Atmospheric researchers take excellence to new heights

Associate Professor Emily Fischer, and Associate Professor Elizabeth (Libby) Barnes, Associate (front) and Senior Researcher Paul DeMott, Professor Sonia Kreidenweis and Professor Jeff Collett, (rear) Department of Atmospheric Science
Front, L to R: Associate Professor Emily Fischer, Associate Professor Elizabeth (Libby) Barnes. Rear, L to R: Senior Research Scientist Paul DeMott, Professor and Department Head Jeff Collett and University Distinguished Professor Sonia Kreidenweis, Department of Atmospheric Science

They are rock stars in the world of atmospheric science.

Five researchers in one of the top Atmospheric Science programs in the nation are being honored in December and January by peers in their field.

University Distinguished Professor Sonia Kreidenweis and Associate Professor Emily Fischer are being honored this week by the American Geophysical Union, or AGU, an international non-profit, scientific organization representing nearly 60,000 members in 137 countries.

In January, the American Meteorological Society, known as AMS, will honor Professor Jeff Collett, Senior Research Scientist Paul DeMott and Associate Professor Elizabeth Barnes. AMS is a scientific and professional organization promoting and disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic and hydrologic sciences with more than 13,000 members.

Elizabeth Barnes – AMS Meisinger Award

Barnes, an associate professor, has made fundamental contributions to understanding the climate system through her research on extratropical circulation and its response to climate change. She investigates atmospheric dynamics and variability under different climates, including subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction of extreme weather and the impacts of anthropogenic climate change. The past few years she also has focused on the data analysis tools themselves by applying new techniques in statistics and machine learning to advance climate research.

Jeff Collett – AMS Fellow

Collett is the head of the Atmospheric Science department. Collett’s research includes cloud and fog chemistry; aerosol particles; sources and transport of reactive nitrogen; and investigation of emissions from shale gas development. He is recognized among Colorado municipalities and state government for his emissions work. His team was recently awarded a three-year, $1.7 million contract by Broomfield last year to help paint a comprehensive picture of Broomfield’s air, and how it is being affected as new oil and gas wells are drilled, completed and moved into production.

Paul DeMott – AMS Fellow

DeMott, who is a Senior Research Scientist in Kreidenweis’ research group, studies aerosol-cloud interactions, particularly ice phase transitions of atmospheric particles for conditions present in various regions of the troposphere, including layer clouds in winter, cumulus clouds, and cirrus clouds. He aims to understand the way that the physical, chemical, and biological makeup of certain aerosols of natural or anthropogenic origin determine the formation of ice crystals (precursors of precipitation) in clouds and in turn how clouds impact the distribution and nature of ice-nucleating particles in the atmosphere. This information is important to the fundamental issue of how aerosols affect climate indirectly by impacting the radiative properties of clouds, latent heating of the atmosphere, and precipitation.

Emily Fischer – AGU James B. Macelwane Medal

Fischer, an associate professor, studies sources of pollution, how pollutants are formed and how they evolve. The medal recognizes Fischer for her role in the development of a novel method for measuring peroxyacetyl nitrate, or PAN, an irritating component in smog. In collaboration with a colleague at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, her team proved that satellites can provide a global view of PAN in the troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. The medal also honors Fischer for her efforts to increase diversity in geosciences.

Sonia Kreidenweis – AGU Fellow

Kreidenweis, a University Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean for Research, is well known for her research on atmospheric aerosol particles, their interactions with clouds, and their impacts on regional haze. Her research group conducts laboratory, field and aircraft measurements to characterize the physical and chemical properties of aerosols. They study long-range dust transport and its effects on air quality and climate. Among the federal and state agencies that have contributed funding to their research are the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA.

CSU University Communications Staff