College of A&GS News
OU Leading $2.3 Million NOAA Grant to Build Resilience to Weather and Climate Extremes in South Central U.S. Communities
Jana Smith, Director of Strategic Communications for R&D
NORMAN - The University of Oklahoma-led Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, a multi-institutional stakeholder driven research team, is the recipient of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant totaling $2.3 million over three years. SCIPP was established in 2008 to help south central U.S. communities build resilience to weather and climate extremes. The OU-led SCIPP is one of 11 NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment teams across the country covering the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and coastal Mississippi.
"The challenges of managing ever-increasing extremes in weather across the region is both a physical and social challenge," said Mark Shafer, lead for SCIPP. "We need to continue advancing our understanding of physical challenges, such as the extreme rainfall in Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and in Louisiana in 2016. We also need to know how it affects communities and what capacities those communities have to prepare and respond. The project allows us to investigate both of these aspects, working closely with community partners to bring science outside of the universities and helping communities become more resilient to such extremes." (read more)
Congratulations to Maya Henderson
Congratulations to Maya Henderson, Class of 2020, who presented Constructing Green Cities at the ninth annual Dimensions of Political Ecology 2019 Conference (DOPE 9), which took place February 21-23 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. DGES Assistant Professor Mary Lawhon is Maya’s faculty mentor and also attended the conference.
Maya’s presentation prompted many thoughtful questions from the audience on this very timely topic. She also made a number of new contacts at the conference, including a faculty member from Ohio State University, who encouraged her to apply for their graduate program.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway for Maya was learning more about geography as a field of study and political ecology as a lens and framework.
“I had yet to be formally introduced to this lens and was very interested in their combination. This conference helped me visualize where I could and would like to go with my academic work. By watching presentations and sitting in on panels, I was able to get an idea of what work is being done and the best ways to formulate my own interests into prominent research.”
Maya was a recipient of an A&GS Undergraduate Student Travel Award, which greatly helped to fund her trip.
Lasting Legacy - Dr. Douglas K. Lilly
As a beloved professor, mentor, and friend, Dr. Lilly focused on stratocumulus clouds; significantly enhancing our understanding of large-scale weather patterns that led to our current ability to forecast storms.
He worked for the U.S. Weather Bureau in Washington, D.C., at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the NOAA Administration in Boulder, Colo., and finally as a professor at the OU School of Meteorology.
In 1993, he received the prestigious Symons Gold Medal from the Royal Meteorological Society and in 1999 was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a scientist.
Sadly, this past June, we lost Dr. Lilly to a long term illness. A scholarship has been established in his name at the OU Foundation that will help benefit students for years to come.
Get ready to double your impact! Due to the generosity of Drs. Fred and Meg Carr we are launching a matching campaign. The Carrs have graciously pledged $10,000 to the Douglas K. Lilly Scholarship if we can raise that same amount, so donate now!
Student Award Winners from the 99th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting
Several of our OU School of Meteorology students received awards for their outstanding posters and presentations at the 99th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ this past January! Congratulations to all of the award recipients! See all of the award winners and their respective categories below. Click the image to view larger.
AMS Student Award Winners
School of Meteorology Graduate Students Win Presentation Awards at 2019 AMS Annual Meeting
Graduate students Bo Huang and Xu Lu were awarded for their outstanding presentations at the 2019 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Both students are part of the MAP (Multiscale data Assimilation and Predictability) research group in the School of Meteorology, led by Dr Xuguang Wang.
OU School of Meteorology Students Co-Chair the Student AMS Conference
School of Meteorology Ph.D. students Matt Flournoy and Kenzie Krocak have had a busy year. In addition to being married earlier this year, they will be co-chairing the AMS Student Conference at the Annual Meeting in January 2019.
Two OU School of Meteorology Students Semifinalists in Broadcast Talent Competition
Meteorology majors and broadcast meteorology minors Marisa Nuzzo and Jordan Overton have been selected as semifinalists in the South Central Broadcasting Society talent reel competition! Nuzzo also advanced to be one of four finalists in the competition.
James Worden talks AGU
Attending the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall meeting was a terrific experience. I was granted the opportunity to present and discuss my research to other colleagues that have interest in the field. This conference gave me a chance to meet and speak with the authors of the research that established the foundations that my work is based upon. While presenting my research, I gained valuable insight into ways that I can strengthen and improve the techniques applied in my research. The comments and suggestions I received, increased my understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the methods employed, to allow for a more robust defense of the conclusions that are obtained within my research. The presentation of my research is but only one part of the AGU experience. Throughout the conference, I was able to learn about the new products that will be coming available in the future from a wide range of agencies and organizations, find potential graduate school programs and employment that specialize in my interests, and attend forums in which researchers spoke about their research and upcoming projects. For me, the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting has been a wonderful experience and would recommend anyone who is interested.
DGES Faculty Selected to Serve on Extreme Events Advisory Group for the Commission for Environmental Corporation (CEC)
Three DGES faculty have been selected to serve on an Extreme Events Advisory Group for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). CEC is a high-level collaboration between the US (led by EPA), Mexico and Canada, established through the 1994 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation to facilitate and implement cooperation among the Parties to conserve, protect, and enhance the North American environment, promote sustainable development, and support the environmental goals and objectives of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Drs. Mark Shafer, Randy Peppler, and Renee McPherson have been selected to serve on the 15-member U.S. contingent of the Advisory Group.
Read More Here
OU team assists with Hurricane Florence forecasting
NORMAN, Okla. (KOKH) — One of the teams helping with forecasting for Hurricane Florence is from right here at the University of Oklahoma.
Michael Biggerstaff, the leader of the team from the OU School of Meteorology, said this is something the school can offer during these types of events.
"It's really a group of us that do these types of landfalls and the University of Oklahoma is kind of an expert in weather radar," Biggerstaff said. "That's kind of our component."
The team is bringing in a special radar called a "SMART" radar. Biggerstaff said this can measure different parts of the storm.
"We're a little ways off from the weather service radar so a better resolution of some of the stuff occurring north of the Wilmington area," Biggerstaff said. "So we're going to fill in the gap a little bit there and we'll also be able to combine our data with the weather service data."
Biggerstaff said he expects it to get busy for his team beginning on Wednesday. They're going to have constant monitoring of the storm as the rainfall begins to hit.
"We'll rotate so there's at least one person always operating the radar to handle anything that may occur," Biggerstaff said. "We'll take turns catching a few naps here and there but we'll probably in the truck for about 48 hours this time."
Along with tracking the storm, they're also looking at making forecasts better.
"We have to be able to collect these types of data sets because they're very unique data sets to be able to validate the improvements in forecast models in the future," Biggerstaff said.
The team is also planning to launch ten weather balloons.
They have spent the last day trying to find the best spot to track the storm around Wilmington, NC.
To see more of the story, click here:
Click below to watch the 2018 College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences Convocation!
OU Professor Receives NASA Earth Science Funding For First-of-its-Kind Research
NORMAN, Okla.—A University of Oklahoma professor, Cameron Homeyer, is a recipient of a NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science grant for new, early career investigators. Homeyer’s research is the first concept of its kind to take ground-based radar observations of storms and link them to satellite observations of trace gases to better understand the characteristics of storms and how they modify the atmospheric composition.
“NASA’s Early Career Investigator Award goes only to the best of the best. We are thrilled and honored that NASA has selected Professor Homeyer to receive this award,” said Berrien Moore, vice president of Weather and Climate Programs, dean of the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and director of the National Weather Center.
“We are applying methods to discriminate between air masses that recently have been modified by storms and those air masses that have not been impacted by storms,” said Homeyer, assistant professor and associate director for undergraduate studies, School of Meteorology, OU College of Atmospheric Sciences. “This is the first time anyone has applied these methods in this way to understand this problem.”
The impact of storms on atmospheric composition is not well understood and changes in water vapor and ozone from these storms can have important impacts on Earth’s climate and human health. Storms move air masses with certain chemical characteristics around, and these air masses can impact the atmosphere’s radiation budget, pollution and air quality.
“We don’t understand how these storms modify Earth’s upper atmosphere, particularly in the stratosphere, the layer of the Earth’s atmosphere where the ozone lies and absorbs the ultraviolet radiation; and the troposphere, the layer of the Earth’s atmosphere where human activity takes place,” said Homeyer.
Homeyer will use a trajectory model and information on winds in the atmosphere, then put particles or little air bubbles in places where the storms occur, move them around with the winds and watch as they move downstream to find locations where air masses from storms coincide with satellite observations. Satellite observations from around the world then can be linked to recent storms and compared to air masses that have not been influenced by storms.
Funding for the three-year, $284,000 grant supports the NASA Earth Science mission by advancing the use of satellites and providing data that contributes to understanding the climate system.
OU's Newest SMART Radar Deploys to Louisiana as Part of STARR Project
The University of Oklahoma’s newest Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radar, SR3, today deployed to Monroe, Louisiana, where a slight risk of tornadic storms exists. An upgrade of the original dual-polarimetric SMART radar, the SR3 just completed its first mission on March 19 to New Market, Alabama, in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Severe Storms Laboratory and the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies.
“The SR3 and NOAA’s P-3 aircraft collected data on a rapidly evolving severe hailstorm that preceded a series of tornadic supercells. The SR3 collaborated with the University of Alabama Huntsville and National Weather Service Hytop radars in southern Tennessee on sampling a tornadic storm that produced significant damage as it crossed the border into northern Alabama. Multi-radar observations were captured over a three-hour period from the initial organization to tornadic dissipation,” said Michael Biggerstaff, professor of meteorology and director of the OU SMART radar program.
The SR3 observed a second tornadic storm to the south that produced five tornadoes and hailstones as large as 5.25 inches. The P-3 aircraft flew ahead of the southern tornadic storm and measured winds within the storm during all five tornadoes. The SR3 and P-3 aircraft will continue to work together near Monroe tonight. The project is part of the Southeastern Tornadogenesis and Risk Reduction Exercise, which runs until April 13. The STARR project is part of the larger VORTEX-Southeast research project funded by NOAA. https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/projects/vortexse/
When the project ends, the SR3 will return to Oklahoma to be used to train the next generation of scientists in an undergraduate radar meteorology course.
In wake of hurricanes, floods and wildfires, NSF awards $18.7 million in natural hazards research grants
Hurricane Harvey: It dropped a record-breaking 50-plus inches of rain across parts of Texas and left behind widespread, devastating floods. Following in Harvey's wake, Hurricane Irma has spun another path of destruction.
Beyond the Harvey and Irma disasters, wildfires raged in California this summer, forcing thousands to flee their homes. Now, dozens have perished in Mexico's strongest earthquake in a century. Read more here
OU SMART Radar Team Deployed to Hurricane Harvey
The OU Shared Mobile Atmospheric and Teaching radar team, led by Michael Biggerstaff, OU School of Meteorology, will depart Norman for Corpus Christi, Texas, this afternoon with the mobile C-band dual-polarimetric radar to study the landfall of what will become major Hurricane Harvey. The team will focus on tornadic circulations in the outer rain bands as part of the on-going VORTEX-SE research program objectives, as well as examine the inner core and eyewall circulations that produce inland flooding as part of the NASA Fellowship project.
OU is part of the Digital Hurricane Consortium, which is a group of university and federal government researchers who deploy sensors in advance of landfalling hurricanes. The DHC is part of the federal Disaster Impacts Assessment Plan, which is part of the COASTAL Act that is aimed at better understanding the roles of storm surge and extreme winds on the loss of houses and other buildings in the path of landfalling hurricanes.
The radar truck will be equipped with cameras provided as a result of a recent collaboration between OU, AT&T and The Weather Channel. OU SMART radar team members include Biggerstaff; Addison Alford, OU doctoral student; and Gordon Carrie, OU research associate. The team will be operational by Friday and will provide updates when possible.
OU CIMMS announces new Director
The University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies and School of Meteorology announce the addition of Dr. Greg McFarquhar to their staffs.
McFarquhar will be the Director of OU CIMMS and School of Meteorology Professor starting this fall. Randy Peppler has been interim director after former OU CIMMS director and Meteorology Professor Dr. Peter Lamb passed away in May 2014.
"We look forward to Greg leading CIMMS in innovative ways in order to help address future NOAA research challenges in weather radar and mesoscale meteorology,” Peppler said.
McFarquhar comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. He has worked at the university since 2001. He has also served as a visiting faculty fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado from 2015 to 2016.
McFarquhar’s PhD and his Masters of Science are in Atmospheric Physics and his Bachelors of Science is in Mathematics and Physics, all from the University of Toronto.
Director of the National Weather Center Dr. Berrien Moore said, “The University of Oklahoma is delighted to have a gifted scientist and extraordinary leader join the OU family as the Director of the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. The possibilities are endless!”
McFarquhar has been involved with more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, the principal investigator for more than 100 different grants and involved in more than 20 field campaigns.
“After being involved in many different projects at other universities and research institutes over the past 25 years investigating the impact of clouds on various weather phenomena, I am looking forward to broadening my horizons with even more exciting work over the next several years at CIMMS and The University of Oklahoma,” McFarquhar said. “I am especially impressed with the credentials of the amazing people already working here. I hope that I can strengthen and improve the existing collaborations and partnerships already, as well as finding new avenues for improving the observation, analysis, understanding and prediction of weather elements and systems.”
CIMMS was established in 1978 as a cooperative program that unites the scientific and technical resources of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and OU into a center of research excellence. CIMMS was created to support NOAA’s Mission of Science, Service and Stewardship and thereby contribute to NOAA’s long-term goal of building a Weather-Ready Nation that is prepared for and responds to weather-related events. CIMMS research areas include weather radar, hydrometeorology, observations and numerical modeling of high-impact weather including severe storms, forecast and warning improvements, regional climate variations, the societal and socioeconomic impacts of weather and climate, and related subject areas.
Ryzhkov named AMS Fellow
The University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies is proud to announce the American Meteorological Society named an OU CIMMS senior research scientist during a recent release of awards.
Alexander Ryzhkov was one of more than 30 individuals recognized by AMS during a recent announcement of 2018 award winners and fellows. Ryzhkov was awarded the prestigious honor of AMS fellow.
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Dr. Homeyer's 3D mapping of individual storm geometries
Stratospheric ozone over the United States in summer linked to observations of convection and temperature via chlorine and bromine catalysis.
We now offer a 5-year accelerated Bachelor/Master Degree!
DGES & RCPL now offer an accelerated 5-year bachelor/master degree!
Earn your undergraduate degree in Geography, GIS, or Environmental Sustainabiity while also earning your Master of Regional and City Planning. Learn more by coming to our launch party on
April 12th at 3:30-5:30pm at Sarkeys Energy Center West Atrium. Contact Jamie Steele for details. 405-325-8736
Changing the Narrative of What a Scientist Looks Like
OU AWARDED $166 MILLION GRANT BY NASA FOR FIRST GEOSTATIONARY VEGETATION, ATMOSPHERIC CARBON MISSION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 6, 2016
NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma has been awarded a five-year, $166 million grant by NASA to advance understanding of Earth’s natural exchanges of carbon between the land, atmosphere and ocean.
The primary goals of the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory, led by Berrien Moore, OU Vice President for Weather and Climate Programs, are to monitor plant health and vegetation stress throughout the Americas, and to examine the natural sources and processes that control carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane in the atmosphere.
“To say this is an extraordinary achievement by Dr. Berrien Moore and our research team is an understatement,” said OU President David L. Boren. “The grant is one of the most exceptional in the history of the University and is testimony to the outstanding national stature of our research team. I cannot think of a more exciting way to observe the holiday season than with the announcement of this remarkable grant.”
The mission will launch on a commercial communications satellite to make observations over the Americas from an orbit of approximately 22,000 miles above the equator.
The OU-led geoCARB team will build an advanced payload employing otherwise unused launch and spacecraft capacity to advance science and provide societal benefit.
Mission collaborators include the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California; SES Government Solutions Company in Reston, Virginia; the Colorado State University in Fort Collins; and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Colleagues and laboratories from France, Australia and Mexico also are contributing to the project.
The mission was competitively selected from 15 proposals submitted to the agency’s second Earth Venture - Mission announcement of opportunity for small orbital investigations of the Earth system.