Prospective Students

Atmospheric and Environmental Science at UAlbany

Atmospheric Science students on Whiteface Mountain

When you study with the University at Albany Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, you will have access to the New York State Mesonet - a collection of over 100 advanced weather observation stations across New York State, a state-of-the-art map room to display and analyze weather data, and the Albany National Weather Service office right on campus. Our faculty are world leaders in their fields of research and we are the only program with three professors who have won the American Meteorological Society’s Edward N. Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award.

Our location in the state capital offers many opportunities for internships and exposure to state agencies that deal with environmental issues. Albany is surrounded by a diverse natural environment, and there are many opportunities to apply what you’ve learned at local nature sanctuaries, preserves, and state parks that are only a short drive away.

DAES has undergraduate degree programs in Atmospheric Science and Environmental Science (interdisciplinary studies), an Atmospheric Science masters program, and an Atmospheric Science doctoral program.

Undergraduate Student Resources
Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The following are research interests of faculty in DAES.  Students interested in pursuing research can come up with a project on their own and speak to a faculty member about overseeing the project.  Alternatively, students are welcome to approach a faculty member whose research interests match theirs.  Then, a project can be developed, so long as the professor has time to dedicate to working with an undergraduate in the given semester.  One to three credits of ATM 497 (independent study) or three credits of ATM 499 (Honors research) can be taken and used towards atmospheric science major elective requirements.

 

Dr. Lance F. Bosart

My interests are in convective scale weather systems (e.g., derechos and convectively driven vortices), mesoscale weather systems (e.g., intense frontal systems and lake- and ocean-effect snowstorms), middle latitude synoptic-scale weather systems (e.g., cyclones and anticyclones), tropical weather systems (e.g., hurricanes and organized rainstorms), large-scale weather systems (e.g., atmospheric blocking and continental weather systems), and planetary-scale teleconnections (e.g., the Arctic Oscillation and the Pacific-North American pattern).

Dr. Kristen Corbosiero

My research interests are the structure and intensity change of tropical cyclones. I have worked on projects involving the rapid intensification of tropical cyclones, lightning in hurricanes, and the origins of tropical cyclone trains with undergraduate students. I am interested in continuing these projects, as well as those concerning lightning more broadly, with interested students.

Dr. Robert Fovell

My research focus is on numerical weather prediction (NWP) and mesoscale dynamics.  I use NWP models to understand the dynamics of hurricanes, thunderstorms, and windstorms, and am interested in identifying, understanding, and mitigating model forecast errors. 

Dr. Daniel Keyser

My research specializations are synoptic-dynamic and mesoscale meteorology.  I am interested in designing and advising research projects concerned with the diagnostic application of selected equations from dynamic meteorology to midlatitude weather systems, including fronts, jets, extratropical cyclones, and baroclinic waves.  Individual projects will be designed to appeal to undergraduate atmospheric science majors with a strong interest in applying concepts learned and technical skills developed in their mathematics, computer science, and atmospheric dynamics courses to visualize and interpret the structure and evolution of midlatitude weather systems. Projects will be conducted using numerical representations of weather systems in reanalysis and forecast datasets.

Dr. Andrea Lang

My research focuses on understanding the linkages between synoptic scale weather systems and variability in the stratosphere. My work mainly focuses on the cool-season and involves understanding the role of the stratosphere in subseasonal forecasting.

Ross Lazear

My research interests are in the analysis and predictability of synoptic- and mesoscale phenomena.  With students, I’ve worked on case studies and climatologies of midlatitude weather phenomena (e.g., tornadoes, squall lines, lake-effect snow, etc.).  I would be happy to work with a student on any of the aforementioned subjects.

Dr. Justin Minder

My research interests include: mesoscale meteorology, mountain weather and climate, regional climate change, lake-effect snow, and environmental issues in the Adirondack Mountains. I am open to working with student interested in studying any of these topics. My research approach uses a combination of mesoscale models, fundamental theory, and data from radars, research aircraft, surface mesonets, and satellites.

Dr. Sujata Murty

My research interests are in examining climate and ocean dynamics of the past, present and future using corals, observations and models. I use coral paleoclimate records to examine changes in climate and ocean circulation over the past few centuries. I then synthesize these coral records with high-resolution ocean models and coupled climate model simulations to understand the mechanisms driving changes in climate and ocean systems. I am open to working with students on coral paleoclimate reconstructions, analyzing model simulations, or a synthesis of both.

Dr. Brian Tang

My primary research interests are in tropical cyclones and severe weather. Possible research topics include case analyses of extreme events and climatological analyses of environmental parameters that affect tropical cyclones and severe weather.

Dr. Oliver Elison Timm

My research interests are in paleoclimate dynamics and future climate change studies. Most of my paleoclimate research concentrates on the glacial cycles in the Quaternary period. I am also conducting research on the Holocene epoch (the last 11,700 year). In the paleoclimate research I conduct climate model experiments, analyze existing paleoclimate model simulations, and compare the model simulations with paleoclimatic proxy data archives in order gain better insight into past climate variability.

My interest in future climate change research is concentrating on the regional impacts of climate change, in particular on scales and processes not resolved by the global climate models. In this type of research I am using statistical downscaling methods to refine the coarse-resolution climate model output to scales relevant for stake holders and decision makers.

Dr. Ryan Torn

My research interests are in synoptic and mesoscale dynamics, predictability and data assimilation.  With students, I have worked on case studies to understand why the atmosphere is less predictable and what dynamics are responsible for the lack of predictability.  I am willing to work with students in any of these areas.

Dr. June Wang

My research interests are in creation and analysis of climate datasets to study climate changes and variability, Mesonet data quality assurance and analysis, In-situ sounding data quality and technologies, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) measurements and their application to weather and climate studies.  I would work with students on using New York State Mesonet Data to analyze special weather events and study climate variability in NYS, and investigating data quality and instrument issues.

Dr. Liming Zhou

My research interests are in the understanding of land-human-climate interactions through a synthetic analysis of surface observations and remotely sensed data with climate modeling. Land surface processes related to land cover/land use change such as deforestation, urbanization, desertification, and renewable energy are my emphases.  My latest research projects are focused on environmental impacts of operating wind farms, drought impacts on tropical rainforests, and consequences of global warming on arid and semi-arid ecosystems.

Graduate Student Resources
Graduate Research Opportunities

Current research opportunities for graduate students in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany (DAES-UAlbany) appear below. More opportunities are available at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center.

 

Prospective Graduate Student Visiting Weekend is February 25 - February 27 2021 (click for flyer)

 

Opportunities for individuals from underrepresented groups

We encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to contact faculty members to discuss research opportunities. In addition to the opportunities below, other opportunities might exist through university or external diversity fellowship programs that will allow you to work with a faculty member to craft a unique research project. You can either e-mail individual faculty members with whom you are interested in working, or contact Brian Tang ([email protected] ), Chair of the department's Inclusion and Diversity Committee, for more information.

 

Dr. Lance F. Bosart

Professor Bosart is a Co-PI on an NSF PREEVENTS Track 2 grant entitled “Collaborative Research: Multi-scale processes impacting the predictability of severe convective weather events“ for which Dr. Glen Romine of NCAR is the lead PI and other NCAR scientists are Co-PIs. There is a small possibility that there will an opening for a new Ph.D. student on this grant in Fall 2021.

Professor Bosart is also open to working with a new graduate student who is a recipient of an externally funded fellowship in any area of synoptic-dynamic meteorology, mesoscale meteorology, or tropical meteorology beginning in Fall 2021.

 

Dr. Kristen Corbosiero

Professor Corbosiero has no funded research positions for new students available at this time.

 

Dr. Aiguo Dai

Depending on availability of external funding, support for new PhD students to study climate variability and change may be available. Dr. Dai's projects focus on how and why the climate, in particular the global water cycle, precipitation, and drought, has changed in the recent past and how it may change in the future as global warming continues. His current research includes (1) The cause and impact of Arctic enhanced warming and sea-ice loss; (2) Arctic-midlatitude weather and climate interactions; (3) regional climate downscaling and change; (4) Atlantic and Pacific decadal variability; (5) influences of oceanic conditions on climate over South America and other land areas on different time scales;   and (6) climate model diagnostics and evaluation. For a list of his publications, please see his Google Profile here or here. Dr. Dai plans to admit 1-2 new students to work on topic No. (1), (2) or (5) in Fall 2021. 

 

Dr. Oliver Elison Timm

There are no grant-supported research positions for new students at this time.

Masters thesis research opportunities are, however available in the following research areas:

Investigating climate-vegetation-ice-sheet interactions during past glacial-interglacial cycles using Earth System models of Intermediate Complexity.

Downscaling of future climate change scenarios with applications to environmental impact studies and emerging infectious diseases. (Focus areas have been the Hawaiian Islands and Northeast US in past research activities.)

 

Dr. Craig Ferguson

Dr. Ferguson anticipates support for one Ph.D. student to work on the topic of seasonal prediction, with a focus on the role of local-to-long range land-atmosphere interactions in drought and flood evolution. The planned research entails application of satellite remote sensing, a hyper-resolution land surface hydrological model, and WRF. The successful applicant will have a strong background in synoptic-dynamic meteorology and be proficient in scientific coding (Python preferred).

 

Dr. Jeffrey Freedman

 

As part of the Boundary Layer Group here at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, my main research focus is on energy/renewable energy and atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) processes. This includes work on developing forecast tools for power outage prediction, improving wind and solar power production forecasting,  the effects of climate change on renewable energy resources, and the interaction of wind farms (and their performance) with the ABL. A principal tool for my observational work is a Leosphere Windcube 100S scanning LiDAR.

Research topics I am currently focusing on include:

        • Power outage prediction tools integrating modeling, observations, and machine learning tools;    
        • using remote sensing measurement systems (LiDAR and SoDAR) for renewable energy and boundary layer studies; and
        • Effects of climate change on the renewable energy resource.

In addition, in collaboration with Dr. Miller, I have support for a graduate student focused on the development of an autonomous, buoy-based system for measuring air-sea interaction from the sea surface to the top of the marine atmospheric boundary layer.

 

Dr. Lee Harrison

There are no opportunities for new students at this time.

 

Dr. Aubrey Hillman

Looking for a student to participate in a pilot project to investigate how acid rain deposition in the Adirondacks impacted trace metal and carbon and nitrogen cycling in lakes. Pending a field season in Peru, looking for a student to develop isotope records from lake sediments in coastal northern Peru to reconstruct late Holocene moisture balance and impacts to past societies.

Please email Dr. Hillman at [email protected] for more information.

 

Dr. Sara Lance

Dr. Lance encourages excellent students interested in measurements of multiphase atmospheric chemistry (gas, aerosol, cloud) to apply for a graduate student opening in 2021. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to conduct chemical composition measurements of aerosol, bulk cloud water and cloud droplet residuals using a high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer, in addition to a broad array of other measurements of gases, aerosols, and clouds. Summertime field experiments are anticipated at Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State.

Applicants interested in the above opportunity should contact Dr. Sara Lance at [email protected] for more information. Additional information can be found at the Lance Lab research website.

 

Dr. Andrea Lang

Professor Lang interests span spatial scales ranging from synoptic to planetary and timescales of days to weeks.

We are currently recruiting a MS student interested in working on research investigating the dynamics and variability of troposphere-stratosphere coupling on synoptic to subseasonal timescales.

Contact Prof. Andrea Lang ([email protected]) for more details.

 

Dr. Jiping Liu

Dr. Liu is looking for a graduate student to improve seasonal predictability and prediction of Arctic sea ice and associated feedbacks on mid- and high-latitude climate in NCEP climate forecast system. This serves as an important incremental step toward achieving improved operational prediction system. The successful applicant is likely to have some previous experience working with large data sets, and some knowledge of statistics.

 

Dr. Cheng-Hsuan (Sarah) Lu

Dr. Lu (in collaboration with Dr. Miller at ASRC and Dr. Aynul Bari in UAlbany Environmental and Sustainable Engineering) has support for a graduate student to focus on analysis of data from a new, densely-distributed network of low-cost air quality sensors deployed in the New York City metropolitan area, including spatial and temporal patterns, source attribution, and model/data comparisons. Depending on their interest and skill set, the graduate student could also participate in field operations. Highly motivated students with a strong background in environmental engineering, atmospheric sciences, chemistry or other technical fields with an interest in novel approaches to studying air quality are encouraged to apply.
 
For more information, please contact Dr. Lu at [email protected]

Dr. Scott Miller

Dr. Miller is conducting research in the following areas:

  1. Improving field measurement capabilities of surface-atmosphere fluxes
  2. Air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide
  3. Lake-atmosphere heat/moisture fluxes leading to lake effect snow
  4. Mesoscale networks of terrestrial surface atmosphere exchange (momentum, heat, moisture, carbon dioxide)

Dr. Miller (in collaboration with Dr. Freedman) has support for a graduate student focused on the development of an autonomous, buoy-based system for measuring air-sea interaction from the sea surface to the top of the marine atmospheric boundary layer. This capability will support basic studies of air-sea interaction physics and applied fields such as offshore wind energy. Highly motivated students with a strong background in engineering, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, wind energy, or other technical fields with an interest in field work, instrumentation, geophysical fluid mechanics, and surface-atmosphere interaction are encouraged to apply.

For more information, please contact Dr. Scott Miller at [email protected].

 

Dr. Qilong Min

Dr. Min’s research interests encompass the combination of passive/active instrumentation and modeling to improve the understanding of the physics of the atmosphere, land-atmosphere interactions, and atmosphere-climate interactions. Ongoing projects in his group are:

1. Advancing the WRF-solar model to improve solar irradiance forecast for renewable energy applications

2. Integrating multi-platform observations and WRF simulations to understand the feedback mechanisms associated with the water and energy cycles

3. Establishing innovative remote sensing techniques through the synthesis of visible, infrared, and microwave passive and active measurements for retrieving aerosol and cloud optical properties, vegetation properties, and precipitation and latent heat

4. Developing novel instrumentation for applications in weather, climate, air quality, and renewable energy

For more information, please contact Dr. Qilong Min at [email protected].

 

Dr. Justin Minder

Dr. Justin Minder is conducting research in the following areas:

  1. The response of lake-effect snow storms to climate variability and change
  2. Precipitation type in high-impact near-freezing winter storms over the northeastern US
  3. Improving forecasts of snowpack and streamflow in hydrological models
  4. The use of stochastic physics in probabilistic simulations of winter precipitation
  5. Regional climate change over mountainous regions

No funded positions are available at this time. For more information, please contact Dr. Minder at [email protected]

 

Dr. Sujata Murty

Dr. Sujata Murty has an opening for a new graduate student interested in Indo-Pacific coral paleoclimate reconstructions and synthesis with climate and ocean model simulations. This project will involve the integration of paleoclimate, physical oceanography and climate modeling perspectives to examine Indo-Pacific climate and ocean dynamics from seasonal to centennial timescales. The regional focus of the project is to be determined but may include corals from the Red Sea, southwest Indian Ocean or central Indian Ocean.

Please contact Dr. Sujata Murty at [email protected] for more information.

 

Dr. Brian Rose

Dr. Rose is recruiting two new PhD students for funded research positions at the interface of climate dynamics, data science, and open-source software:
1. Land-atmosphere interactions and amplified desert warming (collaboration with Prof. Liming Zhou)
2. Climate sensitivity and natural variability: a Big Data approach with Project Pythia (collaboration with an interdisciplinary NCAR-based team)
 
Both positions are funded on new grants from the National Science Foundation. Please visit http://www.atmos.albany.edu/facstaff/brose/posts/2020/two-new-phd-positions.html for more details.
 

 

Dr. Paul Roundy

Various projects in large scale organized tropical convection and the global atmospheric circulation.

 

Dr. Jim Schwab

Dr. Schwab’s research group may have an opening for a Master’s student starting in 2021. It is possible, but unlikely, that he will take on a PhD student. His group is currently involved in the following projects:

 

  1. Aerosol Mass Spectrometer Measurements: Our group has a high resolution Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) that we have recently used in support of cloud chemistry related measurements at Whiteface Mountain, New Particle Formation related measurements at Pinnacle State Park, and the AEROMMA project described below. (New student opportunities)
  2. Atmospheric Emissions and Reactions Observed from Megacities to Marine Areas (AEROMMA 2021) This is s follow on campaign to the Long Island Sound Tropospheric Ozone Study: ASRC participated in this multi-organization field study in 2018 and 2019 to investigate the complex chemistry and transport downwind of NYC influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. Additional mobile monitoring and fixed site measurements have been proposed. (New student opportunities)
  3. ASRC Mobile Laboratory: we operate a 2007 Dodge Sprinter van with 6-8 hours of battery capacity (depending on instrument and air conditioning load). Instruments we have deployed on the lab include the AMS – see above – ozone and nitrogen dioxide monitors, a Cloud Condensation Nuclei Counter, a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer, and more. We have a funded project to use this mobile lab for measurements of methane and ethane across New York State and. (New student opportunities)
  4. Accountability and Air Pollution–Using long–term measurements to assess progress in air pollution reduction, or other projects involving "mining" the extensive archive of ASRC (and NYS) measurement data. (funded)

For more information, please contact Dr. Schwab at [email protected]

 

Dr. Kara Sulia

The newly formed NSF AI Institute for Research on Trustworthy AI in Weather, Climate, and Coastal Oceanography (AI2ES) is an NSF funded AI Institute that brings together universities, government, and private industry to develop trustworthy AI for environmental science. AI2ES will uniquely benefit humanity by developing novel, physically based AI techniques that are demonstrated to be trustworthy, and will directly improve prediction, understanding, and communication of high-impact environmental hazards. For more information on AI2ES, please visit www.ai2es.org.

The University at Albany (UA) Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) in Albany, NY seeks two Ph.D. graduate research associates with background in machine learning and/or the physical sciences (preferably atmospheric science).

TWO AREAS OF RESEARCH

1. Regional Sensitivity to Winter Weather. The student will perform NY state holistic winter weather analysis, with focus on variations and sensitivities among climate regions and their influence on predictability. The student will be responsible for developing machine-learned models and employing other statistical techniques to identify patterns and pattern variability in winter weather events and impacts across the state. Forecast, reanalysis, and ensemble products (e.g., GFS, GEFS, NAM, HRRR) along with data from the NYS Mesonet, will serve as inputs, with the goal of assessing regional winter-weather predictability hours to days.

2. The Impact of Winter Weather on Roadways. The student will investigate the predictability of winter-weather effects on NY state roadways. The student will be responsible for developing machine-learned models and employing statistical techniques to identify patterns in meteorological (e.g., NYS Mesonet) and non-meteorological (e.g., traffic flow) datasets. The student will also be responsible for the visualization of results actionable to the end-user. Collaboration with NY State transportation sectors are expected, as well as emergency managers and decision makers.

For more information, contact Dr. Kara Sulia ([email protected]) and/or Dr. Christopher Thorncroft ([email protected]).

 

Dr. Brian Tang

Dr. Tang and Dr. Fovell are looking for a new Masters student to conduct collaborative research with the National Weather Service on severe convection in the Northeast U.S. This research will focus on the effects of complex terrain on severe convection by running high-resolution simulations to focus on boundary-layer physics uncertainties, using New York State Mesonet and other observations to analyze specific cases and to compare against simulation output, and/or conducting field experiments of opportunity to collect surface and sounding data in targeted areas of interest during future severe weather events in the Albany area. Please contact Dr. Tang ([email protected]) for more information.

 

Dr. Chris Thorncroft

My research is mainly focused on improving our understanding of the West African monsoon and how it impacts Atlantic tropical cyclone variability. The research spans a wide range of timescales from diurnal to multidecadal. At the weather scale my research is focused on understanding the physical processed that impact the nature and variability of African easterly waves (AEWs). This includes a special emphasis on how AEWs interact with the ubiquitous mesoscale convective systems and ultimately how this affects the probability that AEWs will help spawn tropical cyclones. Recent work at the weather scale has also emphasized the role of convectively coupled equatorial Kelvin waves on the West African monsoon and Atlantic tropical cyclogenesis frequency. At the climate scale I am interested in better understanding the annual cycle of the West African monsoon as well as the processes that impact interannual to decadal variability and predictability of Sahel rainfall. Depending on the availability of external funding I would be interested in advising students in any of these areas.

Dr. Thorncroft is also PI with Dr. Kara Sulia on the ai2es.org project. Please see Dr. Sulia's section above for more info.

 

Dr. Ryan Torn

Dr. Ryan Torn has an opening for a M.S. or Ph.D. student who has interest in understanding the predictability of precipitation forecasts along the West Coast of the United States during landfalling Atmospheric River events. This work is in collaboration with the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UC San Diego. Specifically, the project will seek to understand the physical processes that limit the ability to forecast precipitation and ways to improve upon that.  Furthermore, this project will involve participating in the yearly AR Recon experiment. Please contact Professor Torn for more information.

 

Dr. Mathias Vuille

Dr. Mathias Vuille may have an opening for a new graduate student interested in South American paleoclimate research starting in 2021. For more information on his group's research, please visit the PIRE-CREATE project website

 

Dr. Wei-Chyung Wang

A PhD student is needed to use observations and climate model simulations to study weather extremes over Northeastern United States and East Asia. Potential future changes in these weather extremes under global climate changes are also the focus of the graduate research.

 

Dr. Fangqun Yu

Dr. Yu is looking for a PhD student or postdoc to study atmospheric particles and their environmental and climate impacts. Dr. Yu´s group is conducting research in the following areas:

  1. Particle formation and growth processes in the atmosphere.
  2. Regional and global modeling of size-resolved particle microphysics and chemistry.
  3. Aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions.
  4. Aerosol direct/indirect radiative forcing and climate change.
  5. Health effects of ultrafine particles and co-pollutants.

Students with an interest in one or more of the above topics and with strong modeling and/or data analysis skills are encouraged to apply. For more information, please contact Dr. Fangqun Yu at [email protected]

 

Dr. Liming Zhou

Professor Zhou is recruiting one PhD student research assistant to study climate variability and change in a warming climate over the subtropical deserts. The focal point is the world's driest Saharan and Arabian deserts, one of the hotspots in terms of climate change and one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in terms of climate impacts from regional to global scales.

This position is funded by the NSF (see more about the project via this link), in collaboration with Prof. Brian Rose, with an emphasis on physical mechanisms controlling the amplified surface warming over the deserts.

For more information about Prof. Zhou’s past and current research projects, visit his website http://www.atmos.albany.edu/facstaff/zhou/lzhou.html. Please contact Prof. Zhou [email protected] for more details.

Graduate Student Handbook

University at Albany Department of Atmospheric & Environmental Science Graduate Student Handbook