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GESTAR II Seminar Series, September 14 at 11:00am

Join us for a virtual seminar by Dr. Susan C. van den Heever, Professor, Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University. Her talk is titled "Observing Convective Storms in the Tropics through the Lens of the NASA INCUS Mission."

Date and Time: Thursday, September 14, 2023 at 11:00am
Join us via Teams.

"The transport of air and water by convective storms in the tropics assists in driving the large-scale circulation, determines convective anvil properties and their cloud radiative forcing, and is integrally linked to fresh water and extreme weather. This convective mass flux (CMF) forms the focus of the recently selected NASA Investigation of Convective Updrafts (INCUS) mission to be launched in 2026. INCUS is comprised of a train of three SmallSats, each of which will carry a Ka-band cloud radar, and one of which will also house a passive microwave radiometer. The three SmallSats are separated by time intervals of 30, 90 and 120 seconds which facilitate the rapid and systematic sampling of the same storm by all three spacecraft, and estimates of CMF will be obtained by applying a novel time differencing technique. INCUS will therefore provide the first global systematic investigation into CMF, and its variation as a function of storm type, storm lifecycle and environmental properties. 

A wide range of research tasks have been conducted during the development phases of the INCUS mission including: (1) conducting and analyzing extensive suites of large-domain, high-resolution model simulations; (2) examining ground-based radar observations obtained at time intervals similar to that of INCUS using adaptive scanning techniques during several recent field campaigns; and (3) evaluating convective anvil properties using passive microwave radiometer and geoIR data. This seminar will include a description of the INCUS mission architecture and measurement approach, as well as specific highlights arising from these modeling and observational analyses."

Dr. Susan 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. in Mathematics from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and her Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University. Dr. van den Heever's research is focused on convective cloud processes, specifically microphysical and dynamical feedbacks, updraft dynamics, cold pool dynamics, and aerosol-cloud interactions, as well as the representation of these processes in numerical models. She is the PI of the NASA INCUS mission, a recently selected Earth Ventures mission designed to fly a train of radars and a radiometer in space, with the goal of understanding why, when and where convective storms form in the tropics, and why only some of these storms produce extreme weather. She also oversees the development of the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) model, a sophisticated cloud-resolving model. 

Dr. van den Heever teaches graduate classes in cloud physics, cloud dynamics, and mesoscale modeling, and is a co-author of the book Storm and Cloud Dynamics. She is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and has received the AGU ASCENT award, the AMS Edward Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award, the MIT Houghton Lectureship award, the OU Gal-Chen Memorial Lecturer award, and several CSU teaching and mentoring awards. She is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford. Dr. van den Heever served as an editor of JAS, co-chairs the GEWEX Aerosol and Precipitation initiative, serves on several advisory boards, and recently co-chaired the Science Community Committee (SCC) of NASA's Aerosol-Convection-Cloud-Precipitation (A-CCP) or AOS Pre-formulation Study.

For more information on the GESTAR II Seminar Series, click here.

Posted: September 11, 2023, 10:56 AM