Lance Bosart: A Lifetime of Contributions to Meteorology

Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Distinguished Professor Lance Bosart is among the world’s most influential synoptic-dynamic meteorologists.

He is the recipient of a National Weather Association’s (NWA’s) Lifetime Achievement Award and a Jule Charney Award, one of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS’s) highest prizes.

Over the past four decades, Bosart’s diverse areas of interest have included planetary-scale and mesoscale meteorology, particularly involving winter storms, hurricanes, organized convective systems and the predictability of individual flow regimes, as well as weather analysis and the forecasting process.

Bosart’s influence on synoptic-dynamic meteorology, the study of weather processes occurring over a horizontal range of 1,000 kilometers or more, has been vast. A strong observationally based discipline in 1950, the field expanded to include numerical investigations based on modern synoptic-dynamic principles by a small cadre of scientists, introducing Bosart and his well-funded studies into such areas as explosive cyclogenesis, hurricanes, fronts, and tornadoes.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Bosart and other synoptic-dynamic meteorologists used newly produced global gridded datasets to investigate weather phenomena around the world and to link tropical, midlatitude and polar weather systems.

Bosart’s funded research is extensive, including 39 grant awards in the last decade, most originating from the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He has researched systems spanning five continents working on a variety of multiscale (time and space) research problems that relate to the weather and climate of higher latitude, middle latitude and tropic regions.

His career extends beyond research to teaching and service. Arriving at UAlbany in 1969 after receiving his Ph.D. from MIT, Bosart remains an active instructor. He was credited by the NWA with “educating a generation of researchers, professors, forecasters, and NOAA employees.” In 2002, he received the first AMS Teaching Excellence Award, now named after Edward N. Lorenz (the father of chaos theory).

Bosart has served the research and operational community in many ways. The international Cyclone Workshop, which he helped found in the early 1980s, has grown significantly and continues today. Bosart has also been instrumental in organizing international symposia and summer schools at The National Center for Atmospheric Research, where he holds an Affiliate Scientist position, in Boulder, CO.