Jul 162002
 
Authors: David Schneider

The Department of Atmospheric Science at CSU is turning 40 years old and is not showing any signs of slowing down, with many new projects lined up for the future.

“For the past 40 years, the Atmospheric Science Department and its distinguished faculty have made amazing contributions to education and research,” Steven Rutledge, the department head for Atmospheric Science said. “We are building on this tradition of success and creating an even stronger future for the program and its students. This department’s activities will benefit scientists and citizens alike for many years to come.”

On July 9, the Department of Atmospheric Science and the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, a center for international cooperation in weather research housed at CSU, dedicated a new 15,000-square-foot research center.

The new facility houses some of the world’s most advanced remote-sensing satellite technology and will office several satellite research projects for studying global weather and climate.

Rutledge also said in a release that future plans for the program include a new federally funded multi-year satellite project, expanded department disciplines and facilities and an increased emphasis on community service and outreach.

Already underway is a project called CloudSat. This is an innovative, NASA funded satellite program that will use radar to measure cloud structures. This will provide the first vertical cloud profiling from space, improving weather forecasts and advancing the understanding of key climatic processes, Rutledge said.

Results from the satellite are expected to improve natural hazard mitigation, enhance water resource management and lead to the development of advanced satellite radar technologies. Launch of CloudSat is planned for 2004.

Also underway and housed in the new facility is the Global Precipitation Mission, an international project led by NASA, with several CSU researchers participating. The project will improve global rainfall analysis through the use of nine satellites, which will study global climate-water cycle interactions, hydrometeorology, weather prediction and the global carbon budget. The project will be made up of one primary satellite and eight smaller satellites, which will provide advanced weather data at intervals of no more than every three hours at any spot on the Earth. Planned launch for the project is 2007.

Other plans for the department include adding physical oceanography to the program. If implemented the department would hire an oceanographer to teach courses and work with the department’s atmospheric modeling groups to couple interactive ocean models with the atmospheric predication models to enhance the study of climate change.

Also, the department is planning to add another atmospheric chemist and a new state-of-the-art atmospheric chemistry lab and teaching facility, Rutledge said.

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