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University at Albany Appoints New Faculty in Atmospheric and Environmental Science

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 14, 2012) — Provost Susan Phillips announced today the appointment of six new faculty members in atmospheric and environmental science, a center of excellence for research and education in weather and climate, including data analysis, modeling and prediction. The Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences and the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center constitute the largest, single group of scientists in New York State with expertise in meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, earth atmosphere interactions, climate study, prediction and forecasting.

“These new faculty members build on a recognized area of strength,” Provost Phillips observed, “and position the University at Albany for even greater visibility and impact in New York State, nationally, and internationally as we seek to bring systematic knowledge about weather and climate into service on behalf of societal needs and economic development.”

Among those joining the faculty in the coming year are:

Dr. Aiguo Dai – Dr. Dai will join the faculty in September as an associate professor. He is currently a Scientist III with the Climate and Global Dynamics Division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Dr. Dai has developed a distinguished career improving understanding of the global water cycle, atmospheric convection and precipitation processes, atmospheric tides, climate model diagnostics and evaluation, long-term climate change, climate data analysis, hydrometeorology, and drought. He has also published papers on the variability and changes of the thermohaline (or overturning) circulation in the oceans as well as the global carbon cycle. His research areas cover much of the Earth’s climate system, including interactions of different components of the system.

Dr. Roberta Johnson – Dr. Johnson will join the faculty in August as a clinical professor. She is the Executive Director for the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA), the nation’s largest association of Earth and space science educators at the K-12 level. Dr. Johnson’s research program has focused on the dynamics of the Earth’s upper atmosphere and solar-terrestrial coupling. She has also been centrally involved in highly successful efforts to develop education and outreach programs associated with multiple sponsors, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the Hewlett Foundation, and other organizations. She is the director of the Windows to the Universe project. Dr. Johnson will continue her educational efforts, including her role at NESTA, as a component of her activities at UAlbany.

Dr. Andrea Angela Lopez Lang – Dr. Lang will join the faculty in September as an assistant professor. For this past year she was a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Lang’s research interests include synoptic dynamics, dynamics of the jets, the tropopause, and the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS) region, stratosphere-troposphere coupling, and the impact of convection on the UTLS. Her work is focused presently on the structure, evolution, and dynamics of mid-latitude jet-front systems, with implications for increasing understanding of the role of synoptic processes in troposphere-stratosphere coupling. She is currently working on a project focusing on the changes to midlatitude jet circulations during the extra-tropical transition of tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific.

Dr. Jiping Liu – Dr. Liu will join the faculty in January as an assistant professor. He is currently a Senior Research Scientist in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Liu’s research is focused on climate dynamics, particularly on sea ice, polar climates, and air/sea interactions. He has developed a particular expertise in atmosphere and ocean dynamics, and ocean surface fluxes. His work involves climate modeling, conducting climate model experiments, and integrating satellite data sets in his research. He is principal investigator for an NSF grant entitled “A High Resolution Analysis of Ocean Surface Turbulent Fluxes for the Southern Ocean.”

Dr. Justin Minder – Dr. Minder will join the faculty in September as an assistant professor. He is currently a Richard Foster Flint Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University. Dr. Minder’s research has extended the relatively new field of mesoscale climate dynamics. He has deployed observational networks and employed regional climate models to enrich understanding of precipitation processes near mountain ranges. His work also incorporates studies of hydrological cycles, climate dynamics, rain-triggered landslides, and snowpacks. He received the ICAM Young Scientist Presentation Award in 2009, and the AMS Mountain Meteorology Young Scientist Presentation Award in 2010.

Dr. Brian Tang – Dr. Tang will join the faculty in September as an assistant professor. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Advanced Study Program of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Dr. Tang’s research program addresses topics related to the climatology of tropical disturbances that might have potential to become tropical cyclones. He also studies effects of moisture in the lower atmosphere on tropical cyclone development. His work has improved understanding of the interactions between extreme weather events and the broader climate system. He received the Max A. Eaton Prize at the AMS Tropical Meteorology and Hurricane Conference in 2008.

Faculty appointed to the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences and the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center have attracted $60 million in competitive research grants and sponsored funds over the past ten years. The Department serves undergraduate majors as well as masters and doctoral students in addition to offering highly popular courses on the oceans, the atmosphere, and environmental science.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.