Group Research

Research News

Jennie, who graduated with a PhD in 2021, and Sue recently published a paper titled "Direct Radiative Effects in Haboobs" in JGR Atmospheres. They found that scattering of shortwave radiation leads to colder haboobs during the day while longwave absorbtion warms haboobs during the evening and night.

Storm Dynamics

The van den Heever group researches the dynamics of convective storms from the scale of individual cells to that of tropical cyclones. We utilize model simulations as well as data from field campaigns and satellite missions.


Using model simulations, in-situ measurements, and remote observations, the van den Heever group studies topics in cloud microphysics such as the impact of hydrometer numbers and sizes, microphysical process rates, and representing microphysics in numerical models.


Aerosols have complicated interactions with radiation and clouds. These interactions can have a large impact on weather and remain a challenging problem. The van den Heever group investigates these interactions using observations and the RAMS model.

Cold Pools

Cold pools are currents of cold air created by evaporation of precipitation below convective storms. The van den Heever group studies how cold pools can organize convection and initiate new storms, along with the impact of cold pools on surface fluxes and the transport of aerosols.


Dr. van den Heever is the PI of the Investigation of Convective Updrafts (INCUS) mission which will launch 3 SmallSats into space. The science objectives of the $177 million mission are to determine: (1) the predominant environmental properties controlling the convective mass flux (CMF) in tropical convective storms; (2) the relationship between CMF and high anvil clouds; and (3) the relationship between CMF and the type and intensity of the extreme weather produced.

Group News


May 24: Bee wins a prestigious Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) Fellowship. Congratulations Bee for this well-earned honor!

May 24: On the first IOP of the BACS field campaign, two cold pools were extensively sampled by the team with drones and radiosondes. We hope to have many more great cases like this over the next few weeks!

Leah (center) has a discussion with Claudia (Kreidenweis Group).
Bee, Nick, and Christine (left to right) prepare drones for sampling.
Ben (left) and Sean (right) prepare a drone with an advancing cold pool in the background.

April 23: Bee, Ben, Sean, and Nick, along with many other atmospheric science students, participate in the Little Shop of Physics to introduce our science to K-12 students.

Ben demonstrates a packet of supercooled liquid at the Little Shop of Physics.
Ben (center) and Bee (facing away) discuss one of our drones at the Little Shop of Physics.
Eric Goldestern (Kummerow Group, left) and Nick (right) at the Little Shop of Physics.

April 14: Read about how the INCUS mission, led by Sue, is the latest in a storied history of satellite missions led by CSU faculty and staff here.

April 1: Sue is elected to the rank of University Distinguished Professor (UDP), the highest academic recognition awarded by Colorado State University. There are only about 20 UDPs across all of CSU. Congratulations to Sue for this well-earned honor! Read more here.

Picture taken by done of Loveland HS students and BACS team members.

March 28: BACS team members Bee, Sean, Nick, and Allie Mazurek (Schumacher Group) visited Loveland High School to discuss science and demonstrate the equipment we will use during the upcoming BACS field campaign. We were invited by Lance Niño, a graduate of the CSU Atmospheric Science Department who is now a student teacher at Loveland HS. We launched a radiosonde and flew one of our drones to exhibit how we will take measurements during BACS to two of Lance's meteorology classes along with a third environmental science class. Read more about this outreach event in SOURCE.

March 8: INCUS is featured on the Aerospace webpage for the WSCOE, as well as during Aerospace Day at the Colorado State Capitol, where this flyer about INCUS will be available.

February 9: Our C3LOUD-Ex research is featured on the cover of the January 2022 issue of BAMS! Read the full associated article here, and the BAMS digital version with quotes from group members and more beautiful pictures here (access to BAMS required, article starts on page 25). When asked what they would like readers to learn from this article, Sue responded “I would like readers to learn that: (1) The Flying Curtain is a novel and highly effective approach to measure cold pool properties. (2) Cold pools are spatially and temporally heterogeneous on scales of order ~100 m. (3) A combination of instrumentation provides the best results in observing convective updrafts.” While Sean responded “I want readers to know our novel Flying Curtain drone deployment strategy observed that cold pools vary on spatial scales of 100 m to 1 km. This result implies that numerical models hoping to capture cold pool processes must be operated at a grid spacing capable of resolving those features.”

Cover of the January 2022 issue of BAMS

January 28: Bee wins the second place Student Oral Presentation Award at the AMS Mesoscale Processes Conference during the AMS Annual Meeting. Congratulations Bee! Her presentation titled “Updraft Structure and Detrainment in Transient and Terminal Congestus Clouds” investigated the difference between terminal (capped by the freezing level inversion) and transient (overshooting the FL inversion) congestus clouds by tracking and compositing over a thousand updrafts in an idealized LES. Bee's results looked at the differences in terms of vertical acceleration budget as well as the detrainment of aerosol & water vapor from congestus clouds. See the list of all students in the department who won awards at the AMS and AGU meetings here.

Bee, recipient of an AMS presentation award!

January 23-27: At the AMS 2022 Annual Meeting Bowen, Bee, Ben, Sean, Alex, Steve, and Sue present on topics ranging from tobac, use of GPUs in atmospheric modeling, and cloud-aerosol interactions in the Philippines and West Africa.


December 13-17: At the AGU 2021 Fall Meeting Bowen, Bee, Nick, and Sean present in person in New Orleans, while Alex, Leah, and Sue present virtually.

November 30: Congratulations to Nick who successfully defended his MS Thesis titled "Strong and Weak Cold Pool Collisions"!

November 5: The Investigation of Convective Updrafts (INCUS) mission, led by Sue van den Heever, was selected as the winner of NASA's Earth Venture Mission-3 AO. The overarching goal of INCUS is to answer the question “Why do convective storms, heavy precipitation and clouds occur exactly when and where they do?”, one of the most important objectives of the National Academies of Science and Engineering 2017-2027 Decadal Survey. The science objectives of the $177 million mission are to determine: (1) the predominant environmental properties controlling the convective mass flux (CMF) in tropical convective storms; (2) the relationship between CMF and high anvil clouds; and (3) the relationship between CMF and the type and intensity of the extreme weather produced. These relationships between CMF and environmental facotrs, high anvil clouds and extreme weather will then be evaluated in weather and climate models. Read more about this project in the NASA press release, and in CSU's SOURCE magazine.. INCUS was also introduced to Vice President Kamala Harris.

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van den Heever Research Group
Prof. Susan C. van den Heever
Monfort Professor
Department of Atmospheric Science
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
email: sue (at)

Webmaster: Nicholas Falk
email: nick.falk (at)