Dr. Susan C. van den Heever


Sue van den Heever is a University Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. She joined the CSU faculty in 2008 after obtaining her B.S. (Honors) in Mathematics and Physical Geography from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU, and spending several years as a research scientist. Professor van den Heever's research and associated publications are focused on cloud processes, specifically the microphysical and dynamical characteristics of deep convective cloud systems, aerosol-cloud feedbacks, and the representation of these processes in numerical models.

Dr. van den Heever is the PI of the INCUS mission, a NASA Earth Ventures mission focused on the dynamics of tropical convective storms. She also oversees the development of the Regional Atmospheric Modeling Systems (RAMS), a sophisticated mesoscale model that was first developed at CSU in the 1980s, and is a co-author of the book, Storm and Cloud Dynamics. Almost 30 graduate students to date have successfully obtained their degrees under the supervision of Professor van den Heever, and she teaches graduate classes in cloud physics, cloud dynamics, mesoscale modeling, mesoscale meteorology and African storms.

The van den Heever research group is supported by funding from NASA, NSF, ONR and the DOE, and has had the opportunity to be involved in a number of field campaigns over the last several years. Dr. van den Heever served as the PI of the Monfort- and NSF-supported C3LOUD-Ex, a field campaign held in Northern Colorado to investigate supercell cold pools and updrafts, and is currently a Co-PI of the NSF-supported BACS field campaign examining the transport of bioaerosols by convective storms and cold pools in Colorado. She also recently served as P-3 flight scientist and dropsonde PI in the NASA-funded CAMP2Ex field campaign conducted in the Philippines and surrounding oceanic regions, and as a member of the DOE TRACER and NSF ESCAPE field campaigns which focused on convective processes around Houston, TX.


Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 2001

M.S., Physical Geography, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1994

H. Dip. Ed, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1989.

B.S. and B.S. Hons, Mathematics and Geography, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1990


University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University, 2022.

George T. Abell Award for Outstanding Research Faculty, Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering, Colorado State University, 2022.

NASA'S Group Achievement Award to CAMP2Ex Science Team, NASA, 2021.

Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, AMS, 2021.

MIT Houghton Lectureship, MIT, 2021.

American Meteorological Society Edward N. Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award, AMS, 2018

American Geophysical Union ASCENT award, AGU, 2016

Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereering in Nature in 2015, Nature Publications, 2016

Monfort Professor, Colorado State Univeristy, 2015

Outstanding Professor of the Year Award, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2015

Graduate Student Council Award for Graduate Student Advising and Mentorship, Colorado State Univeristy, 2015

Outstanding Professor of the Year Award, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2013

George T. Abell Outstanding Early-Career Faculty Award, College of Engineering, Colorado State University, 2012

Outstanding Professor of the Year Award, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 2009

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Socienty Review Award for 2008, Royal Meteorological Society, 2009

NASA's Group Achievement Award to CRYSTAL-FACE Science Team, NASA, 2002

Elected to the Sigma Xi (1999) and Phi Kappa Phi (2003) honors socities

Publications Listed here.

Honors, Leadership Positions and Community Contributions

University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University, 2022 - current.

Member of the Editorial Board of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 2022 - current.

PI of the NASA INCUS Mission, 2021 - current.

Visiting Professor, Physics, Oxford University, 2020 - current.

Science Advisory Board of the DFG "Waves to Weather" Transregional Collaborative Research Center, 2019-2021.

Co-Chair of the Science Community Committee (SCC) of NASA's 2017 Decadal Survey A-CCP (Aerosols - Clouds, Convection and Precipitation) Pre-formulation Study, 2018-2022.

Editor of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, AMS, 2017 - 2022.

Guest Editor of Special Collection at Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, EGU, 2017 - 2021.

Associate Department Head, Department of Atmospheric Science, CSU, 2017-2019

AGU Atmospheric Sciences Executive Committee Secretary, 2019-2020

Co-Chair of the GEWEX Aerosol and Precipitation (GAP) Process Evaluation Studies (GEWEX PROES), 2015-current

American Meteorological Society: Committee on Mesoscale Processes (2012-2018); Committee on Reseracher Involvement (2015-2018); Co-Chair of the 16th Conference on Mesoscale Processes (2015); Conference committee and/or co-convener of the Aerosol-Cloud-Climate Interactions Symposium (2013, 2015, 2017)

American Geophysical Union: Executive Committee Secretary (Physics, Dynamics and Climate) (2019-2020); Co-convener of Sessions on "Tropical and Midlatitude Convective Storm Systems" (2011-2017)

International Commission on Clouds and Precipitation (ICCP): Committee Member, 2016-2024

Aerosols, Clouds, Precipitation and Climate (ACPC): Co-Chair of the Deep Convection Working Group; Committee Member, 2016-2020

CSU Africa Center: Board Member, 2016-current

Global Energy and Water Cycle Exchange (GEWEX) Data and Assessments Panel (GDAP): Commmittee Member, 2007-2016

Science Team and Field Campaign Roles

NSF BACS, Co-PI, Northern CO, Spring 2022, 2023.

DOE TRACER Campaign, White Paper Co-Author, Co-PI, Houston, TX, Summer 2022 [PDF]

NSF ESCAPE Campaign, Co-PI, Group Field Participation, Houston, TX, Summer, 2022.

NASA CAMP2Ex, White paper author, Modeling Lead, Dropsonde PI and P-3 flight scientist, Philippines, Fall 2018

DOE ASR CACTI, Co-PI, Argentina, Fall 2018-Spring 2019

ONR PISTON, Science Team Member, Philippines and MC, Fall 2018

Monfort C3LOUD-Ex, PI, Northern CO, Summer 2016 and 2017

NSF PECAN, research group participation, Central USA, Summer 2015

NASA HS3, reserach group participation, Wallops Island, Fall 2013

NSF DYNAMO, reserach group participation, Indian Ocean, Dec 2011 - Jan 2012

NSF ICE-T, research group participation, St Croix, Summer 2011

NSF BAMEX, flight coordinator and forecaster, St Louis, MO, Summer 2003

NASA CRYSTAL-FACE, flight scientist of NRL P-3, Florida, July 2002

Last Updated: 03/2023