ASRC Celebrates 50 Years of Research at the Whiteface Mountain Field Station

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 8, 2022) — UAlbany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) hosted a 50th-anniversary celebration of research and field work at the Whiteface Mountain Field Station last Wednesday night inside the ETEC research and developmental complex.

Located at about 5,000 feet above sea level, the field station, known to locals as the Whiteface Observatory, has been collecting cloud water samples for chemical monitoring for more than five decades. The building is distinctly carved from granite of the mountain itself and widely known for its contributions to the atmospheric sciences research community.

Wednesday’s event brought Whiteface to UAlbany, with various interactive displays and research display boards that represented the work being done at the field station.

Chris Thorncroft, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, offered opening remarks before welcoming President Rodríguez, who shared his personal experience visiting the field station and the impact of the research happening there. 

Sara Lance conducts cloud chemistry research from the top of ASRC's Whiteface Mountain Field Station.
ASRC's Sara Lance leads the cloud chemistry research team at the Whiteface Mountain Field Station. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

“When I first arrived at UAlbany, just over five years ago, I was incredibly excited about exploring the Adirondacks, and so imagine how delighted I was to learn that I could take a beautiful weekend drive up to Whiteface Mountain while also seeing one of UAlbany’s major research stations,” Rodríguez said. “We were absolutely blown away by the facility, and of course, the spectacular view.

“Not only is it an amazing facility and gorgeous setting, but also the work that takes place there has played a key role in combating acid rain and air pollution across New York State. I truly could not be prouder of everything that the ASRC and the Whiteface Mountain Field Station have achieved over the past 50-plus years.”

Other speakers were Christopher LaLone of the Division of Air Resources at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), James Schwab, senior researcher at ASRC and Sara Lance, an ASRC research associate who is currently leading the cloud chemistry team at Whiteface.

The event drew more than 100 attendees, including the family of atmospheric scientist Vincent Schaefer, who founded ASRC in 1961 and served as its first director.

Photos: Joane Ternier, Patrick Dodson