Seminars for Scientists

Fall 2018 Schedule:

Advanced Cloud Retrieval Algorithm Development to Facilitate Cloud Processes Study

Speaker:   Min Deng (University of Wyoming)
Date & Time:   Friday, Jun 29, 2018 ,  1:30 PM Location: SPSC W120


Clouds are one of the major source of uncertainties in predicting future climate changes. Thus, clouds are a high priority weather and climate research topic. Although instrument simulators are widely used for model evaluations with remote sensing measurements, reliable cloud properties retrieved from advanced retrieval algorithms are crucial not only for model evaluations but also for advancing our understanding of physical processes, which is necessary to improve model simulations. In this talk, I introduce two retrieval algorithm developments and highlight their applications.

Compact Instrumentation for the Resource-Constrained Scientist

Speaker:   Dmitry Vorobiev (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Date & Time:   Monday, Jul 23, 2018 ,  2:00 PM Location: SPSC W120A


Scientists and engineers who design instruments are often confronted by a lack of resources, such as, money, time, volume, power, and maximum weight allowance. In this talk, I will present our efforts to develop two commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) devices for applications in astronomy and remote sensing.

Impacts of Cosmic Dust in Planetary Atmospheres

Speaker:   John M. C. Plane (University of Leeds)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Aug 09, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Recent advances in interplanetary dust modelling provide much improved estimates of the fluxes of cosmic dust particles into planetary atmospheres throughout the solar system. Combining the dust particle size and velocity distributions with a chemical ablation model enables the injection rates of individual elements to be predicted as a function of location and time. There will be a discussion of impacts on all the planets, as well as on Pluto, Triton and Titan.

Exploring the Sun with the AFT model

Speaker:   Lisa Upton (UCAR/HAO)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Aug 23, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Magnetism at the Sun’s surface is a lens with which we peer into the solar interior, it is the bridge to the solar atmosphere, and it is the key to unlocking the Sun-Earth system. The Advective Flux Transport (AFT) model is a surface flux transport model which uses the observed near surface flows to simulate the evolution of magnetic flux over the entire surface of the Sun.  In this talk, I will discuss the latest results from AFT in the context of improving Space Weather and Space Climate Predictions.

Stratospheric gravity waves over South Georgia island: testing a high-resolution dynamical model with new 3D satellite observations and techniques

Speaker:   Neil Hindley (University of Bath)
Date & Time:   Tuesday, Sep 04, 2018 ,  2:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Gravity waves are key drivers of the atmospheric circulation. However, their accurate representation in General Circulation Models (GCMs) has proved very difficult, as large parts of the gravity wave spectrum are at scales that are near or below the resolution of even modern GCMs. Here, we present the first use of 3D satellite gravity wave measurements from NASA AIRS/Aqua to test simulated gravity wave fields from a high-resolution run of the Met Office Unified Model over the small, isolated and mountainous island of South Georgia, identified as an intense source of gravity waves. Our results provide insight into the relative contributions of gravity wave fluxes by small islands to the “missing drag” problem, and our new methodology provides a framework to test and guide improvements in the Unified Model and other GCMs.

The Planet Four Citizen Science Project: Probing Springtime Winds on Mars by Mapping the Southern Polar CO2 Jet Deposits

Speaker:   Michael Aye (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 06, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120



New understandings of energy-dependent dynamics of radiation belt electrons: Van Allen Probes observations

Speaker:   Hong Zhao (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 13, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC N100


The Earth’s radiation belt electrons consist of different populations, including source (10s of keV), seed (100s of keV), relativistic (~MeV), and ultrarelativistic (>~3 MeV) electrons. These electrons exhibit energy-dependent acceleration, transport and loss processes under the influence of various physical mechanisms. Understanding the energy-dependent behavior of radiation belt electrons and the effectiveness and relative importance of physical mechanisms… Read more »

MAVEN at Four Years: Mars’ Atmosphere Past, Present, and Future

Speaker:   Bruce Jakosky (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 20, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


In its four years in orbit, MAVEN has observed the Martian upper atmosphere for two Mars years. We can use the data to determine the loss of gas from the atmosphere to space integrated over Martian history. These results can be combined with observations from other spacecraft to constrain the CO2 inventory through time and the sinks to which CO2 has gone. The results tell us about the transition from an early warm, wet environment to the cold, dry climate we have to day, and also allow us to discuss the potential future human-driven evolution of the Martian atmosphere.

Star-Terrestrial (Exo)Planet Interaction in Our Solar System and Beyond

Speaker:   Chuanfei Dong (Princeton University)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


One of the primary objectives of studying exoplanets is to determine the criteria for habitability, and whether certain exoplanets meet these requirements. Amongst the many factors that determine habitability, understanding the atmospheric loss is of paramount importance. I will start by describing my recent studies on the Martian atmospheric ion loss, and then discuss the impact of exoplanetary space weather on the climate and habitability of exoplanets orbiting M-dwarfs. Finally, I will briefly introduce the high-moment multi-fluid model being developed at Princeton University, with Ganymede and Mercury as two examples.

Filling in the Gaps : Getting the Most from Your Instruments

Speaker:   Russell Stoneback (University of Texas at Dallas)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 04, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The wider scientific community and NASA have developed and launched a great many orbital resources to measure the near Earth space environment. While these instruments have resulted in significant discoveries the full impact of these data sets has yet to be realized. Differences in data format and other particulars generally makes integrating multiple instruments into… Read more »

In situ collection of dust grains falling from Saturn’s rings into its atmosphere

Speaker:   Sean Hsu (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


A splendid mission ended in a splendid way. Before plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere on the September 15 2017, the NASA-ESA Cassini spacecraft spent its final 22 orbits traversing the gap between the cloud tops of Saturn and its rings, exploring this unknown region for the first time. The on board Cosmic Dust Analyser was tasked to sample the ring material as well as to study how the rings interact with the host planet. 

The lingering ozone hole – Polar stratospheric clouds and volcanic aerosols

Speaker:   Yunqian Zhu (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) are critical elements of  Arctic and Antarctic ozone depletion, yet most models use simple parameterizations for them. I built a PSC microphysics model that is coupled with the NCAR Community Earth System model for atmospheric chemistry and climate. This PSC model includes detailed microphysics of sulfuric aerosols and three types of… Read more »

Tracking Mars Hydrogen Loss from Surface Water to Upper Atmospheric H: Key Controls on H Loss Today and Throughout Time

Speaker:   Michael Chaffin (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 01, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


H loss from the upper atmosphere of Mars has controlled the hydration and oxidation state of the planet over its history. Over the last four years, a convergence of spacecraft measurements has shown that this loss is seasonally variable and most likely controlled by lower to middle atmospheric conditions. Here I will present an overview of couplings between the lower and upper atmosphere relevant to H loss, identifying important constraints on H loss today from measurements and models and discussing potential difficulties in extrapolating the present situation throughout Mars history.

Space Sciences Workforce: A 30-year Perspective

Speaker:   Fran Bagenal (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 08, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Over the 30 years I have been at CU I have been following how the demographics of our field has changed. The statistics for the separate fields show noticeable differences. I have gathered data from various surveys – from locally at LASP to national statistics gathered by the American Institute of Physics’ Statistical Division –… Read more »

STEVE… A New (to Science) Optical Signature of a Magnetospheric Process

Speaker:   Eric Donovan (University of Calgary)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 15, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Over the last two years, researchers at the University of Calgary, Goddard, Berkeley, and Boston University have teamed up with a group called the Alberta Aurora Chasers to explore a type of aurora or airglow that appears as a narrow (north-south) many-thousdands-of-kilometer (east-west) mauve colored arc. This arc, affectionately called Steve by the Aurora Chasers,… Read more »

Space Weather at Earth and Mars: How Bad Can it Get?

Speaker:   Jim Green (NASA Chief Scientist)
Date & Time:   Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018 ,  2:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The great geomagnetic storm of August 28 through September 3, 1859 on Earth is, arguably, the greatest and most famous space weather event in the last two hundred years. It is believed that the Solar storm consisted of two coronal mass ejections (CME) occurring about two days apart with the first clearing a path for… Read more »

The Temperature Anisotropy Regulation in the Earth’s Magnetosheath: MMS Observations and PIC Simulations

Speaker:   Narges Ahmadi (LASP)
Date & Time:   Thursday, Nov 29, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


The proton mirror mode is one of the most prevalent instabilities found behind the shocks of celestial bodies, such as comets, planets, and stars. Near Earth, the quasi-perpendicular bow shock heats protons in the direction perpendicular to the magnetic field, creating a temperature anisotropy that generates mirror mode structures in the downstream region. Mirror modes… Read more »

Improvements and Advancements in Solar Spectral Irradiance Measurements and Data Continuity in the 21st Century

Speaker:   Erik Richard (LASP)
Date & Time:   Wednesday, Dec 05, 2018 ,  4:00 PM Location: SPSC W120


Solar irradiance is one of the longest and most fundamental of all data records derived from space-based measurements. The continuous, 40-year total solar irradiance (TSI) observational data record is the result of independent instruments flown on many different missions where observational overlap is central to establishing a reliable composite solar radiation data record. Challenges remain to maintaining an accurate SSI measurement record into the future that must be balanced within the broader goals and future fiscal realities of NASA Earth Science budgets. Now is the time for developing and investing a framework that ensures solar irradiance data continuity for the coming decades.