- Christiane Jablonowski
“My work happens where mathematics meets physics.”
Originally hailing from Germany, Professor Christiane Jablonowski first came to the Climate & Space (then called AOSS) back in 1998 to pursue a Ph.D, and ended up staying.
She initially worked with (CLaSP Professor) Joyce Penner in atmospheric sciences for five years, but ultimately decided to shift gears. “I wanted to get back numerical modeling,” says Christiane. “So I found a source of funding and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Christiane’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining her interests in atmospheric science, mathematics, and computational science. On a broad level, her research is used to develop and implement large-scale climate models. “We use complex partial differential equations in our modeling, but they must be adapted to work within our framework. My work happens where mathematics meets physics.”
Important byproducts of her work are the Idealized Test Cases used by atmospheric and climate study centers worldwide to potentially help debug new climate models. The rigorous ITCs can assist researchers in quickly finding and correcting errors in their models. She is affiliated with the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery & Engineering, where many of the larger scale climate models are run.
Christiane is also a key organizer of the bi-annual summertime Dynamical Core Model Intercomparison Project (DCMIP) that takes place at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO. The DCMIP provides students with the opportunity to work with leading climate researchers, and employ field research standards (such as Idealized Test Cases) in working with real-world data.
When she isn’t developing new approaches to modeling our enormous and complex climate systems, Christiane and her husband enjoying outdoors activities like waterskiing, hiking and camping (“we love the national parks, particularly the Rockies”). About six years ago, she got into baking homemade bread, specializing in a nice sourdough rye. She also has a very large fruit garden with a variety of trees and berry bushes. “We like to make homemade jam. It goes well with the bread.”
- Mark Moldwin
Communication and inspiration are common to both science and the arts and we can work together to benefit both of our domains.
Professor Mark Moldwin, has had a busy year. In addition to his roles as department Associate Chair for Academic Affairs, Climate & Space graduate advisor, and professor, he was the recipient of the 2016 Waldo E. Smith Award, an honor given in even-numbered years by the American Geophysical Union for "extraordinary service to geophysics."
And this year, Mark established a new Arts/Lab Student Residency in conjunction with the U-M ArtsEngine program. The Inaugural Moldwin Prize is designed for undergrad students enrolled in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, the Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning or the School of Music, Theatre and Dance interested in collaboration with students engaged in research practice in an engineering lab.
Professor Moldwin was inspired to establish the residency in a discussion he had with a colleague. "I was a attending a workshop with [University of Illinois chemistry professor] Catherine Murphy. She told me all about her program, and I came away very inspired."
When asked what he expects students will gain from this experience, Mark says, "I hope it is a two-way street. That my students get to learn about design and creativity from an artistic perspective, as well as learn how to communicate to non-science experts the work that they are doing. I hope that the Art Prize Fellows learn a little bit about science and engineering methods and space science."
"Communication and inspiration are common to both science and the arts and we can work together to benefit both of our domains."
- Debbie Eddy
I love getting close-up and personal with nature's inhabitants, while at the same time respecting them by capturing their images from afar.
Nature and animal lovers in Climate & Space know to visit Staff Member Debbie Eddy regularly, for she often has beautiful photos to share of nature and wildlife in Ann Arbor.
“I think I've always been interested in taking pictures of nature, but the real joy started when I got my first digital camera in 2012. It is a Nikon Coolpix P510 with 42x zoom! That's what I really love; it gets me in real close to the wildlife. I never knew sparrows were so colorful. And starlings — all iridescent purples and greens,” Eddy says of her hobby.
Many of Eddy’s photos come from North Campus, but she also takes photos at home and makes special trips to local gardens.
“I enjoy just sitting in my family room and snapping pictures of the birds at the feeder, though the pictures are sharper if I'm outside with the birds and the butterflies. But a really good place to find creatures other than backyard denizens is at Matthaei Botanical Gardens on Dixboro Road.”
Eddy recalls that her most recent visit to Matthaei did not have as much wildlife as she had hoped, but she still came back with nice pictures of a great blue heron, painted turtles, butterflies, a killdeer, and a little green frog.
“I love getting close-up and personal with nature's inhabitants, while at the same time respecting them by capturing their images from afar,” Eddy says on what she enjoys about photography. “On the other hand, the macro feature on my camera means to get a good close-up of small things, like bees covered in pollen and a preying mantis I found on my shed, I have to put the camera inches from them. That can be — interesting. It is also interesting to look at the photos and see the birds staring back at me. Seems like they are as interested in me as I am in them. And this often happens when I'm taking their picture from inside the house. How did they know?!”
In addition to photography, Eddy enjoys crafts.
“I'm not sure which gives me more pleasure, getting a marvelous photo of a bird or animal, or crafting a critter of my own for my Etsy shop etsy.com/shop/CritterCuddle,” Eddy says.
“Lately I've been thinking about making a dragon…I'll have to see what I can come up with before the True North Craft Show in November. Of course, I also need to make some more cats. Maybe another cat with a book, and a mouse sitting on the pages. Any cat lover knows that's their trick: sitting in the middle of the magazine you're trying to read. So I think turnabout is fair play.”
Eddy’s advice for new shutterbugs is: “Get the best camera you can afford.”
“I bought this camera because I was frustrated with my old point and shoot not giving me the picture I had envisioned when I framed it in the viewfinder. So a digital camera is sooooo much better. No film to keep replacing, no waiting until it is developed to see what you actually got, and no paying for the developing. With my camera, it has a lot of stuff preset for you, so you can take great shots practically right out of the box. It has settings for parties, landscapes, nightscapes, fireworks, sports (what I use the most for active wildlife) and many, many more. Or you can turn it to manual and do all the setups yourself, if you know what you're doing. So you can grow as a photographer at your own pace. And the very best, I got it for ‘free’ using my credit card reward points. I've heard the newer version of this camera has 60x zoom!”
- Mike Combi
We almost never accomplish anything significant alone.
Professor Mike Combi received the 2013 Collegiate Research Professorship Award from the University of Michigan Office of the Vice President for Research.
These awards are designed to recognize exceptional scholarly achievement and an impact on advancing knowledge in science and engineering.
Combi has also received the Distinguished Research Scientist Award from the University and an Outstanding Research Scientist award from the College of Engineering.
His research interests include observation and modeling of the spatial and velocity distribution of neutral and ionized cometary gases and dust, Mars’ exosphere and atmospheric escape, cometary x-ray observations and planetary satellite atmospheric structure.
Currently, Combi is a co-investigator for both the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) team, and the Visual and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) team, parts of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which arrives at the comet in late 2014.
Combi is also the U-M Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) director and has been a member of numerous NASA and other national panels, such as the Hubble Space Telescope Planetary Science Review Panel, the Planetary Systems Science Management Operations Working Group and the National Academy of Sciences' COMPLEX.
"It is a great honor to receive this award from the Office of the Vice President for Research and especially to be considered in the same company of those who have won this award before. I must also acknowledge and give credit to the contributions of all the past and current colleagues and students with whom I have worked, because we almost never accomplish anything significant alone."
- Andrew Nagy
He demonstrates that one person can make a big, big difference.
In 1944, Professor Emeritus Andrew Nagy lived in one of Raoul Wallenberg’s holocaust safe houses in Budapest. This year, Nagy participated in The Wallenberg Lecture and Medal at U-M, which honors Wallenberg’s commitment to selfless work.
"His story needs to be continuously told and remembered. He demonstrates that one person can make a big, big difference," Nagy says.
Nagy is a longtime member of the Wallenberg Executive Committee, which recently created the Wallenberg Fellowship for undergraduates.
"Wallenberg went to places and pulled people off the trains, he was negotiating with the head of the German SS, he did everything he could possibly do, ignoring his personal safety,” Nagy says.
Wallenberg, a U-M alumnus and Swedish diplomat, is credited with saving 100,000 lives during the Holocaust. This year is the centennial of Wallenberg's birth.
- Nilton Renno
My biggest hope is to find evidence for liquid water.
Professor Nilton Renno taught a course in 2009 in which students performed the first tests to determine how much ground erosion the MSL’s landing process could cause, and how that could affect the rover.
Renno’s students discovered that the supersonic rocket jets used to cushion the Curiosity landing could kick up dust and particles in the process. NASA took this information into account when planning Curiosity’s unprecedented landing technique.
Renno will be watching Curiosity land on August 5 from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as the team prepares to operate the rover. Renno says, “My biggest hope is to find evidence for liquid water.”
- Sue Lepri
It's an exciting adventure and there's always something new and challenging.
Associate Research Scientist Sue Lepri is the first female Climate & Space space flight instrument Principal Investigator (PI). Lepri is the PI for the Solar Orbiter Heavy Ion Sensor (HIS).
HIS is a NASA-sponsored space instrument project that aims to study how the Sun creates and influences the heliosphere. "It's an exciting adventure and there's always something new and challenging," Lepri says.
Lepri has been part of Climate & Space since her undergraduate days. "I've had amazing access to opportunities and good support from people around me. It made me feel like this was a place where I could really excel," Lepri says.
One of the things Lepri enjoys at Climate & Space is teaching heliophysics. "I can bring in my research, my colleagues research, and what we do is we focus a lot on unsolved problems in the field. We try to have the students think about them, so while they're in the class they're doing real research that could be published if they take it far enough."
Lepri encourages undergraduates to seek out research opportunities early. As an undergraduate, Lepri spent two years researching with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). "I think that as a student you shouldn't be shy in seeking out the opportunities that you want."
Now Lepri is part of the groundbreaking heavy ion measurements of HIS. Climate & Space looks forward to the launch of HIS, scheduled for 2017.
- Christopher Ruf
The system will allow us to probe the inner core of hurricanes in greater detail to understand their rapid intensification for the first time.
Professor Christopher Ruf is principal investigator on a new NASA satellite project aimed to improve hurricane and extreme weather prediction.
The $151.7-million Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) will make accurate measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the life cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes. It’s a constellation of small satellites that will be carried to orbit on a single launch vehicle.
“The system will allow us to probe the inner core of hurricanes in greater detail to understand their rapid intensification for the first time,” said Ruf. “This will allow us to observe and understand the complete life cycle of storms and, thereby, understand the thermodynamics and radiation that drive their evolution. Our goal is a fundamental improvement in hurricane forecasting.”
The CYGNSS data will enable scientists, for the first time, to probe key air-sea interaction processes that take place near the core of the storms, which are rapidly changing and play large roles in the genesis and intensification of hurricanes.
- Allison Steiner
Students get this full experience of data collection to analysis.
Assistant Professor Allison Steiner earned a 2013 Henry Russel Award, the highest honor bestowed upon early-career faculty by U-M. Steiner earned the award because of her excellent work in teaching, research and the community.
When it comes to her classes, Steiner says one of her most effective teaching tools is “incorporating data analysis into my courses.”
For example, Steiner and her students in a meteorology course set up a flux tower to see what the instrumentation looked like. “Then we spend time in the data laboratory where we actually analyze the data so students get this full experience of data collection to analysis.”
Steiner says the data experience shows students, “they’re not just programming for the sake of programming; they’re programming for the sake of trying to understand something scientifically.”
For students who plan to start their career with a consulting firm or government lab, data analysis skills and data visualization software experience are helpful.
“Working after undergraduate can be a really valuable experience, and I encourage a lot of our undergraduates to do that,” Steiner says.
In addition to her work as a teacher, Steiner co-founded the professional peer-mentoring Earth Science Women's Network. “Often times the best advice comes from people within your field,” Steiner says.
Steiner is also actively involved in the United Nations funded Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ITPC), which trains scientists from developing nations. “I think that program is really unique because it really does try to reach out to people in countries where they may not have the resources to do the kinds of model simulations that we have the resources to do here in the U.S.”
Steiner says the ITPC helps scientists set up model domains and develop the skills they need.
Climate & Space looks forward to recognizing Dr. Steiner at the Henry Russel Award ceremony.
- Joyce Penner
Go with your heart. I think you've got to do the stuff you find interesting.
Dr. Joyce Penner is a professor and associate chair at Climate & Space, and a review editor for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) upcoming report. For the IPCC, she read over a thousand reader comments and used them to provide authors with helpful feedback.
She says her role is to make sure the document maintains a good outside view.” As a professor, Penner specializes in climate change, studying factors such as gas and aerosol interactions in the atmosphere, and the effects of pollutants from fossil fuel burning on aerosols and clouds. Penner says she is drawn to study climate because it is “important socially”.
As associate chair, she aims to recruit more undergraduate students. She says the Climate & Space undergraduate program is great for preparing for graduate school, and it can also prepare students for careers. One of her goals is to “identify the jobs available for people trained in environmental work."One resource is the Earth Science Women's Network, started by Climate & Space associate professor Allison Steiner. It has a number of career opportunities for undergraduate and master's level students.
- Mark Flanner
“As seasonal snow and sea-ice evolve in response to climate change, they drive amplifying feedbacks, illuminating the importance of understanding the physics of cryosphere-climate interactions. U-M is an ideal place to pursue this research because of its breadth of academic expertise and recent establishment of the Climate & Space/GS Cryospheric Science Cluster. ”
Professor Flanner came to Climate & Space from Boulder where he had been a postdoctoral fellow in the Advanced Study Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He received his PhD in Earth System Science from UC-Irvine and brings an interdisciplinary approach to researching climate processes. He is the author and maintainer of the Snow, Ice, and Aerosol Radiative (SNICAR) model (http://snow.engin.umich.edu/), a tool used to study the influence of aerosols on cryospheric processes.
- Xianglei Huang
Professor Huang is mainly interested in understanding the entangled interactions between the atmospheric radiation, water vapor and clouds, and the atmospheric dynamics by diagnosis analysis of satellite observations and climate model simulations. Closely related to the main focus, he is interested and actively involved in the research of infrared radiative transfer and remote sensing as well as climate diagnostics. He also has published articles about planetary atmospheres, in which he still keeps tangential interest. In 2008, Geophysical Research Letter, the premium letter journal of the American Geophysical Union, highlighted one of his studies on the radiative impact of cirrus on the troposphere-to-stratosphere transport. Professor Huang currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.
- Michael Liemohn
Professor Liemohn has been a researcher in Climate & Space since 1998. Prior to that he was a National Research Council Resident Research Associate at Marshall Space Flight Center. His research interests include physics of geomagnetic storms, storm-time inner magnetospheric plasma dynamics and evolution, planetary plasma environments, energetic-thermal particle interactions, mid- and high-latitude ionospheric precipitation and outflow, and wave-particle interaction theory and plasma instabilities. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union. In 2002 he received the U-M Research Scientist Recognition Award.