Current Graduate Students
Extreme weather, quantitative precipitation estimation, climate change, radiative transfer, atmospheric dynamics, giant planet atmospheres, planetary rings
Observations of Extreme Precipitation
My recent work focuses on extreme weather and its relationship with climate change on Earth. I am making use of S-band Doppler radar observations to improve the way rainfall is quantified, with a particular eye on extreme rainfall events. This work is used to evaluate climate models, which tend to produce too many low-intensity storms and too few extreme events. Precipitation estimation is also crucial for urban planners, civil engineers, and farmers, who design infrastructure and make decisions based on the amount of rain that will fall in an extreme event.
My previous work pursued a deeper understanding of the composition and dynamics of the tropospheres of Uranus, Neptune, and Titan. Observing an atmosphere across the electromagnetic spectrum from the visible to the radio reveals information about clouds, hazes, dust, absorbing gases, and temperature at different pressure levels; radiative transfer modeling provides the translation between an observed spectrum and these physical properties of interest. The combination of radiative transfer modeling and multi-wavelength observations with cutting-edge (and sometimes amateur!) telescopes led me to (1) discover and characterize a unique storm at Neptune’s equator (link), (2) determine isotopic abundances and constrain chemical reaction pathways in Titan (link), and (3) determine the circulation pattern and gas abundances in Uranus’s middle troposphere (submitted).
I was awarded time to observe Uranus at millimeter wavelengths with the ALMA array, and accidentally imaged thermal emission from the Uranian ring system for the first time! Some collaborators at the University of Leicester subsequently observed the rings’ thermal emission in the mid-infrared, so we wrote a paper together (link) in which we determined the temperature and filling factor of the rings.