Director of Atmospheric Sciences Research Center Honored by American Meteorological Society

Headshot of Chris Thorncroft, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 23, 2022) — Chris Thorncroft, director of the University at Albany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) and professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES), has been awarded the 2023 American Meteorological Society Joanne Simpson Tropical Meteorology Research Award.

The award honors researchers who make outstanding contributions to advancing the understanding of the physics and dynamics of the tropical atmosphere. It is named after Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the U.S. to receive a PhD in meteorology. She contributed to research in many areas of the atmospheric sciences, particularly in the field of tropical meteorology.

Thorncroft was recognized for his “theoretical advances in the meteorology and climate dynamics of Africa and the tropical Atlantic, and for leadership of international research in Africa.”

“We are proud that Dr. Thorncroft has been chosen for this prestigious award,” said UAlbany Vice President for Research and Economic Development Thenkurussi (Kesh) Kesavadas. “Chris has been highly recognized for his research in weather and climate. In addition, as director of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, he has led the effort to innovate the use of computational technologies to improve the field of meteorology. I join my colleagues in congratulating him on this timely recognition."

“This prestigious award is bestowed upon only a select few researchers and scholars focusing on understanding the physics and the dynamics of the tropical atmosphere,” added College of Arts and Sciences Dean Jeanette Altarriba. “Professor Thorncroft has an impressive body of work that moves this area forward in important and significant ways. His outstanding contributions emanating, in part from his sustained efforts as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences, are being recognized with this important, well-earned achievement in the field of meteorology.”

Thorncroft joined the DAES faculty in 2001 and was chair of the department for 11 years. He has served as the director of ASRC since 2019. He previously served as a fellow and lecturer at the University of Reading (UK), where he received his doctorate in meteorology in 1988. 

Along with ASRC, Thorncroft directs the NYS Mesonet, an advanced network of 126 weather observation stations located across the state, and UAlbany’s Center of Excellence in Weather & Climate Analytics, an entrepreneurial hub for more than 120 weather and climate faculty, researchers and research staff who are based at the University.

Overall, his leadership has served as a major catalyst in UAlbany strengthening its national reputation in weather and climate science and achieving record levels of extramural research funding.

Thorncroft’s major research focus is on improving our understanding of the processes that determine the nature and variability of the West African monsoon, including how this impacts Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. He has also had leadership roles in several field campaigns in the West African and Tropical Atlantic regions.