Cloud Processes Group News


May 6: An update on the INCUS mission, which is led by Sue, is published in SOURCE. INCUS passed a review by NASA in November and is now in the construction phase! On top of these hardware efforts, many members of the van den Heever group are hard at work developing software for the mission.

March 1: Christine wins a second place Outstanding Student Presentation Award at the High Plains AMS/NWA Conference. Her talk titled “Cold Pool Trains in the Colorado Plains” discussed the effects of the passage of successive cold pools which do not collide (a cold pool train). Christine found that cold pool trains are highly variable, that the first cold pool in a train can stratify the environment and thus speed up the second cold pool, and that the time between passage of cold pools in a train is critical. Congratulations Christine! This is her second student presentation award!

Christine presenting her talk!

February 29 - March 1: Christine, Rachael, and Nick all attend the High Plains AMS/NWA Conference in North Platte.

Jaunary 29 - February 2: Sue, Jennie, IT, and Charles all attend AMS in Baltimore.


December 11-14: Sue, Bee, Nick, Rick, Brenda, Randy, and Steve all attend AGU in San Francisco.

December 13: Bee's research on the impact of Southeast Asian deforestation on clouds is highlighted in an EOS article.

December 4: Ben successfully (and musically) defends his master's thesis “Effects of Land Surface-Atmosphere Interactions Within Two Convective Storm Regimes”. Congratulations Ben! Ben will now be pursuing his PhD at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany!

October 2: Bee and Nick launch a radiosonde as a demonstration for an undergraduate atmospheric science class at CSU. Thank you to the class TAs Ivy Glade and Lexi Sherman for inviting us!

Bee and Nick talking to the class about radiosondes.
Bee and Nick preparing the balloon.

September 8: Christine successfully defends her master's thesis “Cold Pool Train Dynamics and Transport”. Congratulations Christine! Christine will be staying in the group to pursue her PhD!

August 28-31: Sue, Randy, and Brenda attend the AMS 40th Conference on Radar Meteorology in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sue's presentation discussed the observational capabilities and scientific approach of the INCUS mission. Randy presented work using GPM data to develop a new Ka only machine learning classifier of multiple scattering events. Brenda presented on using ground-based radar to validate the INCUS delta-t technique.

Brenda (leftmost) on a panel at the Radar Conference.
Sue's keynote at the Radar Conference.

August 30: Randy wins an AMS Editor's Award for his reviews in Artificial Intelligence for the Earth Systems and Weather and Forecasting. The award was given "For providing thorough, excellent, prompt, and constructive reviews that help the authors improve their papers". Way to go Randy!

August 21-25: Bee attends the NASA Summer School on Satellite Observations and Climate Models organized by JPL and Caltech. Bee was one of 24 graduate students and postdoctoral scientists selected for the week-long program involving lectures and discussion on the future of climate science.

Group photo from the summer school.

August 24: Leah wins an Early Career Outstanding Presentation Award for her presentation "Variability Within and Among Midlatitude Cold Pools" at the AMS Mesoscale Conference. Using data collected during C3LOUD-Ex and BACS, Leah showed that the vertical structure of temperature and winds in cold pools differs between different types of parent convection. Water vapor mixing ratio perturbations in these midlatitude cold pools can be positive, negative, or even change sign with height. Leah also presented results from the FESSTVaL field campaign and model simulations which show that cold pools enhance the spatial variability of temperature. Congratulations Leah!

August 21: With the start of the fall semester, we welcome Rachael Auth to the group as a new master's student! Rachael joins us from the University of Oklahoma, where she received her BS. At OU, Rachael worked with Cameron Homeyer on measuring stratosphere-to-troposphere transport using ozonesondes.

July 21: Ben and Nick both win Outstanding Student Presentation Awards for their oral presentations at the 20th AMS Conference on Mesoscale Processes. This is a very proud day for our research group! Ben's talk showed that differential heating from land surface heterogeneities can create boundary layer convergence lines. This convergence preferentially initiates convection at the boundary between different land surfaces. Accumulated rainfall is increased and more spatially variable compared to a uniform land surface. The impacts of topographic slope and surface roughness on haboobs were discussed in Nick's talk. Steeper slopes drive stronger mountain-valley circulations leading to faster uphill propagation and slower downhill propagation of haboobs. Increased surface roughness slowed haboobs due to greater surface heat and momentum fluxes.Congratulations Nick and Ben!!

July 17-21: Ben, Christine, Leah, Nick, and Peter all attend the 20th AMS Conference on Mesoscale Processes in Madison, Wisconsin. Research presented included modeling studies supporting the INCUS mission and TRACER field campaign, along with results from BACS and C3LOUD-Ex.

van den Heever group members in Madison!
Ben discusses land surface impacts on sea breezes.
Nick shows the impact of roughness length on surface fluxes.
Christine demostrates an example of a cold pool train.
Peter explains the capabilites of INCUS instruments.
Leah presents BACS and C3LOUD-Ex results.

June 26: Sue, Steve, and group alum Aryeh are all highlighted in an article discussing their participation in the TRacking Aerosol Convection interactions ExpeRiment (TRACER). Research conducted by Sue, Peter, and others helped form the foundation of the experiment. Steve is working as a part of a model intercomparison project looking at aerosol-convection interactions. Aryeh was part of the forecasting team, and is now helping to lead a paper on that subject.

June 16: BACS-II enters its final week already a huge success! With storms and cold pools occurring every deployment day so far, the drones and sondes team has gathered lots of fascinating data. Here's to the last week continuing this trend!

A rainbow observed during BACS-II as a storm was passing.
BACS-II team members carefully watching radar.
Click to see a time lapse of storms from one of our deployments!

May 30: Bee, Ben, Christine, Nick, Charles, Leah, Allie Mazurek, Lexi Sherman, Tyler Barbero, and Jacob Escobedo are the drones and sondes team for BACS-II! Along with observations from aerosol and chemisty teams, we are spending May and June sampling cold pools with radiosondes and drones to understand how bioaerosols are lofted and vertically distributed by storms, along with potential feedbacks.

Team members holding a balloon to prevent it popping in high winds.
Remote pilots during a coordinated drone flight.
Group photo of the drones and sondes team.

May 20: Colorado State University celebrates Women in Aerospace Day by honoring amazing female faculty, staff, and students making aerospace history. Included among them is Sue, the PI of INCUS and the first woman to lead a NASA Earth Venture Mission.

Photos of CSU's incredible women in aerospace.

April 22: Bee, Ben, Christine, Nick, Charles, and Jennie all participate in the Little Shop of Physics, along with many other volunteers from Atmospheric Science. We used fun demos to introduce our science to K-12 students.

From left to right: Nicole (Pierce Group), Jennie, Christine, and Lexi (Rasmussen Group) at the Little Shop of Physics.
Charles (foreground) and Nick (background, Kummerow Group) showing off the can crush demonstration.
Ben conducting the air pressure ruler demonstration.

April 21: Bee receives the Herbert Riehl Memorial Award for her paper “Aerosol breezes drive cloud and precipitation increases” recently published in Nature Communications. The Riehl award is given by the department to a masters or early-PhD student who submits the best manuscript for publication in the past 18 months. Bee's research showed how a mesoscale gradient in aerosol could drive a circulation similar to a sea-breeze. Congratulations Bee for receiving this well-earned honor!

Bee's schematic of an aerosol breeze.

March 10: Jennie Bukowski, who received her PhD from the van den Heever group in 2021, re-joins the group as a postdoctoral scholar working on INCUS. Jennie was working as a joint postdoc for UCLA and NCAR. Welcome back to the group Jennie!

February 20: Randy Chase joins the group as a research scientist working on INCUS. Randy joins us from OU where he worked as a postdoc. Welcome to the group Randy!

Febuary 2: Christine wins an Outstanding Student Presentation Award for her talk "Transport and Mixing of Bioaerosols by Successive Cold Pools" given at the 103rd AMS Annual Meeting this January. Christine ran idealized simulations of a squall line case our group observed during BACS-I last year. She found that background aerosols were distributed the most by the passage of an initial cold pool, while aerosols emitted after that initial cold pool can be lofted higher by a succeeding cold pool. Congratulations Christine on this well earned honor!

Christine presenting at AMS.

Febuary 2: Atmospheric science students, including BACS team members Bee, Allie Mazurek from the Schumacher group, and Daniel Veloso-Águila from the Maloney and Rasmussen groups, did an outreach event at AXIS International Academy. Kindergarteners in a Spanish language immersion class got to hear (en español) about extreme weather, climate, and how we use our drones to make measurements in the field!

ATMOS students presenting for the kindergarteners.
Bee preparing a drone to show to the kindergarteners.

January 17: Itinderjot (IT) Singh joins the group as a postdoc working on INCUS. IT joins us from Russ Schumacher's group. Welcome to the group IT!

January 8-12: Bee, Leah, Ben, Peter, Steve, Christine, Nick, Bowen, and new group member IT Singh all attend the 103rd AMS Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. Our group’s presentation topics ranged from the variability of cold pools we have observed during C3LOUD-Ex and BACS, to lake effect snow, to mesoscale circulations driven by aerosols.

Bee presenting her "Aerosol Breeze" research.
Ben speaking at his poster.
Leah presenting reasarch on C3LOUD-Ex and BACS cold pools.


December 29: Rick is featured in the December 2022 edition of “Precip Folks” by the AGU Precipitation Technical Committee. Please read this interesting profile about Rick and his activities both inside and outside the department!

December 7-10: Sue, Leah, and Nick attend a workshop on cold pools held at Schloss Ringberg near Munich, Germany.

December 7: Bee is awarded the David L. Dietrich Honorary Scholarship. The Dietrich Scholarship is awarded annually to a student who has demonstrated outstanding research and education in the study of air quality.

December 1: Bastian Kirsch departs back home to Hamburg, Germany after visiting our group for over a month. We had many great discussions about cold pools, and will continue our collaboration virtually! Thanks for visiting Bastian, we hope to see you again soon!

October 25: Bastian Kirsch begins a visit to our group which will last the next few weeks. Bastian recently received his PhD from the University of Hamburg and the Max Plank Institute for Meteorology, working on high spatial resolution cold pool observations from the FESSTVaL field campaign. Welcome Bastian!

October 11-13: The 2022 INCUS Science Team Meeting takes place at the new CIRA Commons building on the hill. Over 30 presenters from across Colorado, the US, and the world discussed a variety of critical topics including the algorithmic approach, lessons from previous satellite missions, relevant field campaign observations, mission modeling, the data center approach, and what we will learn from INCUS. On Tuesday evening, a reception and dinner was held at the Canvas Stadium Club where CSU President Rick Miranda, INCUS Program Executive Ben Kim, INCUS PI Sue van den Heever, Chief Scientist of JPL's Earth Science and Technology Directorate Duane Waliser, WSCOE Dean David McLean, and Department Head Eric Maloney all spoke. Between the meeting and dinner, there were around 100 total attendees! Read a SOURCE article about the meeting here.

Group photo of science team meeting participants taken at the department.
Group photo taken at Canvas Stadium during the dinner reception.
Sue speaks at the dinner reception.

October 5: Atmospheric science students, including Bee and Nick, participate in an outreach event were we discussed our research with members of the local Rotary Club.

Atmospheric science students after the rotary club outreach event.

September 1: Bee successfully defends her master's thesis titled "Processes Driving Shallow Convective Development and Their Interactions with Aerosols: Aerosol Transport and Aerosol Breezes"! Congratulations Bee! Bee will continue in the group as a PhD student.

August 22: With the start of the fall semester, the van den Heever group welcomes many new members (several of which joined our group over the summer)! Dr. Peter Marinescu, who received his PhD from the van den Heever group in 2020, re-joins us to work as a Research Scientist on INCUS following a postdoc position CIRA. Dr. Brenda Dolan also joins us part time as an INCUS Research Scientist, while also working the research groups of Professors Michael Bell and Kristen Rasmussen. Brenda previously worked in Professor Steve Rutledge's group. Rick Schulte, who recently received his PhD from from Chris Kummerow's group, is working as a postdoctoral fellow, and is supported by both INCUS and CloudSat. Charles Davis received his B.S. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania and was recently working at the California Policy Lab, before starting this semester as an MS student in our group. Finally, Dr. Katy Burger joins our group as a research associate working on INCUS. We extend a warm welcome to all of the new van den Heever group members!

August 8-12: Ben, Bee, Rick, Steve, Sean, and Bowen (pictured in order below) present at and attend the AMS Collective Madison Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

Group members in Madison, Wisconsin!

July 19: Congratulations are in order for the newly minted Dr. Alex Sokolowsky! Alex successfully defended his PhD thesis titled “Morphology, Lifecycles, and Environmental Sensitivities of Tropical Trimodal Convection”.

July 12-14: Sean, Alex, Bee, Sue, and Nick present at the CAMP2Ex Science Team Meeting in Pasadena.

July 8: Sean has accepted a faulty position at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He will start as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in January 2023. Congratulations Sean!!

June 23: Sean successfully defended his doctoral dissertation “Examining the Impacts of Convective Environments on Storms Using Observations and Numerical Models”! Congratulations to the new Dr. Freeman! Sean is now a postdoctoral student working on the INCUS project.

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

Bee, recipient of a NASA FINESST Fellowship!

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.

May 2: Sue receives the George T. Abell Award for Outstanding Research Faculty from the CSU Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. The award citation reads, ”In recognition of wide-ranging and high-impact studies of the development and impacts of atmospheric convective storms through numerical simulations as well as in situ and remote sensing observations, including leadership of the new NASA INCUS satellite mission.” Congratulations Sue! See also this department news story.

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.

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.

Click here for news from 2021