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June-July 2007

NCAR welcomes new researchers

In what is one of NCAR’s larger classes of new hires in recent years, the center has hired seven Scientists I and one Research Engineer I. Interests range from computer science to air pollution to the interior of the Sun.

“This group of remarkable researchers will complement our existing staff with a diversity of strengths and talents,” says NCAR director Tim Killeen.

A search committee from across NCAR, headed by ASP director Maura Hagan, helped select the new scientists from a large pool of applicants.

Following are brief profiles.

judith berner

Judith Berner.

Judith Berner (ESSL/CGD)

Judith is interested in nonlinear processes and multi-scale interactions in short-range weather forecasts and climate models.

As a student and ASP postdoctoral fellow at NCAR, she studied weather regimes and transitions in observations and models. She then became interested in the stochastic (random) parameterization of unresolved processes and their impact on model variability and model error. Other research interests include tropical variability, cellular automata, and the optimal representation of atmospheric dynamics in truncated models.

Judith currently works at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, United Kingdom, on the representation of model error in ensemble systems by stochastic kinetic energy backscatter schemes. She first came to CGD on an internship in 1997.

She has a Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Bonn.

Alma Hodzic (ESSL/ACD)

Alma Hodzic

Alma Hodzic.

Alma’s goal is to improve the way models represent the formation and evolution of aerosols and how they interact with gas-phase chemistry and meteorology. She’s especially interested in modeling aerosols on urban and regional scales, characterizing the composition and origin of aerosol pollutants by improving the representation of aerosol emission sources and their formation processes, and studying interactions between aerosols, gases, and clouds. She’s involved with the development of CHIMERE, a multi-scale air quality model, and WRF-Chem, a model for real-time predictions of weather and air quality.

Alma has been an ASP postdoctoral fellow in ESSL/ACD since 2005, focusing on modeling of aerosol properties and processes in highly polluted conditions such as megacities and wildfires. She participated in MIRAGE, last year’s field project that examined the chemical and physical transformations of gases and aerosols in Mexico City’s air pollution.

Alma has a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from France’s École Polytechnique and a master’s degree in meteorology from the National School of Meteorology in Toulouse.

Peter Lauritzen (ESSL/CGD)

Peter Lauritzen

Peter Lauritzen.

Peter’s research centers on improving our understanding of the global atmosphere through better numerical algorithms, with a focus on representing the dynamics of the atmosphere using numerical methods that respect important physical properties.

Peter has been an ASP postdoctoral fellow in CGD since 2006, where he has worked on finite-volume methods as well as conservative regridding algorithms. He started his fellowship by co-authoring a review chapter on “Finite-Volume Methods in Meteorology” for a handbook on numerical methods used in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences. He has also collaborated with CISL/IMAGe, contributing to NCAR’s HOMME (High Order Method Modeling Environment) project through a new shape-preserving and conservative interpolation method between the cubed-sphere and regular latitude- longitude grid systems.

Peter has a Ph.D. in climate and environment and a master’s degree in geophysics from the University of Copenhagen.

Mark Miesch (ESSL/HAO)

Mark Meisch

Mark Miesch.

Mark is interested in astrophysical and geophysical fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics, with particular emphasis on the solar interior. He has created models that simulate subsurface solar processes in unprecedented detail, providing insights into such problems as how the Sun generates the magnetic fields that lie at the root of solar variability and space weather, and why the Sun has a differential rotation with the equator spinning faster than the poles. His work also sheds light on the stability and dynamics of the layer at the base of the convection zone known as the tachocline.

Mark’s interests in space weather extend to the far-flung impact of solar storms. He is working with HAO colleagues to develop a numerical model that will simulate the propagation and evolution of coronal mass ejections, which are eruptions of large amounts of matter from the Sun’s outer atmosphere. His goal is to simulate the ejections from their origins in magnetic structures beneath the surface of the Sun to their interactions with the plasma and fields that comprise the Earth’s magnetosphere and uppermost atmospheric layers.

Mark has a Ph.D. from CU-Boulder in astrophysics. He came to NCAR in 2001 as an ASP postdoctoral fellow, later becoming a project scientist.

Hugh Morrison (ESSL/MMM)

Hugh Morrison

Hugh Morrison.

Hugh’s research interests are cloud microphysics and the development and testing of cloud parameterization in models. An ASP postdoctoral fellow in ESSL/MMM since 2005, he’s been focused on developing a new approach for treating ice microphysics and interactions between the microphysics and turbulent mixing in cloud models.

Hugh has also studied Arctic clouds and is a member of the American Meteorological Society’s Cloud Physics Committee. He’s co-chair of the GEWEX (Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment) Cloud System Study Polar Cloud Working Group, helping foster relationships with the international community.

Hugh has a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from CU-Boulder in astrophysical, planetary, and atmospheric sciences.

Synte Peacock (ESSL/CGD)

synte peacock

Synte Peacock.

Synte’s research focuses on using large-scale global ocean circulation models to investigate the uptake and redistribution of natural and anthropogenic trace gases. Her oceanic interests extend to the characterization of age distributions, the use of tracers to infer rates of deep convection, radiocarbon in the ocean from both natural sources and nuclear bombs, and better characterization of the ocean as a source/sink for methyl chloroform. She is also interested in the causes of long-term glacial and interglacial cycles in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Synte has been at NCAR since April on an ASP faculty fellowship, undertaking high-resolution ocean modeling. She comes to NCAR from the University of Chicago, where she was an assistant professor in the department of geophysical sciences.

Synte has a master’s degree and Ph.D. in geochemistry and physical oceanography from Columbia University, as well as a master’s in geology and geophysics from Oxford University.

Scott Spuler (EOL)

Scott Spuler

Scott Spuler.

Scott is EOL’s technical lead for active optical remote sensing instruments. He played a key role in researching and designing the Raman-shifted Eye-safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL), a tool that emits pulses of light to measure airborne particles and clouds. REAL is considered a substantial advance because it can be deployed in populated areas to track the movement of pollutants and other atmospheric particles.
Scott is working on improvements to REAL that will reveal characteristics such as the shapes of particles, and he’s calibrating the signal to a molecular reference. He is also working on a new instrument to measure wind velocities in undisturbed flow ahead of the Gulfstream-V aircraft.

Scott has a Ph.D. in engineering systems from the Colorado School of Mines, where his focus was on applied optics and the development of in situ laser measurement tools for airborne trace ­species. He came to NCAR in 2002 as an optical engineer.

Matthew Woitaszek (CISL)

Mathew Woitaszek

Matthew Woitaszek.

Matthew’s research interests include the computational systems, software, storage, and infrastructure required to support high-performance science; Grid services that reduce the technical complexity of conducting collaborative research; and federated data storage between collaborative institutions.

Matthew has been involved with the use of Grid technology to support Earth science workflows since he became an NCAR student assistant in 2003, working on a project with colleagues to develop infrastructure to run the Biome-BGC (BioGeochemical Cycles) simulation as a Grid service so that scientists from institutions outside NCAR can participate.

The objective of his storage research is to demonstrate that reliable archival storage systems can be built upon a suite of emerging technologies such as massive arrays of spinning disks, data grid tools, and block-level LDPC (low-density parity check) erasure coding techniques called Tornado Codes. He’s also interested in supercomputer system design and performance.

Matthew has a Ph.D. in computer science from CU-Boulder.


Scientists III

Four NCAR scientists have been promoted to the Scientist III level, which is one step below senior scientist.

Sarah Gibson (ESSL/HAO)
Marika Holland (ESSL/CGD)
Jean-Francois Lamarque
Matthias Steiner (RAL)

New senior scientists

The UCAR Board of Trustees has also approved the appointment of five new senior scientists. Senior scientists provide NCAR with long-term scientific leadership. The position is analogous to that of full professor at a tenure-granting university. Selections are based on individual competence in research and activities that enhance NCAR’s interaction with scientists in the broader community.

Jeff Anderson (CISL)
Chris Cantrell (ESSL/ACD)
David Edwards (ESSL/ACD)
Tom Horst (EOL)
Bette Otto-Bliesner (ESSL/CGD)

In this issue...

Christmas in August

Nuts about science

NCAR welcomes new researchers

SOARS protégés in the thick of another summer

Just before Sunrise....

Strong winds damage hangar roof at Jeffco

Short Takes

Bill Randel to lead ESSL/ACD

Just One Look

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