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UAlbany and National Weather Service Extend Extreme Weather Collaborative Research Through 2016

CSTAR partnership offers students unique research opportunities that lead to career success as scientists and forecasters.

The Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences works with the National Weather Service to study and predict weather events that have the potential to cause substantial societal and economic disruption in the Northeast.

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 12, 2013) — The 13-year collaboration between the National Weather Service (NWS) and the University at Albany’s Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES) will continue through September 2016, thanks to a new three-year award from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The grant continues UAlbany–NWS Collaborative Science, Technology and Applied Research (CSTAR) research on the occurrence and prediction of high-impact and extreme weather events in the Northeastern U.S. Such events, which include damaging winds and hail, widespread and localized flooding, and heavy snow and ice accumulations, have the potential to cause substantial societal and economic disruption.

Atmospheric science is one of the cornerstones of UAlbany’s Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex (E-TEC), designed as a state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) hub for emerging technologies and entrepreneurial leadership.

“This award exemplifies how E-TEC partnerships accelerate cooperative R&D, technology transfer, business development and workforce training,” said James A. Dias, UAlbany Vice President for Research. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking NY2020 initiative, advancing and commercializing cutting-edge innovative research, E-TEC will bolster the economy of the Capital Region and increase academic opportunities for UAlbany students while keeping New Yorkers safe.”

The UAlbany-based project is one of eight CSTAR projects currently being conducted at U.S. universities through cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NWS. All CSTAR projects address NWS science needs and priorities and have the potential to be applied nationally.

“We are excited to be able to continue this longstanding collaboration,” said Kristen Corbosiero, an assistant professor in DAES and principal investigator on the latest CSTAR project. “The previous and present CSTAR grants have leveraged the well-established programmatic assets and research infrastructure of the synoptic-dynamic meteorology program in the DAES to educate and train 20 former, and four current, graduate students.”

DAES faculty work with NWS staff members to provide the necessary scientific leadership on research products of mutual interest which have operational relevance.

“During the past 13 years, basic research findings on such subjects as hurricane-related heavy rainfall, the distribution of small-scale heavy snow bands within winter cyclones, and the physical processes that govern the occurrence and location of severe weather in the Northeast have transitioned to NWS operations,” said SUNY Distinguished Professor Lance Bosart, who together with Professor Daniel Keyser made UAlbany’s first successful CSTAR proposal to NOAA in 2000, aided by the key support of NWS-Albany’s meteorologist in charge, Eugene Auciello.

“What is also noteworthy is that UAlbany graduate students funded by CSTAR and then hired by the NWS have elevated the scientific, operational, and technological abilities of the NWS work force.”

Raymond O’Keefe, current NWS-Albany meteorologist in charge, said, "CSTAR has been and continues to be a great collaborative effort between the NWS and DAES. The mission of the NWS is to protect life and property. The research projects that UAlbany's CSTAR students have tackled get right to the heart of the NWS mission — ice storms, hurricanes, severe winds. This research has played a significant part in advancing the NWS goal of a Weather Ready Nation."

The latest NWS-DAES work supports that goal by focusing on three high-impact and extreme weather events:

  • Severe convection,
  • Heavy precipitation associated with tropical moisture, and
  • Transition season (i.e., spring and fall) Northeast storms.

Bosart noted that graduate school applicants in the atmospheric sciences “clamor to attend graduate school here because of research opportunities provided by the CSTAR projects, the quality of the faculty participating in the program, and the national and international reputation of the umbrella DAES synoptic-dynamic program.”

One of those students was Benjamin J. Moore, who received his MS in atmospheric sciences in 2010. “CSTAR provides an effective infrastructure for doing operationally oriented research that benefits students, NOAA/NWS, and the broader scientific community,” said Moore. He cited as an example the research he conducted through CSTAR with NWS senior forecaster Mike Jurewicz on predecessor rain events, which led to his successful MS thesis.

“The CSTAR collaboration continues to be an extremely effective tool for NOAA to train its future workforce of forecasters and scientists,” said Moore.

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Read more about E-TEC's programs in Climate and Environmental Sciences. Read more and view a video about DAES here.

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