As the 2009-2010 academic year comes to an end, it's fun to reflect back on events of the year in our department.
First, the biggest news might be that we changed our name! We are now the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science. This is a reflection of our efforts to widen our curricular offerings to cover more topics in climate and climate change. Eventually (sooner rather than later, we hope) we will offer an entirely new BS in Climate Science. To do this requires permission from the CSU Chancellor's Office - and takes months to get. To start therefore, we have developed a new BS Meteorology, concentration in Climate Science, with a start date of Fall 2010. The new track (major) will involve a combination of new and existing classes in met eorology, as well as classes in math, physics, chemistry, and biology. There will also be classes from diverse programs across campus such as geography, environmental studies, engineering, and communication studies. Students will graduate with a solid scientific understanding of climate science, and the many issues surrounding climate change. Students will be very well-positioned to join the workforce in a variety of fields, including many in the "green" sector. Curricular details are here .
We bid a fond farewell to our graduating senior class. They are off to the National Weather Service, to grad school, to wedded bliss, and some are still perusing the "help wanted" ads!!! In this year's forecasting contest , the 2009-10 SJSU team finished 9 th in the nation (9 th out of 48). Not bad - but we can definitely get back into the top five! Thanks again to Mike Voss for guiding these students in their forecasting class.
We also bid farewell to three of our graduate students who have recently completed their studies. These are the first two students who have graduated under the leadership of Craig Clements . Kari Kiefer defended her thesis in spring (" Observed Water Vapor Enhancement in Smoke Plumes "), and is now a meteorologist at Weather Underground located in San Francisco ! Scott Strenfel also defended in spring ("Emissions and Impacts from Prescribed Fire in a Longleaf Pine"). He just accepted a position in Petaluma with Sonoma Technology as an air quality analyst. And finally, Wittaya Kessomkiat has started his PhD studies in Germany !
Several of our graduate students have presented research work thi s year. Among these, we note Daisuke Seto, Kari Kiefer and Scott Strenfel, all of whom presented their work at the AMS's 8th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology in Kalispell , MT .
We are excited that in early August we will be leaving on our second annual field course ( METR 166 ). This is a field course (federally funded, thanks to a proposal written by Alison Bridger ), in which students and faculty will study convective weather and practice forecasting and analysis skills "in the field". Again this year, we will travel to Flagstaff , AZ to study convection with the southwestern monsoon! Tune in for photos and our blog ( 2009 class website )!
On the faculty front, perhaps the most important development this spring is the retirement of faculty members Bob Bornstein , Jindra Goodman , and Jerry Steffens . ANYBODY who has come though our doors in the past 20-40 years will have had at least one of these fine instructors in a class, and maybe all three! Between them, they have logged almost 100 years of service to the department and SJSU, and they will be missed. Jerry is moving back to Indiana , Jindra is continuing her globe-trotting, and Bob will remain active in his favorite areas: research and travel!
Our other faculty are continuing their research and professional work. Mike Voss was honored at the January AMS Annual Meeting for his work with the Weather Challenge competition , and Eugene Cordero was honored for his editorial work with AMS. Alison Bridger presented a poster about the new field trip at the AMS Annual Meeting, and five students represented us at the Student Conference. In Fall 09, " Team Clements " made several presentations at the AMS' 8th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology in Kalispell, MT in October 2009 , and Daisuke Seto was named Best Young Scientist - congratulations to him! Just recently, Craig learned that he has won an NSF-Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award for a Mobile Atmospheric Profiling System ("CSU-MAPS"). The main instruments will be a doppler wind lidar and a microwave temperature and humidity profiler. The whole package, worth over $800K, will be shared with SFSU, and will give us a novel rapid-deploy system for wildfire research and other boundary layer studies. This is a very exciting development for both Craig and our program! Stay tuned for more news once the system is built and delivered. Craig was also honored by SJSU with the 2010 Early Career Investigator Award . Well done Craig!
Dr. Menglin Jin also recently won funding from NASA's Precipitation Program. She will work with other leading scientists to study the impact of urbanization on the climate system. In addition, Dr. Jin will is organizing a workshop on Skin Temperatures via an NSF grant. Dr. Jin is expecting three new graduate assistants to join her research group in August. These students are funded by Dr. Jin's NSF and NASA funding to conduct research on land surface climate variations and modeling. Dr. Jin has also been very active professionally this year! She just returned from giving an invited talk in Japan , and will soon head west again for a workshop in Lhasa , Tibet . She is also serving on the AMS's Planned and Inadvertent Weather Modification committee, and is part of the organizing committee for the 18th Conference on Planned and Inadvertent Weather Modification, which will be one of the meetings at the 2011 AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle . Speaking of which - we plan to continue the tradition of getting SJSU alumni and current students and faculty together at the Annual Meetings. So, please make a point of joining us in Seattle at the next meeting! We will send out an announcement some time in the fall.
Weatherwise - another Spring, another entirely different season! This year, we have seen one of the coolest May's in the past 50 years. Before last weekend, our warmest temperature of the year had been a mere 82 ° F. Now, if we could just figure out what summer will bring...
See you in Fall!