we ask that you submit a fresh nomination using the online form. A list of past recipients can be found on our Alumni page.

Please direct questions to Sarah Tisdale at

the ATS Awards Committee

(Pictured above: 2016 Distinguished Alum Tom Peterson with Department Head Jeff Collett)

May 17, 2017

Fort Collins Climate Action Plan topic of fourth What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate

City of Fort Collins Environmental Program Manager Lindsay Ex will discuss the Fort Collins Climate Action Plan in the fourth installment of FORTCAST’s What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate series. Find out what the city is doing to prepare for the future 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, upstairs at Tap and Handle.

Please RSVP. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

May 16, 2017

Alex Naegele selected as SoGES Fellow

CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) has selected Ph.D. student Alex Naegele as one of 20 early career academics to be a Sustainability Leadership Fellow for the 2017-18 academic year. Alex is advised by Dave Randall.

The program prepares future innovators and thought leaders with state-of-the-art science communication and career development training.

“Once again, we had a large number of excellent applications, demonstrating the high quality of CSU’s doctoral students and postdoctoral scientists,” said SoGES Director Diana Wall. “We are very pleased that sustainability is a core interest for so many of these young researchers.”

The group represents 15 departments and five colleges.

SoGES recognizes that CSU’s researchers and doctoral students are a primary informational resource to talk about the complex decisions that will determine our environmental future. Over the course of one year, fellows receive training to be leaders for the future to effectively communicate science to the media and public. They also receive coaching in professional development skills and techniques, and will learn new strategies to build successful careers that incorporate meaningful engagement and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Alex describes her research:

My research focuses on the relationship between the atmospheric energy budget and the hydrologic cycle. Precipitation is one of the most important aspects of the climate system affecting life on Earth, however, it’s among the most poorly represented variables in global climate models. I use models on smaller scales to investigate the processes affecting the intensity and distribution of precipitation. A large part of my research focuses on the role of clouds in this relationship and how precipitation might be expected to change in a warming climate.

Read the SOURCE article

May 5, 2017

Christina McCluskey receives Alumni Award; Aryeh Drager selected for Riehl Award

Christina McCluskey and Aryeh Drager were honored this afternoon for outstanding student publications. Christina received the Alumni Award for an outstanding paper based on Ph.D. research. Christina is co-advised by Paul Demott and Sonia Kreidenweis. Aryeh received the Riehl Memorial Award for an outstanding paper based on M.S. thesis research. Aryeh is advised by Sue van den Heever.

Herbert Riehl, Jr. was in attendance for presentation of the Herbert Riehl Memorial Award that honors his father. Aryeh and Christina each gave brief technical presentations on their research following announcement of their awards.

Both Christina and Aryeh first came to CSU as CMMAP summer interns. Christina is one of a handful of students who have received both the Riehl and Alumni awards.

During the award ceremony, student volunteers also were recognized for their assistance at the AMS annual meeting and with prospective student visits spring semester.

Spring 2017 student volunteers

Aryeh Drager with advisor Sue van den Heever and Herbert Riehl, Jr.

Christina McCluskey with advisors Sonia Kreidenweis and Paul DeMott

April 28, 2017

A.R. Ravishankara named University Distinguished Professor

A.R. “Ravi” Ravishankara has been named a University Distinguished Professor, the university’s highest honor for faculty.

Ravi joined CSU in January 2014 and holds joint appointments in the Chemistry and Atmospheric Science Departments. Ravi is the fifth Atmospheric Science faculty member to be named a University Distinguished Professor. Previous appointees are Tom Vonder Haar, Graeme Stephens, Dave Randall and Sonia Kreidenweis.

The CSU announcement of Ravi’s award states:

Ravishankara has had a long research career spanning both government and university positions. Over four decades, he has studied the chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere as it relates to stratospheric ozone, climate change and regional air quality. His experiments have contributed to deciphering ozone layer depletion, and to quantifying the role of chemically active species that affect climate. His research has advanced our understanding of the formation, removal and properties of pollutants in the atmosphere.

Ravishankara joined the CSU faculty in 2014 after a lengthy career at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder. His Ph.D. in physical chemistry is from the University of Florida, and he also holds an M.Sc. in physical chemistry, and a B.Sc. in physics and chemistry, both from the University of Mysore, India.

Since his arrival at CSU, Ravishankara has contributed to new scientific directions in atmospheric chemistry, taking a leadership role in the Partnership for Air Quality, Climate and Health (PACH) and participating in the CSU Global Grand Challenge sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research. He has also actively contributed to the mentorship of students, postdocs and young faculty.

Ravishankara’s many honors include membership in the National Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union, Royal Society of Chemistry, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has authored more than 350 peer-reviewed research papers and has received awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, American Chemical Society, Department of Commerce, NOAA and the National Academy of Sciences.

“There are few faculty on the CSU campus that have achieved the scientific impact and world-wide recognition of Dr. Ravishankara,” wrote Department of Chemistry Chair Chuck Henry in his nomination letter. “He is a brilliant scientist and steadfast advocate for science who epitomizes the ideals of the UDP.”

April 27, 2017

Libby Barnes receives Honorable Mention for Graduate Advising and Mentorship

The Graduate Student Council recognized Assistant Professor Libby Barnes as an Honorable Mention recipient of the third annual Graduate Advising and Mentorship Award. The award was created by the Graduate Student Council to acknowledge outstanding advisors and mentors at CSU.

Three winners and three honorable mentions were selected from a field of 75 nominees. Professor Chris Kummerow also was among the nominees. Awards will be presented at the Faculty Council Meeting on May 2.

April 26, 2017

SOURCE: Atmos researchers collaborate on $3.8M wildfire smoke study

For how common wildfires are in our region, we do not know nearly enough about the composition of the smoke, how much it matters for our air quality, what happens when smoke and clouds interact, and whether that’s important for understanding weather. With a $3.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Atmospheric Chemistry program, Colorado State University is one of five universities working to gather a more comprehensive data set aimed at understanding how wildfire smoke changes chemically with time.

Assistant Professor Emily Fischer in the Department of Atmospheric Science is lead investigator for the CSU team. She is joined by five other co-investigators on the project: Jeffrey Collett, Sonia Kreidenweis, Delphine Farmer, Paul DeMott and Amy Sullivan. The areas of knowledge represented by these faculty include trace gas chemistry, cloud and precipitation chemistry, aerosol-cloud interactions, and instrument development.

Read the full SOURCE article

April 14, 2017

Ben Toms receives DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

M.S. student Ben Toms has been awarded a 2017 Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. According to the Krell Institute, “the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF) provides outstanding benefits and opportunities to students pursuing doctoral degrees in fields that use high-performance computing to solve complex science and engineering problems.”

The fellowship fully covers Ben’s tuition and fees and affords him an annual stipend. He will apply the fellowship to using machine learning algorithms such as neural networks to analyze massive quantities of data relating to the Madden-Julian oscillation.

“The general question is: can machine learning algorithms infer relationships beyond those distinguished via typical objective analysis techniques? I’ll initially be applying these machine learning algorithms to cloud-resolving model output, but I will also integrate reanalysis data and satellite-based observations into my analyses,” Ben explained.

According to Department Head Jeff Collett, this is only the second DOE CSGF awarded to an ATS student. Ben also was offered a Department of Defense fellowship but was allowed to accept just one, due to federal rules.

“What a wonderful achievement this is, being offered two highly prestigious fellowships. Congratulations Ben!! It is a pity that you have to choose one,” Sue van den Heever, Ben’s advisor, said in response to the announcement.

More information on the DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

Stephanie Henderson awarded NSF AGS-PRF

Stephanie Henderson, advised by Eric Maloney, has been selected for a National Science Foundation Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (NSF AGS-PRF). The postdoctoral fellowship will support the research described in her proposal, “AGS-PRF: Atmospheric Blocking Variability Associated with the Madden-Julian Oscillation in Present and Future Climates.”

“(The fellowship) means a great deal to me, as it is highly competitive and was therefore very unexpected,” Stephanie said in response to the announcement. The award allowed her to move to Madison where her husband, Dave, who also graduates with his Ph.D. from the department this spring, already had a postdoc offer. The professors and researchers Stephanie wanted to work with in Madison did not have funding for her, so the fellowship will enable her to work with Dan Vimont and Dave Lorenz at the Center for Climatic Research (CCR) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In Madison, Stephanie will work on the many research questions that arose from her Ph.D. She’ll employ linear inverse modeling to examine the optimal tropical conditions that lead to northern hemisphere blocking. Conversely, she’ll investigate how blocking in the northern hemisphere influences the tropics. She also plans to do further research on how the MJO influences blocking during El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events.

Stephanie defended her thesis March 22 and graduates this spring with her Ph.D.

April 11, 2017

What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate covers economics of climate change mitigation

CSU economics professor Anders Fremstad will discuss the economics of climate change mitigation in the third installment of FORTCAST’s What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate series. The informal, interactive discussion of this topic of local and global importance will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at Tap and Handle.

Please RSVP here. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts!

Email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

April 6, 2017

SOURCE: CSU team predicts slightly below-average 2017 Atlantic hurricane season

Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting a slightly below-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2017, citing the potential development of El Niño as well as recent anomalous cooling in the tropical Atlantic as primary factors.

The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 11 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Of those, researchers expect four to become hurricanes and two to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

Read the SOURCE article

March 31, 2017

SOURCE: CSU Tropical Meteorology Project has new co-author, Michael Bell

Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project welcomes a new face to its longtime seasonal hurricane forecasts: Michael Bell, associate professor in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science.

Bell has entered into a research partnership with Philip Klotzbach, the primary author of the seasonal forecasts and verifications, to become the reports’ co-author.

Read the SOURCE article

March 30, 2017

C3LOUD-Ex gives scientists a closer look for more accurate predictions

Armed with drones, weather balloons, and a healthy sense of adventure, scientists led by Susan van den Heever, associate professor of atmospheric science in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, are peering into storm clouds as they form, in a manner never done before. Their goal: bolster prediction models with cutting-edge observational data and, ultimately, provide a clear picture of exactly how storms gather their strength.

Read the CSU Magazine article by Anne Manning.

March 24, 2017

Leah Grant receives Student Council Travel Award

Leah Grant, advised by Sue van den Heever, has been awarded a Student Council Travel Award. CSU’s Graduate School distributes ten $250 travel awards quarterly. According to the Graduate School, more than 70 students applied for the third quarter and the applicants were an extremely competitive group.

Leah’s award will go toward her travel to attend the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2017 in Vienna, Austria, in April. There she will present the work she did last semester at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Leah worked with Prof. Todd Lane to determine how cold pools interact with tropical convective systems. They simulated idealized tropical convective systems and changed the cold pools by altering the evaporation rates below cloud base, and looked at how the precipitation, intensity, and system structure responded.

March 17, 2017

Christina McCluskey earns first place for AMS conference presentation

Christina McCluskey, who recently was selected for an NCAR Advanced Studies Program Postdoc Fellowship, received the 1st Place Oral Presentation Student Award for the 14th Conference on Polar Meteorology and Oceanography with her presentation “Ice Nucleating Particles over Oceans to High Latitudes.” The conference was part of the AMS 97th Annual Meeting in Seattle in January.

Christina is advised by Sonia Kreidenweis and Paul DeMott.

March 10, 2017

Christina McCluskey selected for prestigious NCAR fellowship

Christina McCluskey, advised by Sonia Kreidenweis and co-advised by Paul DeMott, has been selected for a National Center for Atmospheric Research Advanced Studies Program Postdoc Fellowship.

Christina will begin her new position following completion of her novel PhD studies, which have meshed atmospheric observations of the cloud activation properties of sea spray aerosols with laboratory studies of the same as part of the NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment, centered at the University of California, San Diego.

According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) website, “The ASP postdoctoral fellowship is an excellent opportunity to conduct independent research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. ASP fellows are part of a collaborative cohort, are mentored by leading NCAR scientists and engineers, and benefit from the breadth of science and training happening at NCAR.”

“These are extremely competitive and prestigious fellowships,” said Atmospheric Science Department Head Jeff Collett, acknowledging Christina’s accomplishment.

When asked how she plans to use the fellowship, she explained, “The beauty of this post doc is that the research topic isn’t incredibly constrained. So, while I am planning to start with investigating aerosol-cloud interactions in the Southern Ocean, I am also really excited to explore other research topics that are on the go at NCAR.”

Christina will be working with NCAR’s Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory and Earth Observing Laboratory on aerosol-cloud interactions, using both observational data sets and models to improve understanding of key relationships.

March 8, 2017

What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate talk covers air quality and your health

Learn about Front Range Air Quality and how it affects your health at the second installment of FORTCAST’s “What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate” series. Dr. Emily Fischer (CSU Atmospheric Science) and Dr. Sheryl Magzamen (CSU Epidemiology) will present an informal and interactive discussion touching on many aspects of Colorado air quality 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Tap and Handle.

Please RSVP here. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts!

Email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

March 3, 2017

Brody Fuchs, Erik Nielsen and Sam Childs earn awards at AMS conferences

(From left: Brody Fuchs, Erik Nielsen and Sam Childs)

Brody Fuchs, advised by Steve Rutledge, and Erik Nielsen and Sam Childs, both advised by Russ Schumacher, earned presentation awards at recent American Meteorological Society conferences.

Brody received second place for his poster, “Relationships Between Storm Microphysics, Dynamics, and Charge Structure,” at the annual AMS meeting in Seattle in January.

Erik received second place for his talk, “Observations of Extreme Short-Term Precipitation Associated with Supercells and Mesovortices,” and second place for his poster, “An Updated U.S. Geographic Distribution of Concurrent, Collocated Tornado and Flash Flood Events and Look at those Observed during the First Year of VORTEX-SE.” Erik’s presentations covered separate research and both were presented at the annual AMS meeting in January.

Sam received third place for his talk, “Cold Season Tornadoes: Climatological, Meteorological, and Social Perspectives,” at the Conference on Severe Local Storms in Portland, OR, in November.

February 25, 2017

Department students and staff participate in Little Shop of Physics Open House

Department of Atmospheric Science graduate students and staff members participated in the Little Shop of Physics Open House on Saturday, Feb. 25.

The 26th annual open house featured over 350 hands-on science experiments for all ages, interactive presentations, and Bohemian science spectacles. Little Shop of Physics estimates roughly 8,500 visitors attended this amazing day of science outreach, the largest event to date for the Colorado State University campus. The community was treated to a variety of science activities all in one place. An “Exploring the Atmosphere” room featured a variety of activities that focused on weather and climate.

Thanks to the combined efforts of our ATS graduate students and staff members from ESMEI, CIRA, AAAR, and FORTCAST for making this event a success!

Little Shop of Physics open house

February 24, 2017

Ben Toms awarded first place for presentation at AMS annual meeting

Ben Toms, advised by Sue van den Heever, was selected as a first place winner in the oral presentation category in the Environmental Information Processing Technologies Conference Student Competition. According to the award announcement, competition judges chose Toms’ presentation, “Development of a Novel Road Ice Detection and Road Closure System: Modeling, Observations and Risk Communication,” from a field of “many, very high quality and professional Presentations so that it is a tribute to you in presenting you this Award.”

Ben would like to thank the American Meteorological Society and Lockheed Martin for funding his travel to the conference. An early online release of a paper related to his presentation may be found in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

February 10, 2017

9News report: CSU receives gift of weather radar system

Watch the report

January 27, 2017

Melissa Burt and Emily Fischer receive award for Earth Science Women’s Network

Melissa Burt, Emily Fischer and Manda Adams (pictured from left to right) were presented with the AMS Special Award for the Earth Science Women’s Network at the 97th AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle. The award recognized ESWN’s inspirational commitment to broadening the participation of women in the Earth Sciences and providing a supportive environment for peer mentoring and professional development.

AMS gave this statement with the award, “Having more women in science improves research outcomes and makes our economy stronger, while opening doors of opportunity and equity for women around the world.”

All three women are ESWN board members.

January 20, 2017

Stephanie Henderson and Brandon Wolding earn Outstanding Student Paper Awards

Stephanie Henderson and Brandon Wolding, both advised by Eric Maloney, were selected to receive Outstanding Student Paper Awards based on their presentations at the 2016 AGU Fall Meeting. This award is only granted to the top 5 percent of student participants.

The work Stephanie presented examines the influence of the Madden-Julian Oscillation on Northern Hemisphere atmospheric winter blocking. Brandon’s study used the tropical weak temperature gradient balance to examine how changes in the moist thermodynamic structure of the tropics affect the Madden-Julian Oscillation in two simulations of the Superparameterized Community Earth System Model, one at pre-industrial levels of CO2 and one where CO2 levels have been quadrupled.

Congratulations, Stephanie and Brandon!

January 19, 2017

SOURCE: How do your ice crystals grow? NSF fellow chases fires to study clouds

When fires – accidental or controlled – burn across Colorado and surrounding states, billions of microscopic soot particles flutter into the atmosphere. If they rise high enough, and conditions are just right, these black carbon particles can trigger the formation of ice in clouds.

The composition and lifetime of clouds have major implications for weather and climate. Yet all the microphysics of how ice crystals form in clouds remain unclear, as do what sources – wildfires, dust storms or sea spray among them – contribute the most. Colorado State University atmospheric scientist Gregg Schill is seeking to isolate the relationship between clouds, and the black carbon from burning biomass. His goal: providing real data to help climate modelers predict critical climate effects in years to come.

Schill is a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Professor of Atmospheric Science Sonia Kreidenweis, and he works with Paul DeMott, a senior scientist in Kreidenweis’ group. Schill’s research is supported by the NSF Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

“We’re interested in measuring the specific contributions of black carbon to ice nucleating particles,” Schill said. “Ice nucleating particles have large implications for both precipitation and cloud radiative properties, and they form the basis for one of our largest uncertainties in the prediction of climate change.”

Read the SOURCE article

January 10, 2017

FORTCAST launches What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate series

To kick off the new year, FORTCAST is introducing a series of talks titled What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate. The first talk features Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken discussing “Colorado’s Amazing Climate.” Join us 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Tap and Handle (upstairs) for an informal and interactive discussion on many aspects of Colorado’s weather and climate.

The public is welcome to attend. Please RSVP by filling out this short form.

Arrive by 6:25 p.m. for a chance to win a NOAA weather radio. CSU students also can get $2 off drafts with their student ID.

Please email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

January 9, 2017

Michael Bell awarded Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

President Obama today named CSU Atmospheric Science Associate Professor Michael Bell as recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. 102 recipients were named this year across all fields of science and engineering. Michael was nominated for this award by the Department of Defense.

Read the White House announcement

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