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December 3, 2019

Jakob Lindaas and Erin Dougherty awarded scholarships

Professors Emily Fischer and Kristen Rasmussen each surprised one of their students with some good news in an awards ceremony Dec. 3. Fischer presented Jakob Lindaas with the David L. Dietrich Honorary Scholarship, and Rasmussen presented Erin Dougherty with the Shrake-Culler Scholarship.

Fischer nominated Lindaas for the Dietrich Scholarship, which recognizes a CSU student who has demonstrated outstanding ability in air quality research and education. Fischer noted a paper Lindaas published in 2017 that already has been cited nine times. She mentioned his air quality research related to oil and gas drilling, wildfires and agriculture – three significant sources of emissions in the West.

Fort Collins-based Air Resource Specialists Inc. funds the Dietrich Scholarship each year. It is given in honor of retired ARS President David Dietrich. Vice President Jessica Ward attended the ceremony and shook Lindaas’s hand afterward.

Rasmussen acknowledged Dougherty’s work ethic and numerous accomplishments in her short time in the graduate program. In just two years, Dougherty was selected as a SoGES fellow, accepted into the Advanced Climate Dynamics Courses Summer School, and awarded third place for her research presentation at CSU Hydrology Days, among other accolades.

The Shrake-Culler Scholarship is given annually to a senior Ph.D. student. The student must have passed their preliminary exam, have a GPA of 3.5 or above, and demonstrate a strong work ethic and enthusiasm for higher education.

Jessica Ward, Jakob Lindaas and Emily Fischer

Air Resource Specialists Vice President Jessica Ward, left, was on hand to see Jakob Lindaas receive the Dietrich Scholarship from his adviser, Associate Professor Emily Fischer.

Erin Dougherty and Kristen Rasmussen

Assistant Professor Kristen Rasmussen nominated Erin Dougherty for the Shrake-Culler scholarship.

December 2, 2019

Weather, climate and machines that learn

The term “artificial intelligence” may not immediately conjure associations with the warming of Earth’s atmosphere. But now more than ever, climate researchers are turning to trainable, data-nimble computer programs as tools for improving climate models, weather forecasting and more.

Nowhere is this truer than in the lab of Elizabeth (Libby) Barnes, associate professor in the Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science. Barnes is a climate scientist who studies global atmospheric dynamics and variability, in part for making skillful, accurate predictions of weather weeks in advance.

These days, Barnes is just as quick to call herself a data scientist. She believes climate science is well positioned to harness machine learning methods to uncover new knowledge about how the global climate functions, how it’s changing, and why.

Read the full Source article, “Atmospheric science, meet data science.”

Photo at top: Imme Ebert-Uphoff and Libby Barnes at the atmospheric science campus. Photo by Bill Cotton

November 21, 2019

ATS researchers investigate atmospheric processes in collaborative campaigns

Colorado State University atmospheric scientists recently embarked on partner field campaigns to study weather phenomena over the Philippines and surrounding sea. The complex processes at play in this part of the world affect southeastern portions of continental Asia, and even weather in the United States. Ultimately, the observations CAMP2Ex scientists took by plane and PISTON researchers made by ship will improve weather and climate forecasts.

CAMP2Ex, the Cloud, Aerosol and Monsoon Processes Philippines Experiment, monitored the impact of smoke and pollution on cloud and aerosol processes. PISTON, or the Propagation of Intra-Seasonal Tropical OscillatioNs, observed how oceanic convective systems organize and evolve in the tropical atmosphere. The two international field teams conducting these studies will be able to compare findings for more comprehensive results.

CAMP2Ex originally was scheduled to take to the sky in 2018, but the campaign had to be delayed a year due to aircraft issues. Once off the ground, flight scientist and Professor Susan van den Heever and her crew aboard the NASA P-3B science aircraft collected a wealth of data that will enhance our understanding of aerosol and cloud processes.

“The campaign was a tremendous success,” van den Heever said. “We flew 19 P-3 science flights. We obtained observations of shallow maritime cumulus clouds, deeper congestus clouds, tropical linear cloud systems, and cold pools within polluted and clean environments, allowing us to examine the impacts of aerosols on these cloud types and processes.”

Read the full Source article, “By plane and by ship, CSU researchers investigate atmospheric processes in collaborative campaigns.”

Photo at top: From left, Alex Sokolowsky, Prof. Susan van den Heever and Sean Freeman stand in front of the NASA P-3B science aircraft they used to take observations for the CAMP2Ex field campaign. Sokolowsky launched most of the dropsondes, van den Heever was one of two primary flight scientists, and Freeman served as flight planner and ground control. Photo by Andrzej Wasilewski

November 20, 2019

Tropical Meteorology Project was close on 2019 Atlantic hurricane numbers

The 2019 hurricane season ended up slightly above average – a bit more active than was predicted by the CSU Tropical Meteorology Project forecast team’s later updates issued in June, July and August, and somewhat more active than was predicted in April. Of most note during the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season was Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the northwestern Bahamas before significantly impacting the southeast United States and the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. Tropical Storm Imelda also inundated southeast Texas with devastating flooding.

“The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season was well above-average for the number of named storms, and near-normal for the number of hurricanes and major (Category 3-plus on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) hurricanes. Overall, our first seasonal forecast issued in early April was somewhat too low, while updates issued in June, July and August slightly underestimated Atlantic hurricane activity,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast. Seasonal Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) was approximately 120 percent of the 1981-2010 average. While the season was very active for the total number of named storms (18 compared with the 1981-2010 average of 12), seven of the 18 named storms that formed lasted one day or less – the most Atlantic storms lasting one day or less on record.

The report summarizes all tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin during the 2019 hurricane season and compares the team’s seasonal and two-week forecasts to what occurred.

Read the full Source article, “Researchers were close on 2019 Atlantic hurricane numbers, but under-predicted named storms.”

Image at top: Hurricane Dorian makes landfall near North Carolina. Credit: NOAA

November 19, 2019

Jennifer Mahoney honored as 2019 Outstanding Alum

Department Head Jeff Collett presented Jennifer Mahoney with the 2019 Outstanding Alum Award in a ceremony Nov. 12. Collett noted that Mahoney recently was promoted to director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory’s Global Systems Division, shortly after the department committee made its selection. He joked that he liked to think they gave Mahoney a little boost toward her promotion, but if nothing else, her promotion was further proof of the quality of their choice.

Mahoney thanked the department for the award and gave a talk about “The Unimagined Path.” One outcome she had never imagined was leading one of NOAA’s premier scientific laboratories. “Mentors combined with motivation mixed with opportunity can lead to outcomes never imagined,” she wrote in her abstract.

“Overcoming negativity, discouragement, and opposition to achieve my goals took personal courage and amazing scientific mentors. Many of those mentors were here at CSU,” she stated.

Mahoney offered tips for early-career scientists and provided an overview of the cutting-edge scientific research underway at GSD. Located in Boulder, GSD is developing the next generation regional-to-global Unified Forecast System, Exascale-computing technologies, and next-generation decision support tools that provide communities with actionable information.

Mahoney oversees more than 200 research scientists and engineers in her new role. She was part of the GSD management team that successfully developed and then transitioned the High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model into operation. It is now the premier short-term forecast model used by NOAA and by the FAA for aviation weather, and one example from her extensive record of transitioning scientific advances into operations. She has received numerous awards during her career, including a 2016 NOAA Research Employee of the Year Award for Leadership.

Mahoney received her M.S. from the department in 1992. She was advised by Professor Tom McKee, who nominated her for the award. Her thesis was “Synoptic and Mesoscale Features in Colorado Winter Storms: A Climatology.”

November 11, 2019

Evie Bangs earns best student poster award at NADP annual meeting

M.S. student Evie Bangs, advised by Jeff Collett, won the best student poster award at the annual meeting of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) last week. Bangs presented her findings regarding amines in atmospheric aerosol.

“I was honored to receive recognition for my work and was absolutely impressed with the amount of research and effort all of the presenters have put forth to progress atmospheric research,” Bangs said. “I would also like to thank Jeff (Collett), Katie (Benedict) and Amy (Sullivan) for their helpful suggestions as I developed my poster!”

Bangs’ poster focused on amines as a contributor to organic nitrogen in aerosols and why they matter. She specifically focused on an assessment of a spatial gradient in Rocky Mountain National Park, Fort Collins and Greeley.

Photo at top: Evie Bangs records data in Rocky Mountain National Park.

November 7, 2019

College recognizes ‘rising stars’ Kristen Rasmussen and Bonne Ford

The Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering honored Assistant Professor Kristen Rasmussen and research scientist Bonne Ford at its all-college meeting and awards ceremony Nov. 4. Rasmussen received the George T. Abell Outstanding Early-Career Faculty Award, and Ford received the Outstanding Researcher – Rising Star Award.

Award winners were selected by a committee comprised of last year’s winners. Nominations were submitted by colleagues and staff of the college’s eight departments and programs.

“Kristen’s contributions across research, atmospheric field campaign organization, mentoring, teaching, outreach, and service in her first three years at CSU are without peer,” wrote the three department professors who nominated Rasmussen. “In just three years as a professor, Kristen has already established herself as one of the top rising stars in storms, precipitation, and extreme weather.”

Rasmussen expressed gratitude in her response.

“I am very honored to win this award and am grateful for the wonderful students, staff, and faculty at ATS that make this work environment collaborative and productive,” she said.

Ford’s research group leader, Associate Professor Jeff Pierce, led her nomination, which was supported by colleagues within and outside of the department.

“Bonne has made exceptional contributions not only to research, but also to student mentoring and management/leadership of two interdisciplinary WSCOE projects,” he wrote in his nomination letter. “Bonne is an extremely gifted scientist, a highly effective project manager, and a caring and dedicated student mentor.”

Ford said she was grateful that her colleagues took the time to nominate her and write letters of support.

“I appreciate being selected for this award, and I am thankful to work with supportive people who see the value in my research and my contributions to the department, CSU, and beyond,” she said. “The award is both an encouragement and motivator.”

November 6, 2019

ASCENT scholarships fund graduate students’ international research

Atmospheric science graduate students Kathryn Moore and Michael Cheeseman were awarded funding from the Assisting Students, Cultivating Excellence, Nurturing Talent (ASCENT) program to pursue research opportunities outside the United States. This department scholarship was established to enrich the graduate experience, often through international travel.

Moore, an M.S. student in Sonia Kreidenweis’s research group, will use her funding to participate in the Sea2Cloud field campaign in March and April along the Chatham Rise, east of New Zealand. While sailing aboard New Zealand’s R/V Tangaroa, she will study how ocean biogeochemistry drives changes in marine aerosol emissions, and in turn how differences in aerosol composition affect clouds in marine regions. 

“This campaign gives me a chance to work with a fantastic group of scientists from New Zealand, France and the U.S., to make one of the most complete sets of in situ measurements of surface ocean-aerosol-cloud interactions,” Moore said.

Moore is excited to collaborate with lead Principal Investigator Karine Sellegri of Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique at the University of Blaise Pascal – Clermont Ferrand, to understand how marine ice nucleating particle composition and number vary with ocean biogeochemical conditions.

“This fits in perfectly with my M.S./Ph.D. research at CSU, and this cruise will provide me with a novel dataset to analyze and incorporate into my research, as well as a chance to meet and collaborate with many excellent atmospheric chemists and oceanographers,” she said.

Ph.D. candidate Cheeseman, advised by Jeff Pierce, applied for an ASCENT scholarship to gain experience in international collaboration. He is interested in studying air pollution in regions of the world that face vastly different problems than the U.S., politically and environmentally. With collaborators from the Weizmann Institute, Cheeseman will use the award to deploy a network of air quality sensors in Israel.

“I hope to increase our understanding of the impacts of sandstorms on satellite measurements of aerosols in the Middle East and the resulting impact on human health in the region,” he said.

Photo at top: The Department of Atmospheric Science granted ASCENT scholarships to graduate students Kathryn Moore, left, and Michael Cheeseman to support their proposed international research projects.

November 5, 2019

Jennifer Mahoney chosen as 2019 ATS Outstanding Alum

Jennifer Mahoney has been selected as the 2019 CSU ATS Outstanding Alum. Mahoney received her M.S. from the department in 1992. She was advised by Professor Tom McKee, who nominated her for the award. Her thesis was “Synoptic and Mesoscale Features in Colorado Winter Storms: A Climatology.”

Mahoney, who was employed by NOAA before she began at CSU, has risen steadily through the ranks of NOAA leadership. She recently was promoted to Director of the Earth System Research Laboratory’s Global Systems Division, one of four divisions at ESRL, where she directly oversees more than 200 research scientists and engineers.

Mahoney was part of the GSD management team that successfully developed and then transitioned the High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model into operation. It is now the premier short-term forecast model used by NOAA and by the FAA for aviation weather, and one example from her extensive record of transitioning scientific advances into operations. She has received numerous awards over the years, including a 2016 NOAA Research Employee of the Year Award for Leadership.

Mahoney’s Outstanding Alum Award will be presented Nov. 12 in ATS 101, with a reception beginning at 3:30 p.m. She hopes to meet with faculty and Ph.D. students working in her primary areas of interest before the event.

“I am very interested in building collaborations around the topics of cloud computing, high-resolution modeling (including physics, data assimilation), and decision support/social science applications,” she said.

November 4, 2019

Entomologists will talk bugs at November Teen Science Café

What’s it like working in the world of arthropods and Colorado insects? Bring your entomology questions to November’s Teen Science Café. CSU entomology graduate students Erika Peirce and Melissa Schreiner will answer questions about insects, jobs, college, social media, travel, beekeeping, macrophotography and insect collecting.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenters: CSU entomology graduate students Erika Peirce and Melissa Schreiner

RSVP to the Nov. 13 Teen Science Café here.

Nov. 13 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.

October 31, 2019

ATS alum walks 18,000 miles, connecting every place he has ever lived

In 2010 CSU atmospheric science alumnus Pete Wetzel set out to hike home – to all two dozen places he’d ever called home in his 60-plus years. Nine years and more than 18,000 miles later, he concluded his journey in Fort Collins, where he earned his Ph.D. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University in 1978. His advisor, Professor Emeritus William Cotton, joined him Oct. 26 for part of the final leg of his adventure. Together they walked the Poudre Trail from the Kodak Trailhead south of Windsor to the Poudre Learning Center west of Greeley.

Due to budget cuts, Wetzel took an early retirement buyout offer from NASA in 2005, where he was a research atmospheric scientist. In 2010 he acquired his first personal GPS tracker, and he has not stopped logging miles since. He has the recorded GPS tracks to prove it, ever updating an online map of his travels.

In 2012 Wetzel hiked the Appalachian Trail – twice, once in each direction, making him one of a select few who have done the “double” in a calendar year, and the oldest of those by more than a decade, he calculates. Wetzel found his “happy place” hiking long distances through territory new to him, especially on footpaths in the woods. But he felt he needed a goal to sustain and justify further long-distance hiking.

Read the full Source article, “Atmospheric Science alum walks 18,000 miles, connecting every place he has ever lived.”

October 25, 2019

Atmospheric science an important part of engineering college’s 150-year history

Three days a week, Noah Newman hops in his Toyota Prius and becomes part of Colorado State University engineering history.

The atmospheric science researcher drives to the weather station close to the Lory Student Center just before 7 a.m. to capture temperature, precipitation and wind speed readings, among other things, mostly with pen and paper.

Newman carries on a tradition of monitoring the Fort Collins weather that began with a local farmer in 1872 and quickly became associated with the first engineering faculty at Colorado Agricultural College. The Morrill Act that created land-grant colleges specified that both “agricultural and mechanic arts” be taught. What is now known as the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering carries on that mission in the 21st century, its legacy expanding from weather and agricultural innovations into groundbreaking research on satellites, robotics and lasers, and machines that can learn on their own.

The college has graduated more than 20,000 students since the 1880s and now boasts annual research expenditures of $80 million and seven departments – Atmospheric Science, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, the multidisciplinary School of Biomedical Engineering, and Systems Engineering. In 2016, civil engineering alumnus Walter Scott, Jr. raised the college’s profile with a transformational $53 million gift for scholarships, buildings, programs and faculty.

A lot has changed in 150 years. The land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach – as well as monitoring the weather – remains the same.

Read the full article, “Putting the M in Colorado A&M.”

Photo at top: Colorado Climate Center research coordinator Noah Newman reads a hygro-thermograph, which records temperature and humidity, during a morning shift at the campus weather station.

October 21, 2019

Wildland fire expert to speak at FORTCAST What’s Brewing event

How can process-based modeling advance our understanding of wildland fire dynamics? CSU Wildland Fire Science Associate Professor Chad Hoffman will discuss his research applying computational fluid dynamics models to wildland fire dynamics at the next What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate talk Tuesday, Nov. 5, organized by the FORT Collins Atmospheric ScientisTs. Hoffman co-directs CSU’s Western Forest Fire Research Center.

Discussion followed by Q-and-A will begin 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 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 amsfortcast@gmail.com with questions.

October 16, 2019

Colorado Climate Center certifies state weather records, including largest hailstone

The weather and climate experts at the Colorado Climate Center occasionally get the exciting task of marking a new state record. This past year was a triple threat: Climatologists have just certified the largest hailstone, highest temperature, and lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the state’s record-keeping history, which goes back to the 1870s.

Thanks to careful vetting by a “State Climate Extremes Committee” convened by Colorado State Climatologist Russ Schumacher earlier this year, the three records are in the books as of last week. The Colorado Climate Center, part of CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, is the state’s designated climate office that collects data, monitors climate, conducts research and provides public-facing expertise to scientists, educators, the media and the general public.

Read the full Source article, “Colorado Climate Center makes state weather records official, including largest hailstone.”

Photo at top: The largest hailstone recorded in Colorado state history fell Aug. 13 near Bethune. Credit: Colorado Climate Center

October 14, 2019

AMS 2021 meeting will feature symposium named for emeritus professor

The American Meteorological Society will feature Emeritus Professor Richard Johnson in a named symposium during its 2021 Annual Meeting. Only two or three named symposia are included in each year’s program, reserving this recognition for the most outstanding individuals who have significant achievements in their field, whose contributions make them worthy of consideration as an honorary member of AMS.

AMS previously recognized Johnson with the Verner E. Suomi Medal in 2013. Johnson was a leader in the department’s mesoscale meteorology program from the time he joined the faculty in 1980 through his retirement in 2015. He served as department head from 2007-11. Johnson continues to be active in research from his home in Oregon with interests in tropical convection, dynamics of the MJO, and monsoon processes.

The 2021 Johnson Symposium succeeds the 2020 AMS Schubert Symposium honoring Emeritus Professor Wayne Schubert. The two have been collaborators and leaders in the department for many years.

October 4, 2019

ATS researchers contribute to study linking air pollution and increase in violent crime

Breathing dirty air can make you sick. But according to new research, it can also make you more aggressive.

That’s the conclusion from a set of studies recently authored by Colorado State University researchers in economics, atmospheric science and statistics. Together, the team found strong links between short-term exposure to air pollution and aggressive behavior, in the form of aggravated assaults and other violent crimes across the continental United States.

The tool that allowed the team to overlay crime data with pollution data was originally used in collaboration with CSU epidemiologist Sheryl Magazmen to study health effects from air pollution, explained co-author Jeff Pierce, associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science and a Monfort Professor. Pierce, associate professor Emily Fischer and researchers Kate O’Dell and Bonne Ford, had previously worked with Magzamen to detail how smoke and particulate matter exposure correlated with things like hospitalizations and asthma inhaler refills.

Read the full Source article, “Exposure to air pollution increases violent crime rates, study finds.”

September 24, 2019

What’s it like to live with wild elephants? CSU professor will share discoveries

Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Associate Professor George Wittemyer has closely followed 900 elephants living in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya for more than 20 years. He will explain elephant behavior and conservation challenges at the next Teen Science Café on Oct. 9.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: CSU Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology Associate Professor George Wittemyer

RSVP to the Oct. 9 Teen Science Café here.

Oct. 9 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.

September 23, 2019

CSU Atmospheric Science promotes inclusive community

CSU Atmospheric Science is a leading global institution, and as such, all members of our community regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical ability, age, socioeconomic status or nationality are welcome as equal contributors. We value and appreciate diversity, and we believe that diversity on our campus strengthens our entire scientific community.

September 19, 2019

WeatherVideoHD.TV President Walt Lyons to speak at FORTCAST event

Learn about lightning and watch stunning footage of Colorado storms at FORTCAST’s first What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate talk of the semester. Walt Lyons, president of WeatherVideoHD.TV, will share photos and videos of weather phenomena, including storms and upper atmospheric lightning, that were produced by his website, which provides royalty-free, high quality weather imagery.

Lyons’ career in meteorology has spanned many decades and positions, including broadcast meteorologist, research scientist, CSU instructor, forensic meteorology consultant, AMS president, and designer of the nation’s first commercial, operational lightning detection network.

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

Contact amsfortcast@gmail.com with questions.

September 16, 2019

Emily Fischer receives Macelwane Medal, one of AGU’s highest honors

In recognition of her significant contributions to the geophysical sciences as an outstanding early career scientist, the American Geophysical Union has chosen CSU Atmospheric Science Associate Professor Emily Fischer for the James B. Macelwane Medal. She will be honored at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco in December for her breakthrough research on air pollution and her efforts to increase diversity in geosciences.

“The Global Burden of Disease ranks air pollution as the fourth largest health risk in the world. … Knowing how much pollution comes from what sources for a given location, what are the pollutant properties, and how these pollutants are formed and evolve during atmospheric transport are key pieces of information for reducing health risk. That is why atmospheric chemistry is such a cornerstone of science for improving human health – and this is where Dr. Fischer’s work is making a major contribution,” wrote UC Berkeley Professor Ronald Cohen in his nomination letter.

During the summer of 2018, Fischer led the largest, most comprehensive research campaign ever attempted to analyze wildfire smoke. The National Science Foundation-funded WE-CAN, or Western Wildfire Experiment for Cloud Chemistry, Aerosol Absorption and Nitrogen, was a collaboration among five universities and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) that involved a C-130 research plane loaded with scientific instruments. Analysis of the data collected during the campaign is ongoing and will shed light on the composition of wildfire smoke, how it changes over time and as it travels, and how it affects clouds. The results will bring insights on air quality, health impacts, weather and climate.

Read the full Source article, “Emily Fischer receives Macelwane Medal, one of AGU’s highest honors.”

 

September 11, 2019

Jessie Creamean to spend 4 months on ship trapped in Arctic ice to study climate

In a few days, a research vessel called the RV Polarstern will depart Norway and spend a year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice. More than 600 researchers from 19 countries will board the ship in various stages, participating in the world’s most ambitious Arctic science expedition to date.

Jessie Creamean, a research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, will be one of them. Starting Sept. 12, Creamean will spend about four months on board the ship, floating toward the North Pole and collecting thousands of ice, snow, seawater, and air samples along the way. Her goal is to determine how biological processes from microbes – like algae and bacteria – in the water, ice, and snow are affecting atmospheric conditions that form clouds.

“Especially up in the Arctic, clouds are like thermostats – they can reflect radiation from the sun or trap heat from the Earth’s surface,” said Creamean, whose colleagues on the project include senior research scientist Paul DeMott and University Distinguished Professor Sonia Kreidenweis. For example, if clouds cause sea ice to melt faster, this could lead to more sunlight exposure in the ocean, and more production of algae that can affect local ecology.

Read the full Source article, “CSU researcher Jessie Creamean to board ship trapped in drifting Arctic ice.”

Photo at top: Research scientist Jessie Creamean holds a basket starfish during a previous Arctic expedition called INARCO II. She boards another Arctic-bound ship this month. 

September 10, 2019

ATS students name Emily Fischer Professor of the Year

Department of Atmospheric Science graduate student representatives chose Associate Professor Emily Fischer as 2018-19 Professor of the Year, based on evaluations submitted by students. Students fill out surveys for each course throughout the academic year, and grad reps then determine which professor received the most feedback for teaching excellence.

“Emily brings a tremendous energy and enthusiasm every day and it is inspiring. One of the best professors I’ve ever had,” Graduate Representative Ryan Gonzalez read from an anonymous nomination while presenting Fischer with a plaque at the New Student Welcome Picnic on Sept. 4.

Students praised Fischer’s instruction methods and the applicability of her classes. One of the classes for which she was nominated was a one-of-a-kind Aircraft Observations course.

“I thought, ‘What would I like to do if I was a student?’” Fischer said of the experimental course.

She requested extra flight hours from the National Science Foundation to conduct the class following her wildfire smoke research campaign, WE-CAN, last summer. 

“I am so thankful for the energy and flexibility that the students put into my crazy Aircraft Observations course,” Fischer said. “It was so fun for me to help them design their flight patterns and to watch how much science came out of three short flights. I can’t wait to see what this group will do as future PIs.”

Fischer also acknowledged her Interpreting Satellite Observations students. “It was so fun to see the students take their assignments a step further and identify ways to use new datasets in their research,” she said.

September 4, 2019

Welcome to our new students!

Fall 2019 incoming class. Front row, left to right: Lilly Naimie, Nick Falk, Justin Hudson, Wei-Ting Hsiao, Chih-Chi Hu, Allie Mazurek, Chloe Boehm, Eric Goldenstern and Sam O’Donnell. Back row, left to right: Emily Lachenmayer, Megan Franke, Ali Cole, Lee Brent, Jacob Escobedo, Lance Niño, Chen-Kuang Yang and Sagar Rathod. Not pictured: Jamin Rader and Nick Geyer.

September 3, 2019

Teen Science Café takes a look at Earth from space

Learn how scientists monitor Earth’s atmosphere and environment using satellites at September’s Teen Science Café. Matt Rogers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) will talk about the principles of light, how light interacts with the environment, and how that can be used to measure our world from orbit.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: Matt Rogers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere

RSVP to the Sept. 11 Teen Science Café here.

Sept. 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.

August 30, 2019

Atmospheric Cyclists sweep Bike to Work Challenge second consecutive year

The Bike to Work Challenge trophy has settled back into its familiar spot on Foothills Campus. For the second year in a row, the CSU Atmospheric Cyclists, a team of Department of Atmospheric Science and Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) members, dominated the bicycle-commuting contest sponsored by the City of Loveland. Two of the three nameplates on the trophy now bear the team’s name, one for each year it has competed.

“The CSU Atmospheric Cyclists stormed out of the gate, took the lead early and kept it for the rest of the time,” said challenge founder David Droege in his announcement to participants.

Droege, a systems engineer at Keysight Technologies, started the informal competition between Colorado companies in 2017 to encourage more people to bike to work. The challenge was open to all workplaces along the Front Range and included teams as far away as Colorado Springs.

Read the full Source article, “Atmospheric Cyclists sweep Bike to Work Challenge second consecutive year.”

Photo at top: Team Captain Kyle Hilburn holds the Bike to Work Challenge trophy presented to the Atmospheric Cyclists Aug. 20 by challenge founder David Droege (back row, third from right).

August 29, 2019

Sonia Kreidenweis named AGU Fellow

Already a fellow of both the American Meteorological Society and American Association for Aerosol Research, University Distinguished Professor Sonia Kreidenweis has been admitted to yet another prestigious, exclusive scientific fellowship. Each year the American Geophysical Union inducts no more than 0.1 percent of its membership as fellows. Valued by their peers and vetted by a committee of fellows, AGU Fellows are selected based on their scientific eminence in the Earth and space sciences.

“Sonia has been a leader of the atmospheric chemistry program here at CSU for more than 25 years,” said Professor Jeff Collett, head of the Department of Atmospheric Science. “I have personally enjoyed and benefited from research collaborations with her over much of this time. She has been a terrific mentor to a large group of students and postdocs, many of whom have gone on to prestigious positions at other leading universities.”

Kreidenweis is well known for her research on atmospheric aerosol particles, their interactions with clouds, and their impacts on regional haze. Her research group conducts laboratory, field and aircraft measurements to characterize the physical and chemical properties of aerosols. They study long-range dust transport and its effects on air quality and climate. Federal and state agencies that have contributed funding to their research include the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA.

Read the full Source article, “Sonia Kreidenweis named AGU Fellow.”

August 19, 2019

Ride along with Arsineh Hecobian as she tracks methane plumes for $1.7M project

As days turn to nights in Broomfield, Colorado, residents may spot a white Chevrolet Tahoe with a pole jutting out its top slowly moving through neighborhoods and down city streets.

The SUV is jam-packed with sensitive equipment tracking what people are breathing in Broomfield, which sits atop a major oil and gas production zone. It’s a crucial component of a collaborative, multiyear study examining the relationship between oil and gas development and local air quality.

Mobile plume tracking, led by Colorado State University air pollution experts, is a key technology in Broomfield’s ongoing Air Quality Testing Program. And it’s just one aspect of a three-year, $1.7 million contract awarded by Broomfield last year to the lab of CSU atmospheric scientist Jeff Collett, as a subcontractor to environmental data company Ajax Analytics. Together, CSU and Ajax Analytics are painting a comprehensive picture of Broomfield’s air, and how it is being affected as new oil and gas wells are drilled, completed and moved into production.

Read the full Source article, “To monitor air quality, scientists chase methane plumes in dead of night.”

August 15, 2019

Peter Marinescu and Faith Groff earn student honors at AMS conference

Ph.D. candidate Peter Marinescu and M.S. student Faith Groff took top student honors at the 18th AMS Mesoscale Processes Conference in Savannah, Georgia.

Marinescu, advised by Professor Sue van den Heever and University Distinguished Professor Sonia Kreidenweis, was awarded first place for his poster based on the results from a model intercomparison study involving different research groups from around the world. The groups simulated the same case study in order to quantify and understand the range of cloud responses to increased aerosol concentrations within the different models.

“Ultimately, these results will help us, as a community, understand where some of the largest uncertainties are in simulating the impacts of aerosol particles in deep convective clouds,” Marinescu said. “It was a great experience to share and get feedback on this work at the AMS Mesoscale Conference.”

Groff, advised by Associate Professor Russ Schumacher, won second place for her presentation highlighting how gravity wave generation, strength and propagation can change within different realistic environments.

“I feel very honored to have been chosen for the award, and it gave me a great boost of confidence going into my master’s thesis defense,” Groff said. “I’m very much looking forward to sharing these findings as well as other results with the department at my defense in October.”

August 14, 2019

Elizabeth Barnes receives AMS Meisinger Award for early career research

In the short seven years since earning her Ph.D., Department of Atmospheric Science Associate Professor Elizabeth (Libby) Barnes has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the climate system. In recognition of her research on extratropical circulation and its response to climate change, Barnes will receive a highly competitive, national award from the American Meteorological Society (AMS) at its Centennial Meeting in Boston in January. The Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award, given annually to an early career researcher, acknowledges achievement concerning the observation, theory and modeling of atmospheric motions on all scales.

“This is such an honor and honestly, a bit overwhelming!” said Barnes. “Looking at the past award recipients (which go all the way back to 1938), I see that I am joining an already long list of past and present CSU stars!”

Among those stars is Department of Atmospheric Science Professor Dave Thompson, who received the Meisinger Award in 2008. Thompson nominated Barnes for the award this year, along with several letters of support from her colleagues around the world.

Read the full Source article, “Elizabeth Barnes receives AMS Meisinger Award for early career research.”

August 8, 2019

New CSU president highlights department in 5280 Magazine interview

In her interview with 5280 Magazine, CSU President Joyce McConnell recognized the atmospheric science program as one of the best in the country.

“… We really need to elevate CSU on a state, national, and international level. We need people to understand the pathbreaking work that’s being done here. We want people, when they hear the name CSU, to think about not only the fact that we have one of the best atmospheric science programs in the country, but that we have two Guggenheim poets. We want to be able to tell people about all of the things that are happening here.”

McConnell began her tenure as CSU’s president July 1.

Read the full 5280 Magazine interview here.

 

July 31, 2019

Jeff Collett and Paul DeMott named AMS Fellows

Jeff Collett and Paul DeMott have been recognized by the American Meteorological Society for “outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years.” They will be inducted as fellows at the AMS Centennial Meeting in Boston in January.

“I am honored to have been nominated by my colleagues and appreciate AMS recognition of my work in atmospheric chemistry and air quality over the last three decades,” said Professor and Department Head Jeff Collett. “It has been a personal passion to better integrate atmospheric chemistry with other aspects of atmospheric science here at CSU and through AMS. I have been privileged to work with exceptional colleagues and many outstanding students over the years on a variety of topics ranging from cloud chemistry, to nitrogen deposition, to air quality impacts of unconventional air pollution sources including wildfires and oil and gas development. I am especially pleased to be inducted as a new AMS Fellow together with Paul DeMott.”

“It means a lot to me to be recognized by my colleagues and by AMS in this way,” said Senior Research Scientist Paul DeMott. “AMS was my first ever professional society, and the society supported my early career with travel grants and welcomed my participation on committees as a young scientist who was not in a tenured faculty position. I am thankful to AMS and those who promoted me for this designation.”

Fellows are nominated by AMS members and elected each year by the organization’s council.

AMS is a scientific and professional organization promoting and disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic and hydrologic sciences. Its membership includes more than 13,000 researchers, educators, students, enthusiasts, broadcasters, and other professionals in weather, water and climate.

July 29, 2019

REU program gives undergraduates firsthand atmospheric research experience

Every summer since 2007, Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science has given undergraduate students hands-on research experience and a real-life look at what it means to be a scientist or scholar. College students from across the U.S. work with faculty members and researchers who lead their field, and interact with graduate students on cutting-edge research projects through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates, or REU, program.

Justin Stow, an undergrad majoring in meteorology and physical science at Florida State University, was drawn to the CSU program’s objectives, mission and reputation in atmospheric research.

“This program offers a world-class research experience that allows students to discover their passions and motivate their ambitions for future endeavors,” he said.

Stow has been working with research scientists Chris Slocum and John Knaff at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, or CIRA. As part of their tropical cyclone (TC) group, Stow is analyzing a major forecasting model – evaluating its predictors, assessing how each is calculated, and trying to understand the global variability of TC environmental conditions. The team’s goal is to determine if adding more parameters improves the accuracy of the model’s intensity forecasting.

“This experience has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate collegiate career,” he said.

Read the full story, “REU program gives undergraduates firsthand atmospheric research experience.”

Photo at top: Atmospheric science REU students visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research, an NSF-funded lab, to learn about its research. Front row, from left to right, Justin Stow, Abby Stokes, Charlotte Connolly and Elana Cope; back row, left to right, Richard Garmong, Jaime Anderson, Alex Ng, Brandon Molina, Erin Sherman and Emily Lill.

July 23, 2019

Kate O’Dell considers career in science policy following colloquium in U.S. capital

Kate O’Dell’s air quality research has led to an adventurous and informative summer that may affect her career path. O’Dell attended the American Meteorological Society’s Summer Policy Colloquium in Washington, D.C., in June, and she will study atmospheric aerosols with the field’s leading experts July 22 through Aug. 2 at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

“I learned that our government and the entire legislative process is much more complicated than I imagined,” O’Dell said about the AMS Policy Colloquium, a 10-day immersion in the policy process and timely weather and climate-related topics.

O’Dell found there are many avenues through which scientists can inform policy, including congressional staffers with Ph.D.s in STEM fields, lobbyists that advocate for science-based policy, and scientists that work at the State Department on climate diplomacy. The colloquium offered graduate students an opportunity to meet policy makers and decision makers from Capitol Hill, federal agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. O’Dell even spoke with Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Kelvin Droegemeier, the president’s science advisor, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

O’Dell said the colloquium greatly increased her interest in science policy. She is now considering potential career paths in science policy after finishing her Ph.D., and she’s looking into policy courses at CSU this fall.

“A great way to continue improving our air quality is by maintaining a strong connection between scientists and policy makers,” she said.

Read the full Source article, “Summertime Standouts: Kate O’Dell.”

Photo at top: Atmospheric science graduate student Kate O’Dell stands in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

July 18, 2019

Beyond the moon landing: Inspiration and accomplishment

They faced significant odds, working with rudimentary technology. They inspired us to believe we could accomplish anything. They made us proud to be Americans.

Millions watched in awe as Apollo 11 made its historic landing on the moon 50 years ago. The audience included a small group of men and women with ties to Colorado State University who would follow them – into space or underwater sea laboratories or as leads on some of the very few university-led Earth Science missions.

In 1984, Tom Vonder Haar – now University Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Atmospheric Science and a member of the National Academy of Engineering – was at Cape Kennedy watching Sally Ride’s historic second flight on the Challenger shuttle. Also on the flight was the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite that Vonder Haar and his team had designed with NASA.

“Summer 1969 and the moon landing was inspiring to many young scientists, engineers and students,” Vonder Haar said. “I am still impressed today with the challenge it presented and our relatively crude technology at the time. Later in my career, I worked on an Earth satellite research project with Neil Armstrong and observed his quiet capability and spirit of teamwork.”

Vonder Haar’s satellite was the first of two Earth Science missions led by CSU. In 2006, NASA would send a second satellite into space – CloudSat – designed by Graeme Stephens, also a University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and National Academy of Engineering member.

Read the full story, “Beyond the moon landing: Inspiration and accomplishment.”

July 15, 2019

ASCENT scholarship funds graduate students’ international research

Atmospheric science graduate students Jingyuan Li and Rung Panasawatwong will receive funding from the Assisting Students, Cultivating Excellence, Nurturing Talent (ASCENT) program to pursue research opportunities outside the United States. This department scholarship was established to enrich the graduate experience, often through international travel.

Li, a Ph.D. student in Professor Dave Thompson’s research group, will use her funding to travel to Bergen, Norway for two months this fall to work with Camille Li, an expert in large-scale atmospheric dynamics. She will investigate relationships between midlatitude circulation and surface temperature variability, especially in relation to extreme heat events.

“I believe working with Dr. Li’s group will greatly help and enhance my Ph.D. work,” Li said. “I will also be able to meet and discuss with many scientists at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, two of the best climate institutes in the world.”

Ph.D. student Panasawatwong, advised by Professors Michael Bell and Kristen Rasmussen, applied for an ASCENT scholarship to develop skills as a field campaign researcher and extend her stay on a field study in Japan next summer. Panasawatwong will be part of the Yonaguni island team for the Prediction of Rainfall Extremes Campaign In the Pacific, or PRECIP.

Read the full Source article, “ASCENT scholarship funds atmospheric science graduate students’ international research.”

Photo at top: The Department of Atmospheric Science granted ASCENT scholarships to Ph.D. candidates Rung Panasawatwong, left, and Jingyuan Li to support their proposed international research projects.

June 27, 2019

Colloquium offers grad students crash course in communicating severe weather

Constantly changing, complex atmospheric variables make weather notoriously difficult to predict. However, accurately forecasting severe weather and effectively communicating that information are critical for protecting lives and preventing property damage.

“Even as weather forecasts are steadily improving, there are still fundamental limits on predicting the future weather,” said Colorado State University Atmospheric Science Professor Russ Schumacher. “Furthermore, there are still a lot of questions about how best to produce and deliver information about the risks associated with hazardous weather.”

Schumacher is one of the organizers of a gathering this summer that will bring together leading researchers and graduate students from multiple disciplines to address these challenges. Three CSU atmospheric science students, Sam Childs, Faith Groff and Chelsea Nam, are among the 25 chosen for this Advanced Study Program colloquium, hosted annually by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Read the full Source article, “Colloquium offers grad students cutting-edge atmospheric science, crash course in communicating severe weather.”

Photo at top: Faith Groff, Sam Childs and Chelsea Nam were selected to attend NCAR’s Advanced Study Program colloquium.

June 26, 2019

Rick Schulte awarded NASA grant

Ph.D. student Rick Schulte’s proposal was among 59, out of the 428 earth science projects reviewed this year, chosen to receive funding through the Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology program. FINESST grants are for student-designed research projects that contribute to NASA’s Science Mission Directorate goals.

Schulte applied for the grant because he needed funding to pursue a research project idea for his Ph.D. prospectus. The grant will pay for the majority of his tuition, research and travel costs for the rest of his degree program.

Schulte’s advisor, Chris Kummerow, will be principal investigator on the project, Improving Satellite Retrievals of High Latitude Precipitation with Better Constraints on Drop Size Distributions, with Schulte as the future investigator. By the end of the project, they hope to have a better understanding of how drop size distributions vary in the high-latitude oceans, whether this variability can be linked to larger-scale atmospheric conditions, and the degree to which current and future satellite instruments are sensitive to changes in these distributions.

“This work should lead to an improvement in satellite rainfall retrieval algorithms, particularly in these high-latitude ocean areas where current algorithms exhibit a large degree of disagreement,” Schulte said.

June 20, 2019

Kristen Rasmussen recognized as outstanding graduate mentor

Colorado State University’s Graduate Student Council has chosen Atmospheric Science Assistant Professor Kristen Rasmussen for this year’s Graduate Advising and Mentorship Award. The award recognizes outstanding mentors around campus and honors their impact on students. Winners are selected based on nominations by CSU graduate students across all disciplines.

“[Rasmussen] is caring, supportive and encouraging both professionally and personally, which has fostered a really positive environment for her students,” said Zach Bruick, a student in Rasmussen’s research group. “I think that we all work better together because she leads by example so well.”

Rasmussen said she was surprised and honored to receive the award, especially because her students nominated her.

“I have wonderful students in my group and am very grateful for the excellent science they do every day,” she said. “My approach to mentoring includes providing students with a solid foundation in how to do research, including the ‘big picture’ perspective of why we do our work.”

Rasmussen recently led an Advanced Studies Institute program that enabled 16 students to participate in the RELAMPAGO field campaign in Argentina.

This is the second year Rasmussen was nominated in the three years she has taught at CSU. Atmospheric Science Professor Emily Fischer was one of three faculty members chosen to share last year’s award.

Photo at top: Kristen Rasmussen, lower left, received this year’s Graduate Advising and Mentorship Award. Rasmussen was nominated by students in her research group, seen here. Back row from left, Erin Dougherty, Ryan Riesenberg, Zach Bruick, Jeremiah Piersante, and front row from left, Murong Zhang and Rung Panasawatwong.

June 12, 2019

Sean Freeman receives NSF GROW award

Sean Freeman, advised by Sue van den Heever, has received a Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) award from the National Science Foundation. As an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Freeman was able to apply for this additional funding to work with an advisor in another country.

Freeman will work with Professor Pier Siebesma at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Siebesma is a world leader in studying boundary layer and mixed-phase clouds. Freeman will help Siebesma complete numerical simulations and examine observational data of clouds over the Netherlands to answer fundamental questions about cloud physics and cloud processes.

June 4, 2019

CSU researchers increase forecast slightly, predict near-average 2019

Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting a near-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2019 – a slight increase from their initial forecast issued in early April. They anticipate that weak El Niño conditions are likely to persist through most of the hurricane season. El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.

Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures have warmed up slightly faster than normal since early April and are now near normal. Warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are conducive for an active hurricane season since they provide more fuel for tropical cyclone formation and intensification. They are also associated with a more unstable atmosphere as well as moister air, both of which enhance organized thunderstorm activity necessary for hurricane development.

Read the full Source article, “As Atlantic hurricane season begins, CSU researchers increase forecast slightly, predict near-average 2019.”

May 28, 2019

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 professional development training. The program spans 10 weeks from late May through early August.

Front row, left to right: Charlotte Connolly, Abby Stokes, Erin Sherman, Alex Ng and Elana Cope. Back row, left to right: Justin Stow, Richard Garmong, Emily Lill, Jaime Anderson and Brandon Molina.

May 22, 2019

NOAA renews partnership with CIRA

One of the nation’s most influential atmospheric science-oriented research institutes, based at Colorado State University, has been awarded a new $128 million cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, known as CIRA, supports a broad spectrum of NOAA research, including forecast model improvements, hurricane track and intensity forecasting, real-time satellite tools for the National Weather Service, and forecaster training on use of satellite observations.

First established in 1980 as a partnership between CSU and NOAA, CIRA is among just 16 cooperative institutes established at premier centers of research excellence across the country.

CIRA is a research center of CSU’s Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. The institute is based on the foothills campus at Colorado State, with off-campus teams at NOAA labs in Boulder; Kansas City, Missouri; Washington, D.C.; and Miami, Florida.

CIRA is led by Christian Kummerow, a professor in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science.

Read the full Source article, “Atmospheric science NOAA partnership renewed at Colorado State University.”

May 17, 2019

Congratulations to our graduates!

Fall 2018 Graduates

Ellie Casas M.S. Adviser: Michael Bell
Ting-Yu Cha M.S. Adviser: Michael Bell
Michael Cheeseman M.S. Adviser: Scott Denning
Sean Freeman M.S. Adviser: Sue van den Heever
Greg Herman Ph.D. Adviser: Russ Schumacher
Stacey Hitchcock Ph.D. Adviser: Russ Schumacher
Kyle Nardi M.S. Adviser: Elizabeth Barnes
Kate O’Dell M.S. Adviser: Jeff Pierce
Emily Ramnarine M.S. Adviser: Jeff Pierce
Zitely Tzompa Ph.D. Adviser: Emily Fischer

Spring 2019 Graduates

Zach Bruick M.S. Adviser: Kristen Rasmussen
Kyle Chudler M.S. Adviser: Steve Rutledge
Luke Davis M.S. Adviser: Dave Thompson
Marie McGraw Ph.D. Adviser: Elizabeth Barnes
Michael Natoli M.S. Adviser: Eric Maloney
Rob Nelson Ph.D. Adviser: Chris Kummerow
Erik Nielsen Ph.D. Adviser: Russ Schumacher
Samantha Wills Ph.D. Adviser: Dave Thompson

Summer 2019 Graduates

Ryan Riesenberg M.S. Adviser: Kristen Rasmussen
Ben Toms M.S. Adviser: Sue van den Heever
Kai-Chih Tseng Ph.D. Advisers: Elizabeth Barnes and Eric Maloney

Photo: Fall 2018 and Spring and Summer 2019 graduates who walked in commencement ceremonies Friday, May 17. From left to right, Marie McGraw, Samantha Wills, Ryan Riesenberg, Erik Nielsen, Zach Bruick, Kai-Chih Tseng and Michael Natoli. Photo by Sarah Tisdale

May 15, 2019

CSU meteorologists have a field day at Rockies weather and science event

Coors Field hosted a different type of action April 24. Before watching Major League Baseball, the crowd spectated science experiments, meteorology demonstrations, rocket launches and fireworks at the Colorado Rockies’ 10th annual Weather and Science Day. Twelve-thousand students from schools all over Colorado and parts of Wyoming, along with their teachers and parents, attended the event designed to interest kids in science, engineering and math.

“Events like these are what sparks excitement and imagination in kids’ minds, and hopefully encourages them to pursue a career in a scientific field when they are older,” said Noah Newman, who coordinated Colorado State University’s involvement in the event.

Newman, who coordinates outreach for the Colorado Climate Center, and several graduate students from the Department of Atmospheric Science explained and demonstrated how they take weather observations using various instruments, including a drone. The drone was popular with the students, who waved to its camera as drone operator Sean Freeman flew it in front of the crowd. The audience viewed the drone’s infrared perspective on the stadium’s giant screen, while Jennie Bukowski described how the department uses drones to study weather and severe storms.

Read the full Source article, “CSU meteorologists have a field day at Rockies Weather and Science event.”

May 10, 2019

Jakob Lindaas named SoGES Sustainability Leadership Fellow

CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) has selected Ph.D. student Jakob Lindaas as one of 20 early career academics to be a Sustainability Leadership Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year. Lindaas is advised by Associate Professor Emily Fischer.

SoGES recognizes that CSU’s future Ph.D.s and postdoctoral researchers are a primary informational resource for the complex decisions that will determine our environmental future. Over the course of the year, fellows will receive training to become leaders, learning to effectively communicate science to the media, policy makers and the public. They also will learn how to build successful careers that incorporate meaningful engagement and an interdisciplinary approach to research.

This year’s Sustainability Leadership Fellows represent 18 departments and six colleges. Postdoctoral fellow Kelsey Bilsback also was chosen as a Sustainability Leadership Fellow for next academic year.

Lindaas said he was thrilled to be named a leadership fellow and excited to get to know the diverse group of sustainability scholars from many disciplines and schools at CSU.

“I’m hoping to learn more about how to foster innovative, interdisciplinary research to solve environmental problems and how scientists can better communicate what they know with the public as well as policy makers,” he said.

For more information about the fellowship, you can read the Source article, “School of Global Environmental Sustainability announces 2019-20 Sustainability Leadership Fellows.”

May 9, 2019

Kelsey Bilsback selected for ACCESS, SoGES Sustainability Leadership program

Postdoctoral fellow Kelsey Bilsback, advised by Jeff Pierce, has been chosen to attend the highly competitive Atmospheric Chemistry Colloquium for Emerging Senior Scientists (ACCESS), which selects 25 of the top early career scientists every other year. She also has been named a SoGES Sustainability Leadership Fellow for 2019-20.

ACCESS XV includes the Gordon Research Conference in Atmospheric Chemistry and will take place July 25-28 at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Bilsback will have the opportunity to meet and present her work to representatives of the principal federal government agencies that fund atmospheric chemistry research. The meetings are intended to forge future professional relationships, with the atmospheric science community benefiting by becoming more aware of innovations in atmospheric chemistry through interactions with and presentations by ACCESS participants.

ACCESS participants are selected by a committee based in part on the significance and achievement of the applicant’s thesis or postdoctoral research. Around 100 candidates apply from prestigious institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Professors Jeff Pierce and Emily Fischer both attended ACCESS as postdoctoral fellows.

The CSU School of Global Environmental Sustainability’s leadership program provides training for fellows to effectively communicate science to the media, policy makers and the public. The fellowship aims to help early career scientists working on sustainability issues reach a broader audience and have greater impact. Bilsback studies the effects of anthropogenic air pollution on health and climate.

“Given that mitigating anthropogenic air pollution is largely driven by individual choices and government policies, I think the impact of my research now and in the future will be tied to my ability to communicate with the general public effectively,” she said.

May 8, 2019

Erin Dougherty accepted to Advanced Climate Dynamics program

Erin Dougherty, advised by Assistant Professor Kristen Rasmussen, has been admitted to the Advanced Climate Dynamics Courses Summer School, which will take place at Yosemite Field Station in Yosemite National Park Sept. 22 through Oct. 4. The goal of the program is to offer empirical and dynamical training within climate science with a focus on understanding the basic principles and dynamics relating to and defining the climate of the Anthropocene.

Dougherty applied to the program because she was interested in the immersive experience and opportunity to learn about anthropogenic climate change from experts around the world.

“Given my Ph.D. research on floods in a future climate, I hope to gain a broader perspective of how my research relates to anthropogenic climate change, and witness this first-hand during the fieldwork component,” Dougherty said. “I think this will be an enriching experience to learn how humans are affecting the planet and gain a better scientific understanding of such a complex and important topic.”

May 6, 2019

Kate O’Dell accepted to aerosol school in Brazil, AMS Summer Policy Colloquium

Kate O’Dell has a busy summer ahead of her. She has been accepted to and awarded funding for an aerosol program in Brazil and also the American Meteorological Society’s Summer Policy Colloquium.

The Sao Paulo School of Advanced Science on Atmospheric Aerosols will take place July 22 through Aug. 2 at the University of Sao Paulo. The school’s main objective is to promote the gathering of atmospheric aerosol researchers with the best young researchers from around the world. The program is highly competitive, with 100 participants accepted out of 500 applications received from 67 countries. SPSAS scholars will acquire state-of-the-art scientific knowledge through theoretical classes, practical experimental activities, poster sessions and visits to research institutions.

O’Dell applied to the aerosol school for the opportunity to learn about a broad range of atmospheric aerosol-related topics from international colleges and leading experts in the field.

“I’m excited about this in-depth learning opportunity, and especially excited to gain hands-on experience with several aerosol measurement technologies through field trips and measurement projects in Sao Paulo,” O’Dell said.

O’Dell’s air quality research led her to apply for the AMS Summer Policy Colloquium, to be held June 2-11 in Washington, D.C. The colloquium is a 10-day immersion in the policy process and timely weather and climate-related topics. Graduate students will have the opportunity to meet policy makers and decision makers from Capitol Hill, federal agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

O’Dell said air quality in the U.S. has significantly improved thanks to effective policy, but there’s more work to do.

“A great way to continue improving our air quality is by maintaining a strong connection between scientists and policy makers,” she said. “At the colloquium, I hope to do my part by learning more about how the policy process works and by connecting with the people who make those legislative/regulatory decisions.”

May 4, 2019

ATS experts shed light on record-breaking storm season in South Indian Ocean

Unusual tropical cyclone activity in the South Indian Ocean that is causing loss of human life and devastation has caught the attention of CSU’s Tropical Meteorology Project, which has been issuing seasonal hurricane forecasts in the Atlantic longer than any other organization.

At the end of April, Tropical Cyclone Kenneth made landfall as the strongest tropical cyclone ever observed in Mozambique. Kenneth struck northern Mozambique hot on the heels of Tropical Cyclone Idai, which ravaged southeast Africa mid-March, killing more than 1,000 people. As this South Indian Ocean tropical cyclone season sets records, CSU’s Tropical Meteorology Project leaders offer some perspective on what is making it so unusual.

“Idai was extremely devastating from a loss-of-life perspective,” said researcher Phil Klotzbach, lead author of CSU’s Atlantic seasonal hurricane forecast. “Idai was a Category 2 hurricane when it made landfall, and it produced tremendous flooding as well as a very high storm surge. This devastating cyclone was responsible for more than 1,000 fatalities. This is the second most fatalities on record for a South Indian Ocean cyclone.”

Read the full Source story, “CSU tropical meteorology experts shed light on record-breaking storm season in South Indian Ocean.”

April 26, 2019

Atmospheric scientists find clues to climate change in the dust

Clouds tell us what type of weather to expect, and wield a great deal of influence over our climate. They can enhance warming by trapping heat or cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back into space. Atmospheric scientists are studying another influencer with outsized effect: dust.

Dust can transform clouds, thereby altering the climate. With global temperatures rising and glaciers receding, the Arctic has been getting a lot dustier lately.

“As the Arctic climate changes, and the land/ocean surface properties change, impacts of particle emissions on cloud properties need to be considered as part of the story,” explained Paul DeMott, one of the Colorado State University atmospheric scientists who recently participated in an international study of glacially sourced dust and its impact on cloud formation. Their findings were published in Nature Geoscience on March 25.

Read the full Source article, “Atmospheric scientists find clues to climate change in the dust.”

Photo at top: Jun Uetake, left, and Yutaka Tobo install sampling lines for data collection at a research station in Svalbard, Norway.

April 25, 2019

Stepping up PROGRESS: Mentorship key to retaining undergraduate women in STEM

It can be challenging to envision yourself succeeding in a career when you can’t relate to others in that field. Sometimes connecting with another person with whom you identify can make the difference between continuing course or changing direction.

Many women in STEM fields have encountered this dearth of relatable role models. A program cofounded by CSU atmospheric science professor Emily Fischer endeavors to foster these important connections and bolster gender diversity in STEM.

PROGRESS, or PROmoting Geoscience Research, Education and Success, has demonstrated that mentorship is key to the retention of underrepresented groups in the geosciences.

“PROGRESS enhances the mentoring support of undergraduate women, and this strengthens their scientific identify, and this increases their interest in the earth sciences,” said Fischer, who is principal investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded project.

Read the full Source article, “Stepping up PROGRESS.”

April 24, 2019

Professional development workshop on private sector careers May 1

Professor Sue van den Heever and Melissa Burt will host a professional development workshop on careers in the private sector 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, in ATS 101. Featured panelists are Chris Alston, sales engineer with ClimaCell; Rachel Hatteberg, software engineer with Aeris, LLC; Gavin McMeeking, principal scientist with Handix Scientific; and Sara Tucker, research scientist with Ball Aerospace.

This is the third workshop in a series of three. The first workshop, held in May 2018, focused on academic careers. The second, on April 9, highlighted government labs and other agencies.

All are welcome at the panel discussion. There will be time for questions from the audience. Refreshments will follow the panel, so students can talk to the panelists one-on-one.

April 22, 2019

Air quality expert Jason Reed to speak at next FORTCAST event

Learn about air quality forecasting and consulting careers at FORTCAST’s next What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate talk. Jason Reed, principal scientist and certified consulting meteorologist with SLR Consulting in Fort Collins, will describe his consulting career and discuss the technical and professional challenges specific to air quality applications. Reed has worked in air quality for 20 years with a focus on air quality modeling for permitting and environmental impact analyses.

Discussion will begin 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, upstairs at Tap & Handle. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Contact amsfortcast@gmail.com with questions.

April 19, 2019

Ben Trabing and Kai-Chih Tseng receive department honors for student research

Ben Trabing and Kai-Chih Tseng were honored this afternoon for outstanding student publications. Trabing, advised by Associate Professor Michael Bell, received the Riehl Memorial Award for his paper, “Impacts of Radiation and Upper Tropospheric Temperatures on Tropical Cyclone Structure and Intensity,” based on his M.S. research. Tseng, advised by Professor Eric Maloney and Associate Professor Elizabeth Barnes, received the Alumni Award for an outstanding paper based on Ph.D. research for “The Consistency of MJO Teleconnection Patterns: An Explanation Using Linear Rossby Wave Theory.”

Herbert Riehl, Jr. was in attendance for presentation of the Herbert Riehl Memorial Award that honors his father, who founded the Department of Atmospheric Science. Trabing and Tseng each gave brief technical presentations on their research following announcement of their awards.

“Ben is one of the hardest workers I know,” said Bell, who also received the Riehl Award as an M.S. student. He recounted how Dr. Bill Gray asked him a challenging question following his presentation and encouraged others to do the same for Trabing.

Maloney praised Tseng’s work ethic and creativity. He said Tseng is prolific, with three publications in his name already and a fourth in the works.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better student,” Maloney said.

Herbert Riehl, Jr. and Riehl Award winners Kai-Chih Tseng and Michael Bell

Riehl Award winner Ben Trabing, left, with Herbert Riehl, Jr., center, and his adviser, Michael Bell, a past Riehl Award recipient.

Kai-Chih Tseng and his advisers, Elizabeth Barnes and Eric Maloney

Alumni Award winner Kai-Chih Tseng, center, with his advisers, Elizabeth Barnes and Eric Maloney.

April 18, 2019

Prof. Ravishankara elected a Foreign Member of UK’s Royal Society

Colorado State University Distinguished Professor A.R. Ravishankara, professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Atmospheric Science, has been named a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, the independent scientific academy of the United Kingdom.

This year, the Royal Society elected 51 scientists, 10 Foreign Members and one Honorary Fellow to its ranks, in recognition of “exceptional contributions to science.”

Ravishankara is a widely respected expert in the study of ozone, air quality and climate change. Some of his recent research and policy-related work has focused on reducing atmospheric pollution from developing countries, including India, whose cities are among the most polluted in the world.

Read the full Source article, “Ravishankara elected a Foreign Member of UK’s Royal Society.”

April 17, 2019

Jennie Bukowski accepted to AMS Summer Policy Colloquium

Jennie Bukowski has been awarded funding to attend the American Meteorological Society’s Summer Policy Colloquium in Washington, D.C., June 2-11. The colloquium is a 10-day immersion in the policy process and timely weather and climate-related topics. Graduate students selected through a highly competitive process have the opportunity to meet policy makers and decision makers from Capitol Hill, federal agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

Bukowski applied to the program to learn how atmospheric scientists can take part in the policy process.

“In an era of political polarization, now more than ever we need scientists to stand up, advocate for research, and support evidence-based decision making,” she said. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to witness firsthand how scientists can make a difference in policy and science communication, and to share that knowledge with other interested students at CSU.”

Bukowski’s adviser, Professor Sue van den Heever, was proud of her student’s distinction.

“Jennie is a most deserving candidate in all areas related to science and policy, and I am delighted that she has been accepted to this colloquium.”

April 16, 2019

Erin Dougherty earns 3rd place research presentation award at Hydrology Days

Erin Dougherty placed third for her research presentation at Hydrology Days, an annual American Geophysical Union conference at CSU that brings together students, faculty, staff and scientists from a wide range of water-related disciplines. Dougherty presented her Ph.D. research on “Flood-Producing Storms in a Current and Future Climate Using High-Resolution Convection-Permitting Simulations in the United States.”

“Presenting this atmospheric science-focused research to a room full of hydrologists and civil engineers was a worthwhile experience, and even led to some interdisciplinary collaborations,” Dougherty said. “It was particularly gratifying to receive the award because it showed me the broader importance of my work in relation to a wide range of water-related issues.”

In addition to a cash award, her research will be featured in an upcoming issue of Colorado Water, a publication produced by the Colorado Water Center that highlights water research and activities at CSU and throughout Colorado.

Dougherty, who is also a School of Global Environmental Sustainability Leadership Fellow, recently discussed related subject matter in a blog post, “How Science Can Help a Crumbling Water Infrastructure in the U.S.

April 15, 2019

Jamin Rader chosen for DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

Jamin Rader, who will join Elizabeth Barnes’ research group in Fall 2019, has been awarded a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. DOE CSGF students receive full tuition and fees plus an annual stipend and academic allowance, renewable for up to four years, to apply to Ph.D. study in computational science or engineering. Less than 5 percent of applicants are chosen for the fellowship each year. Rader is the third ATS student to receive the DOE CSGF.

In addition to required courses in engineering, computer science and applied mathematics, DOE CSG fellows also must complete a three-month research practicum at one of 21 DOE sites. The practicum is intended to broaden the fellow’s experience outside their main thesis area, expose them to alternative methods or tools, and allow them to apply their skills to new problems in computational science.

“I am excited to use this [fellowship] to learn about machine learning and apply it to real-world problems related to, but separate from, my graduate studies – and then, of course, take this new skill and apply it to my studies at CSU,” Rader said.

Rader also received a one-year AMS Graduate Fellowship, which he had to decline in order to use the DOE fellowship.

You can find more information on the DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship here.

April 10, 2019

Kirsten Mayer awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Kirsten Mayer, advised by Elizabeth Barnes, has been selected to receive a three-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

“I am very honored to have been selected to receive the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship,” Mayer said. “This funding provides me the flexibility to pursue new and exciting research that I am particularly passionate about.”

Mayer will use the funding to further study the MJO-QBO relationship in regard to sub-seasonal to seasonal prediction.

“I plan to use this opportunity to expand my knowledge of new methods, such as machine learning, to better our understanding of the atmosphere.”

April 8, 2019

Researchers working to prevent sexual harassment in scientific field settings

Scientists involved in a field campaign are away from their normal routines, offices and universities, including the support mechanisms available if sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviors occur. Three Colorado State University researchers are examining the prevalence of sexual harassment in field-based research as part of a National Science Foundation-supported study.

The CSU team, which includes Emily Fischer, Kristen Rasmussen and Brittany Bloodhart, are also studying what psychological indicators might lead people to engage in – or intervene in – a harassment situation.

Part of their work is documenting how people respond when the issue of sexual harassment is openly discussed, and expectations for professional behavior are clearly set by team leadership. The goal: creating a policy and culture of collegiality and respect across field teams.

Their efforts are supported by nearly $300,000 from the National Science Foundation, awarded last year. The group used two recent CSU-led field campaigns as test cases and proving grounds for their project.

Read the full Source article, “Researchers working to prevent sexual harassment in scientific field settings.”

Photo at top: Brittany Bloodhart, Emily Fischer and Kristen Rasmussen received a National Science Foundation grant to study the prevalence of sexual harassment in field campaign settings. Photo by Bill Cotton

April 4, 2019

ATS researchers predict slightly below-average 2019 Atlantic hurricane season

Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting a slightly below-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2019, citing the relatively high likelihood of a weak El Niño as a primary factor.

Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are currently slightly below their long-term average values and are consequently considered an inhibiting factor for 2019 Atlantic hurricane activity as well.

A weak El Niño has recently developed in the tropical Pacific. CSU anticipates that these weak El Niño conditions are likely to persist through the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.

The tropical Atlantic is slightly cooler than normal right now. Colder-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic provide less fuel for tropical cyclone formation and intensification. They are also associated with a more stable atmosphere as well as drier air, both of which suppress organized thunderstorm activity necessary for hurricane development.

Read the full Source story, “Researchers predicting slightly below-average 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.”

April 3, 2019

Inspiring young scientists: Atmos hosts 108 second-graders

There was a little extra excitement at Atmos on Friday. In addition to hosting five prospective graduate students, the department welcomed 108 second-graders from Altitude Elementary in Aurora. Young minds delighted in scientific discovery as the children rotated through several stations designed to teach them about precipitation, air pollution, and weather and climate.

Noah Newman, outreach coordinator for the Colorado Climate Center, discussed the water cycle with the students and reviewed what they knew about the atmosphere and how it protects us. They finished the station with a hands-on demonstration on how meteorologists measure three forms of precipitation: rain, hail and snow.

“All of the students did really well with answering the questions I posed to the classes, and they had many good questions and comments of their own,” Newman said. “Overall, it was a really fun day.”

Volunteers from Fort Collins Atmospheric Scientists, or FORTCAST, agreed that interacting with the young guests was fun. FORTCAST, a local chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), is composed of mostly graduate students from the Department of Atmospheric Science. FORTCAST presents hands-on science at events like those held by CSU’s Little Shop of Physics and at their own event, Weatherfest, in the summer.

FORTCAST volunteers Sean Freeman, Jennie Bukowski and Kyle Chudler ran several interactive demonstrations that enthralled the schoolkids. Bukowski exhibited how clouds form in the atmosphere using water, a plastic bottle, a bike pump and smoke particles from a match, creating a cloud in a bottle for the students to examine up close. The children answered questions about the importance of clouds and rain and were thrilled to test the particle counter themselves.

Chudler showed the group how different colors either reflect or absorb heat, as evidenced by sheets of white and black paper under a heat lamp, so the students could feel the difference for themselves. He then displayed an image of the Earth and asked the students which areas would absorb heat and which would reflect it. They were able to extrapolate that receding ice means less reflective surface area as it becomes darker, heat-absorbing ocean, thereby warming the planet.

Chudler wowed them when he demonstrated air pressure by placing a heated can in ice water. The children’s eyes and mouths opened wide in awe as an aluminum soda can instantly crumpled when a vacuum formed inside.

Inquisitive kids flocked to Freeman’s table to check out a drone, its camera, and an iPad displaying the camera’s view in real time. Students waved and mugged for the camera as Freeman explained how he and other atmospheric scientists use drones for research, flying them into clouds and storms to collect data. The children were able to view footage taken by the drone in flight.

At another station, research scientist Katie Benedict taught the students about air pollution. They learned about particles in the atmosphere and how our noses and lungs filter those particles and protect our bodies. Benedict explained how increased aerosol in the atmosphere affects our visibility as light is scattered. The class compared filters and images from normal, hazy and smoky days that illustrated this phenomenon. Research scientists Arsineh Hecobian and Amy Sullivan also led demonstrations of smells from volatile organic compounds and the use of chromatography to separate a mixture of chemicals, in this case water-soluble marker colors.

The visit culminated in a weather balloon launch and drone flight. Despite the dreary weather, the youngsters exclaimed in enthusiasm as the balloon was released, and more than 100 little faces watched intently as it drifted higher into the clouds until it was out of sight.

For the grand finale, drone pilot Sean Freeman gave a much-anticipated flight demo of the drone’s maneuvering capability and snapped a few aerial shots of the enrapt second-graders. The kids cheered as the drone settled back onto the ground. After a unified “thank you” on their teachers’ cue, the second-graders boarded their buses, likely taking with them lessons they won’t soon forget.

Department Head Jeff Collett, who coordinated the visit, echoed the thoughts of one student who, just before departing, was overheard telling her teacher that it had been the “best day ever!”

Students crowd around to mug for drone camera Jennie Bukowski demonstrates presence of invisible particles in air Kids test difference in temperature based on color Kids marvel at can crushed by escaping air pressure Students look to sky following balloon launch

March 26, 2019

Professional development workshop on national lab and government jobs April 9

Professor Sue van den Heever and Melissa Burt will host a professional development workshop on working for government labs and other agencies 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, in ATS 101. Featured panelists are Aparna Bamzai-Dodson, deputy director of the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center with the U.S. Geological Survey; Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center; Nezette Rydell, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service Boulder; and Jonathan Vigh, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

This is the second workshop in a series of three. The first workshop, held in May 2018, focused on academic careers. The third, scheduled for May 1, will highlight private sector careers.

All are welcome at the panel discussion. There will be time for questions from the audience. Refreshments will follow the panel, so students can talk to the panelists one-on-one.

March 19, 2019

Teen Science Café takes a look at Earth from space

Learn how scientists monitor Earth’s atmosphere and environment using satellites at April’s Teen Science Café. Matt Rogers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere will talk about the principles of light, how light interacts with the environment, and how that can be used to measure our world from orbit.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 10
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: Matt Rogers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere

RSVP to the April 10 Teen Science Café here.

April 10 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.

March 18, 2019

Kristen Rasmussen to speak about RELAMPAGO at March 26 FORTCAST event

Assistant Professor Kristen Rasmussen will talk about chasing and studying some of the strongest storms on Earth at FORTCAST’s What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate talk Tuesday, March 26. Rasmussen will share her experience with the RELAMPAGO field campaign in November in Argentina, where she led a research team of graduate students.

Discussion will begin 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, upstairs at Tap & Handle. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Contact amsfortcast@gmail.com with questions.

Photo above: The RELAMPAGO Advanced Study Institute team, with Kristen Rasmussen standing in front on the right.

February 20, 2019

Next FORTCAST event to discuss Colorado Snow Survey

Brian Domonkos
Brian Domonkos is supervisor of the Colorado Snow Survey, overseeing snow monitoring operations in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and southern Wyoming.

Learn more about our precious Colorado snowpack at FORTCAST’s next What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate talk. The discussion topic will be the Colorado Snow Survey, which provides mountain snowpack data and streamflow forecasts for the western United States. Its applications include water supply management, flood control, climate modeling, recreation and conservation planning.

Karl Wetlaufer and Brian Domonkos from the National Resources Conservation Service Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program will provide an overview of the organization and its services. The NRCS is responsible for all in-situ mountain snowpack and precipitation monitoring across 13 Western states with the automated SNOTEL and manual snow course networks. These data are used for forecasting spring and summer volumetric water supply as well as many other uses ranging from avalanche forecasting to recreational planning.

As Colorado Snow Survey Supervisor, Domonkos oversees snow monitoring operations in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and southern Wyoming. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering and a citation in meteorology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Wetlaufer is a hydrologist and the assistant supervisor for the Colorado Data Collection Office of the USDA-NRCS Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program. Born and raised in southwest Colorado, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees while studying snow science and snow hydrology at Montana State University.

An interactive discussion and questions are encouraged. Discussion will begin 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, upstairs at Tap & Handle. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Contact amsfortcast@gmail.com with questions.

Photo at top: Karl Wetlaufer is a hydrologist and the assistant supervisor for the Colorado Data Collection Office of the USDA-NRCS Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program.

February 18, 2019

Entomologists will talk bugs at March Teen Science Café

What’s it like working in the world of arthropods and Colorado insects? Bring your entomology questions to March’s Teen Science Café. CSU entomology graduate students Erika Peirce and Melissa Schreiner will answer questions about insects, jobs, college, social media, travel, beekeeping, macrophotography and insect collecting.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 13.
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenters: CSU entomology graduate students Erika Peirce and Melissa Schreiner

RSVP to the March 13 Teen Science Café here.

March 13 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.

Photo at top: Entomologists Erika Peirce and Melissa Schreiner

February 14, 2019

Ben Toms earns 2 AMS outstanding presentation awards

Ph.D. student Ben Toms was chosen for two outstanding presentation awards at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting in January in Phoenix. Toms was honored for work completed during his M.S. studies, under the supervision of Professor Sue van den Heever. The Climate Variability and Change Program Committee selected Toms’ presentation, “Quantifying the Dependence of the Global Response to the Madden–Julian Oscillation on the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation,” for an Outstanding Student Presentation Award.

“We had a large number of very good student presentations this year, and we commend you on the work you have done,” committee members Rob Korty and Walt Robinson said in his notification letter.

Toms’ presentation was about quantifying the global “signature” of the Madden-Julian Oscillation within the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.

“I have greatly enjoyed working with my collaborators on this project, (Professors) Libby Barnes, Eric Maloney, and Sue van den Heever,” Toms said. “We used a statistical technique to show that the global teleconnections of the Madden-Julian Oscillation depend on the phase of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, a tropical stratospheric oscillation. This suggests that the state of the tropical stratosphere is important for understanding the connections between the MJO and the extratropics.”

Toms also won an Outstanding Oral Presentation award at the 18th Conference on Artificial and Computational Intelligence and its Applications to the Environmental Sciences for his talk, “Climate Science, Deep Learning, and Pattern Discovery: The Madden−Julian Oscillation as a Test Case.”

For this project Toms worked with Karthik Kashinath and Prabhat of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Da Yang of the University of California, Davis to show that deep learning, a form of machine learning, can learn for itself the variables and spatial patterns important for characterizing multiscale geophysical phenomena such as the MJO. You can read a pre-print of the paper here.

February 1, 2019

Prof. Denning answers questions about weird winter weather phenomena

Editor’s note: Extreme cold weather can produce unusual phenomena, from so-called sea smoke to slushy ocean waves. As atmospheric scientist Scott Denning explains, these striking events are caused mainly by the behavior of water at very cold temperatures.

Why do lake and ocean waters appear to steam during cold snaps?

There are three phases, or states, of water: solid ice, liquid water and gaseous water vapor. Even in extremely cold weather, liquid water can’t be colder than the freezing point – about 32 degrees Fahrenheit – so the surface of the ocean is much warmer than the air above it.

A lot of water evaporates from the warmer ocean into the colder dry air above. As soon as this invisible gas rises even just a little bit above the relatively warm water, it hits air that is much colder and can’t hold much vapor, so the vapor condenses into microscopic droplets of liquid water in the air.

Some people call the wispy clouds caused by condensation just above the winter ocean or lakes “sea smoke.” That’s a better term than steam. Real steam is very hot water vapor – that is, water in its gas phase, which is invisible.

Read the full article, “Steaming lakes and thundersnow: 4 questions answered about weird winter weather,” from The Conversation.

Photo at top: “Sea smoke” on Lake Michigan at 39th Street Harbor in Chicago, Jan. 30, 2019. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

January 30, 2019

Will Lassman and Jakob Lindaas receive Outstanding Student Paper Awards

Two Ph.D. students were chosen for Outstanding Student Paper Awards from the American Meteorological Society’s 21st Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry. Will Lassman, co-advised by Jeff Collett and Jeff Pierce, was rewarded for presenting his paper, “Methods of Estimating Deposition Using Atmospheric Concentration Measurements: Using Synthetic Observations Downwind of a CAFO to Quantify Ammonia Deposition.” Jakob Lindaas, advised by Emily Fischer, won for presenting his paper, “What Controls the Ratio of Primary Reduced and Oxidized Forms of Gas Phase Reactive Nitrogen in Young Wildfire Smoke?”

Lassman presented results from a study investigating novel measurement platforms for estimating ammonia dry deposition downwind of animal feedlots. He collaborated with Professors Jeff Pierce and Jeff Collett, as well as Professor Jay Ham (soil and crop science) and Azer Yalin (mechanical engineering) to demonstrate a method for estimating the fraction of total ammonia that dry deposits near a source by comparing the dilution of ammonia to that of methane, using Large Eddy Simulation to represent a turbulent atmosphere near the earth’s surface. They also demonstrate how to apply this technique by mounting the sensors on a UAV, or drone.

Lindaas presented preliminary results from his first analyses of WE-CAN campaign data. He is focused on understanding how much ammonia is in wildfire smoke, what happens to it, and how it interacts with other chemistry in wildfire smoke.

“Since the data were so recently collected, I tried to focus on what patterns we have already observed and what kinds of questions they lead to, which I’ve already started to explore,” Lindaas said. “It’s fun to try to tell a story, even/especially when you don’t know how it ends.”

Photos at top: Will Lassman (left) and Jakob Lindaas

January 28, 2019

Paleontologist will discuss fossil discovery and how they inform us about the future

Fifty-million-year-old fossils recovered by Paleontology Field School undergraduate students in Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin include the first confirmed primates and oldest-known horses – plus crocodiles and exotic mammals unlike anything alive today. How can we learn from this subtropical past to understand the potential impacts of climate change?

Prof. Kim Nichols from CSU’s Department of Anthropology will discuss primate paleontology and CSU undergraduate fossil research at the next Teen Science Café.

When: 5-7 p.m., with the presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., Fort Collins
Presenter: Kim Nichols from CSU’s Department of Anthropology

RSVP to the Feb. 13 Teen Science Café here.

Feb. 13 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.

Photo at top: Paleontologist Kim Nichols works in the field. Photo by Paul Knowles

January 24, 2019

Kathryn Moore wins Outstanding Student Presentation Award

M.S. student Kathryn Moore, advised by Sonia Kreidenweis and Paul DeMott, was selected for an Outstanding Student Presentation Award at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in December. AGU chooses the top five percent of student participants for this award to recognize quality research and presentation skills in the geophysical sciences.

Moore was chosen for presentation of her poster “Marine Ice Nucleating Particles over the Southern Ocean,” which focused on early results from ice nucleation and aerosol measurements from the Southern Ocean CAPRICORN-2 and SOCRATES campaigns that she participated in January through March 2018.

“Participating in OSPA was fun because it encouraged you to present to and have discussions with scientists outside your field, who often provided very different perspectives on your research,” Moore said.

January 9, 2019

Grad students gain field research experience in Advanced Study Institute program

As a Colorado State University Ph.D. student in atmospheric science, Alexandra Naegele spends most of her days in front of a computer, using models to study clouds, precipitation and atmospheric energy.

For three weeks in November, Naegele left that familiar setting for something wildly different. She was one of 16 graduate students across the U.S. who participated in an intensive, international scientific field campaign in Argentina, observing that region’s famous severe thunderstorms.

Naegele was joined by fellow CSU graduate student Jeremiah Otero Piersante and peers from other institutions in the National Science Foundation-supported International Research Experience for Students Advanced Study Institute: Field Studies of Convection in Argentina. The program was a student-focused, intensive crash course in atmospheric science field work and research held in conjunction with a $30 million, NSF-supported field campaign co-led by CSU faculty.

The overall field campaign, RELAMPAGO, wrapped in December and was the largest land-based atmospheric sciences field study ever conducted outside the United States. RELAMPAGO brought together the expertise of several universities and agencies to discover why thunderstorms in subtropical South America are among the most extreme in the world, regularly producing golf ball or grapefruit-sized hail.

Read the full Source story, “Students learn from the pros during Argentina storm-sampling campaign.”

Photo above: The RELAMPAGO Advanced Study Institute team.

January 8, 2019

AMS 2020 meeting will feature Wayne Schubert Symposium

The American Meteorological Society will again recognize Professor Emeritus Wayne Schubert at its Centennial Meeting in 2020 by holding a symposium in his honor. AMS named symposia acknowledge the contributions of the most distinguished members of the field.

AMS previously commended Schubert with the 2016 Jule G. Charney Medal, one of the organization’s top awards. After 45 years with CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, Schubert has retired from teaching but continues to conduct research.

The AMS Annual Meeting is the world’s largest yearly gathering for the weather, water and climate community. The 2020 AMS Annual Meeting will be its 100th. It is scheduled Jan. 12-16 in Boston.

January 3, 2019

Prof. Maloney leads study on how global warming will affect MJO

Every month or two, a massive pulse of clouds, rainfall and wind moves eastward around the Earth near the equator, providing the tropics their famous thunderstorms.

This band of recurring weather, first described by scientists in 1971, is called the Madden-Julian Oscillation. It has profound effects on weather in distant places, including the United States. Atmospheric scientists have long studied how the Madden-Julian Oscillation modulates extreme weather events across the globe, from hurricanes to floods to droughts.

As human activities cause the Earth’s temperature to increase, reliable, well-studied weather patterns like the Madden-Julian Oscillation will change too, say researchers at Colorado State University.

Eric Maloney, professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science, has led a new study published in Nature Climate Change that attributes future changes in the behavior of the Madden-Julian Oscillation to anthropogenic global warming. Maloney and co-authors used data from six existing climate models to synthesize current views of such changes projected for the years 2080-2100.

Read the full Source article, “Reliable tropical weather pattern to change in a warming climate.”

Graphic at top: Current climate is represented in (a), and a warmer climate in (b). As the climate warms, the mean vertical gradient in water vapor (blue) increases. Tropospheric temperature (orange shading) will also increase more than the lower atmosphere. Credit: Eric Maloney/Colorado State University

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