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CEWIT Hosts First Radar Science Summer School

Radar summer group

Radar summer group

Program trains the next generation of scientists in weather and climate research

The Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) at Stony Brook University recently hosted 25 undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and abroad at its first-ever Radar Science Summer School.

The five-day program, which began on June 4, consisted of short courses in the use of mm-wavelength radar for cloud and precipitation research. Millimeter-wavelength radars are instruments uniquely sensitive to cloud droplets, rain and snow that complement the suite of centimeter-wavelength radars operated by the National Weather Service.

“Only a few research universities operate ‘cloud’ radars, and we believe that it is important to train the next generation scientists that will be able to conduct weather and climate research using these instruments,” said Pavlos Kollias, professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) and lead organizer of the summer school.

Students had a full schedule, with lectures each morning followed by group research projects in the afternoons.

Radar summer class“The students were broken up in teams, and under the guidance of a mentor, they were given the opportunity to get hands-on research experience using real radar data,” said Katia Lamer, scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and co-organizer of the summer school.

Lecturers included Lamer, Fan Yang, Zeen Zhu and Edward Luke from Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Kollias, Mariko Oue and Zhuocan Xu from Stony Brook University. Alessandro Battaglia of Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy lectured to the group remotely.

On the last day, the five groups competed against one another and the team focused on exploring drizzle formation was named winner.

 The students also had the opportunity to visit the Stony Brook Millimeter Radar facility at Stony Brook University which is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as one of the NSF Community Instruments and Facilities. NSF provides funding to maintain and upgrade the radar facility and supports outreach and education opportunities, like this summer school, in order to educate and inspire the next generation of atmospheric scientists.

The Stony Brook Millimeter Radar facility is part of a broader remote sensing facility called SBU-BNL Radar Observatory (SBRO). SBRO brings together faculty and scientists from Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Laboratory and engages postdocs and graduate and undergraduate students. SBRO aims to be a leader in the next generation atmospheric observing approaches to provide the foundational knowledge to significantly improve climate predictability, sustainability and environmental justice.

In addition to Kollias and Lamer, Oue, a research professor at SoMAS, and Skyler Day Harman, research coordinator of the Radar Science Group, helped make this summer school a success.

The team of organizers hopes to offer this opportunity every other year to engage students in the use of mm-wavelength radar.

— Beth Squire


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