We recently heard that Whit Anderson (PhD, 2004), one of the first people to get a PhD studying Climate Dynamics at Mason, has been named “Acting Deputy Director of GFDL”. GFDL, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) is a federal center of climate modeling on the campus of Princeton University. For his dissertation, advised by current AOES Chair Paul Schopf, Whit studied simulations of “overflows”, which are dense plumes of water tumbling out of shallow straits such as the Strait of Gibraltar between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. At GFDL, Whit has worked on atmosphere-ocean climate models to study diverse topics such as hurricane behavior and global warming. Congratulations to Whit on his promotion.
Andrew Badger (Climate Dynamics Ph.D. Spring 2015) has been named the recipient of the College of Science Dean’s Graduate Award of Excellence. He has been recognized for several accomplishments associated with completion of his dissertation titled, “The Role of Large-Scale Land-Use Change on the Global Climate – Response and Sensitivity to Amazon Deforestation”.
Andrew’s dissertation advisor has been AOES faculty member Paul Dirmeyer. Andrew developed a parameterization for tropical crops for the National Center for Environmental Research (NCAR) Community Earth System Model (CESM) that will be implemented in the next official version of CESM and contribute to the 6th IPCC climate assessment. He applied this innovation to improve upon past studies of tropical deforestation by conducting the first study to include a fully coupled ocean model, completely interactive biogeochemistry, irrigation effects, as well as a realistic assortment of crops and distribution of land use change over the Amazon region. He also conducted novel assessments of several categories of partial deforestation. His work has led to three papers published or under review, and a fourth paper in preparation.
This June 9-11 George Mason University will host the 19th Annual George Mason University Conference on Atmospheric Transport and Dispersion Modeling.
The technical topics to be included cover a wide range under the general category of atmospheric transport and dispersion modeling. The major topic areas include:
- New developments in basic theories of boundary layer models and transport and dispersion models
- Urban-scale meteorological and dispersion experiments and models
- CFD model theory and applications
- Field experiments and laboratory experiments concerned with boundary layer studies and turbulence and dispersion studies
Participants of the past 18 conferences included representatives from DoD, EPA, DOE, NOAA, universities, private companies and other agencies doing related research, as well as scientists from other countries. Very fruitful contacts have been made over the past eight years and many collaborative studies have been initiated as a result of the conference.
COLA has organized the Shukla Symposium on Predictability in the Midst of Chaos, 23-24 April, 2015. “Predictability in the Midst of Chaos” is the major research theme of COLA, which collaborates with AOES in research and teaching at George Mason University.
“Chaos” refers to the complex behavior displayed by the atmosphere which makes it theoretically impossible to predict weather more than a few weeks in advance. However, interactions with the ocean and land surface provide input into the atmosphere which help to determine and potentially predict aspects of weather such as seasonal averages of rainfall or temperature.
The symposium honors predictability pioneer and COLA co-founder Jagadish Shukla. Dr. Shukla will be joined by other leaders in the field from George Mason and institutions including National Center for Atmospheric Research, University of Washington, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Weather Service, and Oxford University.
George Mason University News has done a profile of COLA, climate dynamics, and predictability: “Climate Prediction Accuracy on the Rise, As Is The Sea Level”.
18 Nov 2014: George Mason University sponsors kid-friendly mineral show in collaboration with the Northern Virginia Mineral Club (NVMC).
- 20 plus Dealers selling Minerals, Fossils, Crystals, Gems, Jewelry, Carvings, Meteorites & more!
- Also, Demonstrations, Exhibits, Door Prizes & Kid’s Activities including Kid’s Mini-mines & Fossil Dig.
- Silent Auction on Sunday afternoon.
Cub Scout and Webelos teaching area – to include tours of the GMU Geology labs – earn their Geology Cub Scout belt loop, or Webeloes Geology Pin and STEM award. ” Sunday is Scout Day” thou Scouts are welcomed both days – they are encouraged to come on Sunday when it is less crowded.
In Fall 2014, Dr. Kathy Pegion, who completed a PhD in Climate Dynamics with a dissertation on “Potential Predictability of Tropical Intraseasonal Variability…” in 2007, has joined the AOES faculty as an assistant professor of Climate Dynamics. Dr. Pegion rejoins the department after working as a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a joint institute of NOAA and University of Colorado.
Dr. Pegion remembers that “One thing that I loved as a graduate student is the dynamic and collaborative environment amongst Climate Dynamics faculty” and hopes that “current students will benefit as much as I did from such a great environment.” She remarks that, “The biggest differences since I graduated are how much the program has grown and that the program is now located on campus, both of which I see as positive changes.”
Dr. Pegion’s research is aimed at aspects of the climate system that may be predictable on timescales of 2-weeks to a few years. This includes extending predictions of El Nino and La Nina to longer lead times using information from precursors. Other research of Dr. Pegion is aimed at understanding predictability at weeks 2-4 and improving predictions. This research includes work with the American Multi-model Ensemble project, a collaboration among several national laboratories and universities to improve climate prediction.
Dr. Pegion earned a BS in Meteorology and Computer Science, and an MS in Meteorology, from Florida State University. She is interested in how scientific results are utilized by experts in other fields. “The biggest challenges are that the kinds of climate information that are most relevant to people and decision makers are often the most difficult to predict (e.g. local, regional, extremes). How can we provide useful information even in low predictability situations?”
In an unprecedented collaboration involving research labs in several nations, AOES scientists are helping the Government of India accelerate progress in predicting the south Asian monsoon.
The monsoon is a seasonal shift of the climate that brings a tremendous amount of rain to India and surrounding countries in south Asia. That rainfall is essential to the livelihood, even survival, of hundreds of millions of people, and prediction of the Indian monsoon rainfall is critical for planning and risk mitigation across the sub-continent. Even a 10% departure from the anticipated normal rainfall can mean economic ruin or loss of life.
The Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences launched a major initiative in 2013, called the National Monsoon Mission, in which it enlisted the collaboration of research groups in Indian government labs, universities and labs and universities in the U.S. and other countries. The Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) in AOES is one of those U.S. labs making critical contributions to monsoon prediction capability. Under the overall direction of Prof. Jim Kinter, the project involves Profs. Paul Dirmeyer, Bohua Huang and Ed Schneider, each directing one aspect of the project, and three post-doctoral scientists: Drs. Rodrigo Bombardi, Subhadeep Halder and Chul-Su Shin, as well as several Ph.D. students in the Climate Dynamics program.
The three-year project is expected to radically improve the practice of monsoon prediction based on computer models of Earth's climate and directly impact the well-being of over a billion people.
Image credits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_India#mediaviewer/File:Poomparai_village.jpg; Shukla and Kinter (2014, Clim. Dyn.), Fig. 17, summer rainfall anomaly from "pacemaker" experiment.
The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia has just approved the establishment of a Bachelors of Science in Atmospheric Sciences. This degree program will replace the Concentration in Atmospheric Science within the BS in Earth Science, starting with the Spring Semester of 2015.
Drawing on the expertise of the faculty of the Climate Dynamics PhD program, and the move of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies to the George Mason College of Science, the new undergraduate offering will provide students with an introduction into the science of weather and climate, and prepare them for careers in a world where the “rules of weather” will be undergoing rapid change.
The Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences invites applications for two (2) full-time tenure-track faculty positions at the Assistant Professor level to begin fall 2014.
We are looking for those who focus on the variability and predictability of climate at intraseasonal, seasonal, interannual and/or decadal time scales. This will include understanding the mechanisms of underlying phenomena at these time scales such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation; El Niño and the Southern Oscillation; the Arctic, Antarctic, and North Atlantic Oscillations; Atlantic Multidecadal and Pacific Decadal Variability; or other phenomena of ocean-atmosphere-land variability within this range of time scales and interactions among these phenomena. Key aspects of interest include research that contributes to improved predictions, which contributes to operational forecasting, and the evolution of predictability in a changing climate.
The positions will be co-funded by the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) under a research grant from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. COLA now resides in the newly-formed Mason Institute of Global Environment and Society on the Fairfax campus, which has been created to foster interactions and collaborations among the faculty, staff and students who study the variability and predictability of climate and its impacts on global society and ecosystems. These positions will offer opportunities for interdisciplinary education and research with colleagues studying meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, ecology, geology, economics, communication, and policy analysis. There will be an opportunity to teach both undergraduate and graduate courses in AOES, as well as other departments.
More information is available on the Mason Job Postings page.