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2017 Announcements

December 20, 2017

ATS reception for alumni, faculty, students and friends at AMS annual meeting

ATS will host a reception for alumni, faculty, students and friends at the 98th Annual American Meteorological Society Meeting in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 9. The reception will be held at the Hilton Hotel Austin, room 410. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, and there will be a hosted bar. A prospective student meet and greet will take place 6-6:30 p.m., followed by the alumni and friends reception from 6:30-8 p.m.

December 19, 2017

SOURCE: Warmer, wetter climate could mean stronger, more intense storms

How would today’s weather patterns look in a warmer, wetter atmosphere – an expected shift portended by climate change?

Colorado State University researcher Kristen Rasmussen offers new insight into this question – specifically, how thunderstorms would be different in a warmer world.

The assistant professor of atmospheric science works at the interface of weather and climate. She is lead author on a new paper in Climate Dynamics that details high-resolution climate simulations across the continental United States. Her results suggest that extreme thunderstorms, or what atmospheric scientists call convective systems, will increase in frequency under a warmer climate scenario. This shift would be caused by fundamental changes in thermodynamic conditions of the atmosphere.

Read the full SOURCE article, “Warmer, wetter climate could mean stronger, more intense storms.”

December 18, 2017

SOURCE: New grants bolster CSU expertise in wildfire smoke impacts

For more than a decade, CSU researchers have led groundbreaking experimental inquiries into understanding smoke from fires ­– everything from how breathable particles grow and beget new particles to how such smoke limits regional air quality and visibility. Sonia Kreidenweis, University Distinguished Professor and professor of atmospheric science, and Jeffrey Collett, professor and chair of the Department of Atmospheric Science, have led several studies using data from open biomass burns at the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab. They looked at physical, chemical and optical properties of combustion emissions from 33 plant materials in over 250 laboratory burns starting in the early 2000s.

Now, Shantanu Jathar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Jeff Pierce, associate professor of atmospheric science, are taking that foundational work many steps forward, thanks to support from a handful of grants.

Read the full SOURCE article, “New grants bolster CSU expertise in wildfire smoke impacts.”

December 15, 2017

Washington Post: Smoke from wildfires may be surprisingly deadly, scientists report

Speaking at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans, researchers from Colorado State University and the University of Houston suggested yesterday that wildfires may be responsible for thousands of U.S. deaths annually due to the tiny pollution particles they put into the atmosphere. Moreover, just as fires are expected to worsen under climate warming, so might these health impacts.

“If this is the new norm for California … and people in California are being exposed to these smoke events regularly, then we would expect this to have an impact on the average lifetime of people in California,” said Jeffrey Pierce, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who presented his preliminary results at the meeting and a news conference afterward.

Read the Washington Post article, “Smoke from wildfires may be surprisingly deadly, scientists report.”

December 13, 2017

BAMS: The Science of William M. Gray

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Professor Gray made extensive contributions to the study of tropical meteorology and tropical cyclones and ushered in a generation of young scientists. Read the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society article co-authored by Phil Klotzbach here: “The Science of William M. Gray: His Contributions to the Knowledge of Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones.”

December 12, 2017

Becky Bolinger named Assistant State Climatologist

State Climatologist Russ Schumacher has designated Becky Bolinger as Assistant State Climatologist. Bolinger has been a climatologist and drought specialist with the Colorado Climate Center since October 2016. As Assistant State Climatologist, she will monitor Colorado climate, communicate climate information to the public, give historical perspective to weather events, and respond to media and data requests.

One of Schumacher’s responsibilities as State Climatologist was to select an assistant. Because Schumacher also serves as a Department of Atmospheric Science faculty member and director of the Colorado Climate Center (CCC), having an assistant state climatologist is essential to ensure that outreach and communication continue full time.

Bolinger has led many of the CCC’s drought efforts, represented the CCC at stakeholder meetings, and revamped the CCC’s online presence.

“Becky was already filling the role of what an assistant state climatologist would do. She was basically doing the job without the title, so I’m happy that we’re able to formally recognize her leadership in so many of the CCC’s activities,” Schumacher said after announcing the selection.

Bolinger first came to CSU in 2009 as a graduate student in the Department of Atmospheric Science, where she studied the hydroclimate of the western U.S., and particularly the Upper Colorado River Basin. During her time as a graduate student, she also worked closely with the CCC on drought assessment and early warning. She received her Ph.D. from CSU in 2014. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Michigan, she returned to the CCC in October 2016 as a climatologist and drought specialist.

“I am honored to be named the Assistant State Climatologist of Colorado. As a Colorado native and climate and weather nerd, the climate of Colorado has long been a passion of mine, and I’m excited that I get to do what I love every day. I look forward to supporting Russ as the state climatologist, increasing the visibility of the Colorado Climate Center, and better educating the public about climate issues,” Bolinger said in response to the announcement.

December 1, 2017

Peter Marinescu and Samantha Wills awarded scholarships

Peter Marinescu was presented with the David L. Dietrich Honorary Scholarship, and Samantha Wills was given the Shrake-Culler Scholarship in a ceremony Nov. 30. Both recipients were unaware of their selection until the announcements by their advisors during the presentation.

The Dietrich Scholarship, funded each year by Fort Collins-based Air Resource Specialists, Inc., is given in honor of retired ARS President David Dietrich. The award goes to a CSU student who has demonstrated outstanding ability in air quality research and education. Marinescu has worked extensively on aerosol-based research, including characterizing aerosols at the ARM SGP site and simulating aerosol transport by mesoscale convective systems. He was nominated by his advisors, Professors Sue van den Heever and Sonia Kreidenweis.

“Sonia and I have both found Peter to be a wonderful student to work with. He is exceptionally enthusiastic, willing to help, highly teachable and always willing to push himself to higher heights. He works hard and takes very little for granted. He utilizes every opportunity available to him, including the recent participation in the PECAN and C3LOUD-Ex field campaigns, where he took on a management role in the latter,” van den Heever said in her comments during the presentation.

The Shrake-Culler Scholarship is awarded 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. Wills’ advisor, Professor David Thompson, nominated her for the award.

“Samantha is one of the hardest working students I have ever had. Most of my students work primarily with models or observations. Few have worked extensively with both. Samantha will graduate with a reputation as both a skilled observational analyst and numerical experimenter. Learning both skills at a deep level is not trivial at the Ph.D. level. That Samantha has done so is testament to both her talent and ambition,” Thompson wrote in his nomination letter.

“Everyone who knows Samantha knows how enthusiastic she is about her work,” he added during the ceremony.

Joe Adlhoch, Peter Marinescu and Jessica Ward

Joe Adlhoch, left, and Jessica Ward, right, from Air Resource Specialists, were on hand for presentation of the Dietrich Scholarship to Peter Marinescu, center, on Nov. 30. The scholarship is given in honor of retired ARS President David Dietrich.

November 20, 2017

SOURCE: Richard H. Johnson named AAAS fellow

Two Colorado State University faculty members, animal scientist Temple Grandin and atmospheric scientist Richard H. Johnson, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This year, 396 members have been bestowed the title of AAAS Fellow for their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.” New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Feb. 17 during the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

Johnson, professor emeritus of atmospheric science in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, is being honored by the Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Science for his “creative design, execution and analysis of field experiments that have given insight into the interaction of convective clouds with large-scale atmospheric circulation.”

Johnson joined the CSU faculty in 1980 and served as department head from 2007-11. He retired to emeritus professor status in 2015 and maintains an active research program within the department. His group is engaged in studies of atmospheric convection and mesoscale dynamical processes in both the tropics and midlatitudes, including the interaction of convection with the planetary boundary layer. One current area of focus is the Southern China Monsoon Rainfall Experiment (SCMREX), which is aimed at understanding and improving prediction of extreme-rain-producing convective systems in southern China.

Johnson was named a fellow of the AMS in 1994 and received the prestigious AMS Verner E. Suomi Award in 2013.

Read the full SOURCE article here.

November 16, 2017

FORTCAST, ATS/CIRA top last year’s Cans Around the Oval donations

ATS and CIRA donated 86 pounds of food and $624 for a total impact of 3,206 pounds for this year’s Cans Around the Oval campaign. The local drive is spearheaded by FORT Collins Atmospheric ScientisTs, or FORTCAST, local chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Last year ATS and CIRA collected 72 pounds of food and $415 for a total impact of 2,147 pounds. This year’s efforts bested last year’s contribution by 14 pounds and $209 for a total impact difference of 1,059 pounds.

Cans Around the Oval is an annual CSU tradition, where students, faculty and staff partner with community members, local media and area businesses to raise awareness about the issue of hunger, as well as raise food and monetary donations. This event is Larimer County’s largest single-day food drive. There is also a friendly competition based on which participating group has the largest total impact of monetary and food donations. The following formula is used to determine a group’s total impact:

  • $1 in cash = 5 pounds
  • 1 pound of food = 1 pound
  • Total impact = (dollar amount x 5 lbs) + pounds of food

CSU as a whole raised over 42,293 pounds of food and over $56,349 this year, compared to 41,670 pounds of food and $57,714 last year.

November 15, 2017

Jeff Pierce and Emily Fischer receive outstanding faculty awards

Associate Professor Jeff Pierce and Assistant Professor Emily Fischer were recognized with outstanding faculty awards at the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering all-college meeting Nov. 14. Pierce received the George T. Abell Outstanding Mid-Career Faculty Award, and Fischer received the George T. Abell Outstanding Early-Career Faculty Award.

This year’s 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. University Distinguished Professor Sonia Kreidenweis announced the awards and read these excerpts from nomination letters for Pierce and Fischer:

“Jeff is an internationally recognized expert in the numerical modeling of atmospheric aerosols … a prolific researcher whose work has had extremely high impact in the U.S. and abroad … and an exceptional colleague to faculty from many parts of campus, an outstanding adviser, and a dedicated member of many graduate student committees.”

“Emily is an energetic powerhouse of a researcher who works on a wide variety of topics in atmospheric chemistry… she is widely recognized as one of the nation’s top young atmospheric chemists and a pioneer in improving the engagement of women in the study of geosciences … already a national star!”

November 14, 2017

Next FORTCAST speaker will talk about talking about the weather

Weather Underground blogger and author Bob Henson will present “Everybody Talks About the Weather: Reflections on Communicating about Weather and Climate” at the next installment of FORTCAST’s What’s Brewing in Weather and Climate series. Henson is an award-winning author and journalist whose work has appeared in Nature, Scientific American, Discover, Audubon, Sierra and dozens of other publications. He holds degrees in both meteorology and journalism. His most recent book is The Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change.

Discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, upstairs at Tap & Handle. Please RSVP here. CSU students, bring your ID for $2 off drafts.

Contact with any questions.

Study: Networking, faculty mentorship retain female undergrads in geoscience

To retain more undergraduate women in geoscience majors, a supportive network that includes faculty mentorship seems to be a key driver, according to a new study led by Colorado State University.

The study, published earlier this month in the journal PLOS ONE, is the first official result from an ongoing effort led by Emily Fischer, assistant professor of atmospheric science.

Read the SOURCE article here.

Photo at top by Ilana Pollack: Recent PROGRESS networking event and tour at Christman Field solar plant.

November 13, 2017

Andrea Jenney and Naufal Razin recognized at CSU Graduate Showcase

Two Department of Atmospheric Science students, Andrea Jenney and Naufal Razin, were recognized with outstanding presentation awards at the CSU Graduate Student Showcase on Nov. 9. They were selected from more than 300 graduate students from all eight of Colorado State University’s colleges. The Graduate Student Showcase awards recognize excellence in research, creativity and entrepreneurship in a variety of categories. The 2017 winners were announced by the Graduate School and the Office of the Vice President for Research Nov. 9 at the reception following a day of presentations and professional development.

Naufal received one of three Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering Excellence in Research awards for his presentation, “Airborne radar observations of rainband structure in Hurricane Ophelia (2005).” His research revolved around the role of rainband stratiform precipitation in the unconventional eyewall replacement cycle of Hurricane Ophelia.

Andrea received a Great Minds in Research Honorable Mention for her presentation, “Linking Pacific Storms to North American Heat Waves.” This award is presented in collaboration by the Graduate School and the Office of Vice President for Research and recognizes graduate student submissions that contribute to the excellence and advancement of research, scholarship and entrepreneurial efforts at CSU.

“It was great to see a large group of ATS students participate in the event this year!” Department Head Jeff Collett said in an announcement to the department congratulating Andrea and Naufal.

November 10, 2017

Melissa Burt elected to American Meteorological Society Council

Melissa Burt has been elected to the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Council for 2018. Burt will be one of three representatives for the Academic Sector. The council oversees the policies and activities of the 12,000+ member organization.

While earning her Atmospheric Science Ph.D. at CSU, Burt served as Education and Diversity Manager for the CMMAP NSF Science and Technology Center. Following completion of her Ph.D., Burt accepted a position with dual responsibilities as a research scientist in Professor Dave Randall’s research group and as Diversity Manager for the Department of Atmospheric Science and the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

To be elected to the AMS Council, a one-page nomination letter describing the prospective councilor’s background and qualifications must be submitted to the nominating committee. All AMS members are then able to vote on the candidates.

Burt explained her potential role on the council in her nomination letter:

“AMS must encourage the next generation of leaders to be confident and take ownership of our professional society. As a council member, I would help AMS do this by connecting with members of our community to establish organic, long-lasting relationships through mentoring and outreach and by encouraging participation and volunteerism by early-career members in all aspects of the Society’s mission.”

She will bring her experience as diversity manager to her council position.

“Another challenge for AMS is to strengthen the engagement of women and minorities, ensuring our Society reflects the demographics of our nation. It is imperative that our Society is diverse and inclusive and that members have a sense of ownership. The integration of fresh ideas will make a better, stronger AMS.”

Following yesterday’s announcement of her election, Burt shared her enthusiasm for the task ahead.

“I’m honored to serve as an AMS council member. I’m excited to bring an early-career perspective to the AMS.”

Burt also was selected to receive this year’s American Meteorological Society Commission on Professional Affairs Award for Early Career Achievement. The award will be presented at the AMS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, in January.

Read more about Melissa’s appointment to the AMS Council.

November 9, 2017

NASA blog covers research by SEA-POL radar team

You can follow the SEA-POL radar team’s research voyage, led by Professor Steven Rutledge, by reading this NASA blog. In his Nov. 9 post, NASA blogger Adam Voiland describes the CSU-developed SEA-POL (SEA-going POLarimetric) radar in detail and states, “Excellent data has been obtained – proving SEA-POL’s readiness for future deployments.”

Read more about the SEA-POL team in SOURCE.

Photo at top: SEA-POL radar team from left to right, Prof. Steven Rutledge, Francesc Junyent, Brody Fuchs, Matthew Brothers and Jim George.

November 3, 2017

ATS and CIRA awarded PRSE grant for tropical cyclone research

The Department of Atmospheric Science (ATS) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) have been awarded a grant for tropical cyclone research by the Office of the Vice President for Research. ATS and CIRA are a jointly designated Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence (PRSE), a distinction that makes the pair eligible to compete for funding for research and training projects. ATS and CIRA have a rich history and global reputation of leading tropical cyclone research, working with partners locally and globally on basic and applied science, as well as transitioning research into operational weather forecasting.

The grant will enable ATS and CIRA to assemble a comprehensive 30-year observational dataset, including calibrated satellite and rainfall data, atmospheric reanalysis products, and tropical cyclone diagnostic information. The project, led by principal investigator Michael Bell, will help establish research partnerships across the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering, CSU and other institutions on structural, hydrological and health hazards resulting from tropical cyclones. New interdisciplinary research alliances will be created, expanding the scope of the research and improving forecast capability to reduce the impact of natural hazards on life and property.

“Tropical cyclones are a major hazard affecting millions of people around the globe. The recent tragedies in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico caused by hurricanes emphasize the importance of tropical cyclone research and forecasting to help reduce the impacts of these devastating storms on coastal populations,” wrote primary grant author Michael Bell in his description of the project.

The research team includes Paula Brown and Naufal Razin from ATS, and John Knaff and Kate Musgrave from CIRA.

Image at top: Microwave satellite image of Hurricane Irma

October 25, 2017

Learn about the secret lives of bats at next Teen Science Café

Theresa Laverty from CSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology will discuss “The Secret Lives of Bats: Dark Adventures from the Namib Desert” at the next Teen Science Café on Dec. 13. Learn why there are more than 1,000 species of bats around the world and how they relate to humans.

The Front Range Teen Science Café is part of a larger national network of science cafés for teens. ESMEI’S Teen Science Café brings scientists and teens together for a conversation about science in a local coffee shop, Everyday Joe’s Coffee House. A primary goal of the café is for teens to increase their understanding of the nature of science and to develop a realistic perception of scientists and the lives they lead — which they sometimes do not get in school.

When: 5-7 p.m., with presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 13
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House
Presenter: Theresa Laverty from CSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

RSVP to the Dec. 13 Teen Science Café here.

Dec. 13 Teen Science Café flier

October 24, 2017

Chris Kummerow chosen to give Boussinesq Lecture 2017

Chris Kummerow accepted an invitation to give the 2017 Boussinesq Lecture at Science Center Delft, in Delft, Netherlands. He will present his talk “Global precipitation – the successes and shortcomings at different space and time resolutions” on Oct. 26.

The Boussinesq Center for Hydrology is a joint initiative of hydrology groups of the Netherlands and Belgium. The Boussinesq Lecture is organized as part of the center’s annual event at the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Netherlands and the Royal Academy of Sciences, Belgium. Each year the Boussinesq board identifies one topic related to hydrology and chooses one leading foreign colleague to be the Boussinesq lecturer.

Read more about the Boussinesq Lecture 2017 here.

October 23, 2017

Ting-Yu Cha wins Student Poster Award at conference in Taiwan

Ting-Yu Cha, advised by Michael Bell, won the Student Poster Award in the M.S. category for her poster presentation “Eyewall Replacement Cycle of Hurricane Matthew Observed by Doppler Radar” at the 12th International Conference on Mesoscale Convective Systems and High-Impact Weather in East Asia (ICMCS-XII) in Taipei, Taiwan. Cha’s poster presentation concludes the primary and secondary circulations derived from multiple Doppler synthesis and single Doppler GBVTD wind retrievals to diagnose the vortex structure and evolution during Matthew’s eyewall replacement cycle.

Read more about the 12th International Conference on Mesoscale Convective Systems and High-Impact Weather in East Asia (ICMCS-XII) here.

October 16, 2017

Next FORTCAST talk appeals to Fort Collins sensibilities

The next installment of FORTCAST’s What’s Brewing in Weather and Climate series was crafted to fit the Fort Collins prerogative. Karen Kosiba, an atmospheric scientist at the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, will present “A CRAFT IPA: A Career with Radars And Field Time Incorporating Proposals and Analyses.”

How is a career in atmospheric science related to craft beer? For one, there are plenty of acronyms in both.

A strong believer in experiencing weather from the inside of a Doppler on Wheels (DOW) radar truck, Kosiba has participated in a multitude of field projects, including: Radar Observations of Tornadoes and Thunderstorms Experiment (ROTATE), Hurricanes and Landfall (HAL), Convectively and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study (COPS), the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Thunderstorms Experiment (VORTEX2), Long Lake-Axis-Parallel Lake-Effect Storms Project (LLAP), and AgI Seeding Cloud Impact Investigation (ASCII).

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

Contact with any questions.

October 12, 2017

Two ATS professors elected to UCAR posts

University Distinguished Professor Dave Randall has been elected to the Board of Trustees for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Associate Professor Michael Bell has been elected as a new member of the UCAR President’s Advisory Committee on University Relations (PACUR).

UCAR, a consortium with 117 college and university members, manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). It also operates many other community programs such as COMET, SOARS and GLOBE. Department Head and Professor Jeff Collett serves as a CSU member representative to UCAR.

Learn more about UCAR here.

October 11, 2017

Collegian: Teen Science Café provides interactive education for FoCo students

A group of starry-eyed students leans forward, focusing their gaze on footage of a severe storm taken by a drone.

“Almost all of the atmosphere we study is only about 16 kilometers high,” said Dr. Sue van den Heever, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at CSU. “Where would we be if we traveled 16 kilometers south of Fort Collins?”

“China,” one of the students says, to a tumult of giggles from the audience.

The excitement in the room was palpable as approximately 15 middle and high schoolers learned the basics of severe weather. They were there as a part of Northern Colorado’s chapter of Teen Science Café, an extracurricular program that allows teens to explore scientific career options that may otherwise remain unknown.

Read the Collegian article “Teen Science Café provides interactive education for FoCo students” here.

October 10, 2017

Department welcomes new faculty member Christine Chiu

Christine Chiu joined CSU Atmospheric Science faculty this month as an Associate Professor.

Christine received her B.S. and M.S. in Atmospheric Physics at the National Central University, Taiwan, and completed her Ph.D. in 2003 from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Purdue University. Prior to joining CSU, she was an Associate Professor at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, United Kingdom; a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland–Baltimore County; and an Associated Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Christine’s primary research interests lie in remote sensing, radiative transfer, and cloud-aerosol-precipitation-radiation interactions. She has worked extensively on retrievals of cloud optical and microphysical properties that are the prime determinant of the energy budget, but are poorly predicted by climate models. The main problem in retrieving cloud properties is that clouds are complicated 3D objects that evolve fast. Christine has approached this problem using both passive radiometers and active radar/lidar beams, and is working toward blending observational elements, numerical simulation and model evaluation. This new approach allows us to investigate 3D cloud distributions and their radiative impact, to quantify aerosol impacts on precipitation, and to provide constraints for precipitation formation processes.

October 5, 2017

MAC Student Travel Award recipients announced

Six ATS students have been selected as winners of the MAC Student Travel Award. These awards are supported by the MAC Foundation in Fort Collins, where ATS Emeritus Professor Thomas McKee serves as a foundation trustee. For the second year in a row, the MAC Foundation has provided a generous donation to the department to support student travel to conferences, meetings and workshops related to atmospheric science.

2017-18 MAC Student Travel Awardees:

Student Advisor Conference
Zach Bruick Kristen Rasmussen 18th AMS Conference on Mountain Meteorology
Ellie Delap Michael Bell 33rd AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology
Kyle Nardi Elizabeth Barnes 17th AMS Annual Student Conference
Ben Toms Sue van den Heever 33rd AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology
Justin Whitaker Eric Maloney 33rd AMS Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology
Samantha Wills David Thompson Ocean Mesoscale Eddy Interactions with the Atmosphere Workshop

Photo: MAC Travel Award recipients: from left, Samantha Wills, Justin Whitaker, Zach Bruick, Kyle Nardi, Ben Toms and Ellie DeLap

October 4, 2017

Teen Science Café: Some of us carry more Neanderthal genes than others

Find out why some people carry more Neanderthal genes than others during the next Teen Science Café on Oct. 11, presented by Prof. Mica Glantz from CSU’s Department of Anthropology. Attendees will use human fossil casts to identify characteristics that separate modern humans from Neanderthals. Glantz also will present evidence that suggests modern humans and Neanderthals were romantically involved.

Glantz, who received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, is a paleoanthropologist and director of the Human Origins Laboratory.

The Front Range Teen Science Café is part of a larger national network of science cafés for teens. ESMEI’S Teen Science Café brings scientists and teens together for a conversation about science in a local coffee shop, Everyday Joe’s Coffee House. A primary goal of the café is for teens to increase their understanding of the nature of science and to develop a realistic perception of scientists and the lives they lead — which they sometimes do not get in school.

When: 5-7 p.m., with presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House
Presenter: CSU Department of Anthropology Prof. Mica Glantz

RSVP to the Oct. 11 Teen Science Café here.

Oct. 11 Teen Science Café flier

The next Teen Science Café will be Nov. 8.

October 3, 2017

Christina McCluskey receives DOE Science Graduate Student Research Award

Christina McCluskey, advised by Sonia Kreidenweis and Paul DeMott, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science to receive a graduate student research award. McCluskey is using the award for her project “Assessing numerical representations of marine ice nucleating particles in high latitude remote regions with novel observations.” She is working with scientist Susannah Burrows at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for three months, through Oct. 17.

“[The award] has provided me with an opportunity to gain modeling experience, working with the DOE Community Earth System Model,” McCluskey said.

Earlier this year McCluskey also was awarded a National Center for Atmospheric Research Advanced Studies Program Postdoc Fellowship and the department’s Alumni Award.

Russ Schumacher selected as climate center director, Colorado State Climatologist

CSU Atmospheric Science Associate Professor Russ Schumacher has been chosen as the next director of the Colorado Climate Center and Colorado State Climatologist. His appointment begins Oct. 6. Schumacher will continue in his role as a faculty member in the Department of Atmospheric Science, with a shift in his effort distribution and responsibilities to reflect the significant and important duties associated with this new assignment.

Schumacher is intimately familiar with Colorado weather and climate, leaving him well-positioned to lead the climate center staff in their three primary missions concerning climate monitoring, climate research and climate services. In his role as state climatologist, Schumacher will be a key resource to public and private stakeholders within Colorado and beyond as they seek expert information regarding the weather and climate of the state.

Schumacher shared this message for the announcement of his selection as Colorado Climate Center director:

“I’m honored by and excited about the opportunity to lead the Colorado Climate Center and serve as State Climatologist. Colorado’s weather and climate are diverse and fascinating, and since first moving here in 2001, I’ve been mystified and challenged by trying to better understand and predict it, because it’s important: scientifically, economically, and societally. The Colorado Climate Center collects and provides vital weather and climate information to stakeholders all across our state, and I look forward to working alongside the CCC staff to be a source of the most relevant information backed by the latest research to serve the needs of our state. It will never be possible to fill the shoes of my predecessor, Nolan Doesken, who greatly advanced climate services across Colorado, but I will work hard to apply my background in weather research to continue the Colorado Climate Center’s legacy of excellent service to our state.”

Schumacher first came to Colorado as a CSU Department of Atmospheric Science graduate student in fall 2001. He completed his M.S. in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2008. Schumacher joined department faculty in 2011 following a postdoc stint at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and three years as an assistant professor at Texas A&M. He received a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2010 and serves as editor of Monthly Weather Review. Schumacher’s research interests include mesoscale meteorology, mesoscale convective systems, weather analysis and forecasting, climatology of precipitation, precipitation extremes, flash floods, and societal impacts of weather.

Outside of his professional life, Schumacher has been a frequent contestant on the TV quiz show Jeopardy. After his first successful run, he won the Tournament of Champions in 2004 and made it to the semifinals of the Battle of the Decades tournament in 2014. He and his wife, Andrea, live in Fort Collins with their four-year-old son.

Read the SOURCE article “New state climatologist up for the challenge of Colorado’s ‘fascinating, diverse’ climate.”

Listen to Colorado Public Radio’s interview of Russ Schumacher.

October 2, 2017

SOURCE: World’s most advanced shipborne radar ready to set sail

In mid-October, Steven Rutledge will sail to the intertropical convergence zone near the Equator aboard a 300-foot vessel called the R/V Roger Revelle.

It’s not a vacation cruise. Rutledge, professor of atmospheric science, will lead a Colorado State University team on a five-week research voyage to test a new weather radar. After more than two years of planning and construction at the CSU-CHILL National Radar Facility in Greeley, the team will deploy the most advanced shipborne radar the world has ever seen.

The radar is called SEA-POL (short for “seafaring polarimetric”), and it was built through a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation awarded to Rutledge and V. “Chandra” Chandrasekar, professor in CSU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The ship deployment is funded by an additional $300,000 from NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Read the full SOURCE article, “World’s most advanced shipborne radar ready to set sail.”

Photo: Members of the SEA-POL team with the radar, right before disassembly and shipment to San Diego for its voyage to sea. From left: engineer Francesc Junyent, engineer Jim George, CSU-CHILL facility manager Pat Kennedy, Professor of Atmospheric Science Steve Rutledge, graduate student Alex Morin, and Rutledge’s dog, Saphira. 

September 21, 2017

Jhordanne Jones plans to take tropical meteorology knowledge back to Caribbean

Residents of the Caribbean are no foreigners to severe weather, with an average of one hurricane hitting the region each year, and most occurrences developing into a major hurricane. Jhordanne Jones, a Jamaica native, understands the impact of tropical cyclones all too well.

“In the Caribbean, storms are just a part of our livelihood. We experience them every summer, they cause damage over many years, and we don’t have that much research on them in the Caribbean, so I hope to be able to fill that gap,” she said.

Coming to CSU this fall, Jones will pursue her Ph.D. in the Department of Atmospheric Science under advisor and tropical cyclone researcher Michael Bell. With expertise in climatology, or the study of weather conditions over a period of time, Jones hopes to complement her education with Bell’s expertise in meteorology, which focuses on more short-term variations of weather dynamics. Some of Bell’s research requires data collection via aircraft, which Jones would jump at the chance to participate in.

“If I ever could get a flight on an aircraft reconnaissance mission, I’d be so grateful to go. I hope to have the opportunity to get that hands-on experience,” she said.

Jones comes to CSU as a Fulbright fellow and recipient of the Walter Scott, Jr. Fellowship. The award is one of 26 fellowships made possible by a $53.3 million gift from business icon and CSU alumnus Walter Scott, Jr.

“This award means a whole lot. It gives me the opportunity to be in Fort Collins and be as comfortable as possible so I can actually enjoy my study experience. It’s a huge help,” she said.

After completing her degree at CSU, Jones hopes to secure a postdoctoral position with the goal of bringing knowledge about tropical meteorology back to the Caribbean.

“I’d love to be an expert in tropical cyclones,” she said. “The Caribbean region has a lack of that expertise, and I’d love to be a resource others can come to for insight.”

Read the full SOURCE article, “Welcoming the Inaugural Class of Walter Scott, Jr. Scholars and Fellows.”

September 20, 2017

Melissa Burt selected for AMS Early Career Achievement Award

Melissa Burt has been selected to receive this year’s American Meteorological Society Commission on Professional Affairs Award for Early Career Achievement. The award will be presented at the AMS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, in January.

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

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

Burt was grateful for the recognition by her colleagues.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award. Being nominated by my colleagues means a lot to me.”

September 19, 2017

Sue van den Heever will discuss drones at Teen Science Café

Prof. Sue van den Heever will present the first Teen Science Café of the academic year Wednesday, Sept. 20. She will discuss her drone research in her talk, “Through the Eye of the Drone: Chasing Severe Storms.”

The Front Range Teen Science Café is part of a larger national network of science cafés for teens. ESMEI’S Teen Science Café brings scientists and teens together for a conversation about science in a local coffee shop, Everyday Joe’s Coffee House. A primary goal of the café is for teens to increase their understanding of the nature of science and to develop a realistic perception of scientists and the lives they lead — which they sometimes do not get in school.

When: 5-7 p.m., with presentation starting at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 20
Where: Everyday Joe’s Coffee House
Presenter: CSU Department of Atmospheric Science Prof. Sue van den Heever

Severe storms produce life-threatening weather including lightning, heavy rainfall, large hail and tornadoes, and yet they still are very difficult to accurately predict. The numerical models we use to predict severe storms have improved significantly over the last 10 to 15 years, but still have limitations. In order to increase our understanding of thunderstorms and therefore improve our weather prediction models, we need to make better observations of severe storms. In this talk, our scientific approaches to increasing our knowledge and ability to predict severe storms, including the ways in which we use computer simulations and make measurements by flying drones and instrumented balloons through severe storms, will be discussed. Computer animations and drone video footage of severe storms also will be presented.

RSVP to the Sept. 20 Teen Science Café here.

Upcoming Teen Science Café dates: Oct. 11, Nov. 8

Sept. 20 Teen Science Café flier

September 11, 2017

Press roundup: ATS researchers offer insight on hurricanes Harvey and Irma

ATS research scientist Phil Klotzbach discusses Irma with NPR:

Powerful Storms Raise Questions About the Science of Hurricanes

9NEWS (KUSA) talks to Ph.D. candidate Chris Slocum and CIRA research scientist Kate Musgrave about the recent devastating hurricanes and the small changes that make all the difference in a storm’s track:

Expert weighs in on back-to-back hurricanes

Prof. Michael Bell discusses Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms on record as measured by wind speed, with 9NEWS (KUSA):

What we know about Hurricane Irma and its path

Phil Klotzbach talks to the Coloradoan about Harvey and why the longest-running seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast comes from right here at CSU:

How landlocked Colorado became a hurricane-forecasting hot spot

Prof. Russ Schumacher explains Harvey’s deluge and mentions his research group’s study of multi-hazard situations, specifically when the threats of tornadoes and flash flooding occur in the same place at the same time:

What made the rain in Hurricane Harvey so extreme?

September 8, 2017

Annette Foerster awarded Best Oral Presentation at AMS conference

Annette Foerster, Michael Bell’s student who recently received her Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii, won the “Best Oral Presentation” student award at the AMS 38th Conference on Radar Meteorology in Chicago last week. Her presentation was on her Ph.D. dissertation research, “Retrieved Thermodynamic Structure of Hurricane Rita (2005) from Airborne Multi-Doppler Data.”

September 7, 2017

Navy pilot training manuals from the ’40s stand test of time

When Prof. Elizabeth Barnes received eight Navy pilot training manuals that belonged to her grandfather, she knew she had an interesting artifact worth sharing.

“I really like them. [They’re a] great example of taking complex scientific information and boiling it down to its most practical to get a pilot from A to B and home again. Plus, the cartoons are incredibly entertaining.”

Right she was. Everyone in the department who glimpsed the manuals on a desk in the main office was curious about them, and cartoons like these drew them in:

Page from Navy pilot training manual "The Occluded Fronts"

The 4.5 x 6.5-inch booklets are from the Navy’s Aerology Series, “prepared for Naval Aviation Cadets by the Bureau of Aeronautics Training Division” and published in the 1940s.


William Franklin Barnes when he was a cadet at age 18 or 19.

Their historic perspective is evident from the opening sentences of the first book in the series, Ice Formation on Aircraft:

“You have two enemies more deadly than a Zero [Japanese fighter aircraft] or a Messerchmitt [German fighter aircraft]. They are… CLEAR ICE and RIME ICE. Yet these enemies are sportsman-like enough to give you warning.”

The series explains weather conditions and how to fly safely in each type of condition or how to avoid it. Because the manuals pertain to meteorology, Barnes’ aunt, Lesa Barnes, thought Barnes would find them interesting and mailed them to her. Lesa came across the books while going through her father’s belongings to prepare for a move. Barnes’ grandfather, William Franklin Barnes, is doing well at 93 and lives near Seattle. He was a Navy pilot for 23 years, from 1942 to 1965, and flew during a wartime campaign in Korea from the summer of 1950 to spring 1951. Following his time in the service, he taught middle school math.

“He’s still sharp,” Barnes said. “As an example, he is part of a group of retirees that gets together and discusses the latest problems in astrophysics. They read the journal Scientific American and then get together and discuss/argue about the contents. This would lead to lots of questions for me about the universe expansion and what I thought about string theory – not like I had many answers for him.”

Barnes’ grandfather said he was able to put the information in the books to good use.

“I must have. I know I did. I used the information, as modified, throughout my flying career. When I was a cadet I was given a set of booklets in Ground School in 1942, in Cottonwood, Arizona. When finished with Ground School, I obtained a new set and it is this new set, unread, that I saved.”

The books illustrate how vital understanding weather and the atmosphere are to a pilot and to the overall cause, referencing specific battles that were successful because of advantageous weather.

“Many a Navy attack has been timed to conform to weather favorable to the tactical situation. The raid on the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, for example, was so planned that our aircraft left their carriers, made their raid, and returned to their bases under favorable flying conditions, after which the ships took cover in a frontal area that protected them from aerial reprisals all the way out of the combat zone.”

Elizabeth Barnes and her grandfather, William Franklin Barnes, 2011

Our understanding of weather conditions and how and why they occur has advanced considerably since the ’40s, thanks in part to the research conducted by CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, including Barnes. According to Barnes, the information in the manuals has held up against the test of time. The basic weather information is still accurate, and it was sufficient for its intended purpose.

“From the parts I have read, certainly looks like it. At the end of the day, these manuals are mostly there to tell the pilots ‘the way things are,’ rather than ‘why they are the way they are’. A lot of progress has been made since the 1940s on understanding atmospheric flows, however, these details probably weren’t pertinent for the intended audience and application (i.e. pilots in the Navy).

“At this time they didn’t really understand the storm tracks or jet streams – which is actually what I study! They knew that storms tended to follow certain paths over the oceans, but the concept of the ‘jet stream’ was only just starting to be realized. Instead, everything was thought of in terms of ‘fronts’. A cold front, a warm front, an occluded front.”

Not only are the books full of practical and potentially life-saving knowledge, the many illustrations use humor to bring levity to serious subject matter. Barnes found several of them particularly applicable and amusing.

“These two are favorites, as it is how I feel trying to read a weather map/forecast.”

Cartoon of man upside down, trying to read weather report and cartoon of a weather map being interrogated


“Another favorite since obviously, I AM his granddaughter!”

Cartoon of grandfather telling flying stories to grandchildren


Because Barnes’ grandfather did so many things after his days as a pilot in the Navy, he had to be prompted to share stories from that time in his life.

Typically, we would have to ask him for stories if we wanted them, although he would be constantly building model planes of the aircraft he had flown (so he would actively discuss those). One interesting tidbit is that he was part of the first team to land on aircraft carriers at night which was quite different than landing during the day when you could see what you were doing!

“He also has a story about flying through the Grand Canyon (back when that was allowed) and getting stuck in a downdraft right when he needed to pull up, and how the plane lifted at just the last second before the canyon ended. He said he never told my grandmother about that day.”

The eight Aerology Series manuals are currently on display in the ATS Main entryway.

Maria Silva Dias chosen as 2017 ATS Outstanding Alum

Prof. Maria Silva Dias of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has been selected as the 2017 CSU ATS Outstanding Alum. Maria received her Ph.D. from CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science in 1979. She was the first woman to graduate with a Ph.D. from the program.

Following her bachelor’s degree, Maria was tasked with developing the recently created Department of Meteorology at the University of Sao Paulo. Maria, along with her husband, Pedro da Silva Dias, came to CSU in 1975 to pursue graduate studies in our department. Following completion of her Ph.D., Maria returned to Brazil and served as one of the main pillars in the development of that country’s best undergraduate and graduate programs in atmospheric sciences.

Maria is well known for her atmospheric science research in Brazil and internationally. She has led numerous major field campaigns in Brazil, especially in the Amazon. Many of these have focused on improved understanding of the complex coupling between forest landscapes and rivers, aerosols and biomass burning, clouds and precipitation, and South American climate. Her research has examined mesoscale circulations and cloud and rain organization, the role of clouds in transporting gases and particles, the diagnosis of severe storms in Brazil, and effects of climate change on precipitation.

Maria has served as president of the Brazilian Meteorological Society, is a fellow member of the Brazilian Academy of Science, and a fellow of the AMS, among other acknowledgements. In addition to her academic leadership at USP, Maria served for several years as director of the Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies of the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research.

For her many achievements, Maria will be honored as the ATS 2017 Outstanding Alum during an award presentation and reception Friday, Sept. 15. She also will present a colloquium, “Clouds in the Amazon.” Refreshments will be served starting at 10:45 in the weather lab, and the award presentation and colloquium will begin at 11:15 a.m. in 101 ATS.

Maria Silva Dias, center, with her whole family, including six grandchildren.

Outstanding Alum Award reception and colloquium announcement

September 6, 2017

Find out ‘Where has all the carbon gone?’ at FORTCAST event

Prof. Scott Denning will discuss “Where has all the carbon gone?” at this semester’s first edition of FORTCAST’s What Brewing in Weather and Climate series. Discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, upstairs at Tap & Handle.

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

Contact with any questions.

August 28, 2017

Dave Randall selected Professor of the Year

Dave Randall has been chosen as the 2016-17 Professor of the Year by ATS graduate student representatives, based on evaluations submitted by students over the course of the school year. The grad reps compile student responses and determine which professor received the most support and should be honored for teaching excellence.

At Thursday’s New Student Welcome Picnic, Graduate Representative Jakob Lindaas presented Dave with a plaque and read an excerpt from one of his evaluations:

“Dave excels at communicating complex ideas in a relatable fashion, appealing to our intuition and warning us when our intuition might lead us astray.”

Dave said he was honored to receive this distinction from his students.

“I’m very grateful. An award from the students means more to me than an award from any other source.”

August 25, 2017

Welcome to our new students!

Front row, from left: Kathryn Moore, Chelsea Nam, I-Ting Ku, Kirsten Mayer, William McNichols and Joe Messina. Back row, from left: Jhordanne Jones, Erin Dougherty, Kevin Barry, Faith Groff, Ryan Gonzalez and Evie Bangs. Not pictured: Zach Bruick.

Fall semester officially began this week, and the department was thrilled to welcome our incoming class of graduate students with a picnic at Spring Canyon Park. Faculty introduced their new students and shared a little about the research each student will be doing. The whole department was invited and enjoyed barbecue catered by Famous Dave’s and music by Chad Fell Down, a band comprised mainly of Atmos and CIRA staff. Graduate Representative Jakob Lindaas announced the recipient of the Professor of the Year Award, Dave Randall, and presented him with a plaque.


Michael Bell introduces his new students, Chelsea Nam and Jhordanne Jones.


Graduate Representative Jakob Lindaas reads an excerpt from a Professor of the Year evaluation form to this year’s recipient, Dave Randall.


Chad Fell Down, with Kelly Branson (ATS) on guitar and vocals, Mark Branson (ATS) on drums, and Matt Rogers (CIRA) on bass and vocals.

August 22, 2017

CIRA satellite imaging team wins CO-LABS Governor’s Award

Congratulations to ATS alumni Steve Miller, Curtis Seaman and Dan Lindsey on receiving the CO-LABS Governor’s award for high impact research. This highly competitive and prestigious award was given in recognition of the team’s development of an algorithm allowing data from the new GOES-16 satellite to be turned into true-color imagery.

Read the SOURCE article here.

Read more about the award.

For a more in-depth look at their work, be sure to attend this Friday’s ATS/CIRA colloquium by Steve Miller and Dan Lindsey: GOES-16: A New Era in Geostationary Satellite Observations.

Steve Miller (CSU ATS Ph.D. 2000) is the Deputy Director of CIRA, where Curtis Seaman (CSU ATS Ph.D. 2009) works as a research scientist. Dan Lindsey (CSU ATS Ph.D. 2008) also is based at CIRA, where he works for the NOAA Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch.

Congratulations, Steve, Curtis and Dan on this outstanding achievement!
August 18, 2017

SOURCE: High-flying, eye-popping drones gather data from storms

C3LOUD-Ex, or CSU Convective Cloud Outflows and Updrafts Experiment, is led by Professor Susan van den Heever in the Department of Atmospheric Science. Supported by van den Heever’s Monfort Professorship, the project’s aim is to capture extremely hard-to-collect data from thunderstorms as they’re happening. Specifically, the researchers are making direct observations of storm phenomena called updrafts and cold pools, employing a signature technology of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.

Read the SOURCE article by Anne Manning.

August 17, 2017

Jared Brewer uses ASCENT fellowship to do cutting-edge research in France

Jared Brewer, advised by Emily Fischer and A.R. Ravishankara, was awarded an ASCENT travel fellowship in March 2017. The fellowship supported his two-month stay this summer in Orleans, France, where he studied atmospheric chemistry at a unique research facility. The Department of Atmospheric Science Assisting Students, Cultivating Excellence, Nurturing Talent (ASCENT) program was founded in fall 2014 to help enrich the graduate experience. One component of ASCENT is an international travel grant that allows students to pursue opportunities for research outside the U.S.

Jared explains how he used the ASCENT travel grant:

With the support of the ASCENT award as well as an additional EUROCHAMP-2020 research grant, I spent this summer at the Institut de Combustion Aérothermique Réactivité et Environment (ICARE), a CNRS laboratory, in Orleans, France investigating the quantum yields of the carbonyl species, Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK). Like acetone, MEK is important in atmospheric chemistry because it has a sufficiently long lifetime (5 days in the case of MEK) to be lofted into the upper troposphere. There, these ketones can be photolyzed, and lead to odd hydrogen (HOx = HO2 + OH) radical production. Thus, the photolysis of these compounds impacts the concentrations and lifetimes of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric pollutants. However, the rates of ketone photolysis are uncertain. In order to quantify them, I used ASCENT fellowship funding to support a two-month period of study during June and July of 2017 using a unique facility located in Orleans, France. During this time, I helped perform outdoor chamber experiments using natural sunlight to measure rates of MEK photolysis as well as bench-top experiments to measure UV absorption cross-sections of MEK at atmospherically relevant wavelengths and temperatures. This data will help improve the modeling of these compounds, and therefore our understanding of the upper troposphere radical budget, upper troposphere ozone production, and lifetimes of pollutant and greenhouse gases.

In Orleans, I worked with my advisor, Dr. Ravishankara, as well as the director of ICARE Dr. Abdelwahid Mellouki. The work enhanced my graduate research experience by giving me the opportunity to get practical research knowledge in a laboratory setting. My prior research during my master’s degree and during the first two years of my doctoral study at CSU focused primarily on computer modeling. By working with Dr. Mellouki and the people in his laboratory, I gained much needed exposure to laboratory research skills and greatly increased my ability to contribute to the field of atmospheric chemistry. As someone with no chemistry lab experience prior to this study, the opportunity to do cutting-edge research using a one-of-a-kind atmospheric chamber was hugely valuable to my progress as a researcher. Moreover, the insights into experimental methods that I gained by first-hand laboratory experience will make me a better modeler and more complete atmospheric chemist going forward. I had a fantastic and informative time working in Orleans – thank you to the ASCENT program for this awesome opportunity.

University Distinguished Professor A.R. Ravishankara, who co-advises Jared and worked with him at ICARE, said the ASCENT program benefits both the visiting student and host scientists.

“ASCENT is an amazing catalyst that enables our students to experience a very diverse and different learning environment and produce cutting-edge science. … Not only did Jared learn from his experience by doing experimental work, he also gave a lot to the students and post-docs in Orleans by teaching them how to use the Master Chemical Mechanism codes (MCM). This was extremely useful for the scientists in ICARE. Again, you can see that ASCENT not only enhances the student from CSU but also the scientists in the host institution.”

Ravishankara added that there are other, intangible benefits to the program:

“The social aspect of this is immeasurable. I am sure that this two-month stay will be with Jared for life, and the people in Orleans got a lot from his presence there – an experience they will keep forever. It really builds international collaboration and cooperation.”

Photo at top: From left, Abdelwahid Mellouki, Jared Brewer and A. R. Ravishankara at ICARE in Orleans, France.


Jared Brewer measures MEK’s absorbance of light.



August 9, 2017

Atmos celebrates State Climatologist Nolan Doesken’s retirement

Former department members and National Weather Service employees joined the department and Colorado Climate Center today to celebrate Nolan Doesken’s 40 years of service to CSU, 11 of those as Colorado’s State Climatologist. Department Head Jeff Collett recognized Nolan for his dedication and passion for climatology, and guests shared memories of everything from recording the coldest day in Colorado to Nolan’s basketball prowess.

Nolan’s impact as State Climatologist was lauded on local, state and national levels. The American Association of State Climatologists wrote a letter of thanks to Nolan that was read by Becky Bolinger. Taryn Finnessey from the Colorado Water Conservation Board read a letter from Gov. John Hickenlooper, thanking Nolan for his service and expertise in helping to craft a leading drought mitigation plan. Climate Center staff, who applauded Nolan for being a wonderful boss, presented him with a home weather station, and a representative of the National Weather Service gave him a snow measuring stick.

Nolan thanked Professor Emeritus and former State Climatologist Tom McKee and others who were not in attendance for hiring him for the position of Assistant State Climatologist, even though, he claimed, he was “not qualified.” Nolan said the job description called for five years of mountain meteorology experience, and he had about 19 days experience in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Though his love for weather may have started in his home state of Illinois, Nolan has made a name for himself and deep connections in Colorado, where he has long been known as the top authority on the state’s weather and climate. Nolan’s legacy includes CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network, which was born in the aftermath of the 1997 Fort Collins flood. CoCoRaHS volunteers record and report daily precipitation amounts and significant weather events. The program has expanded to every state in the U.S., Canada and the Bahamas, counting more than 20,000 volunteers.

We thank you for your service and wish you the best in retirement, Nolan!

Photo at top: Professor Emeritus and former State Climatologist Tom McKee, left, shared memories dating back to 1977, the year Nolan started working at CSU as Assistant State Climatologist.


Nolan Doesken talks with former colleagues and friends at his retirement celebration.


Guests write messages to Nolan on a map of Colorado.

Cake for Nolan's retirement celebration


Nolan converses with guests at his retirement party.


Guests personalize a map of Colorado for Nolan.

August 7, 2017

Stacey Hitchcock awarded 2nd place for poster at AMS conference

Stacey Hitchcock, advised by Russ Schumacher, was awarded 2nd place for her poster “Evolution of Thermodynamic Vertical Profiles from Pre- and Post-Convective Environments of Mesoscale Convective Systems Observed During PECAN” at the AMS Conference on Mesoscale Processes, July 24-27 in San Diego, CA. Congratulations, Stacey!

August 3, 2017

SOURCE: Where there’s fire, there’s smoke – and social media

Atmos research scientist Bonne Ford, who works in the lab of Associate Professor Jeff Pierce, led a study that shows striking correlation between numbers of Facebook users posting about visible smoke and commonly used datasets for estimating harmful smoke exposure. Read the SOURCE article here.

August 2, 2017

9News interview: Greg Herman’s forecast model could improve flood notice by days

9News stopped by the department recently to interview Ph.D. candidate Greg Herman about his forecast model that could predict flash flooding days in advance, improving outcomes from this natural disaster. View the broadcast or read the story here.

Sue van den Heever selected for AMS Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award

Prof. Sue van den Heever has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Edward N. Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award from the American Meteorological Society (AMS). One person is chosen annually for this highly competitive, national teaching award. As stated on the AMS web page listing the 2018 award winners, Sue is being honored “for enduring passion for teaching and mentoring, for engaging students both inside and outside the classroom, and for unrelenting dedication to training future scientists.”

In an announcement to the department, Department Head Jeff Collett said, “Those of us here in CSU ATS know well the outstanding job Sue does in both teaching and graduate advising, as evidenced by multiple department teaching awards and a recent university graduate advising award. It is terrific to see Sue also recognized at the national level for her excellence in these endeavors.”

A nomination letter and three supporting letters were required for consideration, with at least one of the supporting letters from a former student. Several of the department’s students and faculty members submitted letters. This excerpt from one of them explains how Sue’s classes are both challenging and rewarding:

“One leaves [a presentation given by Sue] feeling like an expert in the area, because Sue has so effectively described the science question, her approach, and findings, deconstructing even the most complex microphysical processes, and explaining the new insights gained from her work.

“Students flock to her courses, despite the heavy workload they frequently represent, because of how much they know they will learn during the semester.”

An excerpt from a second letter describes Sue’s teaching style:

“Sue’s command of the classroom is legendary. When she speaks, students listen. She uses a pointing stick and hand motions to animate the material, and she whacks the projector screen with the stick to drive home her points.

“[She] reframes the role of students as not just the receivers of knowledge, but as the generators of knowledge.”

The energy Sue brings to the classroom is illustrated in a third letter:

“Being a student in Sue’s classroom can be likened to having a stiff cup of coffee: while you may enter the classroom lethargic or weary, before the chalkboard has the time to warm up, you are making hand-waving gestures as visual aid while you argue your points for how and why a physical process operates as it does.”

Sue was grateful for the recognition that originated with her students and colleagues.

“I feel extremely honored to receive this award, especially given the list of past winners, all of whom are known to be outstanding teachers, mentors and educators. Being nominated by my students and faculty colleagues means so much to me, and ultimately is the best reward for any teacher and mentor,” she said in response to the announcement.

Sue will receive her award at the AMS Honors banquet in January in Austin, Texas.

More about the Edward N. Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award

July 28, 2017

REU interns present research in symposium

Over the past 10 weeks ESMEI undergraduate interns have been working on a research project with faculty, research scientists, postdocs and graduate students in the department. This week the students concluded the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program with colloquium presentations at the Student Research Symposium and a capstone poster session.

More about ESMEI’s REU program

Photo at top: 2017 REU interns: Front row, left to right: Sarah Zelasky, Alison Banks, Leah Johnson, Jessica Solomon, Samantha Zito and Caitlyn Garko. Back row, left to right: Alexander DesRosiers, Isaac Fagerstrom, Daniel Rodriguez, Joseph Moody, Gabriel Rodriguez and Eric Molten.


2017 REU capstone poster session


Sarah Zelasky discusses her poster with Paul DeMott.


Jessica Solomon explains her poster at the REU capstone poster session.


Gabriel Rodriguez discusses his poster with Marie McGraw at the REU capstone poster session.


Cake celebrating REU interns’ completion of 10-week program

July 10, 2017

Sue van den Heever appointed Associate Department Head

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

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

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

Sue’s appointment will begin in August.

July 7, 2017

Yixing Shao awarded Air and Waste Management Association scholarship

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

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

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

June 28, 2017

Russ Schumacher and Greg Herman demonstrate new forecasting product

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

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

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

Link to experimental extreme precipitation forecasts

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

June 20, 2017

ATS hosts North Carolina A&T State University undergrads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 16, 2017

Ryan Riesenberg awarded Liniger Honor, Service, and Commitment Scholarship

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

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

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

June 13, 2017

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

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

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

Email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

June 9, 2017

SOURCE: FORTCAST to host inaugural Colorado Weatherfest June 24

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

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

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

For any questions, contact Dakota Smith at

Read the SOURCE article

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

June 7, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the SOURCE article

Read about Libby on

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

May 24, 2017

REU interns get firsthand atmospheric research experience

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

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

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

May 18, 2017

Deadline extended for Distinguished Alum Award Nominations

Dear Faculty, Alums, and Friends of the Department:

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

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

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

Please direct questions to Sarah Tisdale at

the ATS Awards Committee

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

May 17, 2017

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

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

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

Email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

May 16, 2017

Alex Naegele selected as SoGES Fellow

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

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

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

The group represents 15 departments and five colleges.

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

Alex describes her research:

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

Read the SOURCE article

May 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Spring 2017 student volunteers

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

Christina McCluskey with advisors Sonia Kreidenweis and Paul DeMott

April 28, 2017

A.R. Ravishankara named University Distinguished Professor

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

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

The CSU announcement of Ravi’s award states:

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

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

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

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

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

April 27, 2017

Libby Barnes receives Honorable Mention for Graduate Advising and Mentorship

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

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

April 26, 2017

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

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

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

Read the full SOURCE article

April 14, 2017

Ben Toms receives DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

M.S. student Ben Toms has been awarded a 2017 Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. The DOE CSGF, administered by the Krell Institute of Ames, Iowa, is funded by the DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Each year, the program grants fellowships to support doctoral students whose education and research focus on using high-performance computers to solve complex science and engineering problems of national importance. Less than 5 percent of applicants are chosen for the fellowship each year.

DOE CSGF students receive full tuition and fees plus an annual stipend and academic allowance, renewable for up to four years. In return, recipients must complete courses in a scientific or engineering discipline plus computer science and applied mathematics. They also must do a three-month research practicum at one of 21 DOE laboratories or sites across the country.

Toms joins a group of 20 first-year fellows in 2017, bringing the total number of current DOE CSGF recipients to 79 students in 14 states. Toms will apply the fellowship to using machine learning algorithms such as neural networks to analyze massive quantities of data related to the Madden-Julian oscillation.

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

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

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

More information on the DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

Stephanie Henderson awarded NSF AGS-PRF

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

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

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

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

April 11, 2017

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

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

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

Email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

April 6, 2017

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

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

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

Read the SOURCE article

March 31, 2017

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

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

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

Read the SOURCE article

March 30, 2017

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

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

Read the CSU Magazine article by Anne Manning.

March 24, 2017

Leah Grant receives Student Council Travel Award

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

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

March 17, 2017

Christina McCluskey earns first place for AMS conference presentation

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

Christina is advised by Sonia Kreidenweis and Paul DeMott.

March 10, 2017

Christina McCluskey selected for prestigious NCAR fellowship

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 8, 2017

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

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

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

Email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

March 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

Little Shop of Physics open house

February 24, 2017

Ben Toms awarded first place for presentation at AMS annual meeting

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

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

January 27, 2017

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

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

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

All three women are ESWN board members.

January 20, 2017

Stephanie Henderson and Brandon Wolding earn Outstanding Student Paper Awards

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

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

Congratulations, Stephanie and Brandon!

January 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Read the SOURCE article

January 10, 2017

FORTCAST launches What’s Brewing in Weather & Climate series

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

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

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

Please email Dakota Smith at with any questions.

January 9, 2017

Michael Bell awarded Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

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

Read the White House announcement

Read the SOURCE article


2016 Announcements